Radiohead versus Wilco: Discuss


Wilco is good, sometimes exceptional, but often inconsequential.

So it would appear that the above statement is up for discussion. I'm speaking specifically about statement number 9 of the truth, now that Ben has noted that Wilco has relinquished one of their albums to Volkswagon.

Of course, the first contender that comes to mind, especially since we're talking about things such as "selling out" is Radiohead, who recently have seen a lot of press over their IT'S UP TO YOU marketing experiment. And with that in mind, maybe, the truth #9 should be altered with boys from Oxford in mind.

This wouldn't be so bad in my view. Radiohead, and Thom Yorke specifically, already happen to have some scientific tendencies: note the albums with clear connotations to cloning, and climate change. (Plus, this blog has tried, in the past, to see whether there was a medical explanation for the things you see in their "Just" video)

As well, like Wilco, they are a band revered for their musical prowess.

Mind you, I've already suggested a "Wilco Effect", but it might be kind of fitting that such a thing is also subject to the chaotic temperament of web dynamics.

Anyway, the truth: Wilco or Radiohead?

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Wilco every time (not to mention Uncle Tupelo). Radiohead are tedious, pretentious bores who have apparently lost the ability to actually write songs (though I haven't yet heard their latest material). Plus Thom Yorke is immensely irritating. Wilco have the gift of balancing songwriting with being experimental, Radiohead don't.

selling your music does not in itself affect the quality of the art. the only people that bitch about wilco "selling out" are those more interested in maintaining an image than listening to quality music.

By douchebag (not verified) on 25 Oct 2007 #permalink

Wilco are alright, but Radiohead are simply one of the greatest bands out there. I really can't understand how anyone could find The Bends or OK Computer tedious or boring. And anyone who claims that Radiohead can't write songs is simply being a wanker.

So, yeah, my vote is for Radiohead.

I have to agree with douchebag above -- you really are a douchebag.

Just to clarify. I'm re-evaluating the #9 statement, not vehemently saying that Wilco is selling out (note the quotes in the post). Even so, I still think that Radiohead is a contender for the statement, though, and I happen to be an admirer of both bands.

Anyway, so far, it would be appear that Wilco defenders are ahead with a score of Wilco: 3, Radiohead:1

FYI. The truth currently sits at #5 or #6 on rankings, depending on most people's preferences.

This is a tough one. I could pick either band depending on whether I'm looking at their "body of work" or particular favorite moments.

If I'm looking collectively, I'd probably go with Wilco, but Radiohead really has had some moments of pure and (my opinion) unequaled excellence. Let's just say, I'm wondering whether we could somehow work both bands into the statement.

Yeah, so radiohead just about managed to marry writing songs (well done!) with experimentation early in their career (though OK Computer is hideously overrated). They haven't managed since.


Although OK Computer and Kid A were great, since then Radiohead has turned into a bunch of pretentious bores. (I will qualify this by saying that I haven't heard their latest release yet.) As far as Wilco goes, I've always considered the band to be highly overrated.

Interesting. Comparing wilco to Radiohead is similar to comparing apples and bananas. Wilco was born out of remnants of Uncle Tuepelo and blends the truthful vocals of tweedy and musical prowess of other band members. Wilco's game is writing honest songs ( simple in nature when compared to radio head) that truly exemplify the alt country / Americana genre. Embedded within each song is a story and wonderful composition in which the brilliancy of simplicity creates a delectable sound that never ceases to tickle my ears and brain.

On the flipside, Radiohead is indefinitely complicated. From their cryptic lyrics to crazy unimaginable compositions - the band has been pushing the envelope / future music and ideas for many years. Using apple lap tops ( anyone who has ever been to a show may have sensed a bit of branding with the apple logo almost always featured on the big screen) to defunct synths and weird electric noises.

Interestingly enough, though both bands are very different, I believe that their sounds and existence both pay tribute to the same band, one of the greatest bands of all times, the Beatles. Wilco's latest album is chop full of ringo-esque rolls and fills, and song writing is often reminiscent of the dynamic duo, Lennon / McCartney. And the like the Beatles, Radiohead dares to go where others didn't know existed.

flaming lips.

If a dissertation on the relative merits of each band is not required to vote, I vote for Radiohead. but the flaming lips are a good runner up...

By Kalie Pedersen (not verified) on 01 Nov 2007 #permalink

In my opinion Radiohead remains the greatest band around today. For those of you who have not yet heard it, I'd highly recommend In Rainbows, though one listen likely won't be enough. I can take or leave Wilco.

It's no contest: Radiohead. My two favorite groups are Radiohead and Pearl Jam. They both constantly see what new things they can do. And, they pay tremendous respect and homage to the greats who came before them.

I like country, therefore I like Wilco.

I bet both will have claimed, in some form or at some time, to have been influenced by the Talking Heads. Cultural Darwinism

You've picked two good finalists but without doubt it's Wilco. As a band there's been no collection of musicians quite like Jeff Tweedy, Nels Cline and Glenn Kotche. With all due respect, Radiohead is simply the genius of Johnny Greenwood.

Radiohead for certain. You can listen to them for years and always find something new, either lyrically or tonally, and though they are certainly a little pretentious, I think their focus on meaningful songwriting earns them that right.