Thom Yorke - The Eraser

Thom Yorke - The Eraser

Radiohead has maintained its reputation as a main attraction in the world of rock music since their breakthrough hit “Creep” back in the early 90s, even with poor record sales and limited radio play after that time. The band’s singer, Thom Yorke, has recently released his first solo album, The Eraser, which combines keyboards and melodic undertones into a sleepy haze.

The title track, the first on the album, starts with an intentionally akward piano arrangement that is later accompanied by a synthesized drum beat and Yorke’s distinct vocals. It’s at this point that you’re forced to decide whether you like it or not, as the rest of the album strays very little from this formula. The songs seem to do little to differentiate themselves, which leaves me with only a mediocre (at best) taste in my mouth.

Thom Yorke

I went into this album thinking that it would probably sound like Radiohead. For those of you thinking the same thing, you should clear your mind from these thoughts immediately. Although I wasn’t surprised to find that Yorke made good use of electronic devices on the album, as recent Radiohead albums have also done, I was surprised to find that this album doesn’t really fit into the rock camp at all but moreso into electronica. On The Eraser, Yorke makes heavy use of low-tempo techno music to act as a vessel for his often low-key voice which makes for an ambient, perhaps uninteresting, listening experience.

Yorke’s lyrics are largely hard to decipher; the only line that I found to be clear in the album was from the song “Black Swan” in which he repeats, “fucked up, fucked up”. In looking up the lyrics for the album online, I’m not too impressed overall; there’s just not much substance or cohesiveness (not like Andre’s poetry). But I didn’t buy the album for the lyrics; the main reason why I bought the album is that I like Yorke’s tone. I really like the inflection and range that he shows in Radiohead’s songs, despite the fact that I often have a hard time understanding his lyrics. Yet, in The Eraser, I don’t feel the same spirit and liveliness that I felt in Radiohead’s The Bends and OK Computer.

I mentioned that Yorke’s tone was my main reason for getting the album; my other reason was that I simply wanted to see what he could do on his own. Unfortunately, my answer is, “not much.” The album as a whole is - bluntly - boring, and I found all songs on The Eraser to be easily forgettable. There aren’t any standout tracks. It’s all fairly bland. The Eraser could be a great album to fall asleep to, but I generally prefer a little more rock in my roll.

If you’re a fan of spacing out and were considering a soundtrack for your hobby then this album is for you. Honestly though, I just don’t see myself listening to it much. The Eraser is good for ambiance, but that’s about it.

My Experience: 5/10 - Meh.

11 Comments on “Thom Yorke - The Eraser”

  1. I’m curious to hear from anybody else. I do like a few Radiohead songs that I’ve heard but overall, I’d have to put them into the “they suck” category. What does everybody else think?

  2. Give it a chance. The songs are much more complicated then the sound on first listen. I was a bit indifferent to it but it just clicked on the 3rd or 4th listen. Yorke’s vocal work is fantastic and he really pushed himself. Again it talkes time, but its worth it.

  3. They suck? Wow..

    I can understand some people not getting radiohead but to say they suck.. I haven’t heard that in awhile.. Then again I am a big fan..

    I think the Eraser is great. I don’t think Thom was trying to do anything crazy with this solo album (he put it together in a matter of weeks). I really don’t think he was trying to prove what he could do on his own, or make something with spirit and liveliness either… To me The Eraser sounds exactly how I would expect it to.. It’s totally Thom Yorke..

    Thom and Radiohead will never get back to the OK Computer/Bends days.. That’s one of the reasons I love them.. They just keep pushing and do exactly what they feel like, not what everyone else wants them to do..

    It’s nice to see that someone else has heard this album though.. Haven’t heard anyone talking about it.

  4. Shane - I’m not saying that I don’t appreciate progression and whatnot - I certainly do - but just because I appreciate it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

    thedude - Perhaps I’ll give The Eraser another spin, but I don’t think my opinion of it will change. I’m sure it’s intricate deep down, but I just didn’t “feel it” when I listened to it.

    Michael - Sup man? Call me or drop me a line sometime.

  5. You know, I appreciate the honesty and frankness of the review. I still want to hear the album (perhaps a sampling?). I’ve never been a huge fan of Radiohead, but I’ve never disliked them either.

  6. I hate to be the one to say this, but he’s been spelling his name wrong for some time now…

    I’m really not a fan of radiohead but don’t know them very well. Is there anything that this can be compared to?

  7. Radiohead shares similar qualities with Muse, REM, Pink Floyd, and Coldplay. I can’t really think of anything that sounds quite like The Eraser which, I suppose, is a plus for it. I guess it could be compared to Massive Attack’s quieter songs… really though, I can’t think of much to compare it to. Just think of the drumbeat in “The System is Down” (by Strongbad) with random boops and bleeps mixed in. And then Thom Yorke’s voice every once in a while.

    lol - that’s such an awful comparison but it kinda works. ;)

  8. With Radiohead it’s more like other bands are comparable to them moreso than they are comparable to other bands. If that makes any sense.

    I didn’t initially care for them at first either, but I don’t really think, in retrospect, that their singles really carry over the general talent and compelling qualities the full albums make so obvious. I’ve yet to listen to The Eraser, although I do have it sitting around.

  9. For the record - I gave The Eraser another spin, and almost considered making my 5/10 rating even lower. :(

  10. […] A few months or so ago, I stumbled upon a website offering a compilation CD of metal bands from India. I was interested in hearing what other nations listened to so I inquired about obtaining the CD. It was then that I met Arun Kale. At that time they were out of CDs, but we continued conversing anyway, mostly about music but also web design. Arun recently redesigned his website, Split Magazine, which is totally dedicated to spreading the word of good independent Indian music (and music in general). Arun checked out my site last week and came across my review of Thom Yorke’s The Eraser. To my delight, he quite enjoyed the review and asked to syndicate it on Split. (Of course I said ‘yes’.) You can check out my review on Split here. […]

  11. listen to it again and again. i swear. i listened to it maybe ten times. then it kicked in. i was about to give up. now i love it. i really really love it. it is so very subtle. give it time…. i know that’s not what happens with music anymore. but this is different.


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