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Old 08-01-2011, 11:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Ambition Makes You Look Pretty Ugly - I Review Radiohead

Radiohead

Their name alone sparks feelings of utter musical bliss in listeners everywhere. Their work has been described as "genius", "brilliant", sometimes even "the greatest work of music to ever be conceived". Well, I'm going to take a look at Radiohead's discography and review every album one by one. I won't do it chronologically, just in whatever order I feel like doing them in. I'm going to try and see if Radiohead is truly as brilliant as everyone says. So let's begin, shall we?


Album: Kid A
Released: October 2, 2000
Length: 49:57
Track Listing:
1. Everything in Its Right Place
2. Kid A
3. The National Anthem
4. How to Disappear Completely
5. Treefingers
6. Optimistic
7. In Limbo
8. Idioteque
9. Morning Bell
10. Motion Picture Soundtrack


Radiohead's follow up to their massively successful and popular OK Computer seems to take a change of pace and genre from their earlier work. While Pablo Honey and The Bends were undoubtedly rock records, and Computer is in a league of its own, Kid A seems to take a more artistic and electronic approach. However, that's not necessarily a bad thing. From the very moment you push play on "Everything in Its Right Place", and the powerful keyboard floods your mind combined with Thom Yorke's beautiful yet foreboding vocal, you know you're in for something special. The mildly unsettling tone continues into the title track, where an extremely editted robotic-like voice peaches, "We've got heads on sticks/You've got ventriloquists".

The tempo ups a bit in "The National Anthem", which has a very intense horn-blaring bridge which may have some inspiration from progressive rock. Personal favorite "How to Disappear Completely" follows and is a haunting acoustic ballad that seems to carry on with the central idea of the previous three tracks of alienation and sadness. "I walk through walls/I float down the Liffey/I'm not here/This isn't happening". The lyrics and vocals all expertly invoke a feeling of utter alienation and sadness to the listener.

The instrumental, "Treefingers" follows, which is an ambient and transcending adventure that can really take your mind places (and lull you to sleep in some cases). It does an excellent job at giving a break in the album, as the next half as a whole is a little more upbeat than the first half, especially since the next song is even titled "Optimistic". Often considered the highlight of the album along with "Idioteque", "Optimistic" is a 5 minute epic about trying the best you can and is accompanied by a sweet guitar riff and powerful background keyboards that are typical of Radiohead on this album. This more lighthearted side of the album doesn't last though as it leads into "In Limbo", a very haunting track where a creepy arpeggio riff plays in the background while Thom chants some haunting lyrics. "I'm on your side/Nowhere to hide/Trapdoors that open/I spiral down".

"Idioteque" is often named one of Radiohead's finest hours, and I can certainly agree. It seems to describe an apocalypse of sorts, ("Who's in a bunker/Women and children, first") The song is very powerful and also incredibly written. The drum beat in the background is excellent accompanied by a haunting chord progression played on the keyboard and, as always, Thom's vocal is absolutely beautiful. The next track, "Morning Bell", appears to be the aftermath of the apocalypse described in Idioteque, and is a slow, melancholy ballad of sorts. The final track, "Motion Picture Soundtrack", ends the album on a high note. The horns are absolutely beautiful and uplifting yet sad at the same time, and it feels like they are part of a funeral of sorts, perhaps for the entire world considering Idioteque showed an apocalypse happening. I personally believe that this song is perhaps Yorke's most beautiful vocal performance, and he ends the album with a beautiful sung lyric in "I'll see you in the next life", which leads this album into an ending that is simply a metaphorical 3 minutes or so of silence.

Kid A is basically a perfect album through and through. Thom Yorke's vocals are always hauntingly beautiful, and Radiohead really created a masterpiece back in 2000 when they released this record. It is an adventure through the brilliant minds at work in Radiohead, an adventure that is artistically mind blowing and will stay with you forever.

Rating: 10/10
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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My favourite track of this album is 'How to Dissapear completely.' Its not my fave Radiohead album but it is good. Id give it a 7/10....
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I like anyone that gives Kid A a 10/10.


*claps*
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon.
Yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon.
Yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon.

Spoiler for ...:
A LEMON!
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Old 10-17-2011, 02:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I was a bit scared when you said "I'm going to try and see if Radiohead is truly as brilliant as everyone says" because it sounded for a moment that you were going to say something nasty. Thanks for proving me wrong!

By the way, TheCunningStunt, I notice you are from Manchester, my local city. I thought I was the only Mancunian with a computer (apart from those house sized ones they used in UMIST).
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Kid A was the first album I picked up from Radiohead, and it was not what I was expecting. It did grow on me overtime, but it is a very mood oriented record for me. I ran to it the other day in the rain, and it just sounded beautiful. On the other hand, sometimes it doesn't do as much for me, but that is such with a lot of music.

8-9 out of 10 for me, I think.

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Old 10-17-2011, 08:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCunningStunt View Post
Spoiler for ...:
A LEMON!
This joke is so good, I've seen it on two separate occasions, and forgetting that I'd seen it, I still laughed a hearty guffaw each time.
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