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Radiohead are not a band that I have ever really got. They've obviously done some good songs but in my opinion not enough to justify the acclaim from fans and critics alike as well as continual inclusion in all manner of top album countdowns. Often they are held in high esteem for their inventiveness and while I don't deny that they have often changed sound I believe that much of this has been vastly overrated and resulted in unlistenable and sometimes boring music.
I bought this album upon it's release, probably due to the hype and remember it as being a truly awful record and I was expecting to be awarding it one star. However, after listening it 3 or 4 times I've changed my mind slightly! I still don't believe it's a great album and I do maintain that the band are excessively lauded but it's certainly better than I remember.
The album was released in the Summer of 2001, less than a year after 'Kid A' and many of the songs were recorded in the same sessions. Ultimately, the thought was that it was better to release separate albums. 'Amnesiac' was released in a much more orthodox way as it was preceded by a single and other singles followed, videos accompanied them and the sound is slightly more conventional. Kid A contained no singles. Many of the elements from Kid A remain but there are more 'real instruments' such as pianos and guitars.
The album kicks are with 'Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box' and the sound is suitably claustrophobic. Starting with tin drums and incorporating electronica the lyrics are mostly the repetition of 'I'm a reasonable man, get off my case, get off my case' while the other lyrics hint at the disappointment of waiting for something that never comes. It's a strong start to the record.
'Pyramid Song' was the first single from the album and is a piano driven track with comprises of two verses that are both repeated. This is exactly the kind of song that I'm talking about when I say that I don't agree with the hype. It's alright, but to hold this up as any kind of classic is bizarre.
'Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors' is a very bass heavy and discontinuous song with random effects slightly reminiscent of something that Massive Attack might do. The vocal sounds like a computer voice rather than a real person and every line contains the word 'door'. I presume that it's a metaphor, possibly for decisions in life I.e which door to go through. Regardless, the song would be interesting if it went anywhere but the vocal is terrible and the songs just seems completely out of place.
'You and Whose Army' is another miserable song which is so slow and repetitive that it's painful to listen to.
'I Might be Wrong' is a song that I do like. It has a fantastic guitar riff repeating and looping right the way through and a good bass line. I have no idea what the song's about but it could be anything.
The second single from the album, 'Knives Out' is next and it is probably the closest thing to a conventional song on the album and could easily fit on one of the earlier Radiohead LPs. I think this rivals the previous track for the best song on the album. The intro is similar to that of 'Paranoid Android' The song is apparently about cannibalism but this seems a little too obvious when you look at the lyrics. Or maybe it's just more literal than usual rather than being abstract.
The next track is an alternative take on 'Morning Bell' which also appears on 'Kid A'. This album's version is inferior for me. Lyrically, I think it may be about divorce and it's quite a dark and difficult song to listen to.
'Dollars & Cents' is good musically but vocally awful. The music is a bit like slow, dark jazz but again the singing is almost unintelligibly drawn out.
'Hunting Bears' is an instrumental that really doesn't do anything. It's some sparse electric guitars with a bit of interference in the background.
'Like Spinning Plates' is a distorted track and I can't even understand what Thom Yorke is singing.
The album finishes with 'Life in a Glass House' with is infused with lots of jazz parts with plenty of trumpets etc. Again, I think it's a painful listen.
When Radiohead decide to write a 'song' then they usually nail it. When they try to be different or interesting then it often a shocker. Overall, the album is just like the band, OK in places but often experimental for the sake of it. I have no doubts that I will get slated off Radiohead fans who are often very passionate about the band but I'm of the opinion that music is an entertainment and so should be enjoyed rather than 'appreciated'.
*This review is my own work although I may post it elsewhere on the internet.
This is a quick review of Radiohead's fifth album, Amnesiac which was released back in 2001, only a year after the successful 'Kid A', which itself had taken three years to make. The answer to why Amnesiac came along so quick was that they recorded the albums at the same time but instead of releasing a double album, they spaced them out over two albums.
Kid A itself was a mass departure from the legendary 'Ok Computer' which was also a departure from its predecessor 'the bends' (also legendary). Kid A lacked guitars and gave a more electronic sound to the band. It was the first Radiohead album to not feature an official single release so fans and critics waited to see if Amnesiac would be any different. Here is my review of each track: -
Packt like sardines in a crushd tin box - yes I know the spellings are incorrect, but these are how they are spelt out on the album. An aphex twin style electronic opener with Thom Yorke singing "im a reasonable man get off my case" for the chorus. Good opener 7/10
Pyramid Song - First single release from the band for four years but hardly a commerical success; the songs lyrics and tune note a dream/heaven like state with piano leading the track 8/10
Pulk/pull revolving doors - Another song that wouldnt sound out of place on an Aphex Twin album. Mainly instrumental bar a few vocals distorted in the background. As far from Fake plastic trees as your ever likely to get 6/10
You and whose army - minimal guitar but a storming narration/threatening vocals from Thom Yorke with OTT lyrics asking people to take him on. Brilliant 9/10
I might be wrong - at last a guitar riff, and another single release. More like the Ok Computer era and Thom sings what resembles a melody and chorus 9/10
Knives Out - Their supposed ode to the smiths which of course means more guitars, and more straight forward than other songs from this era of their work. Stand out track on album 10/10
Morning bell/amnesiac - Morning bell appeared on Kid A and this version of that track is more dreamy and features acoustic guitar. Not as good as the version on Kid A but fits in well on the album 7/10
Dollars and Cents - Held together by a thumping bass guitar rythmn, this is arguably the albums high point which builds up and up in sound. Sounds like a song that the whole band contribute on. Awesome 10/10
Hunting Bears - Sounds like a jam and bit of an album filler even if the guitar sound is welcomed 5/10
Like spinning plates - another electronic/alternative dance style track, which the vocals are fed backwards before being played forward. The sound of a band at the height of their experiments. 8/10
Life in a glasshouse - Radiohead do jazz, and it works. Great lyrics and vocals by Thom Yorke and the best track to finish on. Shows their variety in sound and much over looked track 9/10
For me this album is inferior to Kid A not just in terms of its ability to flow as an album but also strength in songs. There is no doubt in pockets there are some great songs on here and if you enjoy Kid A you will also like the material on here. If you are a fan of their early stuff then probably best to avoid this album - it is an acquired taste.
I personally liked the two albums of this period, it showed what a great band they were and pushed their sound to a different level. The live versions of many of these songs were also brilliant and many still feature in their sets to this day.
Best songs to download/try first
I might be wrong, Knives out, life in a glasshouse
To get this album under £5 represents value for money and like suggested above this album is recommended to those who are open to an electronic/experimental sound of the band and not those who are expecting catchy singles, or great guitars.
By the time I got into Radiohead, all the albums other than IN Rainbows were out. When I got into them, I got all the albums in one go essentially, and originally this is the one that disappointed me most.
But I stuck with it, and this album truly is crazy. It's hard to review because every listener will feel differently about it. It's certainly the most experimental the band have sounded, as songs like Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box and Pulk/pull Revolving Doors are at first listen, fairly ridiculous. But beneath the front of strange, are quite brilliant songs, especially in Packt's case. Pyramid Song is strong enough to recommend the entire album on, and Like Spinning Plates is devestating, behind the whir of Thom's enhanced voice, a mournful song lies, and is one of my personal favourite songs.
However, there are also a couple of poor ( by radiohead standards) efforts here. Maybe it just got too weird for me, I dont know, but Life in a Glass House just does not appeal. It contains a sultry sax solo, but it is just dull to me.
This album is not Radiohead's strongest, but it is them flexing their creative muscles to one of their greatest heights, and that should always be commended.
Radiohead are a band I only 'discovered' in 2002, by this time they had released ok computer, the bends, pablo honey, kid A and amnesiac. I believe that being able to listen to all of these albums in a short space of time gave me an objectified opinion on radiohead's legacy and musical progression. Noting the electronic influence in OK Computer I believe Radiohead have arguably got better and better. leaving the refrains of a band based around guitars vocals and drums was a gamble that, inevitably for a band with such inspired genius, has paid off.
Now to the album itself, opening with sardines in a box the line between vocals and music is blurred as yorke entwines his vocals into the very fibres of this song. Followed by Pyramid Song a symphonic piece showcasing Yorke's extraordinary vocals this album reaches heady heights from the start which it understandably refuses to abandon. Knives out contains one of the more perfect melodies combined with ambiguous yet heartfelt lyrics making for one of the most encapsulating songs on the album. In almost stark contrast spinning plates is almost an ode to minimalism, the song sums up to me the complete dullness associated with repetition.
To summarise, this album may not be quite as refined as the bends, nor as eclectic as ok computer or ambitious as Kid A, however within amnesiac yorke and greenwood showcase their artistic genius on a level I have never prior experienced.
Radiohead have changed. Gone is the heavy rock guitar of Pablo Honey and the Bends. Radiohead have entered new musical realms. A soundscape of the infinite.One where Thom sits on a throne surrounded by manic depressive subjects who are hypnotized by his voice. O.K. Computer suggested the change. Kid A confirmed it. Radiohead have indeed changed. For me a die hard fan. I love their new material. Bands have to grow and change. If they had continued to make songs like Creep and High and Dry. They would be boring and like be like Oasis, peddling out the same tune in different wrapping. Radiohead are real musical artists. The core of what they are and the subject matters they confront are still intact. Because they don't rock out with big guitar sounds doesn't mean they have lost their way in the world. The opener "Packt like Saradines in a Crushd Tin Box" is a haunting synth backed track about hope and failure. Thom sings " After years of waiting, nothing came". It kicks off the mood for the entire album, its a atmospheric ride through Thom Yorke's problems and grievances. Critic's could same the sing the same lyric in reference to Radiohead. The second track "Pyramid Song" is a Radiohead classic. The piano and Yorke's voice are so beautifully produced its an amazing experience. Next is the worst track of the album. Its a bit indulgent and boring entitled "Pulk/Revolving Doors" the track is a keyboard and sample mesh. Which I did not like at all. Some may see it has Radiohead playing by their own rules and others will think its rubbish. The fourth track is the superbly miserable "You and Whose Army?", supposedly a message to Prime Minister Tony Blair. Next is my personal favourite "I Might Be Wrong". Its a guitar based track with a wicked opening riff. It suggests Radiohead have not completely fogotten their guita
r history. It moves along at a good pace, not to fast and not like "You and Whose Army". Next up is "Knives Out" another good guitar track which even has a melody.Its another stand out track from a great album. Next up is "Morning Bell" which is a continuation from "Kid A". Its a little more upbeat than the track from "Kid A". Along comes "Dollars and Cents" and "Hunting Bears" both of these are not really that memorable on a first listen, this is what a lot of fans mean when they say that Radiohead have stopped writing songs in the traditional way. The band seem to be vexing their artistic yearnings into experimentations with sound. Not always great like these two tracks show. The final two tracks are exellent. "Like Spinning Plates" is a great song. But the best is the final song "Life in a Glass House" a cool jazz infused big band song. Yorke sings "of course i'd like to stay and chat of course i'd like to chew the fat". One thing still remains despite the musical direction. The lyrics are still poetic and quite frankly genius. Radiohead still remain one of the most important bands on the planet. So what if they don't play rock music anymore. Radiohead are an amazing musical experience. Just look at bands like JJ72 and Muse who are Radiohead wannabe's. Thom Yorke answers his critic's with lines like "I'm a reasonable man get off my case". Anmensiac is not a classic like O.K. Computer but its still an essential listen for all fans and people who truly love music.
Sorry, but Radiohead have become weird - and not in a good way. Listening to this, which is just as disastrous as Kid A, it is hard to believe that they are not serious manic depressives. Every track is exceptionally boring, and as hard as I have tried to find a deeper meaning, I’ve not been able to. Somebody, somewhere, has made people believe that this is quality stuff. It’s not. Trying to find a standout track on this CD is extremely hard, as I honestly believe that the whole thing is so bad. If I had to choose, I would say Life Is A Glasshouse, the last track, is the most tuneful of this bad bunch. There is no worst track as I find myself spoilt for choice. Radiohead ran out of ideas years ago and know that if they recorded people sleeping, it would go to number one. They don’t need to record people sleeping though - they record music like this instead, which makes people fall asleep. Don’t succumb to the hype - save your money. Buy something pleasurable.
I have had this album for quite a while now, and wanted to do a review from day one. The only thing stopping me was the fact that when I'm writing a review, I always make sure I know the product I'm reviewing and put first opinions to one side. So, finally, here's my opinion. Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box is a funky upbeat track, with a lot of percussion and another great Thom soundbite to add to the collection: "I'm a reasonable man, get off my case". I'm sorry Thom, but being on your case is kind of what writing an opinion is all about, I'll get off when I'm finished. Pyramid Song has, for me, been the undoubtedly the best single of the year, sounding almost tribal, with great keyboard from Thom and excellent strong vocals in there aswell. Outstanding. Pull\Pulk Revolving Doors is attempting to be the Kid A of Amnesiac and doesn't succeed very well. At least with Kid A, it seemed to have some sort of tune to it, while this seems slightly thrown together. Luckily though, I've seen a lot worse fillers than this. You And Whose Army is about politics and the Labour party and so on. But you want to hear about the song itself! I can't blame you because this is one of the highlights of the album. With distorted vocals (again) and excellent lyrics, this is another tremendous song from the lads. Well I'll be damned! Is that guitar I hear coming from my Radiohead CD? It is! And not bad either, an excellent riff and spot-on vocals make you long for the old days. Still, when the stuff is this good, I suppose we can wait for the next album. This song also has about a minute of some other tune after it which is also damn good! While still licking our lips from the sensational guitar in the last song, Radiohead tease us further with Knives Out, a fast paced guitar song with rockin' vocals and drumming. People say this song wouldn't be out of place on
Th Bends or OK Computer, but I disagree. It just seems that way because the other songs are so weird! We now revisit a classic from the multi-million selling album Kid A. The track? Morning Bell, now called Morning Bell/Amnesiac. Better? Slightly, I prefer it slower but in another way my favourite part of the old song was the electrifying drum rolls, which are now sadly, and very noticeably, absent. I smell a filler!!! Dollars & Cents has great drumming and you really notice the orchestra, they really add a lot to the song. Thom stars again, with great lines like "We're gonna CRACK your little souls". A vital member of the Amnesiac family. Right, I suppose I should say my opinion on Hunting Bears. WHAT THE HELL IS IT?!? It's basically 2.01 minutes of guitar, nothing else. I wouldn't mind, but it's not like a cool solo or anything, it's just slow guitar. I don't mind it, but it certainly ain't brilliant. Now this I like. Like Spinning Plates gets the formula for distorted vocals perfectly : good tune, you can still sing along and it still sounds like a song! Pay attention Pull/Pulk Revolving Doors, I'm talking to you! This song has taken a lot of stick but I think this is extraordinarily good. Of course Radiohead have saved the best till last. Life In A Glasshouse is far and away my favourite song on this album. Stirring vocals, great lyrics and the amazing Humphrey Lyttleton on trumpet, this song has it all and more. Absolutely amazing, well up there with Radiohead's classics. One reason to buy this album: Life In A Glasshouse Two reasons to buy this album: Life In A Glasshouse and Pyramid Song Three reasons to buy this album: Life In A Glasshouse, Pyramid Song and 'cos I bloody well said so!!!! Radiohead if you're reading, the last two albums were great, but we wouldn't mind another OK Computer next!!
Before anyone makes an opinion on amnesiac, people should realise that they should make an opinion on the music thats behind the awful noises, not the awful noises. What im saying is the music on amnesiac is good music, disguised behind out-of-tune bad music. It is a style not often used, especially the way radiohead have tried to incorporate it into their music. I rate this album very highly, it is a must for all radiohead fans, and worthwhile for anyone else too. The song 'morning bell/amnesiac' is an adaption from the track 'morning bell' from kid A. This is one of the best songs on the album. ****out of ***** The song 'dollars and cents' is based around a echoed bass riff. The guitar mirrors the bass, with variations. The song 'Pyramid song' is a unique sounding radiohead song. This is based around 3-4 chords played on the piano. -matt-
***CLAng- ClAnG – clang… The opening track spins into your ears in a drunken orgy of dizziness and claustrophobia. Soon, the electric hubbub slides in and Thom’s fragile voice beckons, almost threateningly: ‘I’m a reasonable man; get off my case…’*** Amnesiac, for any cave dwellers or Texans, is the follow-up album to the immense best-seller, and winner of the Most Controversial Record of The Year award, Kid A. For a lot of those Bends addicts, listening to Kid A was like watching their girl/boyfriends sleeping with a Turkish estate agent. Even massive fan and lead singer of a small American band, Michael Stipe was quoted to say: “Why don’t they write nice songs anymore like High & Dry?” A million people wept. Ok. What I’ve kept from saying is that the other million cried. With joy. And by the end of the year most fans was a convert (Mark Beaument doesn’t count, he thought Ok Computer only had four good songs). The truth is, Kid A ACTUALLY IS one of those albums that you get into the more you listen to it. I apologise for strolling from the album of choice (but hey, you know me I have to buy intravenous lactic acids), however I feel that Amnesiac’s sister album is integral to understanding itself better. As you probably know, both were recording in the same, long session, along with countless more, some which you may be lucky enough to hear on the singles released with Amnesiac. They were compiled onto their respective records with the atmosphere and mood in mind, as Thom said: ‘They may have been recorded together but they came from somewhere different.’ It was a general (mis)conception that Amnesiac was the pack of traditional guitar songs designed to make everyone say ‘Ah! they’re back!’ It may be (broadly) accurate to say that Kid A dwarfs Amnesiac to a Bob Dylan record, but you could say the same about certain mushroom
s with broccoli. Err… anyway. Down to the analysis of this reclusive LP. First single and arguable high-light of the record is the truly comatose Pyramid Song. Originally ‘Nothing to Fear’ before recording and previously Egyptian Song. The rhythm is hard to place, yet undeniably there in the lethargic piano riff that dominates the song. It is quite remarkable. Yorke’s vocals are equally hypnotic and seemingly… otherworldly. And when the eastern strings burst onto the scene, you really feel the beauty, each one tearing the hairs off your arms and neck. Lyrically it’s eeriness rings home; Thom is seeking consolation in suicide, ‘Jumped in the river… And all my lovers were there with me… There was nothing to fear…’ This (circumstances considered, of course) the last song to rip a tear from my eyes. Elsewhere on the track we find heavy warnings about Globalisation. Dollars & Cents is actually frightening. This song is one of the most menacing I’ve heard to date, and when played live, the rawness makes it even more disturbing. There is just something so sinister when, at the climax of the song Thom begins spitting: ‘We are the dollars and cents; and the pounds and pence; and the mark and yen; and yeah we’re gonna CRACK your little souls; yeah we’re gonna CRACK your little souls.’ Full marks for mood there. Those who are keen may have noticed the inclusion of Morning Bell/ Amnesiac. Yes, this is the same ‘song’ as the one on Kid A. No, they are nothing like the same ‘track’. Although having the same lyrics, it sounds totally different. It’s a lot more sinister, the rhythm dark and slow. This time the words become apparent. ‘Cut the kids in half’ Thom utters, it’s about divorce I believe. In the middle of the record is perhaps the more ‘traditional’ music. I Might Be Wrong’s main fea
ture is this looping guitar riff. Despite being a ting but repetitive after a while, it does remain a sure sign of Radiohead’s ever eminent genius and wisely was the first single in the US. Elsewhere we find You and Whose Army, not dissimilar to an acoustic Karma Police with a dry air to it. Falsely it was thought to be a threat to Tony Blair… People are, at times, taking Thom Yorke a little TOO seriously. Yes he, despises Blair’s New Labour. Yes he DID dedicate this song at a love concert once. Yes, people are running smack into too many brick conclusions. Thom actually stated in an interview that this rumour was totally untrue, it was wholly indirect. What’s more, he actually revealed that it was supposed to be - wait for it – HUMOROUS!!! It’s over the top he explains. Well, I guess you’ll just have to make up your own minds… Other tracks of (particular) note include Knives Out, a track depicting a riff inspired by the legendary Marr. The lyrics are suitably enigmatically profound (listen hard now, readers). Spinning Plates is an avant-rock masterpiece, complete with backwards vocals and a noise reminiscent of a helicopter in hooves. Hunting Bears is a delicious and almost soothing instrumental bearing just a guitar. It’s simplicity is nearly demanding. Where does Amnesiac fit in with Kid A, I hear myself asking. After all, it IS right to say that it does compliment its predecessor very well, yet the atmosphere is decidedly very different. Kid A’s more abstract, while Amnesiac is more surreal. Kid A is based more around something subjective, capturing the raw feeling on CD. While Amnesiac is a lot more objective. Definitely yet another supreme triumph for Radiohead. Be warned though, if you REALLY couldn’t get into Kid A after ten listens, then I doubt you’ll have much more luck with this album. My album of the year? A strong contender indeed. ***F
inally this immense blur of melody draws to a close. Blows and pout of horn and brass float into view. The drums learn to play the blues in 3.7 seconds. Thom mourns into the microphone: ‘Once again, I’m in trouble with my only friend’…*** ALSO: If you can buy it, I fully recommend the beautiful limited edition, packaged in a wonderful hard-back book with pages of sinister concept art. Yet another shade of Radiohead's imagination.
Even though i only got the cd yesterday, i've already listened to this album many times over .... and after my first two hearings of the cd, my fears were sadly confirmed - Amnesiac is in the words of Radiohead a "Let Down". This album lacks the flow and wholeness that Kid A had in abundence. It's a terrible shame because Amnesiac does start promisingly with "Packt Like Sardines..." which is a good mixture of electronica and drum beats, then we move on the album's best song by far - "Pyramid Song". full of lush string arrangements and Thom Yorke's haunting piano melody and eerie vocals - its one of the best tracks the band has ever produced. Then sadly, things go downhill fast as we come to "Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors" which is an absolute mess of garbelled sounds and pathetic vocals. This song (if u can call it a song!) simply doesn't flow at all and is far too cut and paste for my liking. "You And Whose Army?" starts off quietly with vocals so distorted you can barely make out what Thom is saying, then it moves on to a piano riff which is simply a blatant re-hash of "Karma Police" and it seems to just mumble on and by the end you're glad it's over. "I Might Be Wrong" is the same as the previous track in that it starts off good then soon becomes repetitive and tedious. It's nice to hear guitars again but surely Johnny and Thom could of came up with something better than this. And suddenly after a moment's pause after track 5, "Knives Out" hits you with it's "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" esque guitar sound and Thom's echoed vocal. But you can't help feeling that there's something missing from the song, and after 4 or so minutes Thom's voice goes from beautiful to simply annoying as he starts whining the lyrics instead of singing them. Overall i was disappointed with "Knives Out", i much prefered the
version that was web cast back in late 1999. "Morning Bell/Amnesiac" soon follows and this is one of the better tracks on the album, with beautiful sounds coming from every corner as Thom lets his beautiful voice come to the fore and thankfully he keeps it on form instead of whining (as he did in the previous track). I like this version equally with the Kid A version, as it's hard to pick a favourite between the two. Next up is "Dollars And Cents", which seems to spiral out of control after just 40 seconds and soon becomes a noise with hazy vocals. It's possibly the album's most disappointing track along with "Knives Out". After that comes "Hunting Bears" which is so damn repetive and dull I can't stand listening to it for more than 20 seconds! It's just the same riff played over and over again...what a shame they couldn't have made this a bit more melodic instead of mind numbingly boring. Now we come to the penultimate track "Like Spinning Plates" which is the album's second worst track. It's a horrid mix of a repeated whirling sound affect and scratchy drum beats that hide in the background. Thom's vocal is again whiney and tiresome, echoing against the harsh whirling noise which itself soon becomes annoying. You'll breathe a sigh of relief when this track finishes. Finally we move on to Amesiac's closer, "Life In A Glass House". This song is really jazz orientated and features jazz legend Hymphrey Littleton on trumpet. It's full of little quirks here and there but again i can't help feeling that there's something missing somewhere, that it doesn't have the melody and wholeness which say "Pyramid Song" has. Overall, the song is another disappointment, which leaves me wondering will Radiohead ever rediscover the form that made them so good in their 94-98 period. So Amnesiac is not a terrible
record but it's not a great one either, it's simply average, which for a band of Radiohead's stature is a travesty. The album simply doesn't flow well enough, it tries hard but in the end fails miserably. Kid A had beauty, experiemention and melody in droves, with songs such as "Optimistic" and "Idioteque". Amnesiac on the other hand, is simply a let down. It's lacking spirit and emotion, melody and substance, amazing vocals and beautiful sounds. If you do buy this, be prepared for a disappointment because Radiohead have become so egotistical that they know they can put out material as weak as this (barr Pyramid Song) and that their loyal fanbase will stil buy it in thier millions simply because it is a Radiohead album. I only hope that lp six is better than this and that Thom Yorke and co. get their act together.
This album has not been out of my cd player for about 2 weeks now, and it keeps getting better. If The Bends was Radiohead's 'Revolver', and OK Computer was 'Sgt Pepper', then this album could be rightly called their version of 'The White Album'. Sprawling in variation and compelling to listen to, this fifth album from Radiohead will honestly appeal to any fan of any era in their history. The variations work astonishingly well; from the frazzled dance of 'Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors' to the classic guitar song 'Knives Out', where Thom has actually written perhaps his first number 1, no more experimental (or should i just say mental) than The Smiths. The Highlights of the album really do stand up with ANY guitar band's best work, and at the very least surpass their own output with style. 'Dollars and Cents' perhaps supplies the peak of the album at around the two-and-a-half minute mark with it's abandoned chaos in the middle of the song, but 'Pyramid Song' must take the credit as the best Radiohead moment yet. It builds and builds into the most beautiful song, a true classic and a worthy first single off an excellent album. There are another 2 songs which deserve extra-special mention, namely the last two: 'Like Spinning Plates' starts off the chaos with what first appears to be a backwards mess. But it flourishes into a wonderful throbbing maelstrom with a coda that will lodge into your brain for weeks to come. This is then surpassed by the excellent 'Life In A Glass House' where subtle jazz pulses turn into a fitting finale. You actually feel that Thom is talking indirectly to you when he sings "Of course i'd like to sit around and chat/Of course i'd like to stay and chew the fat/", and then after a belated chorus says: "...But someone's listening in....". It is a perfect end to the album. In conclusion then, this dis
c shows that Radiohead are not afraid to confront their past and pillage their own trademarks, -even- if it means picking up guitars again. The other tracks set the mood perfectly, actually complementing the standouts, based around a core of tracks 4-8 which are normal, but outstanding songs. A true Classic, and their best album yet. And yes, if you are wondering, The White Album was my favourite Beatles album, too.
Whilst everyone was busy either saying Radiohead had betrayed their fans and that Kid A was rubbish (they didn't and it isn't) or hailing it as a masterpeice, the band set to work on preparing the follow up, Amnesiac. They took a long time on the track listing, and that time certainly paid off, because Amnesiac works beutifully as a cohesive whole. This is Radiohead's most politicised album to date. Most notably on You And Whose Army? Which while some people seem to think its about Tony Blair, it's more likely to be about the multinational companies of this world. Despite this, the album's most personal track, Life In A Glass House is the best thing Radiohead have ever done. It ignores both the trademark guitar sound that made them famous, and the more electronic sound of Kid A in favour of all out jazz. Its an amazing finish to the album. The album starts with Packt Like Sardines In a Crushed Tin Box which is similar to Everything In Its Right Place from Kid A, and apart from Like Spinning Plates and Pull/Pulk Revolving Doors its the only moment which wouldn't of sounded out of place on Kid A. You And Whose Army?, I Might Be Wrong and Knives Out make for a strong middle, and the new version of Morning Bell and Hunting Bears are the only songs which could be desribed as anything less than excellent. So, by ignoring their fans, and their trademark sound, and doing what their hearts told them to, Radiohead have created a classic.
From the opening seconds of AMNESIAC you know it's going to be great. "Packt..." is yet another perfect song with which to open an album. The clanging pot rhythm mixed with an electronic beat gets you moving and ready for more. The beautiful piano, sound effects, vocals, and drums of "Pyramid Song" reveal what could be the greatest Radiohead piece ever. The swirling climax reminds you why they're your favorite band. "Pulk/Pull..." opens yet another door into Radiohead's unique creativity; grinding and angry, it's a great juxtaposition to "Pyramid Song." "You and..." is another beautifully written song showcasing Thom's voice and lyrical talent. This paves the way to "I Might Be Wrong," possibly the best guitar song ever written. If your toe doesn't tap, you have problems. The last minute brings a tear to my eye and the electronic drums give the studio version a great feel. "Knives Out" is an earlier piece reminiscent of The Bends era. Upbeat and very busy, it is another great song. The re-recording of "Morning Bell" is simply beautiful. Xylophone, bass, and gorgeous vocals make the song completely unique. "Dollars and Cents" is definitely a standout track of AMNESIAC. The bass and guitar are ery strong and powerful while the strings add a most beautiful element. "Hunting Bears" is the most perfect 2-minute interlude ever recorded. This song makes me relax and want to sit in the dark and stare at glow-in-the-dark stars. It gives you a breather before "Like Spinning Plates" assaults you with complete originality and intrigue. Thom's backwards voice and wonderful sound effects sound like something out of Kid A yet still entirely fresh. I find this to be one of the most beautiful songs on the album. My personal fave for the time being (my favorite always changes so I don't know what it'll be tomorrow) has to be "Life In A
Glass House." Radiohead couldn't have chosen a better note to end on. The trumpets and piano blend so perfectly while the clarinet gives me chills. When this song ends you just want to start the CD over again. Well, once again, Radiohead have outdone themselves and everyone else. AMNESIAC is a must have for any Radiohead fan that will only leave you yearning for more, just as all their albums have done.
On general release now is Amnesiac, the second of Radiohead's new agenda. The forgotten half of Kid A lives up to, and is just as fresh and exciting as its sister album. The two albums were recorded at the same time, and there are similarities, including a variation of Kid A song, Morning Bell. The overall feeling of the albums is that Radiohead are looking apprehensively into the future. The songs seem to be the only music ever to have been composed and that every sound is pioneering. When listening to the album it's hard not to think of a not too distant future scene similar to one of The Matrix, with an unknown force controlling everyone's movements, and Radiohead are the only ones able to reflect on the state of life. The lost songs are floated around a dead world by a soft breeze causing ripples in large puddles and blowing the leaves off the diseased trees. The only listeners are hidden in the storerooms of large warehouses, and it's all they have to tell them they're alive. That's my view of it anyway, and I believe it's backed up by Radiohead as well. The limited edition CD of Amnesiac is housed within a false library book, and along with the stamped dates of the near future and past (26 Jun 1996 up to 07 Oct 2005) there is a note that simply says, "This book is to be hidden", but from what? My theory suggests that it is hidden from the unknown force, or the all controlling government. This album might be hinting on what conspiracy theorists have believed for the last few years. The lyrics, however simple, seriously seem to point in the direction of a world elite controlling the future of the world and the small men can't do anything about it. The Pyramid song has one of the best music videos I've ever seen. Accompanied by a haunting soundtrack, the video shows a part of the dark future, and a lonely robot (or android if you will) who swims along the streets of a big city,
along a main road, to his old house, and sits down in his chair which was previously inhabited by fluorescent crabs. I don't think I could recreate the last song for you, but it's a wonderful blend of strong horn with equally strong words, "Don't talk politics and don't throw sticks your Royal Highness says" over the top. The last line is the conclusion, "Someone's listening in." and adds to the paranoia already prominent on the album. Radiohead have to stop making the music, they've been found out. It's been hard to miss the debate on Radiohead, and another instalment is on the way with the release of this album. If you failed to listen to Kid A the first time around, try it now, it's very much an album to have an opinion on before you think of getting Amnesiac. The second album is slightly more experimental, so it's best to learn to appreciate Kid A first. For both albums repeat listening is very much a necessity, they certainly don't grow on you first time round, but put them back in and try again, and they soon will. I wasn’t much of a fan of Kid A at first, but, as you can tell, I am now. Radiohead had a hard task moving on from OK Computer, and I believe they've done it beautifully. If you have been yearning for guitar since Kid A then Amnesiac may offer a small solution, as there is more of a feeling of guitars on this album, but it's certainly not the answer to your problem. In the middle of Amnesiac are Knives Out and Dollars & Cents and could easily have been on OK Computer, the styles aren't that much different. I do, however, feel that although they will always have such great songs as Creep, Street Spirit, Lucky, Karma Police, etc… they will never fully revert back to that style and will move forward with the lo-fi beauty that they have shown us with these two albums. Don't resent them for it, they're
doing what they're doing for a reason, and you still have OK Computer in your CD racks to fall back on. Many people were worried about the songs of Kid A live, but I hope all the doubts have been eradicated when watching Radiohead live on Jools Holland. The show illustrated just how well the new songs compliment the classics. If anyone needs to be reassured of how great Radiohead's new direction is, you can borrow the video off me, and if you're still sceptical, Thom Yorke has promised a return to guitars on the next album. Radiohead really are something special, and will be remembered until we become amnesiacs and the dreaded dark future falls upon us. Enjoy whilst you still can, I'm watching you… Related music: - Grandaddy - The Sophtware Slump
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Packt Like Sardines In A Crushed Tin Box
2 Pyramid Song
3 Pulk/pull Revolving Doors
4 You And Whose Army
5 I Might Be Wrong
6 Knives Out
7 Morning Bell/Amnesiac
8 Dollars And Cents
9 Hunting Bears
10 Like Spinning Plates
11 Life In A Glasshouse