Selway’s new album proves he should stick to Radiohead


Cover Art courtesy Bella Union

Strange Dance, the third studio album from Radiohead drummer Philip Selway, was released in February 2023.

Sam Tobiczyk, News Editor

Philip Selway’s new album Strange Dance is the unfortunate result of the drummer of an acclaimed band thinking that he is more creative than he is.

There is a pretty well-known joke in the music community: “What is the last thing the drummer said before he was kicked out of the band? ‘We should try one of my songs.’ ” Strange Dance is a wonderful example of this.

There is no doubt that if Selway presented any of the tracks of this new project to his fellow band members, they would have rejected them.

Selway has been a part of Radiohead for all of their classic albums — The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A, In Rainbows — but it is evident that his place in music is as a drummer.

For example, his vocals on Strange Dance are just simply unbearable to listen to. It seems like he is trying to do his best impression of Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke, while adding his own spin to the vocal tone. It is not clear whether it’s his original element or his inability to mimic Yorke that exacerbate the vocals, but either way, they are intolerable.

The vocals are perhaps the worst on “Check For Signs of Life.” Combined with a boring instrumental, Selway attempts to croon in an ethereal way, yet it comes across as wholly annoying and disingenuous.

Along with the unpleasant vocals, Selway creates the most dull or hard to listen to instrumentals throughout the course of the LP, with no songs falling in between.

“Make It Go Away” has twanging guitar strums in the background that just sound like a poor attempt to recreate the magic of The Microphones. The track is also filled with strings arrangements that are supposed to create emotion, yet they just sound like background music in a commercial.

Title track “Strange Dance,” on the other hand, is packed with a plethora of odd sounds from various instruments that in no world should be mixed together.

Additionally, the album is mixed faultily. 

At the end of the opener, “Little Things,” Selway’s vocals can barely be distinguished. While artists will often make vocals blend in with the music purposefully, it seems here to be more of a result of substandard production than an intentional artistic addition.

On “Salt Air,” a similar problem occurs with his vocals. All of his singing sounds as if it was recorded down the hall from the microphone. In fact, the entire track sounds this way – not only the vocals, though that is where it is most pronounced.

While the album is mostly a flop, there are a few decent tracks, most notably “Picking Up Pieces” and “The Other Side.” Both of these moments feel rather heartfelt, along with Selway’s vocals not being too distracting.

Overall, though, it would be a better use of one’s time to go listen to Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool, or even Radiohead spin-off band, The Smile, with their recent album A Light For Attracting Attention, for similar but higher quality music.