Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been rather contently listening to all sorts of Christmas music. And if I’m by myself, then I usually have Vince Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown Christmas on in the background as I light a few pine candles (with the renovations, I don’t have anywhere to put a tree yet!), and light the fireplace and hum along…
But the past couple of days, something put the Radiohead bug in my ear, specifically OK Computer, which turned 20 years old this year (and was recently re-released). It’s a fantastic album…it’s also probably one of the saddest albums ever made. It’s not at all Christmassy, and not at all festive – in fact, in some ways, just the opposite. And although I didn’t realize it at the time, it’s also one of the last true great “albums” in the classic sense of the word, meant to be listened to in it’s entirety, in the order in which the songs are given. It doesn’t work on shuffle….it works just as Radiohead released it.
When I first received the original, it was gifted to me by someone who loved music and had (and still has) the most excellent ear and taste for it. Putting it on now, I can completely picture the living room of my parents home, where I would dutifully put it in the CD player and hit play at the end of an evening. Funny how strong a memory can be with just the introduction of a song. All of the sudden 20 years feel like 20 minutes ago.
I’m sure the Christmas music will come back on shortly – after all, I have two children who really love themselves a good rendition of Frosty or the Chipmunks, but maybe just one more go at this remarkable album before the evening ends.