This is a good article. Follow the link for more information.

The Eraser

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Eraser
Thom Yorke - The Eraser.jpg
Studio album by
Released10 July 2006
Recorded2004 — 2005
GenreElectronica, alternative rock
Length41:02
LabelXL XLCD200 / XLLP200
ProducerNigel Godrich
Thom Yorke chronology
The Eraser
(2006)
Spitting Feathers
(2006)
Singles from The Eraser
  1. "Harrowdown Hill"
    Released: 21 August 2006
  2. "Analyse"
    Released: 6 November 2006

The Eraser is the debut solo album by Thom Yorke of the English rock band Radiohead, released on 10 July 2006 by XL Recordings. It was produced by longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich.

The album comprises electronic music Yorke recorded during Radiohead's 2004 hiatus and between their 2005 rehearsals. The lyrics express Yorke's political concerns; he wrote the lead single, "Harrowdown Hill", about the death of David Kelly, a British weapons inspector who died of presumed suicide after telling a reporter that the British government had falsely identified weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The cover art, by longtime Radiohead collaborator Stanley Donwood, was inspired by the legend of King Canute failing to command the ocean, which Yorke likened to government attitudes towards climate change.

The Eraser debuted at number three on the UK Albums Chart and number two on the American Billboard 200. It was named one of the best albums of 2006 by the NME, Rolling Stone and the Observer, and was nominated for the 2006 Mercury Music Prize and the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album.

Two singles were released from the album: "Analyse" and "Harrowdown Hill". It was followed in the same year by a B-sides EP, Spitting Feathers, and in 2009 a remix album, The Eraser Rmxs. In 2010, to perform the album live, Yorke formed Atoms for Peace with musicians including Godrich and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea.

Recording[edit]

In July 2009, Yorke performed solo at the Latitude Festival in England, performing Radiohead and Eraser material.[1]

In 2004, after finishing the tour for their sixth album, Hail to the Thief (2003), Radiohead went on hiatus. Songwriter Thom Yorke began recording The Eraser, his first solo release, with longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich in late 2004, and continued work throughout 2005 between Radiohead sessions.[2] He told Pitchfork: "I've been in the band since we left school and never dared do anything on my own ... It was like, 'Man, I've got to find out what it feels like,' you know?"[3]

Yorke recorded in Radiohead's Oxford studio, Godrich's studio in Covent Garden, and his home.[4] He wanted to "approach and engage with computers and not a lot else, and yet still have lots of life and energy in the music".[5] To generate ideas, he cut and pasted clips at random from Radiohead's library of original samples,[5] many of which were created on laptops in hotel rooms as the band toured.[6] He would send fragments to Godrich, who identified passages that could become songs, edited them, and returned them to Yorke.[6] Describing the collaboration, Yorke said: "'Black Swan', back in the day, was a ... nine-minute load of bollocks. Except for this one juicy bit, and [Godrich] goes past and goes, 'That bit. Fuck the rest.' Usually it's something like that."[7] Godrich is also credited with "extra instruments".[8]

To create the title track, Yorke sampled piano chords played by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood and cut them into a new order.[2] "And it Rained All Night" contains an "enormously shredded-up" sample from "The Gloaming" (from Hail to the Thief), and "Black Swan" samples a rhythm recorded by Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien and drummer Philip Selway in 2000.[9] Yorke said "Harrowdown Hill" had been "kicking around" during the 2002 Hail to the Thief sessions, but felt it could not have worked as a Radiohead song.[10]

Yorke initially intended to create instrumental tracks,[5] but added vocals at the encouragement of Godrich.[11] On Radiohead albums, Yorke had altered his voice with layers of reverb and other effects; for The Eraser, Godrich wanted Yorke's voice to be "dry and loud".[11] As Yorke found it difficult to write lyrics to loops of music, saying he could not "react spontaneously and differently every time", he translated the music to guitar and piano and generated new musical components in the process.[5]

Yorke saved one song recorded in the Eraser sessions, "Last Flowers", for the bonus disc of Radiohead's seventh album, In Rainbows (2007).[12] Another song, "The Hollow Earth", was finished later and released as a single in 2009.[13]

Music and lyrics[edit]

The Observer described The Eraser as "an insidious collection of skittery beats and pattery rhythms and minimal post-rockisms".[4] The LA Times described it as "an evocative portrait of life made slippery by urban sprawl, murky political alliances and global warming ... with the blips and bleeps of Yorke's laptop excursions coalescing into soulful, politically charged songs."[11] Pitchfork described it as "glitchy, sour, feminine, brooding".[14] Citing inspiration from the 1997 Björk album Homogenic and the electronic music of Boards of Canada and Autechre, Yorke said The Eraser was designed to be heard in an "isolated space on headphones, or stuck in traffic".[11]

David Fricke of Rolling Stone felt the lyrics had an "emotional and pictorial directness, rare for Yorke".[2] The lines "No more going to the dark side with your flying saucer eyes / No more falling down a wormhole that I have to pull you out", from the track "Atoms for Peace", were inspired by an "admonition" from Yorke's partner Rachel Owen.[15] According to the Globe and Mail, "The Clock", influenced by Arabic music, is a "gliding, droning song about losing control while pretending 'that you are still in charge'."[5] "Analyse" was inspired by a blackout Yorke experienced in his hometown Oxford: "The houses were all dark, with candlelight in the windows, which is obviously how it would have been when they were built. It was beautiful."[2] The song "Atoms for Peace" references a 1953 speech by American President Dwight D. Eisenhower.[16] The album title was inspired by "these huge elephants that we have in the room at the moment, in the west, and people are desperately trying to erase them from public consciousness".[5]

Yorke wrote "Harrowdown Hill" about David Kelly, a whistleblower who is presumed to have committed suicide after telling a reporter that the British government had falsely identified weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Kelly's body was found in the Harrowdown Hill woods near Yorke's former school in Oxfordshire.[11] According to the Globe and Mail, the song resembles a love song with a sense of "menace" and "grim political showdown".[5] Yorke was uncomfortable about the subject matter and conscious of Kelly's grieving family, but felt that "not to write it would perhaps have been worse".[5] In an interview with the Observer, he said it was "the most angry song" he had ever written.[17]

Packaging[edit]

Part of London Views, the album artwork created by Stanley Donwood.

The Eraser cover art was created by longtime Radiohead artist Stanley Donwood. The artwork, a linocut titled London Views, depicts a figure standing before London destroyed by flood in imitation of King Canute failing to command the ocean.[11] It was inspired by the 2004 Boscastle flood[18] and an article by the environmentalist Jonathan Porritt comparing the British government's attitude to climate change to the Canute legend.[11] The album is packaged as a large foldout containing the CD; Donwood and Yorke wanted to avoid using plastic.[19]

Release[edit]

On 11 May 2006, Yorke posted a link to theeraser.net on the Radiohead website. Two days later, he wrote in a press release announcing The Eraser: "I have been itching to do something like this for ages. It was fun and quick to do ... Yes, it's a record! No, it's not a Radiohead record."[20] He emphasised that Radiohead were not splitting up and that the album was made "with their blessing".[20] Before the album's release, "Black Swan" was used in the closing credits of the film A Scanner Darkly.[21]

The Eraser was released on July 11, 2006[20] by the independent label XL Recordings on CD and vinyl.[22] Yorke said he chose XL because "it's very mellow. There's no corporate ethic. [Major labels are] stupid little boys' games especially really high up."[3] The album was also released on iTunes.[22] It debuted at number three in the UK album chart and stayed in the top 100 for ten weeks.[23] In the United States, it debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, selling over 90,000 copies in its first week.[24] The album leaked online a month before release; Yorke said he regretted not releasing it as a download beforehand.[25]

"Harrowdown Hill" was released as a single on August 21[26] and "Analyse" on November 6.[27] The album was followed by a compilation of B-sides, Spitting Feathers,[28] and an album of remixes by various artists, The Eraser Rmxs.[29] In 2009, to perform The Eraser live, Yorke formed Atoms for Peace with musicians including Godrich and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea; the band performed eight North American shows in 2010.[30]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic76/100[31]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[32]
The A.V. ClubB+[33]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[34]
The Guardian3/5 stars[35]
MSN MusicB−[36]
Pitchfork6.6/10[14]
Q4/5 stars[37]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[38]
Spin3/5 stars[39]
Uncut4/5 stars[40]

On the review aggregator site Metacritic, The Eraser has a score of 76/100, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[31] Reviewing The Eraser for the NME, Louis Patterson praised Yorke's vocals and wrote: "Some will mourn its lack of viscera; its coldness; its reluctance to rock. But it’s yet another revealing glimpse into Yorke's cryptic inner-world, and one that has the courage not to hide its political message in code."[41] Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone said: "These aren't Radiohead songs, or demos for Radiohead songs. They're something different, something we haven't heard before ... it's intensely beautiful, yet it explores the kind of emotional turmoil that makes the angst of [Radiohead albums] OK Computer or The Bends sound like kid stuff."[38] PopMatters wrote: "The Eraser isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s much more than solo-project divergence. Yorke has stayed focused and created a tight album that draws on its predecessors without being held to or afraid of them."[42]

In The Guardian, Alexis Petridis wrote that the album "offers a plethora of low-key delights", but "you can't help imagining what it might have sounded like if Yorke had turned it over to Radiohead."[35] The Village Voice praised Yorke's vocals, but found that "without the hooks of his inspirations or [Radiohead's] density, the results offer pleasantries where they could provoke profound unpleasantries."[43] Pitchfork wrote that The Eraser is "strikingly beautiful and thuddingly boring in maddeningly equal measure".[14] Writing in MSN Music, Robert Christgau found the themes "overstated" and the music "tastefully decorated click-and-loop".[36]

The Eraser was named the 15th best album of 2006 by the NME,[44] the 30th by the Observer,[45] and the 34th by Rolling Stone.[46] It was nominated for the 2006 Mercury Prize[47] and the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album.[48]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Thom Yorke.

No.TitleLength
1."The Eraser"4:55
2."Analyse"4:02
3."The Clock"4:13
4."Black Swan"4:49
5."Skip Divided"3:35
6."Atoms for Peace"5:13
7."And It Rained All Night"4:15
8."Harrowdown Hill"4:38
9."Cymbal Rush"5:15

Personnel[edit]

Adapted from the album liner notes.[8]

Chart positions[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[56] Gold 50,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[57] Gold 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[58] Gold 100,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


References[edit]

  1. ^ "Thom Yorke debuts new song at Latitude festival - video". Retrieved 2015-05-04.
  2. ^ a b c d Fricke, David (1 June 2006). "Radiohead's Thom Yorke on Going Solo". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 16 July 2006.
  3. ^ a b Plagenhoef, Scott (16 August 2006). "Interview: Thom Yorke". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 6 April 2007.
  4. ^ a b McLean, Craig. "Interview with Radiohead's Thom Yorke". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-05-03.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Evert-Green, Robert (June 14, 2006). "Radiohead retooled". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Everything In Its Right Place". www.cbc.ca. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  7. ^ "Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich on Atoms for Peace, the State of Dance Music and What's Next for Radiohead | Music News". Rolling Stone. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  8. ^ a b The Eraser liner notes
  9. ^ Fricke, David (15 June 2006). "Radiohead's Frontman Goes Solo". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  10. ^ "Thom Yorke: 'Why I made a solo album' - NME". NME. 2 July 2006. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Powers, Ann (28 June 2006). "Thom Yorke, free agent". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  12. ^ Paytress, Mark (February 2008). "CHASING RAIN_BOWS". Mojo. pp. 75–85.
  13. ^ Michaels, Sean. "Radiohead's Thom Yorke announces two solo songs". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-10-02.
  14. ^ a b c Pytlik, Mark (10 July 2006). "Thom Yorke: The Eraser". Pitchfork. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  15. ^ Adams, Tim (23 February 2013). "Thom Yorke: 'If I can't enjoy this now, when do I start?'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  16. ^ Dombal, Ryan (25 February 2010). "Thom Yorke Names Solo Band, Lines Up American Spring Tour". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 27 February 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  17. ^ Mclean, Craig (18 June 2006). "All Messed Up". Observer Music Monthly. Retrieved 18 June 2006.
  18. ^ Meacher, Colette (2006). "Got It Covered". Latest Art. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  19. ^ "Donwood Dresses Up Thom Yorke Solo Album". Retrieved 2015-05-03.
  20. ^ a b c "Eraserhead: Thom Yorke Goes Solo - Stereogum". Retrieved 2015-05-03.
  21. ^ Arendt, Paul. "Radiohead singer confirms solo album but denies rumours of split". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-05-03.
  22. ^ a b "XL Recordings - Thom Yorke - The Eraser". xlrecordings.com. Archived from the original on 19 May 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  23. ^ "Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2015-05-03.
  24. ^ "Thom Yorke's No Match For Chamillionaire, Kelly Clarkson In Billboard Race". MTV News. Retrieved 2015-05-03.
  25. ^ D'amico, Pier Nicola (2006-08-08). "Thom Yorke: Dancing in the Dark". Paste. Retrieved 2015-05-04.
  26. ^ "Harrowdown Hill". 2006-10-22. Archived from the original on 22 October 2006. Retrieved 2015-05-04.
  27. ^ "Thom Yorke's favourite Radiohead tune revealed". Retrieved 2015-05-04.
  28. ^ "Spitting Feathers - Thom Yorke | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-05-03.
  29. ^ "Thom Yorke: The Eraser Rmxs". Retrieved 2015-05-02.
  30. ^ "Q&A: Thom Yorke on Atoms for Peace's 'Mechanistic' New Album". Rolling Stone. November 5, 2012. Retrieved Feb 18, 2013.
  31. ^ a b "Reviews for The Eraser by Thom Yorke". Metacritic. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
  32. ^ Kellman, Andy. "The Eraser – Thom Yorke". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  33. ^ Modell, Josh (12 July 2006). "Thom Yorke: The Eraser". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  34. ^ Kot, Greg (10 July 2006). "The Eraser". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  35. ^ a b Petridis, Alexis (7 July 2006). "Thom Yorke, The Eraser". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 March 2009.
  36. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (April 2007). "Consumer Guide". MSN Music. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  37. ^ "Thom Yorke: The Eraser". Q (241): 86. August 2006.
  38. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob (26 June 2006). "The Eraser". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
  39. ^ Dolan, Jon (August 2006). "Troubled Man". Spin. 22 (8): 75. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  40. ^ "Thom Yorke: The Eraser". Uncut (111): 82. August 2006.
  41. ^ Patterson, Louis (7 July 2006). "Thom Yorke: The Eraser". NME. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
  42. ^ Corberlake, Justin (7 July 2006). "Thom Yorke: The Eraser". PopMatters. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  43. ^ Walters, Barry (4 July 2006). "The Android You're Looking For". The Village Voice. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  44. ^ "A decade in music - 50 best albums of 2006". NME.COM. Retrieved 2015-05-04.
  45. ^ Smith, Caspar Llewellyn. "The Observer's best albums of the year". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-05-04.
  46. ^ "Rolling Stone's Best Albums Of '06 - Stereogum". Retrieved 2015-05-04.
  47. ^ "Arctic Monkeys win 2006 Mercury Music Prize". NME. 5 September 2006. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  48. ^ Pareles, Jon (January 9, 1992). "Grammy Short List: Many For a Few". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
  49. ^ "Thom Yorke - UK Albums Chart". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  50. ^ a b "Thom Yorke - Billboard 200 chart". Billboard. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  51. ^ a b "Thom Yorke - Digital Albums chart". Billboard. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  52. ^ a b "Thom Yorke - Independent Albums chart". Billboard. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  53. ^ a b "Thom Yorke - Top Rock Albums chart". Billboard. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  54. ^ a b "Thom Yorke - Tastemaker Albums chart". Billboard. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  55. ^ "Thom Yorke - Hard Rock Albums chart". Billboard. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  56. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Thom Yorke – The eraser". Music Canada.
  57. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Thom Yorke – The eraser" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan.
  58. ^ "British album certifications – Thom Yorke – The eraser". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type The eraser in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

See also[edit]