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Duck and cover! The artists are coming!...

I was actually doing okay there for a little bit, leaving my house, spending time with friends, thinking that I may actually lead a normal life that included sunshine, walks and the consumption of alcohol in public spaces.

But then the Media had to come and fuck it all up.

Yeah, the Media. The Liberal Fucking Media. Artists and musicians and all those scruffy types. They fucked up my summer. This was supposed to be Omar's Summer Of Going Outside.

Now, I'm going to be stuck inside, listening to new music, watching pinko Communist DVD entertainment and playing addictive video games.

It's not my fault. The Media did it. The Entertainment Conglomerate decided to release like six new CDs that I wanted all within a month of each other. Weezer. Tool. Radiohead. Destiny's Child. Lucinda Williams. That's only five, I know. But I'm sure there'll be at least three more in the next week. And I still want to get Eve's new disk, and maybe REM (they deserve another chance, I say).

And then Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon came out on DVD. So, of course I had to buy that. And then Nintendo was cruel and sent me a Gameboy Advance. So, starting next week, a raft of games for that will be coming out and I won't be able to resist.

Don't even get me started on Red Faction for PlayStation2. I'm not even going near that game because it'll be all over. They'll find me, eaten by dogs a la Bridget Jones, having subsisted all summer on refrigerator mold, dead of Pale Mexican Disease. I don't anticipate I'll see daylight until at least August.

Yesterday was particularly cruel. Radiohead, Lucinda and Crouching Tiger, all in the same day. I can't afford all that shit! And to make it even more deliciously evil, the Radiohead CD comes in two formats: The Limited Edition (chunky) and the Regular Edition For People Who Are Not True Fans (smooth).

I couldn't resist. They had the limited edition at Best Buy, four copies of it, and it's a beautiful red library book. With a little library card inside and a sleeve for the CD. And lots of disturbing pictures and text. Oh, and it comes with some music, I hear.

I paid $22 for it. This younger guy was standing there by the CD racks (The Limited Edition had been relegated to the back shelves under the rock and pop "R" section), pondering the decision. "Um, what's on that one?" he asked, when I picked up one of the Limited Edition copies.

"It's got artwork, a library card, a bunch of cool stuff," I told him. I'd read up on it on Follow Me Around.

Just buy the damned Limited Edition already.
(Image from

"Oh." He looked perplexed. He looked torn. He ended up buying the Regular Edition. I pity the poor misguided youth of today.

I had already heard most of the album from having downloaded a bunch of the songs. But hearing it flow together, in much better quality sound, it was wonderful. It's what buying a brand new U2 CD used to feel like for me.

Speaking of which, I remember when U2 went away for a long time. Do you remember that? Right after Rattle & Hum, they just disappeared. There were all these rumors that they were breaking up and I cursed myself for never getting to see them in concert. Then, all of a sudden, there was a new album. A video was set to debut on MTV.

I camped out in front of the TV waiting for it. The promos had promised a song called "The Fly." The promos made it sound all spooky, haunting and ethereal. I couldn't wait, based on all the emotional, heartfelt music they'd put out after that point.

Then I saw "The Fly." It had crunchy guitars, funky camera angles and Bono was all dressed in leather and wrap-around sunglasses like he'd suddenly discovered whores. And my heart sank. This wasn't what I'd been waiting for.

That's not to say Achtung, Baby! wasn't a good album. It really was. But that moment felt so wrong on so many levels. I wanted something beautiful and ethereal and haunting, and what I got was a mouthful of whisky.

"Pyramid Song," the single (The Hell!?!) off the new Radiohead CD, Amnesiac, is the song I was waiting for that day, years ago. It's exactly what my heart wanted and didn't get.

That said, the new CD isn't perfect. There's some good and some bad. Let's go track by track, shall we?


1. Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box -- Cool song, cool rhythm, cool vocals, excellent lyric, "I'm a reasonable man, get off my case." Coming soon to e-mail sig lines all over the world. Extra points for leaving vowels out in the song title.

2. Pyramid Song -- Beautiful. Haunting. Vocals are way up front and when the song shifts into its scattered rhythm in the middle, it's breathtaking. I just can't believe this is a single. It's #2 on the singles charts in Canada, and all I have to say is God Bless Canada. Because if a song doesn't have an ass, a thong or a pre-teen skank in it, it's not going anywhere near the charts in this country. Oh and the video kicks ass, too.

3. Pull/Pulk Revolving Doors -- Thom is still playing with his little vocoder. I like the little xylophone breaks (is that a xylophone or am I just musically illiterate), but this is a total b-side. No way you should put this on an album instead of something like "Follow Me Around" or "I Promise."

4. You and Whose Army? -- Thom sounds all sad and resigned and then the song comes back in the middle to whip some ass. It's all political (because he used the word "cronies" and he's British) and when the song actually develops a rhythm, it almost sounds like "Karma Police"'s pissed-off cousin. The end is wonderful and they could have totally brought it back around all "Hey, Jude" style, but instead they leave well enough alone. Nice.

5. I Might Be Wrong -- Really nice, but the vocals get washed over and the song has slowed down considerably than the live versions I've heard. They should have kept the old tempo because this version plods along a little. But it's got a nice break and comes back strong.

6. Knives Out -- Perfect. Exactly what it should be. The best song you'll ever hear about eating people.

7. Morning Bell/Amnesiac -- WHY!?! This song, I'm sorry, but it sucks. Hard. They recorded a version of "Morning Bell" on Kid A that was gorgeous and dark and terrifying and then they come back with what sounds like the garage rehearsal for that song. Slow, gnarled, ugly. Maybe that's the point since the song is about divorce.

8. Dollars & Cents -- A lot of people really like this song a lot, but it hasn't quite gotten me yet. Nice rhythm, nice lyrics, but it just kind of ambles along when I keep waiting for it to do something more interesting. I do like the speak-song vocals toward the end.

9. Hunting Bears -- Even more annoying than "Treefingers" from Kid A. This sounds like some 15-year-old noodling with his guitar in the basement. Hit the skip button.

10. Like Spinning Plates -- It's kind of a studio wankering, but I like it. Creepy and cool. Thom sang the vocals backward and they reversed them forward so he sounds like the Black Lodge midget from Twin Peaks. It's sung over a different song run backwards called "I Will." There are versions floating around the Net of the song reversed so you can hear what "I Will" actually sounds like.

11. Life in a Glass House -- There's a version of this on Meeting People is Easy that's very basic. They took that song and completely dug it up from its grave and ReAnimated the shit out of it. Jazz trumpeter Humphrey Littleton and a combo play on this and it's the weirdest song. I've heard it described as a New Orleans funeral march and that's pretty apt. It's lovely, though, and completely works. Fantastic.

So, the CD is great in places, annoying in a few. It's getting really tiring to keep waiting for new Radiohead albums thinking, "Is this going to be The One?" But as long as they keep putting out music at a steady clip, I think I can forgive the odd bad tangent. There are at six or seven really great songs here and that's not a bad ratio.



Part of my weekend shenanigans included seeing Wanda Sykes, who you might have seen if you watch Comedy Central a lot or if you've ever watched The Chris Rock Show.

I think she may be the funniest woman I've ever seen. She was brilliant. If you ever have the opportunity to check her out, do it. (People in Washington, DC, I'm looking your way.)



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