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This album is a profound work of musical genius, in my humble opinion. It combines a range of musical techniques with quality musicianship to produce a ten track album which leaves you oscillating between feeling chilled out and faraway and feeling like you are standing on a cliff top 50 foot above black waters, or something to that effect...
Somewhat pessimistic, this album is one of Radiohead's best.
Track by track analysis with my personal interpretations.
1. Everything in its right place
This track sets the mood for the rest of the album, combining electronic sounds with softened, eerie vocals on repeat. The feeling I get from this track is an ominous chill. I haven't consulted song meanings or anything but I feel it is about fearing for things not being as they should be and this results in a frenzied attempt to put them back.
2. The National Anthem
I really love the riff on this track. It makes me feel simultaneously motivated to get on with some work and like I'm falling fast into a black hole. Download this for something catchy and loud. The theme of repetition continues from the previous track and towards the end of the album we are introduced to a somewhat out of tune jazz theme to clash with the repeated melody.
3. How to disappear completely and never be found
The third track of the album starts with a softer beginning, and features jarring lyrics and vocals, saturated with melancholy. The subject of the song is in the title!
Despite the title of the track, I would say this track is far from optimistic and leaves me feeling that the artist is claiming that it is difficult to be optimistic, and this is the best he can do. "you can try the best you can" is repeated incessantly in a somewhat crazed voice.
This track starts with a thick beat and it picks up hard to decipher vocals about a minute in, alongside a digital sound which sounds a bit like a phone or TV aerial struggling to pick up.
I think it's a commentary on the weaknesses of humanity with its references to the ice age but I couldn't be sure. This could explain the digital failure sound effect.
6. Kid A
Album title track, this song is softer and opens with a somewhat relaxing melody. The vocals are muffled in some kind of special effect. Download this for something relaxed. I could float away on this music.
An intriguing song title, I am unsure what treefingers are but won't look them up as I'm trying to give an unbiased account based on what I hear in the music. This track utilises more effects as it layers sounds in a chilling way. The title could be a reference to nature's forces.
8. In Limbo
This song intersperses clearer lyrics with dotted singular notes. Like the title suggests it brings feelings of being in two places but I think if it were to bring up that feeling more, it would be more muffled in my opinion - there is too much clarity of lyric for it to fully cause me to feel "in limbo".
9. Morning Bell
Would you listen to this in the morning? It would be an interesting way to wake up, but I wouldn't call it your standard alarm. Slightly cheerier melody choice combined with Thom Yorke's unique vocals.
10. Motion Picture Soundtrack
The last track on the album brings it all to a close with a several part 7 minute song of music then silences. Mainly floaty relaxed music, this could be quite meditational.
I borrowed this from my Dad's music collection. You can get it from Amazon for a fair price. Unique experimental music, which evokes a lot of feelings. You will breathe this music if you listen intently.
Brilliant album by Radiohead!
Before we go any further you need to understand what Radiohead did with Kid A. They began quietly with the okayish Pablo Honey, carved a niche with The Bends, took over the world (and a million "best album of all time") polls with Ok Computer, then.....turned their back on everything they'd achieved and released an album so commercially unviable it couldn't possibly succeed. So....why did it? No hit singles, number one in America, they managed to switch cars on the circuit AND stay in front.
You feel safe listening to it, wrapped up warm in a blanket far from the hillside fires on the sleeve. With no obvious commercial points, and with just the ten tracks on offer (I love short albums) its easier to digest this album as a whole.
It doesn't exactly kick the doors off a la planet telex or airbag, more like politely taps and waits patiently for your attention. Everything in its Right Place is certainly attention grabbing, a minimalist masterclass which boasts traits of Radiohead to come (synths, oblique lyrics), and the title track is yet more obscure. Muffled lyrics, puzzling music, and as yet not a guitar in sight.
National Anthem rectifies this. A skronky jazzy blast of dance rock, it blows the album wide open and paves the way for the paranoid dreamscape of How To Disappear Completely. This is closest in spirit to Ok Computer, but Thom Yorke sounds far more jaded this time around. The instrumental track Treefingers is always going to polarise opinion, but me? I think it fits perfectly. It's a bit of a nothing track, but its confident, and it's a breather, a chance for you to take in whats just happened to you.
Optimistic is practically a grunge tune, its rawness carried by an almost tribal rhythm. The way it fades into In Limbo is a master stroke. What could have a been a loose thread is tied up and given a purpose. Lyrically close to Disappear, this time he doesn't sound so much desperate as resigned to his fate - "I'm lost at sea, don't bother me, I've lost my way".
Next up is probably the best Radiohead song of them all. Idioteque is a weird dance song that shouldn't work but does. Its bleak, and in an album of warmth is the coldest piece on offer. Lyrically it's a warning ("we're not scaremongering, this is really happening") and brings a new slant to Thoms vocal skills; there was no going back to The Bends after this.
Morning Bell is the sugar following the medicine of Idioteque, a hazy chunk of sepia tones that winds things down for the closing Motion Picture Soundtrack. Percussion free and loaded with sound, it's a real sweet way to see you off, like a hot cup of cocoa before a long drive.
Kid A is my favourite Radiohead album; it alienated one audience and entranced another. Brave, focussed, and peerless, this is how bands SHOULD progress.
Best album ever. Pitiful departure from the once great band. These are generally the only opinions of this album, and I have to say I definitely fall into one of them. Here's a clue: It's not the second.
Having been given all the radiohead albums as a present I listened in order, and I was beautifully stunned by the opening salvo of Everything ... and Kid A. Completely different to anything they'd done before, played straight after I'd finished OK computer and given that best album status, this album blew it out the water. The complete devestation in Yorke's voice for How to Disappear Completely makes you wonder just how low he sank when he should have been basking in OK's glory. The smack of Idioteque and Morning Bell could be in with a shout of the best songs of the decade, and there's no higher ringing endorsement than all the accolades and mentions it recieves in endless best of lists.
"Kid A" is my favourite album in the whole world. It is a perfect album from start to finish. The album kicks off with the brilliant "Everything In Its Right Place", which was a shock to Radiohead fans at the time, they were used to guitars. This is followed by the synthyplinkplonks of "Kid A" and the dirty bass groove of "The National Anthem". Radiohead are not afraid to experiment, this album is sounding great already. Next for me is the highlight of the album, the highlight of the musical world "How To Dissapear Completely". This is my favourite song ever, the melodic bass, the fragile acoustic strumming, and the way the ondes are awkwardly stuck on one chord until they flourish above everything, stunning song and I have been lucky enough to witness this live. Next is "Treefingers", now you make think this song is pointless and theres not much about it, but its making this album complete, "Kid A" is a complete album, one which flows from start to finish, and this track brings us brilliantly into Optimistic after a short "rest" lets call it! "Optimistic" is probably the most typical Radiohead song on the album, the electric guitars are back and Radiohead are rocking out. Next is "In Limbo", a beautiful triplet guitar riff is played over straight rhythms. Next is the electronic "Idioteque", a frantic rush off energy "Ice age coming, ice age coming", one of the highlights of them album. After this is "Morning Bell", this track has a very calm yet awkward feeling to it due to the irregular time signature and drum loop, comforting yet scary? A brilliant track. The album is finished off with "Motion Picture Soundtrack", and what a perfect album ender. Everything is brought back down to an organ and Thom Yorke's brilliant voice, until it explodes with Jonny's string/harp flourishes, these sounds come back after a few minutes of silence to end the album perfectly.
"I will see you in the next life"
With such a long standing reputation for writing excellent music Radiohead fell backwards into the year 2000 with the album "Kid A" , many felt they completley abondonded the sound and basically the talent that got them as big as they were. From a personal standpoint I always thought they were far too dull and catered for one too many losers sitting in their bedroom worrying about their acne and screaming "Why me?!" , but on a strictly musical sense I appreciated a lot of their work.
Kid A as an album is actually pretty decent, it's well produced and quite different too from anything that Radiohead or indeed any other band were churning out at the time. With lots of different effects and samples in the background it was definitley an experimental album for Yorke and his men, however akin to the way U2 experimented with "Pop" I think this was a good thing, of course you can't please everyone with your sound but thats life.
Interesting to note that for some of the lyrics of the songs, Yorke would cut up pieces of paper with sentences on them then draw them from a hat, a novel approach at song wirting. The tracks I liked the best on the album were "How to Disappear Completley" and for me the best track on the album is the first one "Everything in its Right Place".
"Everything in Its Right Place"
"The National Anthem"
"How to Disappear Completely"
"Motion Picture Soundtrack"
Overall I thought it was an enjoyable album, maybe not up to scratch with Pablo Honey but I do think it was a very listenable album and was unfairly critisised at times. Thumbs up.
Where can I start to review an album like this? Perhaps with a bit of information about the band. Radiohead are made up of:
Thom Yorke (vocals)
Jonny Greenwood (guitar)
Colin Greenwood (bass)
Ed O'Brien (guitar)
Philip Selway (Drums)
In 1993, they released their first album Pablo Honey, which was full of rock songs and showed they had potential, but wasn't actually that good. Next came The Bends in 1995, which was a huge step up, because they mixed their rock roots with some songs that were a bit slower, and in the process created some classic like Street Spirit and Just. The Bends was voted number 20 in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Albums. However, if that album was great, 1997's OK Computer was extraordinary. Each of the twelve songs on there is overflowing with originality and haunting beauty, and it remains one of the greatest albums of all time. This was shown by it coming in at number 1 on the previously mentioned poll.
Where were Radiohead supposed to go after this? They could have tried to better it with more of the same, but instead they chose to experiment - big style. What resulted was Kid A in 2000 and Amnesiac a year later. Although released as separate albums, the tracks on both were recorded at the same time, so they will always be considered as part of the same. These albums divided the fans and probably didn't gain Radiohead many new ones - some thought they were just getting too weird. They took a little break after these, and came back in 2003 with Hail To The Thief. This was the album that first introduced me to Radiohead, and it's probably a kind of missing link between OK Computer and Kid A - part rock, part experimental and electronica.
Well, onto Kid A. I'd start off by saying that it's more a work of art than a music album. Without trying to sound pretentious, I think it takes you on a journey, and it is accompanied by two of the most interesting and original booklets I've ever seen. Yes that's right - TWO. There is a secret hidden one underneath the black plastic CD tray, which you have to lift up to find it. Radiohead don't go in for the usual posed photos and lyrics combination; instead going for bold and daring artwork, which in this case perfectly fits the bleak mood of the music. Concerning the secret booklet, there are plenty of rumours going round about how it's an attack on Tony Blair and the album is dedicated to his son Leo, but all I know for sure is that are some interesting bits of writing, lyrics off this album, Amnesiac and Hail To The Thief which is a bit weird, and two drawings that are quite disturbing, verging on creepy.
The first track is Everything In Its Right Place, which you may recognise from Vanilla Sky, and even the recent Derren Brown: The Heist show! It's a fitting way to start this magnificent album, with a rich electronic sound and strange but beautiful vocals from Thom. The lyrics aren't the best ever - "I woke up sucking on a lemon" - but this remains one of my favourites.
If you thought that was strange, you are in for a real shock with the rest of the album - when I first heard it I was left feeling baffled, but trust me, over time you will learn to love it. Track two is the title track, and this time as well as weird music there are weird computerised vocals. Perhaps the strangest song on the album is Treefingers (as soon as you saw the title you knew it would be strange, didn't you?) which has no discernable words, or even vocals; I think it's an instrumental. It's extremely relaxing, and sounds a bit like one of those "call of the dolphins" CDs. Don't let that put you off though - it has a mysterious charm.
Track 3 is called The National Anthem, but don't worry, it's not a reworking of God Save The Queen. It has an instantly recognisable base that will hook you and pull you in right from the start and more of the unique vocals you come to expect from Thom Yorke. This sounds like it just escaped from OK Computer, except towards the end a saxophone comes in and it all goes a bit loopy!
Track 4 is, in my opinion, the highlight of the album, and goes down in history as one of Radiohead's top 10 songs ever. How To Disappear Completely begins with gentle guitar like something from The Bends, with occasional soaring strings in the background. As the song progresses, these strings get more and more frequent, and the song gets ever more complex, and the dynamic between quiet and loud, busy and simple, is just beautiful. The lyrics are also sublime, as are Thom Yorke's high-pitched, slightly off-key singing. I'll admit, he probably wouldn't make it through the first round of the X Factor, but that is what makes Radiohead's music so unique and, I think, so brilliant.
After Treefingers comes Track 6, Optimistic, the most mainstream song on the album. It's a return to the guitar-led music of their past, and has a nifty chorus. The lyrics are actually quite uplifting, which is strange in this ultra-bleak album. Loads of people label Radiohead as depressing, which is never something I ever feel, but I can understand why people would get depressed. If you're one of those gets the urge to jump out of a window at the sound of Thom Yorke, this album sure ain't for you.
In Limbo begins chaotically and doesn't get any easier on the ear, with Thom possibly at his whiniest. The lyrics don't exactly inspire confidence either: "trap doors that open, I spiral down" and "I'm lost at sea, don't bother me". So this just has to be another one of my favourite tracks. At least if you don't like it it's quite short in comparison; three and a half minutes is nothing on an album full of five/six minute songs.
Ah yes, Track 8 is Idioteque, and this is the one song that shows just how much Radiohead have evolved. It features no guitars, but a lot of electronic beats and some kind of weird high pitched noise in the background. It's effectively just Thom singing over a drum box, but it's an absolute anthem, with a great chorus and some nice overlapping vocals.
After the frenetic beats of Idioteque, Morning Bell is quite soothing and calm. It's not a stand out track, but it still bristles with interesting drums and vocals. The same could be said for Motion Picture Soundtrack, which is another strange one. It starts with organs and vocals, but part way in a kind of synthetic harp appears and it's really quite beautiful. But then after about three minutes it all goes silent, only for a weird noise to come in a minute later, which is then followed by two more minutes of silence. I'm all for experimentation, but I just don't get it. It's completely pointless! Oh well, at least it's a talking point.
Radiohead are the kind of band you either love or hate, and this is more so on Kid A than on any of their other albums. One person might appreciate the beauty of Thom Yorke's distinct voice whilst another just hears it as a drone. I would say that if even if you liked OK Computer there is no guarantee you will like this, since it is just so completely different. It is more like Hail To The Thief, so if you liked that, you probably will love this.
As for the difficult task of rating this album against their others, I would probably put it above Hail To The Thief and even The Bends, but it doesn't quite reach the heights of OK Computer. Amnesiac is still on my "to buy" list. Overall then, it's another fantastic album from the band, which I can't recommend enough.
Radiohead - Kid A (2000)
In the aftermath of their global success, OK Computer (1997), Radiohead faced the dillemma which would see the breaking of many a once-great band. Adored by the critics for a record which captivated and amazed in the same entity, how could they possible top arguably the finest rock record of the 90's? The answer? They wern't going to try.
There are two ways that you can look at 2000's Kid A. You can judge it by the guitar driven melodies of The Bends or the prog-rock excellence of OK Computer. Or you can judge it for what it really is, a record which stands out on its own in a genre of its own. There was a great deal of anticipation for just what the band would produce to follow up their previous successes, and nobody expected Yorke and Greenwood to come up with this. Tired of their guitar routes, the entire band learned new instruments and studied intensive electronica. They had no aspirations to try and top OK Computer, even if the fans would have eaten up such a record. The Oxford outfit new that if they churned out OKC II, they'd be putting themselves in the firing line to be shot down by the media. Staying one step ahead was the name of the game.
In the build-up to the release of Kid A, something incredibly unfortunate happened. The new material was leaked on to the Internet. Thousands of copies of the new songs were downloaded to a distinctly mixed reception. Critics slated the record and proclaimed with sharpened knives that the band had disappeared up their own backsides. When the album was released, they were forced to take back their words. Without a single outlet of television or radio promotion, Kid A shot to the top of the charts worldwide and became an almost cult-like success. Fans were split over their loyalties. Some longed for more OK Computer, others bowed to the courageous leap in to new genres. Radiohead took a huge gamble at the risk of alienating a large part of their fanbase. Did it pay off? That would depend on your outlook.
It has to be said that listening to Kid A is bloody hard. For the first twenty listens at least. You'll be scratching your head at the opening track thinking to yourself, no, everything certainly isn't in its right place. But there lies the beauty of Radiohead. They know what you're thinking when you switch on their record. While many will point to OK Computer as their favorite record of the Radiohead collection, it will perhaps be Kid A that the band are remembered most famously for.
Everything In Its Right Place - ( Yesterday i woke up sucking a lemon / Everything in its right place ) - 8.5/10
The album starts with an airy piece where Yorke's voice ascends in to a persistant plea of everything being in its right place. The inspiration comes from the OK Computer tour and Thom has subsequently described the line of "Yesterday i woke up sucking a lemon" being the way he looked every morning given the shattering nature of the tour. The opening sounds like spaceship communication from Close Encounters, an indescribable sound that intrigues and captivates in good measure. It's an interesting opening in many ways. Having listened to all of the Radiohead albums to date, they possess the uncanny knack of producing a strong opening track which sets the perfect tone for the rest of the record. Kid A is no exception and it soon becomes apparent that the band have taken an entirely different path with their music. By the time the organ-like blasts fade away, you can almost hear thousands of casual 'Head fans who'd been expecting more OKC, stunned in to silence. This isn't OK Computer. Far from it.
Kid A - ( We've got heads on sticks / And you've got ventriloquists ) - 7/10
Named after the first human clone, which Yorke believes is out there somewhere, Kid A is a prime example of the new sound that Radiohead have conjured. When listened to absent-mindedly, it's virtually impossible to penetrate and accept as anything other than, well, random noise. Use some headphones and pay attention, the pieces will begin to cobble together in to an interesting little song. Think of "Fitter Happier", then imagine it disected in to its core elements and meddled with by Jonny's goody machine. You have Kid A. No matter how hard you try, this is never going to hit you in the face as a standout track. Its interesting that they should decide to name the album after this, i see it as one of the weaker songs on the record personally.
The National Anthem - ( Everyone around here / Everyone is so near / Just holding on) - 9.5/10
A rip-roaring bassline which kicks the track to life and resonates in to hypnotic quality, Yorke played the bass himself during the recording. Colin takes over the mantle live as you'd expect, and The National Anthem has since become a strong fan favorite. Yorke screams the lyrics with the gust of a frontman who's been driven out of control by his band's success. The song is simple and complex at the same time, as are so many of Radiohead's pinnacle tracks. Incidently, if you listen carefully, you can hear a clip of the genuine national anthem at the end of the song. over the top, Thom screams to "Turn it off" and the song finally cuts out. A fantastic song and one of the finest on the album.
Jonny: "It started with Thom saying this track should turn into a Charlie Mingus track by the end. Thom has these ideas quite often, sometimes they are best ignored and sometimes they are genius and he's completely right. We pretty much just got a brass section into the room, and I scored out the rough tune. Thom and I stood in front of them conducting - I say conducting it wasn't Simon Rattle it was more jumping up and down when we wanted it to be louder and faster and calming them down at certain points, I'm sure it looked ridiculous. But it sounded pretty good on tape, I think."
Ed: "Eight 'jazzers' came down for the day and blew their stuff all over 'Everyone - The National Anthem'. They were fantastic. Thom and Jonny conducted. What a day."
How To Disappear Completely And Never Be Found - ( I'm not here / This isn't happening ) - 10/10
Phenomenal, inspirational...words could never do justice to the incredible sound which Radiohead produce in this career defining track. HTDC is a semi-flashback to the band's older style. It has elements of Karma Police and Let Down from OKC, boiled down in to a magnificent six minute piece which raises the hairs on the back of your neck. Of all the songs on Kid A, this was the one which clicked first for me. It floats along with a scary opening that's capable of unnerving the listener before taking them on an epic ride "down the liffey" as Thom explains. It's almost impossible to express in written words the magnitude of the sound that's been created here. As the song reaches its hypnotic climax, Yorke's wailing cries merge perfectly with the strings and you wonder how any band could construct such a masterpiece. Incredible song. If you're unsure about buying the full album, or if it's right for you, download this one song.
Thom: "That song is about the whole period of time that OK Computer was happening. We did the Glastonbury Festival and this thing in Ireland. Something snapped in me. I just said, 'Thats it. I cant take it anymore.' And more than a year later, we were still on the road. I hadnt had time to address things. The lyrics came from something Michael Stipe said to me. I rang him and said, 'I cannot cope with this.' And he said, 'Pull the shutters down and keep saying, 'I'm not here, this is not happening.' ' "
Treefingers - 5/10
There's not much you can say about this piece. It serves as a divider between the two halves of the albums and it has no lyrics at all. Not so much a song as it is a transition between other material.
Optimistic - ( You can try the best you can / The best you can is good enough ) - 7.5/10
Through early listens, Optimistic was deemed the only song on the album which could potentially succeed as a single. It showcases a heavier guitar sound, yet it's still a long way off from the era of The Bends. The lyrics are catchy if time is invested in them. It's the sort of song that you could be humming for a few days after hearing, despite not having a huge natural affinity to the track in its own right. The song was broadcast over American radio stations, who were desperate for something "radio friendly" to plug the new album with. A solid song that'll grow on you, but not a standout track.
In Limbo - ( You're living in a fantasy world / With the most beautiful woman in the world ) - 8.5/10
Strong track. Yorke preaches over a disturbed haze of background noise and distorted arpeggios, before losing control completely and dissolving in to an abyss of crazy sound. You get the feeling of being lost at sea as the song floats along airily. It sounds just as good, if not better, when played live. Some of Radiohead's songs are naturally geared towards a rougher live perfoamance, although you can't fault the wonderful studio work that's been piled in to this track. One of my personal favorites.
Idioteque - ( We're not scaremongering / This is really happening ) - 10/10
Sharing the mantle of "Most Memorable Song" with How To Disappear Completely, Idioteque is a dance song. Beats and all. In early reviews, the general consensus was negative. Radiohead were taking the p***. Whatever way you look at it, this one song refuses to be ignored and will probably signal your preference towards the rest of the album. It's one of those songs which either cements Radiohead's position in your head as the ultimate geniuses of their time - or confirms your belief that they're no more than pranksters with an antagonistic agenda. I'm opting for a work of genius. The lyrics are strung together as images from Yorke's head. They don't pretend to convey a story. Thom chose the words specifically for the way that they merged with the beats and samples, creating a captivating final product. Idioteque is very much a live favorite, famous for bringing out some of Yorke's treacherous dancing as he loses control to the escalating sound. You can't miss it on the album. Whether the joke is on us or not, Radiohead have ventured in to a whole new genre and outdone other artists who make a living from it. Somewhere, you have to feel, Mr. Yorke and Mr. Greenwood are laughing until their heads come off.
Morning Bell - ( Sleepy Jack the fire drill / Cut the kids in half ) - 9/10
This song would also appear on the follow-up album (Amnesiac) in a much altered form. Yorke gave the description in an interview of the original version (and much of Kid A) representing the chaos of being in a burning wood, while Amnesiac shows the perspective of watching the wood burning from afar. It's an interesting explanation and it's evident in Morning Bell. The song focuses around the keyboard and some typically fine drumming. There are plenty of effects thrown in from the studio and Yorke retains a stupendously high pitched tone throughout. Similarly to Idioteque, the lyrics were chosen based on how they fit in with the rest of the sound. Great song and one that could get caught in your head, for all the wrong reasons. The chant to "cut the kids in half" remains particularly memorable.
Motion Picture Soundtrack - ( It's not like the movies / They fed us all little white lies ) - 9.5/10
An astoundingly beautiful track which was originally slated to appear on OK Computer. It's original form saw an extra verse (Beautiful angel / Cut apart at birth / Limbless and helpless / I can't even reckognise you ), but the later studio version was disected apart and built from scratch with resounding organs. The opening sounds like something from a funeral. It really does. Not going to do Radiohead's image of manic depressives any good, but it certainly catches the eye in it's style. Believe it or not, this song was actually written before Creep. I'm really pleased to see a studio version although i do miss the final verse which had the ability of stealing your heart in it's beauty. A two minute gap of silence cuts through the middle before a brief instrumental closes the record.
You can't expect to listen to an album of this meticulous quality in one go and appreciate the work that's been injected in to it. It's a notorious "grower" and it deserves to be treated as one. Don't listen to it as background music. Don't switch it on expecting ten more treacks from the Ok Computer/Bends era. You'll be severely disappointed. Radiohead have tapped in to several genres and moulded an album which resonates the most unlikely of sounds. There will always be the criticism that the band departed from everything that made them great when they veered so incredulously in to the realms of electronica. In the aftermath of Computer, a backlash was inevitable. Radiohead did what other bands rarely have the guts or know-how to do. They moulded and transformed themselves in to a different band with the knowledge that they could never beat their previous record for what it was based upon. Whether you like them or loath them, they deserve tremendous credit for attempting and pulling off such a daring feat. Kid A will be remembered for a long time to come.
Listening to Kid A for the first time is often a very daunting experience. For people who haven't encountered this genre of music before, if it can be classified, Kid A is the type of album you want to hide from. It stretches your preconceptions of music and it's purpose. It may be easier just to bury the neatly packaged case in the garden and pull out a bit of McFly. However, Kid A deserves a second look. Here is a track-by-track tour of Kid A, in my opinion.
Everything In It's Right Place
Well, Radiohead certainly do not ease you in gently. You pop the shiny disc into your cd player and this electronic, wailing abstract track enters into your eardrums, assaulting your brain's set neural passages which were happy in there "right place". But were they? This track, with it's distorted vocals and keyboard riff has a strange familiarity about it. It gives you the feeling of being born, being pushed out onto a doctor's cold, rubber hands and seeing the world for the first time in a fascinated bewildered state. And the more you hear of it, the more it makes sense. "There are two colours in my head"; this possibly refers to a bitonality of music that the track attempts to break, if not purposefully, then certainly subconsciously. And if the world of pre-Radiohead music was Renaissance, Radiohead have brought the world head first into Serialism (metaphorically).
This track begins with a nursery rhyme-esque ostinato. The distant bells in the intro give Kid A it's magical, child like quality. Enter Thom, and out the window this comfortable feeling dashes. With more distorted vocals, he encapsulates a childhood nightmare. "We've got head sticks"; one of the only audible lines from the song. "And you've got ventriloquists" shortly follows. This imagery has a nightmare type quality, enforced by the vocals. It has Lord Of The Flies connotations; childhood dream turning to nightmare. This soon has something that can only be described as a beautiful release from the nightmare, a strange fuzzy sound, like being woken up. It feels pure, clear and light. Angelic. An escape from the monster (sorry Thom).
The National Anthem
A bass riff that makes you want to dance around in a weird trance, and a perfect contrast to the first two tracks. Long instrumental introduction which dominates the track, overshadowing Thom's vocal effort. The pinnacle of the song, however, is the horn entry around half way through. All vocals drop out and are replaced by a horn playing what can only be described as a jazz improvisation which brass accompaniment. It is unlike anything Radiohead have done before but in there typical experimental style, they pull it off tremendously.
How To Disappear Completely
Inspired by words of advice given to Thom by Michael Stipe before a gig, this piece is possibly the most beautiful track on the album. It's haunting glissandos and subtle bass riff introduce Thom Yorke's vocals at there best. His singing is heartfelt and soft. "I'm not here, this isn't happening", the main lyric is so haunting, you will find it drifts in and out of your thoughts for days after you listen to it and in true Raiohead style, will have you finding your own meaning from it that will somehow make you feel like you wrote the song yourself. True brilliance.
This track is my least favourite on the album. It is entirely instrumental and contains absolutely no percussion or vocals whatsoever. In my opinion, it was an odd choice for the album. It serves as white noise, you would barely notice it if it was playing quietly. It has a very soothing effect however and must not me dismissed. Radiohead are a truly great band and it probably has some meaning or purpose to them, possibly as a breathing space between some of the emotionally overpowering tracks on the album. The title confuses me and I would love to be able to quiz them over the whole track. Maybe someone reading this can shed some light upon this track for me? Still, experimental and unconventional. Both admirable feature.
This track isn't as technically outstanding as the others. It has hints of Radio heads roots and could well have been on OK Computer. It takes more of a strophic structure, which is unusual for modern Radiohead songs. The leading line in the chorus "If you try the best you can, the best you can is good enough" along with "this ones optimistic", like most Radiohead songs will stay with you for a while and will leave you feeling quite philosophical. However, the song does have a sense of irony which is quite refreshing. Optimistic has a definite attitude about it, which is what sets it apart from the other tracks on the album.
For me, In Limbo took longer to get into. I felt it lacked a certain something. Strangely I came to the conclusion that it felt like it must have had a prelude. It sounds like you have walked into a room, where the song had already started a minute ago. It again is reminiscent of Radio heads earlier work. In my opinion, it gives a feeling of falling or floating. It is mystical and dream-like, enforced by the leading lyric "You're living in a fantasy". The music definitely reflects the sentiment of the song. Word painting at it's most subtle?
This track is SUPERB. It initially seems to be a dance song, but this turns out to be ironic, hence the title! This song defies description. However, although it has a strong dance beat through out it, for me it is a song that assists me to fall asleep. It feels like a journey somewhere, and for me that is the journey from conscious to dreaming, an almost transitory essence. I know this is probably a completely unique experience, but this displays the versatility of the track. It will have different effects on every listener, but is certainly worth listening to. Again, a different direction for Radiohead but certainly a good one.
This is one of two versions of Morning Bell, the other on Amnesiac. I prefer the latter, however if you listen to them both together, it is really interesting to here how the band have used variation to create two such different tracks. Morning Bell is about a divorce, and the version found in Kid A implies a very bitter one. The version on Amnesiac sounds weary, as if Thom doesn't have any fight left in him. On both tracks, the line "Cut the kids in half" has a wonderful effect on me. It summarises perfectly how many children feel after their parents divorce. Thom gets into the head of a divorcee well, considering he has never been divorced.
Motion Picture Soundtrack
This track grew on me. Originally, I hardly noticed it. The first time I listened to it properly, it made me cry. It is rather schizophrenic overall. It feels desperately sad and the tubular bells to me sound like the falling of tears, but at the same time, the falling of stars. The song talks about someone who he thinks is "crazy" yet it gives me an impression of a death (perhaps I took it too literally!) with the line "I'll see you in the next life" with an accompanying feeling of hope. In summary, it is hopelessly hopeful, talks of current love after death and gives the impression of a lost soul who is being saved. Beautiful.
Overall, this album is a masterpiece. In my opinion, it takes you through the journey from birth to death. Kid A is not just a concept album, but a delicate blend of experimentation and past material. Please do not listen to people reviewing this album who say they think it's weak. I used to think that too. It takes work to really appreciate it, but once you do, it will become a favourite. Trust me.
Radiohead released 'Kid A' in 2000. After the enormous success of 'OK Computer' (released in 1997) much was expected from the band for their followup, and many were surprised by the difference in the next offering. 'Kid A' is different to 'OK Computer'. Where 'OK Computer' had everyman songs, songs students could really identify with, songs that produced massive singalongs at festivals; 'Kid A' showed Radiohead fans just how much potential their band had. 'Kid A' was experimental in some ways; it is less guitar based than their previous offerings, but obviously this was a format that worked for the band as their next album, Amnesiac, was in a similar vein.
'Kid A' contains some of Radiohead's most powerful work. It may not contain the 'ballad' style of 'No Surprises' or the singalong factor of 'Karma Police', and it isn't one of those albums that you will admire immediately, but if you give 'Kid A' some listening, then you will fall in love with it.
The album opens with the track 'Everything In Its Right Place', a good opener to the album as it sets the tone and pace for the rest of the tracks. As the song continues and Thom's vocals float in the beat increases, and the repetition of the line 'yesterday I woke up sucking on a lemon', brings the song to a climatic point about halfway in. Then, just as the volume and the intensity reaches its high point it dies down again, slowing the pace right down.
Next is title track 'Kid A'. This song comes across as even more experimental than the opener. The digital sounds of the voices and the notes give a relaxing atmosphere. Then almost 2 minutes in the beat increases and the song takes on a different feel. Even with this faster beat however the piece is still nice and relaxing, not too heavy.
'The National Anthem' follows; one of Radiohead's anthemic pieces. This is one of those tracks that is instantly recognisable from its opening, and when performed live has the crowd cheering from the start. This third track is a small return to the more 'traditional' Radiohead, however the background instruments give the track an edgier feel.
Next is 'How To Disappear Completely', a complete masterpiece and one of my all time favourite Radiohead songs. This gentle tune coupled with Thom's astounding vocals makes this piece a true classic. Also, this is the first track on the album that has a definite set of vocals, something that you can sing along to. As the song continues the strings in the background become louder and more solitary, and the ending seems like a beautiful anti-climax.
'That there, that's not me. I go where I please... I'm not here, this isn't happening'.
'Treefingers', track 5, is an instrumental track. Including this really showed what direction Radiohead had gone and wanted to go in the future, and how far they had come since recording 'OK Computer'.
'Optimistic' is similar to 'The National Anthem' in the way that it has a very recognisable opening, and is always popular when performed. This is another piece which has a strong set of vocals, and again, is slightly more guitar based than other tracks on the album.
Track 7, 'In Limbo', is a piece with a lot going on. The poignant lyrics: 'I'm lost at sea, don't bother me, I've lost my way, I've lost my way...' have become some of the most widely known lyrics from this album. Although this track is perhaps not as standout as some of the other tracks, this still has all the makings of a classic. It is intense, frenzied and although not easy to listen to on first hearing, is still an amazing track.
'Idioteque' follows. There isn't a lot I can say about this track. One of the stand out tracks on the album this is another huge crowd pleaser. When performed live this is incredible, the lyrics which lead to a strong chorus, coupled with fast beat; this is truly one of those songs in which you can completely get lost in the moment.
'I'll laugh until my head comes off, I'll swallow till I burst... take the money and run, take the money, Here I'm allowed, Everything all of the time'
Next up is 'Morning Bell', another well known track from this album. This is again a gentler track, with Thom's vocals providing the main stand out point. This is perhaps my least favourite song off the album; there's nothing wrong with it, and it works well as a closer to the album, but it's just not as stand out-ish as a lot of other tracks.
The album closes with 'Motion Picture Soundtrack', a nice, though relatively short, piece which is a nice closer. This track works well as a finisher because it is a good come-down. It means that the album works well as a whole, you're not left at the end wanting more or feeling like you've been over stimulated.
'Kid A' has been an enormous success with Radiohead fans. It may not have the commercial value of 'The Bends', or 'OK Computer', but for many fans it was loved because it showed just how innovative and creative the band are. No longer do they have to rely on 'Creep' to get the audience going. 'Kid A' was a step forward for the band, it set them apart from other British bands and showed just how much potential they had. Their next album, 'Amnesiac' followed suit, combining what the boys had learnt from the success and critical acclaim of 'Kid A'.
Radiohead - Kid A
Price - £9.99 on Amazon.co.uk / £8.99 on Play.com
Catalogue Number: CDKIDA1
Radiohead are: Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Phil Selway and Ed O'Brien.
'Pablo Honey' - released early 1993
'My Iron Lung' EP - released 1994
'The Bends' - released 1995
'OK Computer' - released 1997
'Kid A' - released 2000
'Amnesiac' - released 2001
'I Might Be Wrong - Live Recordings' - released 2001
'Hail To The Thief' - released 2003
As well as many other EPs, singles, box sets, and miscelleaneous releases released over the time Radiohead have been together.
Having made a new head way with Ok Computer, Radiohead were left having to come up with something special to follow on. So they went away and came back a few years later with Kid A, the most experimental album heard in a long time. Its a move away from the usual Radiohead stuff in as much it isn't as driven by the guitars and strong Bass but instead by samples and a new sound. The new sound of Radiohead didn't go down to well with the loyal fan base that had followed the band since the release of Pablo Honey in 1994. Personally I wasn't too keen on this one to start with but having heard little parts of it here and there I decided it was worth a gamble when I saw it in HMV's 3 for £20 offer. A lot of people who didn't like the album at first revisited it after the release of Amnesiac and the sound that Kid A ultimately moved on to be. The album grows on you quickly and all of a sudden you realise you do actually like the new Radiohead sound. The new sound of Radiohead, still contains the distinctive vocals of Tom Yorke and nowhere is this more evident than in the first track, "Everything In Its Right Place". It opens with the Keyboard and Yorke's vocals being sampled over the top of the keyboard before he actually comes in singing the name of the title in different sections. The song has a very haunting feel and in places you feel the lyrics sound a little silly such as; "Yesterday I Woke Up Sucking A Lemon" However the actual musical element does sound like Radiohead are trying to lift the barrier for modern bands to try and lift them selves to. The next track is the title track of the album "Kid A". It is another track that sounds completely different to normal Radiohead tracks. It starts with a strange symbol and what sounds like a xylophone. The song builds up using the sample and the keyboard over the top. Yorke comes in with vocals that are barel
y audible but this does add to the overall feel of the song. When they do eventually come in a little louder it sounds almost computerised as a drum machine carries on a beat in the background and the samples and keyboard really take a grip on the song. The next track starts a bit quicker and is called "The National Anthem". The bass brings it in with the drums and again a sample being used for a long intro. The real feel of this album is more towards the instrumental side. The vocals come in with; "Everyone Around Here" Repeated a few times over while the actual beat of the song carries along and the vocals kept on in a similar style. The bass really is the driving force behind this track and when the trumpets and other wind-based instruments join in it adds another factor, which is hardly ever heard in Radiohead songs. From there we move on to "How To Disappear Completely". Another song well into the 5 minutes in length, which starts with a quiet guitar and a sample easing into the track. The vocals come in very quiet but in typical Tom Yorke style, which can't be confused for anything else. This is another haunting sounding track but the vocals are sublime and actually set a picture as you listen to the music. This is chill out Radiohead at their best. The mellow beat of the song continues throughout and the samples used instead of masking it sound a little bit tacky in fact really do add something to the track. Moving on to track 5 we come to the rather strangely named "Treefingers". It starts in a similar way to the other tracks with what sounds like a bass sample echoing along to form the intro with a bit of guitar mixed in with it. The vocals never really getting going and the song just has a long instrumental section where the bass is used well but the guitars are used sparingly and this does add a little extra mood to the song. In fact there are actually no vocals at
any point in the song, but to be honest that doesn't really take anything away from it. So on we go again, to be honest this has got to be the first album I have ever listened to that actually leaves you emotionally drained, so here we are at "Optimistic". It starts a lot more upbeat than anything else so far with the bass and guitars playing a huge part in the introduction to the track. The vocals are sampled along side it but really come into their own and make this sound like it could have been plucked from any of the three albums that have gone before. The guitar and bass carry along well with the drums providing superb backup, "You can try the best you can, Best you can is good enough" The musical element of the track blows you away just as much as anything on the album, and the vocals just have to be Tom Yorke's. It's still quite a mellow song, good for relaxing too but like everything else on the album it really sets you thinking. The next track is called ?In Limbo?, it starts quite quietly but straight out of track 6. There really is no gap and in theory it is just part of the same song. The guitars carry on with a similar sound to the way they finished with the vocals sounding quite distant and far away. The samples are used a great deal throughout the song and the echo on the vocals does sound brilliant. This really captures the new element of Radiohead?s work and is another example of what I was talking about before, with the songs leaving you emotionally drained. The last track drifts away and then it comes to what is probably my favourite track on the album ?Idioteque?. It is almost a dance tune but still has that Radiohead feel to it. It starts with a drumbeat mixed in with samples and what possibly sounds like a drum machine. When the vocals come in the beat changes slightly but its almost as if Yorke has distorted his vocals enough to sound more in keeping with the trac
k. This is a new side of Radiohead and one that although at first sounds like a really bad idea, they have actually pulled it off. The song goes into instrumental mode after a short time and with everything mixing together well. Parts of the earlier vocals are mixed in using small samples at various points, but like everything else on the album there isn?t much to sing along to. The next track ?Morning Bell? again follows straight on and really there hasn?t been any sort of gap between the tracks for about 4 songs. It leads out of Ideoteque with the guitar and drums before the keyboards join in. The vocals come in quite quickly compared to the other tracks but again its hard to tell exactly what the lyrics are. The vocals sound quite bizarre and the odd words you can pick out do sound rather strange, but again the musical part of the song just keeps you sat there in awe, wondering how they have managed to make an album like this. We have finally reached the summit so to speak and the last track on Kid A, ?Motion Picture Soundtrack?. It starts with what sounds like a church organ, playing the first part of the intro before the vocals come in with almost a matching style to the organ. It sounds a little bit creepy and again you can hardly hear the vocals but they do keep good time with the organ. After almost two minutes a few samples come in and add a bit of light into the song. This is probably the weakest track on the album, but it still sounds good. So there we go that is Kid A, available now from your local HMV along with all the other Radiohead albums in a 3 for £20 deal. It?s not an album for all Radiohead fans, some may find it a bit too different but it is still good and although the vocals aren?t always loud enough they still add something to the track.
I'd bet that alot of people didn't buy this record after hearing so many mixed reviews. It's an amazing record, so if you're one of those people, read this and go buy it. TRACK BY TRACK ANALYSIS EVERYTHING IN ITS RIGHT PLACE Good opener, as it prepares the listener for the otherworldly sounds on Kid A. If you know where to get it, the BBC remix of this song is a bit better and more beat-oriented. 7.5/10 KID A Moody, eerie and reminiscent of "climbing up the walls." Thom's vocals go through the digital treatment on this one. Very cool drum beat. 7/10 THE NATIONAL ANTHEM A fuzzy bassline dominates this track as do horns and trumpets. Powerful and heavy, but still Kid A-ishly moody. One of my favorite RH songs to date. 9.5/10 HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY Beautiful acoustic number that is worth listening to in full whenever you play the album. It's arguably the best song on the album. The BBC remix has an eerie minute-long intro. 10/10 TREEFINGERS An electronic/instrumental track composed entirely from guitar samples. Overly long, and without a melody, it creates atmosphere but can also be called the only disappointment on the album. 5/10 OPTIMISTIC The most "accessible" song on the album. Inspired by P.J. Harvey. Kind of the start of the 'second half' of Kid A. Refreshingly 'OK Computer era' Radiohead sound. 9/10 IN LIMBO/LOST AT SEA Some people's favorite track, it does present well the 'lost at sea' feeling. Beautiful. 8.5/10. IDIOTEQUE This is my favorite Radiohead song. Ever. Dominated by a computer-generated beat and harsh, icy vocals, people could say this 'dance-y' song strays from RH's 'traditional' sound. But I couldn't disagree more. Isn't it the differentness that RH presented what made them unique? The b
ackground noises drop out during the second verse, making Thom's amazing voice ever the more present. Live version off "I Might Be Wrong" is amazing, too. 10.5/10 MORNING BELL Another wonderful, earlier-sounding song, it is the climax of the album. Beats heavy and also relies on guitars more than some other songs, it's also one of my favorites. 9/10. MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK If you've ever heard the 1996 Acoustic radio performance of this song, you'll be surprised how much it changed. Sounds like 'funeral music' with dreamlike harps and pianos taking the place of guitars. A BEAUTIFUL ending to the album. 10/10 Thanks.
Radiohead - Kid A Anticipation is too small a word really to express how the whole world feels about the new Radiohead album. Everyone's talking about it but only a select few have actually heard it. I was one of those selected few for the Manchester airing of the epic masterpiece and its with pleasure I can tell you........we'll leave that for the rest of the review. Its been a strange journey over the past 10 years for the band and no one could ever have predicted how successful they were going to be back then. I had at the time the unfortunate experience of witnessing the 'head in about 1991 supporting the Manchester band James, just say they had one song Creep and the rest was at best average. Then of course the rest is history, "The Bends" my favourite album purely because of the classic songwriting, "OK Computer" was an amazing leap forward for guitar music but it was an album you always had to in the right frame of mind for. So here we are, "Kid A". I've read the reports, you've read the reports and we've all heard some pretty dodgy recordings on the internet. But nothing can prepare you for the recorded version. Here I take you track by track. Everything In Its Right Place Its like nothing you've heard from the band before and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Probably the most optimistic sounding song it builds around a looped organ with a 4/4 bass drum pounding away in the background. Its perhaps got a more dance style of production with vocal effect lavishly sprinkled, but don't let that put you of it sounds nothing like Cher's vocoder. Vocally and lyrically Thom continues obscurely with lines like "Yesterday I Woke Up Sucking A Lemon". Kid A The title track shows an influence from Thom's recent collaborations with Bjork and UNKLE. Starting off with a music box intro its not long before the rhythm comes pounding
in. Again its a element of the songs that continue throughout whole album. The newer songs tends to be less reliant on guitar and more on the rhythmic side of things. A heavy influence from Bjork is obvious and there's an almost tribal feel to the whole proceedings. Vocally its hard to tell if again they're heavily effects laden or there actually backwards vocals. The National Anthem One of the tracks debuted a couple of months ago at the European live shows and this is really the first track on it that features guitars heavily. With Johnny Greenwoods trademark guitar its a really disturbing and claustrophobic track. Probably the most similar of tracks to those on "OK Computer". How To Disappear Completely This is what you'd call the most traditional song on the album. A haunting and minimalist track on the album with just Thom and an acoustic guitar building up with atmospherics and a mournful harmonica line. The closest comparison in their own repertoire is "Exit Music (From a film)" and sounds like the Smiths more melancholy moments. Treefingers Again a Bjork influenced song with heavy synths. If any of you buy Bjorks new album "Selma Songs" you'll be able to trace all the comparisons between the two artists. Optimistic The title can be deceptive and this is without a doubt the harshest track of the collection. Only the 3rd track on the album to feature recognizable guitars and again features some really tribal rhythms. The only worrying things is the outro sounds worryingly like Kula Shaker. In Limbo A free falling guitar riff repeated over and over again building hypnotically like "Street Spirit" or "Lucky". Idioteque The least Radiohead track on the album. Sounding like a cross between Krautrock and Drum & Bass with the only recognizable Radiohead trait being Thom's vocals. Out of the modern crop of ba
nds this sounds like little known band Echoboy Morning Bell Quite similar to the other tracks on the album but with a more Jazz tinged element to the whole proceedings. Again the organs and keyboards take prominence over the guitar sound of old. Motion Picture Soundtrack Like "How to........" this again is one of the few traditional styled songs. Based around an organ its quite a commercial finale to such an experimental album. Overall Verdict Again its another step forward with an obvious nod to the past. It features many of the elements that made "OK Computer" such a classic, but I say that in the sense of the frame of mind the band must have been in. Rather than making OK Computer Mk2, this is an album that says f**k you again, people may say that they're going too far up their own a***s but in a world of mediocrity we really need a band like this. Along with Primal Scream, the 'head are one of the few successful bands that have broken new boundaries and it would be hard pushed to see any of the numerous Radiohead style bands making an album like this. The only worrying thing is how can they continue after this. After making two such groundbreaking albums there really is no way they can go back and make a traditional rock album like "The Bends". Somehow I think after the current UK dates over the next couple of months, I feel the chances of seeing Radiohead release another album in the next 5 years are very slim. Alex McCann NB: The above opinion was written before Kid A was released. Obviously they have now released "Amnesiac" which contradicts everything I said in the final paragraph. However please note that both albums were recorded at the same time so theoretically they can be paired together as one record. I still stick with the theory that Radiohead's next album with not see the light of day for a while (but as histo
ry proves only time can tell)
Upon first listen to this album, you WANT to like it. This, after all, is Radiohead, the most experimental mainstream band we have, a band willing to take risks and put theur necks on the line. You tell yourself that its just a case of listening a few times, after all, thats what you did with OK computer, wasnt it? Listen all you want, but this album is a dissapointment. A valiant attempt, certainly, but ultimately a failure. Its not a bad album, but its not a great one, and when trying to follow up one of the best albums ever recorded, what is needed is a masterpiece. This, unfortunately, is no masterpiece. There are moments of inspiration - Everything in its right place, Morning bell, How to dissapear completely, and the fantastic Idioteque, but the deadwood outweighs it - Kid A is nursery rhyme nonsense, Optimistic, whilst a more recognisible form of song is, at the end of the day, still a rotten song, In Limbo is awful, Treefingers pointless and Motion Picture Sondtrack pretty dull. Still, when Kid A hits, it hits hard - Idioteque is fantastic, as is Morning Bell, and if Thom and co. had made an album consisting of songs (note use of the word SONGS) such as these, OK computer would be a distant memory, and Kid A would be embraced as the first truly great album of the 21st century. As it stands however, Radiohead have become lazy - Thom seems to have decided that high art requires no songs or tunes to speak of - which is fine when the tracks are as interesting as Everything in its right place, but when they are as boring as In Limbo, "Art" falls flat on its face. In short, this is an influential album, and one that you should certainly have, but its no OK computer, or even Pablo Honey. It wont be an album that you will go back to, but its an album that is interesting in its own right, a spectacular failure, a brilliant error. Thios will give them freedom to do what they want on the next record, lets hope that they use it well, or we may lose a truly gre
‘Kid A’ was always going to be difficult. Where ‘OK Computer’ was a stark departure from ‘The Bends’, this is a stark departure from ‘OK Computer’. And add to this the fact that no singles were going to be released from it, it was always going to prove to be a little troublesome… ‘Everything In Its Right Place’ replaces Radiohead guitars with a brooding organ and fragmented vocals for a soothing opening. On ‘Kid A’ the distortion cranks up, with abstract vocals overlapping more mellow organ effects and distorted drum beat. ‘The National Anthem’ restores the sense of structure and composition that the opening two loose tracks seemed to lack. A pounding bass and a build up of effects gradually introduce more distorted vocals. The track develops into a chaotic blend of trumpets and jazz that becomes almost overbearing. ‘How To Disappear Completely’ is reminiscent of OK Computer’s mellower moments, where acoustic guitars strum peacefully underneath Thom Yorke’s pure effects-light vocals. The instrumental ‘Treefingers’ does nothing but disrupt the album, appearing just as things are beginning to get started. ‘Optimistic’ is probably the most Radiohead sounding song so far, but it does suffer from a lack of focus and direction and seems a little repetitive. ‘In Limbo’ cranks up the fragmentation once again, with Yorke’s wailing vocals singing over enchanting guitar and organ effects. ‘Idioteque’ is possibly the best track on the album, where the effects are in full-flow but they all seem to push in the same direction, creating a much more coherent and driving spirit. ‘Morning Bell’ suffers from the same problems as ‘Optimistic’, but does have a more satisfying conclusion. In ‘Motion Picture Soundtrack’ the organs ar
e back in full, heart-wrenching style. Builds up with harp and graceful vocals to become the most emotional and poignant track on the album, but that’s not exactly hard. A moving climax to the album. Where OK Computer was powerful and emotional, Kid A seems deconstructed and more muted. Structurally it is a lot looser than the tight The Bends and is thus more inaccessible. Some parts seem repetitive as focus and direction is lost. You’ve got to give Radiohead credit for keeping their integrity and making an album that they must have truly wanted to make instead of churning out another The Bends-like album to keep everybody happy. After all, if you wanted a band that always sounded the same, you’d be an Oasis or Bon Jovi fan wouldn’t you. And Kid A does succeed in being different, but ultimately it’s still The Bends’ and OK Computer’s uglier little brother. Everything In Its Right Place (4.11) Kid A (4.44) The National Anthem (5.51) How To Disappear Completely (5.56) Treefingers (3.42) Optimistic (5.15) In Limbo (3.30) Idioteque (5.09) Morning Bell (4.35) Motion Picture Soundtrack (6.59)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Everything In Its Right Place
2 Kid A
3 National Anthem
4 How To Disappear Completely
7 In Limbo
9 Morning Bell
10 Motion Picture Soundtrack