A site where I get to complain about music I don't like.
Back in 2000, people had been waiting 3 years for Radiohead’s next album. After two critically acclaimed masterpieces, everyone was hoping that their followup to OK Computer would be even more of the same. But it wasn’t. When the followup Kid A was released, people were baffled. Instead of the hard guitar rock from before, it was replaced with electronic environments that had never been heard before. And now, 12 years after the original shock, it’s one of the most critically acclaimed albums of all time. So today, we look at…
Kid A: an Album Review
1. Everything In Its Right Place
With the album starting off with some discordant electronic notes, you know you’re in for something different from anything else you’ve ever heard. The song slowly builds up, until Thom Yorke unleashes the title, in a way really introducing the album. While it never builds into a heavy rock mood, the song does build into a remarkably strong atmosphere. Even though it’s primarily an intro track, it’s a remarkably well made one, and an excellent song as well.
2. Kid A
Another atmospheric track, the song sounds extremely similar to an old-timey music box, with soft drums soon coming in. Soon, very modified vocals come, giving the song a very unnerving and lonely tune. Throughout the song, it repeats this pattern along with a version with only drums, until the very end, when strings come in for variation. While a very good atmospheric track, I’m not sure how it works as a song, and it is very depressing.
3. The National Anthem
Here’s a phrase I never expected to say; Terrifying Jazz Rock. Starting off with one of the best bass riffs of all time, Everything slowly piles onto each other, creating a remarkably tense atmosphere. After about two minutes of the opening, Thom begins to sing, but only briefly. Soon, he’s replaced with a saxophone solo that takes up two minutes of the song. And with the claustrophobic feeling it gives you, you start to feel ensnared by the instruments. Possibly the best song of the album, I give it the thumbs up.
4. How to Disappear Completely
You may have noticed a word I’m using a lot in this review; atmosphere. This is a very atmospheric album, with nearly every song emitting a mood of loneliness. And here, we get a song that emits this mood perfectly. Beginning with acoustic guitar and a bizarre noise, It soon goes into Thom singing, in that tone where you can’t understand what he’s saying, but it sounds poetic. Other instruments to come in a points, but primarily, it stays around this style. While very lonely and quiet, it’s a favorite of mine and Thom Yorke.
The one instrumental song on the album, there are no electronics or drums in the whole song, composed entirely on guitar and then moved to a sampler. While atmosphere was always a big part of the album, the song is entirely ambient, with nothing but slow moving sounds. Overall, it’s not entirely necessary for the album, and could have been left out.
One of the few guitar driven songs on the album, the song is far more upbeat than the rest of the album. Beginning with rising guitars and a tribal drum beat, the song simply builds more and more throughout, never letting up until the end. Sounding a lot like Radiohead’s earlier guitar-based work, it’s a good song, but not one of my favorites.
7. In Limbo
Starting off with an ambiguously Indian guitar riff, the song quickly goes into an almost waltz like sound, with a sound that gives off a “swirling” vibe. With drums that never let up and interesting guitar work, it’s a far more energized song than the rest of the album, which makes sense, seeing as how it’s the shortest song on the album. However, in the second half, the song just lets loose, diving into a spiral of insanity. It’s a great song, and definitely bizarre.
Another phrase I never expected to say; apocalypse disco. One of the most heavily electronic songs on the album, it begins with a drum beat that immediately sucks your mind in and doesn’t let you go. Soon, the synths come in, and it builds into Thom’s vocals, with some of the best lyrics he’s ever had. Throughout the whole song, the drums are the only constant, and it constantly plays with itself for new sounds. One of my favorites on the album, and certainly a song that’s unique.
9. Morning Bell
Beginning with a very mechanical drum beat, the song soon exits out into a soothing, yet bizarrely menacing rhythm, with calming yet haunting vocals on top. Due to not really letting up in its sound, the song sets a very unnerving atmosphere. Guitar than comes in, adding to the bizarre tone of the song. Throughout the whole song, and really this album, there’s just this strong sense of WRONG. It’s impossible to shake off, but it’s still an excellent song and a perfect penultimate track.
10. Motion Picture Soundtrack
And at the very end of this whole album of fear, we get… a Disney number. Designed by Thom to be a tribute to old Disney films, the song is created using a pedal organ, combined with other noises. After the constant tone of fear on the rest of the album, the song is a sort of calm down afterwards. And like “Treefingers” before, it’s fine at what it does, but not all that necessary to the album.
So in conclusion, this album really is a masterpiece. Every song is fascinating in its own way, and it’s one of those albums that you have to listen to several times before it fully clicks. It’s odd, and it’s terrifying, but it’s a fantastic listen.
Best Track: The National Anthem
Worst Track: Treefingers