Pablo Honey 7
( 1993 )
You / Creep / How Do You? / Stop Whispering / Thinking About You / Anyone Can Play Guitar / Ripcord / Vegetable / Prove Yourself / I Can't / Lurgee / Blow Out
A copy of Mojo Magazine circa 1992 carried a cassette on its cover. One of the songs on the tape was a pre-fame Radiohead, a little song called 'Creep' by a band i'd never heard of before. It blew me away, and I remember to this day how it felt hearing 'Creep' for the first time. Still, there is more to 'Pablo Honey' than just 'Creep'. Well, more or less. The album is split roughly half and half between rockier material and more delicate, prettier material. On the rockier side we have the opening 'You'. You can hear traces of groups such as The Pixies in the way the song builds up and there may also be a little Eighties U2 in there someplace, too. Anyways, the mighty crunching and still startling 'Creep' is sandwiched between 'You' and the nice guitar textures and sounds of the up-tempo 'How Do You?'. 'How Do You?' suffers lyrically however, pretty simple lyrics, especially once we reach the underwhelming chorus. One interesting note. 'How Do You?' vocally more than musically is the sound of Thom seemingly trying to be John Lydon in places, not something Thom would attempt in the future, though. And for that, we can all be thankful, I feel. Yeah, this is a debut album and Radiohead are searching for themselves, for their own true character, not realising that with 'Creep', the gorgeously sung 'Thinking About You' and the closing textured and hypnotic guitar parts of 'Blow Out' - that they'd already found it. Elsewhere we've got the quiet, threatening to go loud, but never quite going all out for it 'Stop Whispering'. Still, nice guitar parts even if this is one of those songs where Thom seems unsure of how to quite present his vocals.
'Anyone Can Play Guitar' was released as a single and crept into the lower reaches of the UK top forty. I was quite excited when I first heard 'Anyone Can Play Guitar', especially the neat and ominous guitar parts that introduced the song. Everything continues going very well until the chorus is reached. Like 'How Do You?', this isn't a song with a very good chorus, the lyric makes me wince a little. Very simple, and that U2 thing definitely pops up here, something about the way Thom sings this. A couple of highlights open the second half of the album, both fairly unassuming songs and its where Radiohead aren't trying as hard that they really succeed on 'Pablo Honey'. Well, 'Creep' is the exception that proves the rule, I suppose. Anyway, 'Ripcord' has some nice pounding drum parts, neat guitars on this album full of neat guitars as well as a powerful enough Thom vocal. 'Vegetable' has some of the most intriguing lyrics on the album as well as some of the best vocals. 'Lurgee' points a way forwards to parts of 'The Bends', very spine chilling, beautiful stuff. Adore the sound of the bass line here. Ah, things falling into place!
Did Radiohead get the name of this album from the Jerky Boys, Re: "Are you washing your a**?
Amacca email@example.com 4/10. This is really dated and pales very badly in comparison to their material after. That may be unfare but the Radiohead of Pablo Honey are a completly different band to what they became circa Bends. They're just another indie/early Britpop band, they show little signs of innovation. IMO 'The Bends' is really their debut because apart from 'You', 'Blow Out' and 'Creep' (which isn't really their song anymore, not when you see it sung on The X-Factor!) Pablo Honey is a woefully average record.
The Bends 8
( 1995 )
Planet Telex / The Bends / High and Dry / Fake Plastic Trees / Bones / Nice Dream / Just / My Iron Lung / Bullet Proof... I Wish I Was / Black Star / Sulk / Street Spirit (Fade Out)
Radiohead struggle and second guess themselves in an attempt at producing another 'Creep' an attempt that saw the band writing half a dozen potential follow-up hits, none of which they were particularly happy with. The sessions for the album dragged on, everyone went a bit crazy, not helped by the extensive touring they'd just completed in support of 'Pablo Honey'. Experienced producer John Leckie held things together, and Radiohead survived intact. They very nearly split up, right here. Very nearly gave up altogether. Think about that for a second. Think about the fact that 'The Bends' sold far less than 'Pablo Honey' in the US, and in the UK it took about five singles to regain the groups lost ground, with the closing and very unlikely single type song 'Street Spirit' finally cracking the top ten and giving Radiohead a future. 'The Bends' stuck around in the UK album charts though, to be fair. Each and every single reminded people that Radiohead existed. It seems shocking these days, when Radiohead have enjoyed chart topping albums and everything else that goes with it, but still.
'Planet Telex' explodes from the speakers with a depth to the sound that just wasn't there on 'Pablo Honey', but it is absolutely no kind of song, whatsoever - all atmosphere and texture. It's okay, but the title song that follows it is far better. If the rockier songs on 'Pablo Honey' were sometimes a little embarrasing, Radiohead have suddenly got a lot better at ROCK songs here. 'High And Dry' varied the album, all of the opening first three songs managing to sound different to each other. 'High And Dry' is pretty, especially vocally. It's a good song, but 'Fake Plastic Trees' is far far better, and able to reduce this listener to tears more often than not. Now here, you see, is a song better than 'Creep', a giant leap forwards. The emotion here is immense, especially given that the lyrics aren't that straightforward, but that only all works to the songs advantage. Thom sings absolutely beautifully, and 'The Bends' has a genuine classic on its hands. 'Bones' and 'Nice Dream' are mood pieces, attempts at moving forwards ably supported by the excellent production of John Leckie, without whom neither song would amount to anything more than the prettier moments from the very un-acclaimed 'Pablo Honey'. The harder guitars of 'Just' appealed to Radioheads American fans and the truly demented 'My Iron Lung' won over a whole new bunch of 'obscure in their listening habits' UK alternative music fans. Hard to believe listening to it, that 'My Iron Lung' was simply an attempt at writing a new 'Creep'. The song progresses, quietly yet spookily and full of potential menance even before the very loud and loose guitars of Johnny Greenwood have really kicked in. Fabulous stuff from start to finish.
'Bullet Proof' has a grandeur about it, a wonderful ballad with a sad, lost atmosphere and great production and mixing. Working with John Leckie probably saved Radioheads career. The echo on Thoms voice here is just right, and really adds to the song. 'Black Star' has its moments, 'Sulk' doesn't - but the closing 'Street Spirit', which revolves around a fascinating repeating guitar figure and intriguing Thom Yorke lyrics, is almost worth the price of admission alone. Four or so great songs then, but take away these great songs, and 'The Bends' isn't all that much, as far as i'm concerned. Having said that, it does hold together. The sequencing is good, and even the more mediocre material sounds impressive enough to hold your interest.
Joe H Jcjh20@aol
I love this one! I love it just as much as OK Computer and Kid A, even
though its really not as unique and spaced out as those, but its still a
beautiful album. "Fake Plastic Trees", "High and Dry", "Bullet Proof...", "Nice Dream" and especially "Street Spirit" are achingly beautiful tracks that need no special production and tricks like the subsequent albums to show their charm. Besides the beautiful tracks there are great rockers, like possibly my favorite song on the record "Planet Telex". Just a wonderfully erratic song with a drunk Thom on vocals. "Just", "My Iron Lung", the title track, "Bones", and "Black Star" are also great ones. A nine! Or a 10 if your allowed two tens.
Simon Brigham firstname.lastname@example.org Sorry guys, but the only good song (great, excellent are other words) is street spirit (fade out). All the rest are normal everyday rock songs. Nothing new.
Trevor Evans-Young Paradoxx75@msn.com this is one of the top ten albums of all time in my opinion, and i have alot of albums man. the bends exceeds ok computer, simply becuase of the quality of the songs. sure, ok computer is a little weirder, but songs like "my iron lung" and "just" are complex and great. i agree that "street spirit" is a wierd single, but it is a perfect album closer. flawless awesome rock record?? there are few out there, THAT is why the bends stands out. (and that is twelve songs of flawlessness!) - Doxxman
Adam Kahan email@example.com this album is so well put together. It diversifies diffedrent types of radiohead. I
belive it is at least an 8 rating! amazing
David Babb, firstname.lastname@example.org I sincerely think you need to listen to this a few more times and let the beauty and grandeur of songs like Black Star and Nice Dream really sink in. I realize an 8 is a great rating for most albums, but to give the Bends a rating of anything less than a 10 is, IMHO, an absolute travesty! Just wait ten years from now and the critics will be pointing to this, and not OK Computer (as brilliant as it is), as the quintessential British rock album of the 90's. Up there with Revolver, Let it Bleed, The Queen is Dead, and The Stone Roses. From beginning to end, an absolute classic!
Paul Haines, email@example.com This one gets my 10/10. My favourite album of 1995.
Mark firstname.lastname@example.org 9 years after its release, this is still a monster of an album!!!! I had the privilege of seeing them live twice when they were touring to promote it.Even after all these years, this is the album of theirs i come back to the most and i prefer it to " Ok Computer", which although its good, its " Wet yourself with excitement" reviews that greeted it on release, where over the top. Despite this, a great band!!
dan email@example.com I just cant see how Hail to the Thief can get a nine over The Bends. Fake Plastic trees; street spirit alone make this album a classic
danicero Felicetti firstname.lastname@example.org hey man, I love your site but I really think that High and Dry is the best song on the album with its unbelievably amazing tune and Thom's beautiful singing
logan email@example.com think you have highly underestimated the greatness of the bends, having rated hail to the theif higher than it i seriously recommend that you rethink your reason for giving such a great album much less credit than it should be receiving.
Jonny Bravo firstname.lastname@example.org Hmm. So if it wasn't for the four or so songs (pretty much half the album) this would be average. With the exception of Sulk which in all honesty is not a bad song, you have at least five classics here from a modern classic album. Timeless pieces of songwriting fused together with the most unique mainstream voice I have heard since David Bowies unusually popular vocals. High and Dry, Fake Plastic Trees, Just, My Iron Lung and Street Spirit say it all. I agree it is not there finest album however how can you give it an eight then ruin your entire review with this paradox of self pompus opinions. Is it for shock value?
Scott Shrubsole email@example.com The Bends is better than all other Radiohead albums and deserves 10 at least....Best songs are Black Star, The Bends, My Iron Lung...and the rest rock! this is my second favourite album in the world....and was voted the second best album ever (Q Magazine)... Ok Computer was voted the best but i prefer The Bends...please change the score to 9 and a half or 10!
Christopher Kanas firstname.lastname@example.org Ya, I'd have to agree, I think maybe you gave the album a little too low of a rating. It's better than an 8. While I agree ok computer is overall the best album as an album concept, I think "Fake Plastic Trees" might possibly be the best radiohead song ever, and it appears on a damn good album so I'd give it a 9.5 if not 10. To me,"Fake Plastic Trees" reminds me of Elton John's "Rocketman", a song soooooo good it transcends to the next level and becomes a surreal epic.
Mitch email@example.com You know a band is good when you can't find a favourite song by them, and you know they are even better when all their ablums (except pablo honey) are in your top 10, 4 in your TOP 4. As for The Bends, absolutely amazine, if it wernt for the passion of Planet Telex i dont think i would like them now. With radiohead songs, i never have a favourite song, just one of their many perfect songs that i cant get enough of. Right now its Wolf at the door.
Amacca firstname.lastname@example.org 9/10. Now truly begins the true start of Radiohead. Its very much of its era and is ranks lower for me than OK, Kid and their new one but it is still one of the best of that Britpop era. I don't have much complaints, every song except the whiney Sulk is brilliant. I hate people who think this was the bands peak and think they just went weird. On the other hand The Bends is most accesible and far less 'difficult' then their post-OK stuff. And that's a good and a bad thing.
GAZZA a great collection of songs , touring "pablo honey" round every toilet in europe had turned them into a very good band indeed.
The more sucessful songs are the ballads "street spirit" "fake plastic trees" "bullet proof" "high and dry" all great songs brilliantly sung . The rockers are a bit patchier , a bit too nirvana lite in places - the bands live sound struggling to get through and it seems almost like the rhythm section doesnt have enough power to propel the songs (either that or they were badly recorded/mixed). id have loved to have heard dave grohl get his hands on "the bends" and "just" for instance .
So in respect of this the bands move into more leftfield musical sounds and ambient/electronica seems like an inspired move . Pablo honey aside theyve never really tried to make a straight rock album since this .
The bends still stands out as a great set of songs though and "sulk" features some of thoms best singing . For inspired playing check out johnny! greenwoods performances throughout especially the amazing tremelo solo on "just". This band were beginning to find the tools to take their music to a very different place.
OK Computer 10
( 1997 )
Airbag / Paranoid Android / Subterranean Homesick Alien / Exit Music (For A Film) / Let Down / Karma Police / Fitter Happier / Electioneering / Climbing Up The Walls / No Surprises / Lucky / The Tourist
So, what happened? I don't know, I doubt Radiohead know, but this is a huge leap forwards. Radiohead had been listening to experimental Jazz music, and 'other kinds' of music and it all helped. Then unknown producer Nigel Godrich did a stunning job, and producers don't always get the credit they deserve. His name was made entirely by his work with Radiohead here. The acclaim and reviews 'Ok Computer' received made it an instant new 'Sgt Pepper', or more accurately, an instant new 'Dark Side Of The Moon'. Within months, 'OK Computer' was one of the greatest albums ever made. More sceptical and suspicious US music critics received copies of 'OK Computer' glued into a special walkman, so that they had no choice but to listen to it. And they came around. Some US Radiohead fans found the group via 'Ok Computer' then later decided that they preferred 'The Bends' all along, even though none of them bought 'The Bends' at the time, which reached the mid reaches of 'Billboard' whilst 'OK Computer' went top twenty, a significant move forwards for Radiohead. And you know, the evidence is here. 'Airbag' is a re-write of 'Planet Telex' only it has twice as good lyrics, three times the atmosphere and is generally better all around. If you have some special attachment to 'Planet Telex', congratulations, but I cannot comprehend anybody preferring 'Planet Telex' to 'Airbag' myself. The improvement in the lyrics alone should be enough to convince anyone, and that's ignoring the much improved music. 'Paranoid Android' is a 'Bohemian Rhapsody' for the nineties, a 'Good Vibrations' or a 'Telstar' for the nineties. There! That threw you, didn't it?? A 'Telstar' for the Nineties?! It has nothing in common with the Joe Meek classic 'Telstar' whatsoever, except for the fact that 'Paranoid Android' broke new ground, if only with the fact that it's so brilliant it beggars belief. I've got DVD footage of Radiohead playing this song live, and just look at the guitar players fingers! Just look at the stretches and really bizarre shapes he makes with his fingers. And it sounds good too! And the section that floats in dreamily with holy sounding chanting, and the 'rain down on me' section. It's all stunning, it's all brilliant. But, Radiohead being Radiohead, known for their dislike of video's, decided to use an animation that was so shitty it made you bang your head against a wall. A 'Paranoid Android' with an excellent video to match would have been a major hit single, instead of the just fairly sizable hit single ( it reached no 2 in the uk for a week only ) that it was.
Uttter genius out of the way, how about some more genius? The brilliantly titled 'Subterranean Homesick Alien' has evocative lyrics, spooky sounds and wonderful atmospheres, and atmosphere is key. The lyrics are key, and the glue that holds it all together. Thom sounds magnificent, and 'Exit Music' isn't too far behind, either. 'Let Down' and 'Karma Police' are pretty straightforward moments for 'OK Computer', but 'Let Down' for one, with its sweet guitar sounds is brilliant. So far, 'OK Computer' is almost too good. Relief is at hand! The bizarre Stephen Hawkings computer voice of the spoken 'Fitter Happier' freaks you out, 'Electioneering' was an early US Radiohead record label favourite, 'a potential hit', before it finally reached 'OK Computer' and was turned into a delightful yet impassioned guitar mess! Whoops! There goes the radio play down the drain! Still, no matter! 'Climbing Up The Walls' along with 'Fitter Happier' I suppose is the nearest 'OK Computer gets to a weak moment, but 'Climbing Up The Walls' is scary as fuck, and fits the album. The album starts to develop rather than just being a random collection of brilliant songs with a technology and alienation theme loosely linking it together. The closing three songs are all great, the sweet guitar of 'No Surprises', the slow and emotionally draining closing five minute long epic ( can a song five minutes long be an epic? this is! ) and the absolutely storming and awe-inspiring 'Lucky' sitting in the middle of it all, that almost manages to better 'Paranoid Android', and perhaps does. 'OK Computer' lives upto the hype,
one of the greatest albums ever made.
Jonathan Roseveare email@example.com
What an album! I'm pretty sure I emailed you complaining that your review was 1/2 a point away from what it should have been i.e 10. Some of these songs are just awesome, Let Down being some sort of transdescending moment, almost religious, it's absolutely awesome. Blows me away every single time I hear it. Best album of the nineties for me.
I've noticed then in your reviews you seem to compare albums with other albums, which is unwise, because in reality you CANNOT compare them, all of Radiohead's albums are so distinctly different that to compare ( for ex.)
airbag, and planet telax, is like comparing comedy movie with a drama. there so diffent...how dare you compare those two songs?.. improvment? how is airbag an improvement at all on planet telax? airbag is about the relief of surviving a car crash, and planet telax is about how reality is unchangable, HOW DO THOSE RELATE AT ALL!?>(plz post this because i must be heard)
Simon B firstname.lastname@example.org
O.K. COMPUTER. What else can be said about this album that hasn't been said already?
What can I say? Great music, great album concept, great lyrics, and great playing!
Surely one of the, if not THE best album of the 90's. Best songs: ALL of them (except for "Fitter Happier".)
clinton dengate email@example.com
I gotta say, this is the first album of the 21st Century. The use of experimental
techniques combined with the lyrics is just something the music world had been
waiting for, and it took absolute geniuses to come up with OK Computer. 'Like a Cat
tied to a stick' in stephen hawken's computer voice is simply stunning. More more
more! '. OK Computer hits the mark on all fronts.
jesse markowitz firstname.lastname@example.org Yes, this is the best album of all time. I've heard Pet sounds, and that is a great
too, but not just as developed as this. If Thom Yorke ever tops this cd, the day i
listen to it will be one of the most memorable of my life.
bassplayeredd email@example.com There is a couple of alright songs but one of the most overrated albums of all time. It finished top of Q's top 100 list above revolver, darkside of the moon and led zeppelin IV.
Kartikeya Misra firstname.lastname@example.org Not a bad album at all, but certainly over-rated by many. Some of the songs are brilliant, "Airbag" (magical guitar playing and how) being the absolute highlight for me. Of course there are other wonderful tunes as "Karma Police" (the brilliant "Sexy Sadie" style intro which blows me away everytime I hear it) and Paranoid Android (Fantastic clicky style percussions the higlight for me, though the heavy part does'nt work all that great for me). But Radiohead fail whenever they pretend to be somebody else - such as attempting a "Tomorrow never Knows" on "Climbing up the Walls" or being Dylan on "Subterranean..." (which ends up sounding mushy and not much more)..And the "concept" of the album remains only the 1,004,563th musical interpretation of man's alientation from the technological world ...Still the higlights over-shadow these problems, the album is without doubt an extremely progressive step into newer musical frontiers...though just not good enough for a slot in the "to! p 10 albums of...blah-blah", IMHO
damian email@example.com :O! Fitter happier is one of the key moments of OK Computer and the essence of an album dealing with millennial angst, corporate robotization aso. Which, of course, it's not so say the piece is likeable- it mindnumbing and, to quote your good self, "scary as fuck", but not in the least weak!. My take.
rich firstname.lastname@example.org What a great album. But i have never heard a song with such an ironic title as 'Let Down'. Howto ruin an otherwise perfect album...
Jayson email@example.com One reviewer says that this album is about mans alienation from the technological world. Come on that's lazy verging on the criminal. It is more of an account of modern man/womans experience of technological progression throughout their life up until the present and the uncertainty this future brings. This is why No Surprises fuses a child like sound/structure while screwing with our paranond senses with apathetic lyrics (is this even a word). It is taking our most archaic childhood pleasures and telling us we're full of shit and that the world is not all rainbows and walks in the park. The end track has to be the most understated song I have ever heard and for this along with Paranoid Android (agree it is a modern day Bohemian Rhapsody)has to be the greatest album ever made. 10/10
SHANE SHANEDHRTY@YAHOOMAIL.COM WHENEVER I HEAR PEOPLE CRITICISING THIS ALBUM OR JUST CLAINING IT TO BE OVER RATED I ASK THEM WHAT THEY THINK OF THE SONG"LET DOWN" IF THEY RECOGNISE THAT IT TRULLY IS A WORK OF GENIUS, I WOULD BE WILLING TO LISTEN TO WHAT THEY VE GOT TO SAY ABOUT THE REST OF THE ALBUM, WHICH I STILL THINK IS BRILL INCIDENTALLY. IF THEY DISMISS THE SONG AS ONLY BEING VERY GOOD OR LESS, WELL THEN I BELIEVE THEY DONT HAVE A CLUE WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT, JUST MY OPINION. SOME ONE SAID THAT HOMESICK SUBTERRANEAN ALIEN IS TRYING TO BE LIKE DYLAN AND SOUNDS MUSHY. I DISAGREE STRONGLY IT IS BEAUTIFUL AND IS SUPPOSED TO SOUND SPACY AND MAGICAL. THE OPENING OF THE SONG AIRBAG WONDERFULLY DEPICTS A CAR CRASH. THERE IS SO MUCH EXTRA ORDINARY IMAGERY ON THIS ALBUM THAT RAISES ITS BRILLIANCE OVER THE LEVEL OF JUST A BUNCH OF GREAT SONGS LIKE ON THE BENDS. BY THE WAY, IM KINDA LOOKING FOR A NEW BUZZ I HAVENT HEARD A GREAT ALBUM IN A WHILE. COULD SOMEONE RECOMMEND ME SOMETHING. I RECOMMEND THE DIVINE C! OMEDY S 'REGENERATION' A TRULLY BEAUTIFUL HEARTFELT ALBUM WITH GENIAL CHORD PROGRESSIONS. OK COMPUTER FANS, THIS IS THE ALBUM THAT YOU VE BEEN MISSING.
will firstname.lastname@example.org I completely agree. This is my all time favourite album along with Blood Sugar by the Chili Peppers and Led Zeppelin IV. It is so original, and still sounds so fresh today. I love Radiohead, this is a classic.
Benjomatico Benni.Wassermann@web.de First off, Radiohead have never attempted to imitate anyone, they always tried to create their own style and never failed. In every Radioheadsong is an distinctivly sound, not only the singer's voice (which is very significant as well) but also this typical nestle of their sounds, that's simply awesome. And 'Subterrain homesick alien' should be a failed imitaion of Bob dylan's 'Subterrain homesick blues' is like the most ridicolous thing I ever heard, the only similarity between these two song are their names. Secondly, when Radiohead were asked why they made OK Computer with a concept (concept-Album), they said they did not mean to link the 11 Albumsongs by a firm idea, the only concept they were adhering to was the simple name 'OK Computer', nothing more. Further, it's obvious you cannot compare 'Ok Computer' with such classic conceptAlbums like 'Sgt Pepper',where all songs were played during a fictional show.
Nevertheless, OK Computer is an outstanding, important and ! exeptional record. No one can say he knows well about music without having heard any radiohead record, particulary OK Computer!
Christopher Kanas email@example.com I almost feel sorry for Thom Yorke. It's like he was born 30 years too late. While in 1967, experimental music made legendary names such as Hendrix, Clapton (Cream), Morrison (Doors), and Jon Lennon, I think if Yorke was making music at that time, his name would also be as legendary as the above. If there is one thing for sure, it's that OK Computer brought psychedelic rock into the 90's. Sure the 60's psychedelic rock was more blues based, but this album is definately one of the best ever albums in psychedelic rock at a time when that genre was all but dead. Certainly a 10, and given it was done at a time when image and video's tend to feed and fool the public into what is good rather than what IS good, maybe an 11.
Mitch firstname.lastname@example.org Of course this is my favourite Radiohead CD, and favourite cd. It's absolutely amazine. Subterrian homesick alien has i think the most amazine course of all time, its so energetic and just makes you want to jump with joy. Lots of people compare radiohead cd's to other radiohead cd's. I dont think you can do that, in fact, i dont think you can compare the songs in their albums to the other songs in that same album. Everything is origional and creative, however each song is...well its just radiohead, you just know that. Amazine.
Johnny Canada email@example.com I adore this album. You're wrong about one thing though- the video for Paranoid Android is brilliant! It's so different and twisted that only a band as smart and unique as Radiohead could come up with it.
Chris Christopher Kanas, I'm sorry to say, but of my understanding you are completely wrong. There is not one inch of physcedelica in this album, from the start to finish. Physecdiliaca artists like "Pink Floyd" or "The Beatles" didn't have computers or the kind of record gear we have now. Radiohead had the option of this. The album is no doubt altenative rock, with swirls of experimental, WITH USE Of COMPUTERS (hence the title) not them singing a song like Lucy in the sky with diamonds. Mind you, i have to agree with everyone else, and say that this is the best album of the 90's, better than any album from that era, in the fact that this album is a complete package from "Airbag" to "The Tourist". My three favourite tracks are "Paranoid Android", "Subterrenean Homesick Alien" (which is nearly the opposite of Subterrenean Homesick Blues by Bob Dyland) and "Karma Police". I also love "Electoneering" and "Climbing Up These Walls". My least favourite, although the fit into th! e album perfectly are "No Surprises" and "The Tourist" (sorry Johnny). But definatly a classic, and it deserves all the praise it gets. 10/10
Dan firstname.lastname@example.org I'd give this a perfect score, and yet it's still not as classic as The Bends. Of course, I'm exaggerating for dramatization, but there it is. I think it's that whole "Still cries at a good movie" lyric that kinda throws me off. I don't know: a cry-worth movie is a good movie. For that reason, I'm much happier with The Bends. It's a stupid reason, I know, and I can undeniable look at the quote by a different light and therefore love both albums in an identical way, but little things do throw people in general off nonetheless. And besides, I'm exaggerating anyway. I do like both albums to the same extent (infinitely). Please reconsider The Bends' ratings? Please? There's just nothing like getting bends. Get it? Understand it? "-understanding Bends"? Reconsider!
Amacca email@example.com 10/10. Yep, an absolute materpiece, i must agree. Every song...breathtaking. Unfortunatly its been a long time since i listened to it as i played just TOO MUCH. Ever get depressed when you fear playing albums you know are masterpieces but worried they may not be as good as once were. Along with Pet Sounds and the entire Beatles collection (!) I need a bit of time off from it just so it can feel like the first time all over again.
GARFIELDACRES Scotland What more can be added about ok computer? Not much really apart from confirming that its a magnificent record.
The real joy at this stage in the bands development was the atmospheric guitar playing of greenwood working alongside a thom yorke whod developed as a vocalist . The rhythm section had also beefed up considerably from the bends.
Greenwoods playing certainly evokes memories of guitarists as diverse as george harrison,john mcgeogh,roger mcguinn,david gilmour and johnny marr without really sounding derivative of them. Yorke meanwhile sings like a trapped angel . The last 3 tracks are probably the strongest sequence in radioheads catalogue and exit music and airbag are emotional AND innovative . A rare combination in modern music.
Kid A 8½
( 2000 )
Everything in the right place / Kid A / National anthem / How to disappear completely / Treefingers / Optimistic / In limbo / Idioteque / Morning bell / Motion picture soundtrack
Well, what were you expecting? An exact hybrid of 'OK Computer' and 'The Bends'? How were Radiohead meant to follow up 'OK Computer' anyhow? Any follow up in the same kind of style would have been a very difficult thing to do, and in any event, would have lacked any surprise of the new, whatsoever. 'Kid A' upon release dismayed a few, delighted a few - and also went on to top the charts in the US, a very difficult thing for any UK band to achieve in the present climate, even if you are a band as respected as Radiohead. As far as the sounds that 'Kid A' presents then? Well, electronica based upon such acclaimed artists as Autechre and Aphex Twin. Throw in some Jazz influences ( Monk, Coltrane, etc ) and you'll get some kind of serious, weighty list of artists that influenced Radiohead prior to this albums recording. There is less emphasis on both vocals and lyrics here than Radiohead albums of the past, and more emphasis on the musical soundscapes. The opener 'Everything In It's Right Place' for instance has a simple keyboard melody, cool weaving in and out vocal sounds from Thom, before moving effortlessly into the Aphex Twin ambient stylings of the title song. Waiting for some guitar? Well, will bass guitar do? 'The National Anthem' has one hell of a bass riff underpinning the electronica noise and melody. Dissonance taken from avant-garde Jazz appears later in the song, and this piece in particular is very very striking. 'How To Disappear Completely' is classic Radiohead, a ballad - desolate and with truly beautiful vocal sounds. The four minute so ambient it almost isn't there 'Treefingers' may be seen as filler, but it plays its part in constructing the album.
This is an album that flows extremely well. A lot of thought and time was obviously put into the song selection and running order. 'Optimistic' features guitars, is most akin to Radiohead of the past, thus got played on the radio quite a bit. It pales into comparison with the guitar led highlights of Radiohead's past - was never gonna be a single but given the 'weird' electronica stylings of much of this album, provided radio programmers something to latch onto, in any event. What else were they supposed to do? Office workers don't want to hear something dissonant whilst drinking their tea 10.45am in the morning. Office workers have a lot to answer for in this world. And mechanics, too. And milkmen. Can you whistle to it? No? Take that damn crap off the radio then! What are you trying to do me, make me actually think, wonder - feel actual emotion other than dead straight faced clarity? Guys like me like the confusion, and never earn very much money. An absolute highlight arrives when 'Idioteque' comes clattering in amid electronica techno beats and spooky noises. Thom sounds urgent, sounds fantastic. 'Morning Bell' is an absolute beauty, and like 'The National Anthem' shows what a great rhythm section Radiohead have developed. Great drum work here in particular. The closing 'Motion Picture Soundtrack' is truly a beautiful thing, not much of a 'song' as such, just this lo-fi keyboard melody and atmosphere, but it makes me cry. <
Radiohead has always lived on 'soundscapes' their music is what sets the mood for the lyrics and makes you feel what the lyrics are saying. Kid A did use that heavaly but note that all of there albums from the past have used it, electronica is not the only kind of music you can have "soundscape" in... wtf why am i calling it soundscape, its called atmosphere, and all of radiohead's songs have it!
Paul S firstname.lastname@example.org When I first heard Idioteque, I thought: Oh, god, it's techno. Now, I've listened to
it about 80 times and like it more and more everytime. The 'spooky' chords playing
over the sampled electro drums set a perfect atmosphere for the end-of-the-world
lyrics. I was fascinated by how it flowed into Morning Bell. Motion Picture
Soundtrack... What more can I say? I've never heard anything more beatiful.
Jay LewisDontJump@aol.com 10! 10! 10! Most beautiful amazing music ever made on the planet or off! Besides OK
Computer! Where's "In Limbo"? You can't even tell where the instruments are
sometimes it all flows and meshes so well. This is the greatest album ever made, and
if you think about it real deep, you'll find tons of similarities between it and
Dark Side. In conclusion, 10 dammit!
Spartacus email@example.com I loved this album to death, even more than OK Computer. One of the first songs i ever heard by Radiohead was the title track. that song put me in such a trance, and i just had to pick up the album. when i did i was astounded. songs like Idioteque and In Limbo were definitely the highlight of the album. if i ever need inspiration for writing music, this is the Radiohead album i pick up first. it deserves a 9 at the least!
Paul Yewneakh@aol.com If there's one thing I hate, it's Radiohead and Beatles fans who overrate OK Computer and Revolver to the freaking sky. So you could say I don't like such blind appraisal. However, I'll have to be a hypocrite when it comes to Kid A. It's Radiohead's true peak. It isn't monotonous like some tracks from OK Computer, and depsite the electronica, it isn't alienating like Hail to the Thief. Save for the title track, every piece on this album is effing beautiful. It's one of the rare albums that could hold a candle to DSOTM as well. I give it an 11.
David firstname.lastname@example.org Ah, Kid A. Haunting, beautiful, sometimes a little creepy (title track especially.) But it kicks ass. Almost as good as OK Computer.
Nick email@example.com I was wondering Adrian, as you're also a fan of Aphex Twin, have you noticed a similarily between "Idioteque" and the song off I Care Because You Do, "Start As You Mean To Go On"? It's got the same distorted drums, and similar underpinning resonant melody, and both seem like almost parodies of modern-day techno, but for some reason the Aphex song holds a lot more value to me. "Idioteque" seems like it ought to have a faster tempo so you can at least dance to it. Doesn't mean this isn't a great album, in fact I think it's their best. I even bought it on vinyl, which they strangely enough seperate into 2 10" records, making the album really not fit into my record collection at all (maybe that was the point)! I listened to side A, containing "Everything is in It's Right Place" and "Kid A" backwards to see what they sounded like. A very interesting experiment I do to a lot of the stranger albums simply because my turntable allows it and occasionally you find a real! ly nice backwards melody. Well, of course, being a 10", after the beginning of the first song finished playing backwards, the needle flew off and went right into the mat! Luckily it was a really tough one and didn't break and still plays fine. Still, the album's only 40-some minutes, so why not have just made it a 12"?
Mitch firstname.lastname@example.org When i heard this cd after radiohead finally clicked for me, i thought it was horrid. The only song i could bring myself to listen to was Everything in its right place. My problem was i didnt think to explore the rest of the cd. After finally forcing myself to listen to the whole cd, i found that Everthing in its right place was not the only good song. i became obcessed with optimistic and the the passion of in limbo, and morning bell left me brethless. After that everything just clicked. Kid A's (the song) creapyness soon turned into pure bliss. At one point i thought that the horns at the end of national anthem was just noice, but now i relise that every note has its place. And the passion of how do disappear completely left me almost in tears. This CD is absolutely amazine, but it grows on you, like every radiohead cd. So i say, if you dont like it, listen to it again, and maybe again, you'll see.
Jay email@example.com Three years after OK Computer Radiohead released Kid A. Lost them a lot of fans in the process. Don't think they cared mind. Anyway what there is no doubt of is that to release an album of this genre in 2000 was mind numbingly brave. Mainly electronic landscapes and jazz fused rock encompassed this album. What other mainstream artist(s) would have taken this path after producing an album that has continually topped polls as the greatest album of all time. Eh none is the answer. That's what makes Radiohead so great. This album is a modern day masterpiece. The opening track 'Everything in its right place' is simply beautiful. There are only about three or four noticeable layers yet when you listen to it you are overwhelmed by the atmosphere of the whole thing. It is a contradiction of itself in that it is completely minimalistic in content yet dense when heard. Also must mention 'How to dissapear completely' (Tom Yorke's favourite Radiohead song). Extremely haunting, depressin! gly beautiful and exquisitely simple. Listen to this song late at night with a pair of headphones on and you will love it too.
Chris firstname.lastname@example.org What a stunning album. I never felt so different until I listened to this song. What a great album. Anyone who dosen't like this album dosen't respect Radiohead and shouldn't even enjoy the genuinely of their music whatsoever. The album still contains their brilliant craft and expression which has always been there since "The Bends", but is just expressed in a different form of electronic music. While OK Computer makes me feel that I'm watching the acts of the lyrics been carried out from above, Kid A makes me feel I'm watching the acts of the lyrics right in the middle, falling into peoples minds and its like your telling the story from what you've scene, and it's your own words. A STUNNING ALBUM LIKE ALL THEIR STUFF. 10/10
Amacca email@example.com 10/10. I hate that Kid A gets a bad rep and divided fans so much. But I can understand. My first listen through baffled me to the point of insanity. I thought OK was weird but this! But after many, many listens i finally 'cracked' it and found it to be a most rewarding album. OK was their peak but i actually listen to this more. Both sides of the album are like song streams. The first is the dark side and the other the light (or at leat a lighter shade of grey). The band prove that they take their work seriously and see music as an art form. What's so wrong with that?
Gazza The press went mad about how radiohead had gone "experimental" (who wants to make the same record twice anyway ) after ok computer , and theres no doubt the record dissapointed conventional rock fans but thats not the real problem kid a has - its simply that its a dour record and hard to love . Any adventurous music fan has heard can,mbv, eno,4 tet, aphex twin,coltrane etc and wouldnt be confused by this but simply nod their heads at the references as they appear , and then recognise theyve been done better by the original artists. If radioheads intention is to enlighten their audience to these sounds then fair enough but it takes more than monotonous grooves , and a bit of ambient sound to get me all excited about radiohead making "experimental" music.
Funnily enough the best bits on the album are the songs "how to dissapear" and "motion picture soundtrack" both beautifully arranged and sang by thom - the way the strings overwhelm the former is just awesome but its no! t enough to make this album a regular on the gazza hi-fi . Totally overrated and amnesiacs a much better listen 6/10.
( 2001 )
Packt like sardines in a crushd tin box / Pyramid song / Pulk pull revolving doors / You and whose army? / I might be wrong / Knives out / Amnesiac Morning bell / Dollars & cents / Hunting bears / Like spinning plates / Life in a glass house
To use a comparison from rock history, if I must, the combined weight of the material contained on 'Kid A' and 'Amnesiac' may have been better presented as a double album. Think back to what The Beatles did after 'Sgt Peppers'. Well, they released 'Magical Mystery Tour', Radiohead could well have released their still promised b-sides and rarities set as a neat way to follow-up 'OK Computer' without following it up, if you see what I mean. Then release 'Kid A' as a double album including all of 'Kid A' and most of 'Amnesiac', if not all. You could trim a couple of these songs off the thing, namely 'Amnesiac Morning Bell', a slowed down and spooked version of the 'Kid A' 'Morning Bell' but rather superfluous, all the same. Um, the other one? Oh yeah, the distorted tuneless techno of 'Pulk Pull Revolving Doors' sounds great and scary and impressive and everything... ok, leave that one in! 'Revolution 9' or something, for a double album nobody would be so picky, would they? Or would they? Well, 'The White Album' was The Beatles 'proper' response to 'Sgt Peppers', bearing in mind 'Magical Mystery Tour' was originally only an EP in the UK and turned into an album by the US record label via the addition of extra tracks from singles. But anyway, enough of what this humble reviewer here believes Radiohead should have done. What's more to the point is what they actually did do, what kind of album we have here. Well, all the songs are from the very same sessions that produced 'Kid A', but 'Amnesiac' lacks good sequencing in comparison with 'Kid A', coming across almost as a compilation of out-takes, which in effect, it is. Still, with 'out-takes' as good as either of the opening two songs, we won't complain too much.
'Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box' isn't as beautiful an opening song as 'Everything in the right place' which was very clever anyway, given the change in sound in Radiohead land that 'Kid A' presented. "Everything in the right place? Nothing is in the right fucking place" bemoaned the average techno hating fan of 'Bends' era Radiohead. Still, props to Radiohead for creating such a fantastic rock/techno/electronica crossover as 'Packt Like Sardines'. One lyric, pretty much. Well, one line you can actually make out... "I'm a reasonable man, get off my case" - repeated and repeated amid the beeps and noises and funky goings on. Dig the percussion sounds! Dig, dig, dig! It sounds a little like somebody digging, too. Ah, the second song, 'Pyramid Song' is very nice indeed, spooky sounding with a spooky sense of time and lovely vocals and piano. Spooky is a word that is very appropriate in describing most of 'Amensiac', actually. It's a dark, ominous sounding record, all in all. 'You Are Whose Army' is made all the more powerful by the way Thom almost mumbles the vocal, although, he's mumbling with intent, sneering without shouting. Quietly yet powerfully protesting. So quietly he sounds like a ghost, great mixing and production here. 'I Might Be Wrong' is the funkiest moment of the album and almost, but not quite, straight rock music. Well, not straight at all actually, but at least easy to imagine not requiring too much machinery in order to play the thing live.
'Knives Out' is quickly becoming one of my very favourite Radiohead songs, adore the simple yet beautiful guitar figure, like the energy of the music over which Thom sounds to be singing at a different speed over the top, not quite fitting - and it's a nice effect. 'Dollars And Cents' has a groovy bass-line, 'Hunting Bears' can be dropped from my proposed double album 'Kid A', actually, come to think of it. It's a guitar doodle. It's nice and everything, a weird 21st century blues instrumental of an entirely different kind, but ultimately, entirely pointless. Ah, we can drop 'Like Spinning Plates' as well. Just some keyboard textures ran backwards over which forwards percussion and quiet notes are played. There's more filler on 'Amnesiac' than 'Kid A', yes. Not filler at all, but no less challenging than some of the more obscure electronic experiments, is the drunken under the ocean jazz sounds of the closing 'Life In A Glass House'. Thom seems especially disconnected, as if his voice if floating off altogether, floating downwards I should say, given the entirely miserable yet utterly captivating feel of the piece.
Trevor Evans-Young Paradoxx75@msn.com kid a was bearable, but a mistake by any means! compare it to any(and i do mean any) of radioheads first 3 records, and you will see it doesnt add up. radiohead is just caught up a little too much in this experementalism, they don't get that being differant doesn't always mean being good. and amnesiac? if it were relased as a b-sides, ok. as an album? what?!?!?!? it just sucks by radiohead or anyone elses standards, all the songs are too long and draggggy. maybe i'm just upset that everyone thinks radiohead is great since kid a, but to celebrate these albums? man, the public is dumb. - Doxxman
Jay LewisDontJump@aol.com kill you Doxxman! open your mind! these are great albums. look past the bloopy
noises and you'll find the same great melodies and chord progressions in the bends
and ok computer. just they've taken the tracks further than simple guitar songs.
they got bored. fans would be getting bored to. but all this praise doesn't change
the fact hunting bears is pointless.
firstname.lastname@example.org I thought Like Spinning Plates was just incredible. I totally disagree with your
reviews of Kid A and Amnesiac, I thought both were far better albums than their
earlier work. Call me a rebel, but Pablo honey in no way can compare with Amnesiac,
Kid A, and their newly released Hail to the Thief.
Chris Blaylock email@example.com First off, I am aware that a large number of people consider this to be a b-sides
album. I really cannot understand why you dislike it as much as you do. Every single
song on this is dripping with emotion. It may seem a bit disconnected at times, but
if you pay more attention to the individual songs instead, it is pure genius.
Hunting Bears, though incredibly weird and rhythmless, is this albums transition to
the two closing songs. Like spinning Plates is highly underrated. It may make you
seems somewhat nauseated at first, but if you attempt to listen to the chord
arpeggios in the back ground, it is a completely wonderful song. anywho, i disagreed
with this review
Mike firstname.lastname@example.org I am really tired of people saying certain songs are pointless on Radiohead albums. If they were pointless why would they have them on there? OK Computer would not be the same without "Fitter Happier" because it is the key piece to it and the key to the theme (very spooky too). "Hunting Bears" is very spooky and is not really a song. Yet it is the atmosphere it creates, and what is wrong with the occasionaly atmospheric track? As for the double-album, I burned myself a single album of Kid A and Amnesiac (with 14 songs and 70 mins). It rules. I left off "Hunting Bears" though. And "Kid A", "Like Spinning Plates", "Pull/Pulk Revolving Doors", "Treefingers","In Limbo", and "Amnesiac/Morning Bell." I agree with the rating. An 8.
Dan email@example.com I would just like to agree that Doxxman is indead an idiot. A typical Rock fan who hates anything without guitars. And as he informed us before that he had "a lot of cds MAN", maybe he should try some decent ones
Ricardo firstname.lastname@example.org Although 8 is a reasonable rating for Amnesiac, there is no denying it is a solid and challenging record. It's very haunting and moody and, in my humble opinion, it's very well structured. I like all the songs here, even Hunting Bears (nice and soothing guitar melody) and like spinning plates (although I like the live version better). It is true that Amnesiac is a sequel to Kid A, but it's a good album on it's own and it just keeps on showing us how creative, innovative and good Radiohead are when it comes to song writing. They are not afraid to experiment, and that's the main point on this album.
R.J Pixistix18@aol.comThis Doxxman character is a typical example of the narrow mind interpretation of rock music. I'm sick of hearing Amnesiac is a bunch of Kid A out takes. This record is amazing, after listening to it a million times each track is more and more emotional and potent in your mind. I think Thom put it best,"kid A, that's the fire from afar,Amneisiac, would be like standing in the fire."
Mitch email@example.com Having just listened to this cd for the first time, i can NOT review it. If if were to say stuff right now i would regret it forever knowing it will end up growing on me. I have been listening to radiohead for a long time now and having just listened to amneasic now, i think im crazy. What i can say tho is that im already obcessed with pryamid song, and pactk like sardines is bliss...ill leave it with that.
Amacca firstname.lastname@example.org 8/10. Kid B indeed. I miss the challenge of Kid A and wish that they released it a bit while after so A wouldn't have that 'possible double album' status. But Amnesiac is still bloody good. Plenty of classics which stand up to the A stuff well. The album lacks a strong second side and trundles on towards the end. 'Pulk' sounds good but may rank as one of Heads worst moments. I do love this album but it was step down after two phenominal releases.
Gazza Interesting idea , of making a combined cd of the best bits from kid a and amnesiac . But its amazing to my ears just how much better this sounds . Surely most of the tracks would come from this release ?
"pyramid song" is one of the most beautiful things the bands ever done , "knifes out" and "i might be wrong" show the bands love of the smiths and clear spot era beefheart but this time theyre married to cool tunes.
I really love the way "you and whose army" builds burning with anger and beauty leaving you chilled too the core.
The version of "Morning bell" is far superior too stripped off that clumsy drumbeat , its sounds more ethereal as a result. The last 3 tracks are all good ideas but are a bit on the long side . "dollars and cents" has a great dub bass line and orchestra arrangement but simply plods after a bit , and "life in a glasshouse" is just horrible - marrying his voice to a trad jazz band arrangement just doesnt work.
Still this is probably my! favourite radiohead album (along with in rainbows) - it seems like they have the balance just right here . 8.5/10
I Might Be Wrong - Live Recordings 6
( 2001 )
The National Anthemn / I Might Be Wrong / Morning Bell / Like Spinning Plates / Idioteque / Everything In Its Right Place / Dollars And Cents / True Love Waits
A completely pointless piece of fan fodder this, seemingly released instead of releasing the Amnesiac version of 'I Might Be Wrong' as a stand alone single. 'I Might Be Wrong - Live Recordings' was released just in time for the christmas market of 2001, and isn't the live album anybody in particular would have wanted from Radiohead, but never mind. It takes eight performances from three or four different concerts they played and puts everything together into a tiny eight song album package. I can understand them wanting to focus on the 'Kid A' and 'Amnesiac' material, i've absolutely no problem with that at all. I've no problem with any of the performances here, Radiohead completely out-do themselves in their efforts to perform songs seemingly not easily 'do-able' live. 'The National Anthemn' and 'Morning Bell' for example both sound particularly stellar and great as rendered here. But, only eight songs? Okay, so they gave us one previously unreleased song, the closing acoustic 'True Love Waits', but wait a second.... that's even worse! That makes it just seem as if you're putting on that one, sole, solitary previously unreleased track just to ensure that fans have a reason to buy something that, on the face of it, seems a completely pointless project. Well, fans will delight in some of the performances here, particularly 'Morning Bell' and 'The National Anthemn' and be amazed and realise ( if they didn't already ) that yes, Radiohead are pretty darn great live. But, there's a smell surrounding this release. I guess you can just buy it if you want to and that, of course, nobody is forcing you to go out and buy it...
Oh, 'Like Spinning Plates' is totally transformed over its 'Amnesiac' version, opens all pretty piano and overall, sounds so unlike its studio counterpart that it's almost comical. Well, eventually, once Thom sings - you do realise what's going on and can place the song back to its studio version. This version is better, actually. I like this, it's very nice. As for 'True Love Waits', it's a nice acoustic ballad that wouldn't have sounded out of place on 'The Bends'. And of course, I realise i've been harsh on this live album. Of course I have been, but had they added say, four extra songs - i'd have given it a reasonable ratings. It's a mini-album in effect. I don't have a seperate rating for mini-albums sadly, so this loses points. Harsh? Stupid? Well, put it this way. How would a sixteen track live album released in place of this one have grabbed you? Eg, a cohesive 70/80 minute long album focusing on the 'Amensiac' and 'Kid A' material, including 'True Love Waits' and maybe one or two other previously unheard things.... Wouldn't that have been really nice?
email@example.com i agree that the release date of i might be wrong might be a bit of a ploy, but i think it would be a great way to introduce somebody to radiohead, with real live performances of quite a strange genre of music. Everything in its right place is sooo much better on i might be wrong i think kid a would be a better album if it would have been on it instead of the studio recorded
firstname.lastname@example.org Good live album, though it's too short. Great live versions of "I Might Be Wrong",
"Morning Bell", "Idioteque", "Like Spinning Plates" and "Dollars and Cents".
The only ones that aren't as good, IMHO, are "The National Anthem", and "Everything
In Its Right Place".
Benjomatico Benni.Wassermann@web.de I disagree with your rating for this record. It's not only a fanalbum, but also a good introductionalbum for non-radiohead-users. Every song differs from the albumversion,a few slightly(National anthem,I might be wrong) and a few heavily(like spinning plates!,Everything in its right place), still beeing great. And what about 'True love waits', which's not only well-used infront of a big audience, but also definetly one of Radiohead's best songs. So we can be happy to have at least this great one finally due on an record.
Hail To The Thief 9
( 2003 )
2 + 2 = 5 / Sit Down. Stand Up / Sail To The Moon / Backdrifts / Go To Sleep / Where I End And You Begin / We Suck Young Blood / The Gloaming / There, There / I Will / A Punch Up At A Wedding / Myxomatosis / Scatterbrain / A Wolf At The Door
When I first heard 'There There', the preview single, I was very underwhelmed. Repeated listening made me love it though. I adore it now. I've kind of been on an intensive listening trip to this album since ( at the time of writing ) it was released only a few days ago. Quite quick to write a review, but yeah, you can pack in a months worth of listening into a few days if you try. It's exhausting, but such is the life of the record reviewer who wants to get reviews out for new releases in a timely manner, even without the benefit of pre-release copies. Oh, but of course.... the leaking of 'Hail To The Theif' on the net via MP3s made the news. But then again, making the news was entirely the point, wasn't it? Much of these 'leaks' occur via record company staff, guys from the studio, or PR guys. Whatever, it does good business and builds up the anticipation amongst the fanbase. Anyway, to the matter at hand. 'Hail To The Thief' isn't 'OK Computer II', it isn't exactly a return to all guitar sounds, although it was recorded very quickly, very naturally by all accounts, Thom and Johnny and friends recording together in the old way. This isn't old, though. Yeah, at times, it sounds like 'OK Computer' and 'Kid A' put through a blender then reconstructed again, but that's ok. Radiohead moved on and on, always progressing. They aren't really innovating or progressing here, not really moving on from things they've done in the past, they just sound great, and that's all. That's enough, you know?
What do you expect from a new Radiohead album? Well, maybe a couple of classic songs, at least. Does 'Hail To The Thief' deliver on that front? Why, yes it does! '2+2=5' is a classic. The guitar is back, pretty and delicate, then amazing. The vocals are clear and beautiful and everything is beautiful. When the guitar and noise really hits through the middle and end of the song, we're back to the era of amazement, the kind of feeling you got from listening to 'Paranoid Android' for the first time. '2+2=5' isn't quite as startling as that, true - yet it works, especially once you've listened to it three or four times. 'Hail To The Thief' needs time to sink in, it needs those repeated listens. 'Sit Down Stand Up' makes it two winners in a row - piano off in the distance, Thom sounding so lost and lonely that you want to give him a big hug. I don't quite know what to say, it's just such a great song...... Radiohead on absolute peak form. 'Sail To The Moon' is too lovely for words, so beautiful and lovely and sad and heartbreaking and everything you could have reasonably wished for, prior to hearing this album. It's nothing new as such, not new, no. Yet, it's great, it's good and true. That's enough. This time out, Radiohead overcome not 'progressing' by just writing and performing wonderful songs. That's enough, it really is.
'Backdrifts' is a weak link in the chain, reminds me of the more ambient/techno styled tracks from either 'Kid A' or 'Amnesiac', but isn't quite the same quality as all but the very weakest tracks from said albums. Still, we move on. 'I Go To Sleep' becomes a Radiohead favourite of mine. The guitar, the vocals! The energy, the lyrics.... "over my dead.... body" sings Thom, with meaning and beauty. Thom and Johnny, what a match! And, let's not forget the other guys, these guys are tight. 'Where I End And You Begin' reminds me of 'The National Anthemn' but only a little. We've got spooky keyboard sounds and haunting Thom and neat impressive guitar and one hell of a rhythm section groove. 'We Suck Young Blood' is funny, whoever said Radiohead don't have a sense of humour? Okay, so in this case with very deliberate music with very dark lyrics.... mostly black humour. 'The Gloaming' is reminiscent of 'Idioteque' a little, 'There There' has Johnny doing his stuff most impressively, 'I Will' is a short haunted lullaby. And, for want of carrying on all day like this, each and every one of the closing four songs very good indeed, especially the weird Gary Numan type sounds that pop up all through Myxamatosis. And, the spoken voice that urges on and on through the verses of 'A Wolf At The Door' before Thom comes back in, singing beautifully, so lovely.... ah! What do I give this album, then? How do I sum it up? It's slightly overlong, although that's not a serious problem. It contains a couple of pieces of filler, but that's not a serious problem. It isn't as good as 'OK Computer', all told, but is better, 'probably', than anything Radiohead have done since.
Mac email@example.com Some of the tracks are actually as good, if not better than any thing from “the Bends” and “OK Computer” . If only Radhiohead could resist the temptation of doing Aphex Twin style experiments (Backdrifts and The Gloaming), there would have had masterpiece No.3 on their hands. Still when the end of year awards are distributed, Radiohead will have their share with this fine album.
Simon B firstname.lastname@example.org
I would say that this album is a mix between AMNESIAC, O.K. COMPUTER, and a bit of
THE BENDS. It's interesting how they relased the longest song ("There There") on the
album as a single (but I guess that's also what they did with "Paranoid Android" on
O.K. COMPUTER). I do think it was a good choice for the single, because it's 'back
to guitars' and such, plus it's so catchy. The video's wicked too.
I must admit it took me a while to get into the album, and there's still a few songs
that I don't like (ie: "Where I End And You Begin", "We Suck Young Blood", "The
Gloaming", "I Will"). However, I found that I didn't fully appreciate it for what it
is until I listened to it all the way through. Most of the time it doesn't do it
justice listening to individual tracks. (except for "There There", which, I find
stands on it's own quite well.) Anyway, I think the best tracks are: "2+2=5", "Sit Down, Stand Up", "Go To Sleep", "There There", "A Punchup at the wedding", "Myxoma!
tosis", "A Wolf at the Door". 7.5/10 review by simon b.
email@example.com i completly agree wth your analysis of there there, the first time i heard it was on the jonathan ross show and i amediatly decided radiohead had taken a step back from kid a, amnesiac but after buying the album the song has blown my mind and i feel radiohead have made the right step in the direction of their music. But I also
believe that they will spend longer on their next album and it will sound a lot more
kid a ish
Amanjyot Bains firstname.lastname@example.org I think this is one of the best albums of the year.I have only heard ok computer
though.This is almoast as good.I would like to get my hands on Bends next.
laura email@example.com Dear Sir,
I am impressed with your site. I came across it when I typed "Rage Against
the Machine", and "angry" in google, to see what would come up. You are a
crazy, review-writing machine. However, I am not impressed that you have indicated that "Hail to the thief" should be a starting point if you want to listen to Radiohead for the first time. I
disagree, as I consider Hail to the thief to be their weakest LP since Pablo Honey.
You wouldn't reccommend that to novices. you'd win them over first with OK computer,
get the used to it, talk hypothetically about other releases you might want to try
listening to together then, without pressuring them or anything, you'd suggest that
it might be exciting to spice things up some time with some Kid A. You never know,
they might be totally into that sort of thing. But then again, it's all subjective, so who knows? Not me. i'd write more, but unforseen circumstances have arisen resulting in m!
y sudden need to go play Gameboy and vomit. Bye!
Nicole firstname.lastname@example.org I absolutely love 'Hail to the Thief'!!! But, as you said, it took me a while to
start even liking their new album. At first, I thought it was really getting way too
weird, but the more I listened to it, the more I liked it. My favorite song, though
is "Where you end and where you begin"... it's the typical sad, depressive, and
beautiful Radiohead song. I'd give this album a 10 if it wasn't for a few songs that
I'm not that crazy about...
historicrocker email@example.com Radiohead will never find a music direction to stay comfortable with. Perhaps they don't want to feel like they aren't going anywhere, and maybe their just shoosing what fits their view of what they are writing about best. Anyway, this is a very creative and deeply emotional piece and I congratulate Radiohead for proding it. Though the middle section of the album is much less accessible than say the last five (a wonderful line up as most will understand), it all grows on you and in time you can learn to appreciate the true emotional value of the album. This is an absolute gem in my collection and I think it at least deserves 9.5/10. I believe it also belongs on a top 100 list somewhere, even though not here... in fact it is on a top 100 list: my own. Solid progress from Radiohead here. And what do you expect from such a naturally talented band?
Andy firstname.lastname@example.org I agree with you on almost everything you've said about radiohead. You've summed them up perfectly. Although i wouldn't refer to backdrifts as a weak link. Each to their own i suppose but everyone loves radiohead for what they do and not just what they do right. Cheers all!!!!
Ricardo email@example.com I've always been a Radiohead fan, I've followed their carrer consistantly and it's amazing to see (or listen) how good they have turned out to be. What I mean is that these guys have evolved into master songwriters and performers, and "Hail to the Thieve" is an exelent example of this statment. To me this is their best album, period. Sorry "Ok Computer", but "Hail..." is much more energetic and, yes, wierd; I mean who does'nt love Radiohead because of their wierdness. This is what I like to refer as "the future of Rock & Roll" 'cause Radiohead are not afraid to apply modern technology and sophisticated technics to create some of the best Rock music in the past 10 years.
GAZZA You got to hand it to radiohead, if kid a was a experiment in rock texture and atmospherics then "hail to the thief" tries a different approach again .
This time they become a rock band trying to play electronica and a electronica act trying to play rock . The tracks jerk and change tact and tempo accordingly .
And it works , using laptops and samplers (in the style of aphex twin,4 tet) to create loops that are mirrored with guitars and drums playing repetitive loops and patterns.
The problem for me is that between tracks 4 and 8 the album lags badly . "where you end" sounds like an art rock band playing bon jovis keep the faith !! - later on "mxymatosis" shows the band have a future in a prog rock revival if they fancy it .
"sail to the moon" is just lovely though with a nicely recorded vocal , "there there " and"punch up at a wedding" are the best tracks where radiohead finally succumb to melody on top of a cyclical guitar groove on the former and an almo! st jazz rock groove on the latter - very weather report ;) . At times the feel almost reminds me of mid period floyd the way the music gives off a kind of aural angst .
I cant imagine wanting to play this terribly often to be honest - its a little to hard work in places . But credit to radiohead , instead of reverting back to a conventional guitar record they seem determined to follow their musical instincts to its own natural conclusion. 7/10
Amacca firstname.lastname@example.org 7/10. Had any other band released this I'd probably love it to death. But its Radiohead, the best band ever, and although this is still great compared to their previous stuff its their weakest since Pablo. It just sounds like the lads having a good time and getting things over and done with. I enjoy the excitement of it all. But at the same time it sounds like their going through the motions. There's actual FILLER on a Radiohead album. Too much for my liking. From the Bends to Kid A it sounded like Head were evolving to something big but this is them taking a step back. A enjoyable but ultimatly disapointing album.
Thom Yorke : The Eraser 8½
( 2006 )
The Eraser / Analyse / The Clock / Black Swan / Skip Divided / Atoms For Peace / And It Rained All Night / Harrowdown Hill / Cymbal Rush
Various critics have already dubbed 'The Eraser' as 'son of Kid A' which is weird, because that's what I thought 'Amnesiac' was. The term 'son of Kid A' does give you a fair indication of what to expect from 'The Eraser' however, which far from being any kind of self-indulgent solo record, is actually a wonderful, deep and frequently beautiful record. It's better than a good half of the entire Radiohead output and clearly
puts Thom at the centre of those electronic experiments. Don't write this off expecting electronic doodles! This is an album of proper actual songs, intelligent dance music songs. Songs! You see, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Autechre etc don't write songs, do they? They compose, they paint, they write 'tracks'. The combining of IDM with literate
lyrics and beautiful vocals is a great combination, the same combination of course that made 'Kid A' so rewarding. Thom has happily admitted that many of the songs here came from ideas originally intended for Radiohead. He samples parts of the drums, bass, etc. 'The Clock' is a favourite song of mine, by the way. Starts well with bass parts and
speedy beats and layers of sounds. Interestingly, Thom's way of putting together IDM tracks ends up sounding uniquely him and it's hard to make this stuff sound very distinctive. So, hats off for Thom! Ah, 'The Clock' has very clever lyrics and exquisite vocals. It's wonderful late night listening, ever so slightly spooky.
Another tune i'm gonna pick out from the set, although all are good in their own way, is 'Atoms
For Peace'. Soft Aphex Twin type beats aka 'Ambient Works', crossed with 'Kid A', only without that extra melody line Aphex Twin would layer over the top. Why? Well, the vocals of Thom provide that extra melody line of course, and absolutely gorgeous his vocals are too, one of his best ever vocals, in-fact. Rejoice! Ah, what else? Well, there's jazzy musical influences on the album, there's spoken word sections where Thom
suddenly sounds down with the kids. Well, almost. All of which is covered in melodies, intelligence, great lyrics and of course the memorable vocals of Thom. Sigh. With so many other vocalists always apeing Thom ( and Jeff Buckley ) and coming across as a tuneless younger brother, it's nice to hear Thom singing at his best. 'The Eraser'?
Absolutely essential listening for all Radiohead fans, although fans of 'The Bends' may well be hanging on for the long promised Radiohead return to conventional guitar rock. Whether they deliver that of course remains to be seen. For now, just enjoy 'The Eraser' because that what it's here for.
Anthony email@example.com This is a very humble CD, which is quite different from the rest of Radiohead's catalogue. "The Eraser", "The Clock" and "Black Swan" are infectious, great songs. A few tracks, like "Atoms for Peace", do get a bit tiresome, as if Yorke just ran out of ideas. Otherwise, a fine CD. I'm glad to see Yorke venture out on his own. But we're all waiting for that seventh album. This is only the appetizer before the big meal.
Ricardo firstname.lastname@example.org This cd is just great. The songs are exquisit, Thom has pretty much shown us he is a master in the electronic music genre. I totally agree with you; these are actual songs, not just mere atmosferics, but carefully crafted songs and melodies with emotions and all. A lot of people think that electronic music is a one way ticket to nowhere, but this album just goes to show that a lot is possible with a computer and a MIDI device; it's just that you need a good brain to go along with the combo. Great album.
Thomas Peacock email@example.com the album seems to be very much a mix of radioheads past three albums and pretty much sums up what Thom can do without the band. However, it isn't as good as most of the bands ouput it's still a very good record, i mean... apparently he was just cutting and pasting samples from his laptop and attempted to make it almost as a hip-hop album (in terms of coming up with the tunes), Nigel Godrich obviously helped out a lot and said they could make something rather decent out of it. Yorke's vocals are superb on this record and being a dedicated radiohead fan, it's probably the best he's sounded as a vocalist for a while. The album sags a little bit in the middle and Black Swan, Skip Divided and Atoms for Peace as good as they are aren't on the same par as the rest of the album. The title tracks is beautiful, analyse is rousing, the clock is revealing, black swan quite lighthearted and easy to listen to (as opposed to a lot of the album), skip divided is fucking scary but good for ! it, Atoms for Peace bares on Aphex Twin but with Thom's vocals it is just as good (although it sounds a lot like a radiohead b-side called Worrywort) And It Rained All Night is almost anthemic and the falsetto 'i can never reach you' if just...gorgeous. Harrowdown Hill could probably be a lot of peoples favorite tracks, the ending is brilliant and the 'we think the same thing at the same time' and 'i'm coming home i'm coming home to make it alright, so dry your eyes' is gorgeous...in fact the whole song is beautiful.
The album closer is Cymbal Rush which is similar to the gloaming from HTTT but a lot more woozy... so like the gloaming mixed with a Kid A track... I guess you could call the album "Kid B" but it just sounds fucking stupid, it proves thom's great in his own right and can still make good music without the band (not quite as good though...) so please, call it The Eraser i give the record an 8.5, so i agree with you.
In Rainbows 9½
( 2007 )
15 Step / Bodysnatchers / Nude / Weird Fishes / All I Need / Faust Arp / Reckoner / House Of Cards / Jigsaw Falling Into Place / Videotape
Radiohead have cooked up a nice bit of publicity for themselves whilst at the same time encouraging debate. The 'choose how much you pay' trick is something of a novelty, yet also, something other bands will now surely follow. Early, unsubstantiated reports indicate that Radiohead have shifted 1.2 million copies of ‘In Rainbows’ at a plausable average of £4 per copy. At that rate, they’ve made £4.8 million, with little to come out of that in the way of meaningful overheads. If these reports are accurate, we can expect a lot more artists to do this kind of thing in the future. Anyway, that's not what we're here for. The downloading and MP3 debate can be held another time. What we really want to know is what 'In Rainbows' is actually like. Is it any good? Thankfully, yes. It has 'good' all the way through it, energy, beauty and creativity embedded deeply within it. In short, it's fabulous.
Apart from a couple of tracks, 'In Rainbows' sounds exactly like a band playing live in a studio. 'In Rainbows' is no return to 'The Bends', however. It's more like Radiohead have taken the template and the way the songs were constructed from 'Kid A', yet recorded them straightforwardly. Straightforwardly, and in places, with Johnny Greenwood orchestration. 'Reckoner' for example, utterly gorgeous and mournful. Opens with an imaginative drum pattern which repeats throughout. Latter on, the orchestrations frames Tom Yorke beautifully. It's the kind of cinematic soundscape 'Kid A' benefitted from, yet played by real musicians. '15 Step' opens the album in a style we've become very familiar with from the past few Radiohead albums. Squelchy, furious beats wail away. We then get the sound of real drums, real bass. Fascinating lyrics. It's an uptempo opener which serves to highlight the superb 'Bodysnatchers', rather than being a showboat of its own. 'Bodysnatchers' is a Radiohead classic, guitars interweaving, melodies playing off each other. Wonderful guitar for those of you that like your Radiohead to rock.
A lot of these tunes have been doing the rounds live and on youtube for several years, leading some fans to complain the recorded version of whatever their favourite tune is being inferior. 'Videotape' appears to have come in for the most flack. I deliberately haven't sought out live versions myself, so can't comment on this. In the context of the album, this slow, lonely sounding version of 'Videotape' with clicky sounding beats against mournful piano works perfectly. Highlights abound, apart from the ones i've already mentioned. 'Fishes-Arpeggi' is a bit of a stunner, for example. A nice ringing guitar sound, an urgent sounding drum pattern and Thom Yorke at his most beautiful fills up the first couple of minutes. The bass is subtle yet groovy. The lyric and Thom's performance is arguably his finest on the LP, wonderful lyrics and a commanding, fascinating and hypnotic vocal throughout. 'Faust Arp' is the sounding of obscure Thom lyrics married to folky acoustic guitar and a string section. It's a brief two minutes, yet a welcome sonic variation. 'House Of Cards' is so lovely, with its ghostly 'whooo whoa' vocal intro, plenty of echo on the lead vocals. 'I just wanna be your lover' sings Thom, a moment of clarity before slurring the next phrase quite deliberately. Opening up, then pulling back. Another very clever set of lyrics is a feature of 'House Of Cards', then.
One more track I need to mention before I let you go to continue listening. 'Nude' has attracted comparisons with 'Exit Music' from 'OK Computer'. It has a similar spooked feeling. It's also every bit as good. Oh, when the strings come flourishing in towards the end? How beautiful is that? So, 'In Rainbows'? Seems aptly named as well as being the most cohesive album long statement Radiohead have been since 'OK Computer' ten years ago. Also, it's their best since 'OK Computer'. Much like Pink Floyd with 'Dark Side Of The Moon', 'OK Computer' is something of a noose around the bands neck, yet through their constant exploring, they may just a found a way past that. Excellent stuff.
David firstname.lastname@example.org I agree Adrian, IR is surely at least the most cohesive album they've done in a while. Probably their strongest since Kid A or even OK Computer. It's just plain beautiful.
Lucas thom´s vocals are the most amazing ever in this album... completely gorgeous
J email@example.com Like most Radiohead albums I hated it upon first listen. But also being a long time Radiohead fan I know I had to give it time. First go around left me felling that the songs just kinda moved by with little change or variation from begingin to end. But that was on my crappy work computer speakers. Once I burned the download to disk and got it home to my Stero the album opened up to me. Upon first listen I mistook "15 Step" as a Kid A leftover. But once the jazzy gutair comes in I knew that this was going to be something diffrent from them. And that is what I love about Radiohead that I just don't get from other bands. Most bands release a CD and within the first few listens I can tell that I am going to get tired of it as some point soon. But Radiohead is diffrent. each time I listen to one of their albums I hear something that I may have missed the first few times through. Heck, I can still listen to "OK Computer" and hear something that I missed the first 100 times. And th! at is why I now love this CD, is because in order to love it you have to listen to it, you can't just put it on as background because you will miss what they wan't you to hear.
Michael Flynn firstname.lastname@example.org well Ive listened to it about ten times and I like it all. I particularly like Reckoner ...'you cant take it with you' being right on the money and nude...a great chill out album. Well done fellas..
Chris email@example.com Stunning, best since kid a. Spot on review, but maybe another 6 months will grant better perspective.
Charles D firstname.lastname@example.org It's funny that you compare Exit Music to Nude the way you did. I've always seen Exit Music as Nude's evil twin, since I first listened to In Rainbows. Actually, OK Computer is a bit of In Rainbows evil twin when you think about it. Its probably Radiohead's "brightest" sounding album.
Gazza email@example.com the plaudits are deserved , firstly for sticking it right up the hole of a corrupt rotten record industry (how sick must EMI be ) and secondly for using the net to deliver their best work since kid a.
"reckoner" is just gorgeous , that can style beat and spacey sound makes me want to drive my car forever . "faust arp" shows the band have paid attention to those classic nick drake arrangements .
But while "amnesiac" and "hail to the thief" had grating moments where the experimentalism seemed overbearing and willful "in rainbows" has a lightness of touch that makes it a joy to listen to . Radiohead have made experimental sounds part of the fabric of their sound (unlike u2 who used it as a toy to pick up and put back down when sales started to turn on them) but theyve proved they can make an accessible record out of these sounds .
Its a brilliant album and one of the best four pounds ive ever spent . Thanks guys .
Thomas Some songs have been changed dramatically especially Videotape. The guitar used in the live version drove the song and it is very hard to get used to it without Jonny's constant action. Nude is the highlight of the album. It is unrecognisable from the original but is immensely better. This is the best album for me. I really hope they don't release any singles because this album is too beautiful to be tainted. Like Kid A. Let the fans decide what are the highlight tracks.10/10 for me
Alex firstname.lastname@example.org Obviously each person has an opinion and I am not trying to convince anyone but to me this album is the best album ever made. There are only one maybe two songs that now make up my favourite radiohead songs that arn't off In Rainbows. and for only AUD$10!
Killing Time email@example.com Here, Radiohead comes up with a trademark sound wich is a recapitulation of their previous works. You can see it in the frequent "uuuhs" sung by various Thom at the same time, or the patented guitarwork. Second, Radiohead is moving into a less commercial territory, bringing hermetic music like they did in Kid A or Amnesiac (and didn't in Hail) And third, they add orquestal arrangements, giving the music a beauty that was impossible to see on previous Radiohead. In the "mood" department, I must say Radiohead is still depressive, BUT it seems Thom is more quiet than before. So, basically you have the same dark atmospheres plus some "patented Radiohead sounds", nothing new or inventive. The difference is the orquestal work, bringing us clearer, beautier atmospheres, which I like a lot. So I think this is worthy, but not an all-time classic.
Killing Time firstname.lastname@example.org Here, Radiohead comes up with a trademark sound wich is a recapitulation of their previous works. You can see it in the frequent "uuuhs" sung by various Thom at the same time, or the patented guitarwork. Second, Radiohead is moving into a less commercial territory, bringing hermetic music like they did in Kid A or Amnesiac (and didn't in Hail) And third, they add orquestal arrangements, giving the music a beauty that was impossible to see on previous Radiohead. In the "mood" department, I must say Radiohead is still depressive, BUT it seems Thom is more quiet than before. So, basically you have the same dark atmospheres plus some "patented Radiohead sounds", nothing new or inventive. The difference is the orquestal work, bringing us clearer, beautier atmospheres, which I like a lot. So I think this is worthy, but not an all-time classic.
Randolph Sparks email@example.com Spot on review Adrian, without a doubt the best album of 07. I do belive that it is always best to give an album time before handing out 10s I definitly think that this album has the staying power to acheive the perfect score from me.
adam firstname.lastname@example.org This is definatly there best work since the 90's. There was too much slack on 'HTTT' and a lot of that should have been left on the cutting room floor.Only breifly did I hear Radiohead at their best. However at a lean 10 tracks 'In Rainbows' is a definate return to form. Opening with two great stompers '15 Steps' & 'Bodysnathers' it continues with strong innovative songs Other highlights being 'Reckoner' & 'Jigsaw Falling into Place'. Great instruments and Thom's distinctive voice keeps things moving along nicely. Slightly more commercial than recent efforts but all the better for it. Let's hope a follow up is'nt another four years away.
The King Of Limbs 8½
( 2011 )
Bloom / Morning Mr Magpie / Little By Little / Feral / Lotus Flower / Codex / Give Up The Ghost / Seperator
Technology has evolved in music to the point where it's perhaps impossible to do anything significantly new with it. Technology evolving has always led the great stylistic breakthroughs of the past. The Beatles thrived upon the ever expanding possibilites of the studio environment. The early 80s new wave/synth pop scene came about because the price of technology fell to an affordable level and married with the punk spirit, out came loads of new bands that might not have existed before. Frank Zappa, that wiley old fox, saw the future in the early to mid eighties with his Synclavier synthesizer, a huge unweildy piece of furniture you had to sit down and programme, rather than play as such. It boasted the ability to be able to re-create any natural musical sound. That the technology available at the time meant it failed in this task isn't surprising but Zappa knew where the future lay. Fast forward to now, we've had no significant technological advances during the past ten years or so, rather continued evolution. The idea of re-creating accurately any natural musical sound still isn't quite with us because computers don't really grasp the idea of acoustics very well. Brian Wilson, Phil Spector - any of those Sixties producers knew very well the value of acoustics, different rooms and recording enviroments bringing out different feels.
'The King Of Limbs' mixes the digital with 'the real' as did 'In Rainbows', 'Kid A' etc. You could say it does nothing really very different to 'Kid A', which was released some ten years ago. To sum up this technological thing, compare the advances between 1960 and 1970 or 1980 and 1990. The advances between 2000 and 2010 that meaningfully affect the way people make music have been far fewer in comparison. 'The Kind Of Limbs' runs to just over 37 minutes in total, a suitable time in his modern world. 'Dark Side Of The Moon' ran to 42 minutes, it was only with the age of CD an album apparently 'had' to be longer than the optimum 35-45 minutes. Don't feel short-changed then, if you were, that 'The King Of Limbs' is 8 tracks running to 37 minutes. Another couple of tracks we've got 43/44 minutes - it did perhaps need one more track as the album tails off rather than ends, but I trust Radiohead know what they are doing more than myself
37 minutes is a good time to listen to an album on the way to work, during a lunch break, after work before the kids get home - whenever. It seems to have been designed as a whole rather than a random bunch of tracks, as the album progresses it moves subtly away from the electronic to the more natural, almost folk of the likes of 'Codex' and 'Give Up The Ghost' before settling down once again. I like that evolution within a record. The latest PJ Harvey effort shares this sort of thing, PJ and Radiohead both artists who remember and love the old fashioned vinyl album as something to cherish. The clattering 'Bloom' has some really very clever things going on in the background, great bass sounds, wailing from Thom - as a standalone track it works far less well than it does here, running into the edgy and funky 'Morning Mr Magpie'. We then get, well, a 'proper' song with 'Little By Little'. Again, subtly from the guitar parts both bass and lead. Great drum patterns and an actual chorus. Beautiful singing actually from the apparently ageless Thom Yorke vocal chords. 'Feral' rounds off 'Side A' with tribal percussion and vocal sounds. Again, standalone you might think this fails but within the context off the album it rounds off 'Side A' very well indeed' You can pause now if you like and come back to the 2nd half of the album whenever you like, or just carry on. Not all albums succeed in offering such an opportunity.
'Lotus Flower' is good enough to have fitted in quality wise with anything on 'In Rainbows' which essentially means it's very good indeed. 'Codex' switches to Thom and Piano, switches to ballad mode. Acoustics play a part, you can imagine the piano off to the side of your room and Thom singing to you, empathising with you - this lonely slice of beautiful sadness. 'Give Up The Ghost' switches to Thom and an acoustic guitar, utterly lovely backing vocals and a song to make everyone in the room stop talking - it's great when a song manages to captivate a whole audience like that. Also, as a measure of how Radiohead have progressed, it's impossible to imagine Radiohead circa The Bends being able to create something this mature and wonderful, songwriting wise. The closing 'Separator' is five minutes of Radiohead sounding like a band playing live, another welcome shift whithin the album as an entity. It takes a few listens but this is equally as good as anything else the album offers a listener. Although 'only' 37 minutes long, it feels like a genuine emotional journey. That's good. Radiohead, it goes without saying, are still very good indeed.