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I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings - Click to view! Not many in the music industry were prepared for the shaking Radiohead gave the musical world with Kid A and Amnesiac. Two albums of experimental, electronic-influenced rock (or was that rock-influenced electronica?) that opened up a whole new sound to many fans. They were, most definitely, studio masterpieces. Yet, one question loomed up out of the dark bliss evoked by Radiohead’s musical boldness: could they convert this new music into concert material? It doesn’t take a lot of smarts to see that these two albums rely heavily on the studio atmosphere, and though reports from concerts were enthusiastic, many critics remained skeptical.

In true Radiohead fashion, I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings blew away all doubts. An electric eight-song collection, it proved two things: that Radiohead is not comprised of introverts, and that their musical creativity is deeper than most of us realize. Not only can they write good songs, but they can arrange and re-arrange them quite well. The best example of their talent is “Like Spinning Plates”. Originally a chaotic assortment of electronic tracks and distorted vocals, I Might Be Wrong showcases it as an intimate piano number, more chilling than the original. The other changes are less noticeable: trumpets replaced by Thom’s vocal ejaculations (“The National Anthem”), backwards-talk replaced by warbling echoes (“Everything in Its Right Place”), and harmonies incorporated into the lead vocal (“Idioteque”).

Another noteworthy item is the unity that defines Radiohead. Some have wondered if Radiohead is merely Thom Yorke’s mouthpiece, implying that the other four members are little more than backup musicians. Each song proves the contrary: Colin and Phil provide inventive rhythm work on bass and drums (respectively) while Ed and Jonny’s guitar and underlying keyboard/other electronica work is masterful and well-timed. As if that weren’t enough, the instantaneous endings of “I Might Be Wrong” and “Idioteque” are breathtaking in their perfection: rarely does one hear a live band with such togetherness that they can stop in a heartbeat.

The highlight of the CD, however, is the one new song, “True Love Waits”. A mournful melody with an acoustic guitar as its sole accompaniment, it catches a glimpse of what true love really is: sacrifice. Yet, the sacrifices are not made for the lover’s good, but only to keep him/her from leaving. It is a beautiful song, but its conclusion about love is as mournful as the melody; it pleads for true love, but finds it slip away in self-centeredness.

In all, this EP accomplishes quite a lot for eight songs, and the many hours you will spend listening to it will recompense you amply for both your time and money. It’s not often that you find a live EP with both the electricity and the creativity that I Might Be Wrong showcases. If you are not a Radiohead fan already, this live creation might pull you on board with its complex simplicities.
- Jason Ewert
August 2002
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