Archive for July, 2010

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Album 20 of 500: Radiohead – Kid A

July 30, 2010

BAND: RADIOHEAD
ALBUM: KID A
LABEL: EMI Recordings
RELEASE DATE:  October 3rd 2000

Picture yourself on a hot summer day, in a garden in the middle of the city. Tall sunflowers tower over you, casting a weird alien looking shadow. You feel something isn’t right, and you know you are in a dream state. A perfect example of this can be found in the song, “How to Disappear Completely.”  “That there/That’s not me/I go/Where I please/I walk through walls/I float down the Liffey/I’m not here.” Kid A is the ultimate audio out of body experience, or soundtrack to anyone’s dream state. The follow up to the acclaimed 1997 release, OK Computer, Radiohead needed a power album.  Unsure on what direction their sound was going to go, tension grew and almost split the band. Lead singer Thom Yorke, met fellow band mates, bassist Colin Greenwood and gutarist, Ed O’Brien in 1985 at the Abingdon School, where they attended. Colin grabbed his brother, Jonny to join, and the lads got drummer, Phil Selway. The boys took some time off to go college, got back together to make a demo, which EMI caught wind of in 1991. They were not always called Radiohead. In fact, EMI asked them to change their name. On a Friday, doesn’t really make a good band name.  The lads, influenced by the Talking Heads, borrowed a name of a song off the True Stories album. Two years later, Radiohead release  their debut album, Pablo Honey. Not even one percent of bands in music history could pull off what Radiohead produced next. Radiohead made quite the comeback to OK Computer. Making most best of the decade album lists, including this writer’s. Radiohead albums keep growing and changing and we are certainly greeted with this more of an electronic approach and in similar style to what many believe, their defined sound they stumbled on in OK Computer in this complete evolution in their sound.  Paired with producer Nigel Godrich again for this album, we are greeted with the what Rolling Stone called the best album of the decade. Thom Yorke describes tionhis work best, in the only American interview for the album. “I find it difficult to think of the path we’ve chosen as ‘rock music,'”  “Kid A is like getting a massive eraser out and starting again.” They did trade in the nineties gutarist riffs for more of an electronic sound.  However, they did not kill the guitars entirely. Songs that sound like they go on the reject list for Ok Computer showed up on Kid A. Examples of this are “Optimistic” and “National Anthem.” Yorke’s lyrics are still dark, yet simple.  “Morning Bell,” could tell a tale of a troubled marriage with lyrics stating, “Clothes are on the lawn with the furniture,” “Cut the Kids in Half” and begging, “Release Me.”  “Optimistic” is a song about making the album with a chorus of, “If you try the best you can/The best you can is good enough.” The album ends with, “Motion Picture Soundtrack,” a song which acts more of ends cerdits to a film.  “Motion Picture Soundtrack,” reminds one of waking up after a night of crazy dreams. Kid A is an electronic dream. Radiohead did try the best they could, and they showed the best they could is indeed good enough.

RM CRESSER © 2010 500 Rad Records