Brad Mehldau: Paranoid Android
Brad Mehldau (piano)
Live in Tokyo (Nonesuch 79853)
Brad Mehldau (piano).
Composed by Colin Greenwood, Jonny Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, Phil Selway & Thom Yorke.
Recorded: Tokyo, February 2003
Rating: 91/100 (learn more)
It is difficult to credit one artist for initiating the trend to cover 1990s alternative pop/rock songs, but Brad Mehldau is certainly setting the standards for his likeminded contemporaries. Fans eagerly await every Mehldau release, wondering what he is going to cover next—and he never disappoints. His 2002 album Largo featured a spot-on cover of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android," but this version from his 2004 solo piano album Live in Tokyo is the more rewarding listen. At nearly 20 minutes, the track is epic and challenging, and Mehldau's playing passionately inquisitive. His intro—delicate and wistful with Jarrett-like thematic development—slowly morphs into "Android's" familiar descending harmony and ascending melody. Using the theme as a launching pad, Mehldau probes deeply into the tune's intricacies while never abandoning its essence. With the interaction between his right and left hands, he investigates the juxtaposition of Thom Yorke's haunting and detached vocals and the density and power of the band's guitars and drums.
Reviewer: Matt Leskovic
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