Radiohead seems to fit well as a poster child of the current Pop Music. They have taken the sentiments typical of Pop Art and electromagnify it. The attitude of ambivalence and conflicted duality seem to be expressed in the sonic compositions. They blend electronic transformation with traditional instrumentation of rock or alternative music. They utilize unconventional and uglier tones melded together with pretty pitches. The realistic but slightly morphed singing creates a strong contrast with how the tracks are laid down that continues a saga of music. They might not be creating a new genre or anything, but I can see today’s culture being reflected in a good light by this band.
They are popular because of balance of tastes. I can’t say I like a fifth of what plays on pop radio, let alone all radio, but some artists are capable of a wide fan reach. I think Radiohead’s In Rainbows is one of 2007′s best albums, but that is irrelevant to the rest of the monologue.
Indie is Post-Pop
I can guarantee this term (indie) is the delimiter within the continuum just like Postmodern was/is to modernism. You don’t hear terms like Pop Film or Pop Books much these days. Indie Films, indie music, indie writers, indie-anything really. And Radiohead is considered “indie” by many last.fm users… I don’t need to get into an argument about what indie means, because it means many things. It’s a classification and a description that can describe anything such as a brand of sound (just like Christian music has a branded sound detached from the lyrical content). Independence (the unabbreviated indie) will never stay put in terms of terminology and in terms of dissecting for explicit exposition. Anybody who is on an independent record label is Indie. Anyone with a D.I.Y. approach is Indie. More broadly speaking– anyone who is in an independent nation is Indie!
The Indie debate normally ends up with the fact that it’s for hipsters. It’s also for whoever enjoys listening to such a classification. If it sits well with snobbish music hipsters and extends to others who just the the general style, then it is the new pop (as in “neo-popular”- aren’t I hip for using those words together?). Pop music evaded crisp definition too. Pop Music is not just the type of music that is cookie cutter crisp and in the C-Ionian scale with a familiar major key melody that will awaken “a genie in a bottle baby.”
I am not defending the use of indie (although I accept the term in a relative way) or the quality of things described as such. I know very well that this not-so-new but still vulnerable term changed and changes. Culture is going to push the envelop of meaning with any word, and being aware of this will calm the swelling of pointless argumentation that is never resolved of its sociolinguistic instability.