Battle Of The Bands:Radiohead Vs Europe


Fig 1: Who Would You Rather Go To A Party With?

Fig 1: Who Would You Rather Go To A Party With?

Some Bands are better than others.

“Fairly self-evident!” I hear you scoff.

 But it’s not.

Why are they better? Probably because you say so, and you have better taste than everyone else right? Or at least, better taste than the legions of JLS fans who’d buy a broomstick if you stuck a waistcoat on it and put it on the X-Factor. Well, sorry mate, but you don’t know diddly. You can stick your photographically memorised Morrisey lyrics. You can throw those Stone Roses CDs you’ve hoarded out the window.

Want to know why? Because they’re rubbish. Ian Brown is a nob. Pink Floyd are boring old gets. Serious musicians are rubbish!

And I can prove it.

Let’s do an example. When I’m done, the scales of musical falsehood will fall from your blinkered eyes, and you can thank me. Or you can just stop wasting money on collector’s editions and download them illegally like everyone else.

So, let’s begin with a critically and popularly lauded band, widely agreed to have gifted the world and the music industry with some intelligent, well-crafted albums that speak to millions. How about…Radiohead. They’re good right?

OK, and in the blue corner, we need some big-barneted chancers who’ve ridden to cheese-tastic fame on the back of some poorly cobbled together synth-parp trash.

Sounds like Europe to me.

This’ll be easy! I hear you cry, looking down the thin nose of your stupid London face at me, the thin smile of student irony tugging at your blubbery lips.
“Radiohead are great-they did OK Computer for starters! How the bloody hell will the haystack-permed spandex Swedes compete with that?! And Paranoid bleedin Android, that had multi-layered guitar parts that expanded on the band’s already complex sound, adding a melancholy element that finally allowed them to surpass the somewhat introspective earlier works, and effectively communicate their themes of modern urban alienation-the unique ennui inherent in the urban condition!”

All salient points, and extremely useful if I were composing a back-slapping biog of the band.

But I’m not.

Try talking about ennui and alienation to someone who’s grown up in the Swedish highlands. Nothing but interminable tundra and Caribou for a thousand miles, and if you do make the trip, you end up in bloody Finland. That’s alienation city boy!

The nearest city; Stockholm is pretty. But so are graveyards.

And how do the Swedes combat this position, one that would surely drive the average citizen of Abingdon to head-in-oven based antics?

Simple: They have a really good time instead. Radiohead specialise in alternative rock, or electronic rock, or experimental rock. Europe instead chose to Rock The Night – think how hard that is to do when the night occasionally goes on for 3 solid months, and has Wolves and Polar Bears in it!

Think about the band members.

Thom Yorke:
Keeping the ‘H’ in his name is the most interesting thing about him, and he had to steal that from Jonny Greenwood. He freely admits that he probably became a muso because he was bullied about having a droopy eyelid. A DROOPY EYELID! That’s what all the moping, farty-whingy moaning is about? I once fell off my BMX and really hurt my balls (don’t worry, they’re fine now), but you don’t see me trying to write any 15 minute operettas about it.

He is of course joined by Jonny and Ed on guitar, but what’s the point of three guitars if you use them to create an ‘ethereal’ atmosphere? If you want ethereal, hang around some Dorset woodland in the autumn. Would you rather be involved in a screaming hurricane of rock that rips women’s clothing off at a thousand paces?

It’s worth pointing out that on New Year’s Eve 1999, The final Countdown managed this in over 200 countries. By Comparison, Melody Maker noted that OK Computer Effectively conveyed the worry about Millennialism. There’s really no comparison.

Who else-ah yes, the deeply uninteresting Colin Greenwood. The most interesting fact I could find is that he shares his name with Colin ‘Col’ Greenwood, the South African Rugby player. Less intriguing than a man named Colin, whose nickname is ‘Col’.
His American wife does threaten to lend a touch of glamour to his life, but this is easily offset by her literary criticism, and the fact that he forces her to abide in a small village in Oxfordshire. In one of the biggest bands in the world. Has access to Greencard. Lives in Oxfordshire.

Finally we find wee Phil Selway at the back. According to Wikipedia:

“Selway is known for his precision and proficiency in various styles.”

And that’s all.


That’s not a rock band. It’s a geography club. Radiohead wish they were special.
Shall we have a look at the competition?

Joey Tempest:
JOEY TEMPEST! Roll that name around in your mouth for a while – better yet, look in a mirror and shout I AM THE TEMPEST THAT IS JOEY! Until you believe it-I guarantee you’ll get laid tonight. Thom Yorke never, ever gets laid. Famed for scaring the shit out of Bon Jovi with the height of his perm, Tempest took his name from Forbidden Planet, obviously inspiring his Final Countdown Lyrics.

John Norum:
Where Jonny Greenwood was once in Clacton-on-Sea, Norum was in Thin Lizzy. John wrote the majority of Europe’s hits, but was too busy balling his way along the Sunset Strip and appearing in a movie called ‘Far Out Man’ to cash in on them. He didn’t care a jot.

John Leven:
The only bass player ever to tell Yngwie Malmsteen to stick it up his arse, Leven originally trained as a baker, picking up the Bass after he realised it was easier than fine-icing a cake.

Mic Michaeli:
Keyboards. Obviously one of the most important components of the Euro-sound, Mic prefers to play at least 6 instruments at once, requiring phenomenal speed of movement and quickness of thought. His ability to outwit others is legendary, giving rise to the phrase ‘Michaelievelian’.

Ian Haugland:
To be painfully honest, I haven’t really got a clue who this guy is, although his name sounds a bit like some sort of Viking settlement, and that’s good enough for me!

There you have it. A bunch of bored middle-Englanders versus a spandex-clad Scandinavian beast, dripping with sweat, screaming with anger. I made almost all the bits about the Europe members up as I went along, and they still sound great. A band talented enough to make ‘Hot Rod’ into a good film, versus a band talented enough to slightly annoy Ronan Keiting.
In order to get a hit single, Radiohead had to wait 9 months. Europe took on 4000 other bands in open gladiatorial combat, and became the biggest rock act of the 80s despite being told that in order to be published, they’d have to cut their hair and sing in Swedish. Radiohead on the other hand, never even bothered to learn Swedish. I think you can see where this is going, but in closing it’s worth pointing out that at least one member of Radiohead has judged a poetry competition. At least all the members of Europe have owned a DeLorean.
Winner: Europe.

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  • Michael
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant post!!

  • Posted August 19, 2009 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Is that true about Deloreans?

    If so, you are right. They are the best.

  • Posted August 19, 2009 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    The Year 1986 came to life and gave each of Europe a DeLorean as a gift..

  • hagarse
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Ian Haugland can fit 20 metal beer bottle caps under his foreskin …. and no I didn’t make that up.

  • Posted August 26, 2009 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    Exactly. Can any of Radiohead do that? No they can’t. Because they just don’t WANT to try!

  • John
    Posted August 15, 2011 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Hey, you don’t have any knowledge at all. All this is your opinion and no, I won’t respect it. It is stupid, Radiohead is one of the best bands in the entire world. They made abstract and possibly hard to understand music, they are pioneers so go fuck youtself and learn somthing about music. A band is all about music, anyone can write music Europe-type but it is damn hard to write something so magnific as Radiohead does. Go fuck yourself.

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