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Radiohead - Kid A CD (album) cover

KID A

Radiohead

 

Crossover Prog

3.91 | 548 ratings

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zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars Radiohead caught everyone by surprise when they released Kid A. Nobody was quite sure what to make of it. Billboard magazine gave it half a star. Rolling Stone had a headline that read "in order to save rock music, Radiohead had to destroy it". Thom Yorke at this point was being influenced by experimental electronic artists from the Warp label. The main instrument on the album is the Ondes Martenot, a French synthesizer from the 1920s. The production of Nigel Godrich is great on this album.

There is lots of spacey effects and manipulated vocals on Kid A. The follow up Amnesiac (recorded at the same time) is even more experimental but not as consistent. "Everything In It's Right Place" has odd backwards vocal effects throughout the song. There is a steady electronic bass drum sound. The Ondes Martenot here sounds like an electric piano. The title track starts with a glockenspiel(?). It has programmed beats that you would find in IDM ("Intelligent Dance Music"). The vocals sound like a computer voice. Some nice atmospheric synth sounds after 3 minutes. Great bass after 4 minutes. "The National Anthem" has a post- punk style bassline which Thom Yorke wrote when he was a teenager. A great steady beat. After 2 1/2 minutes all sorts of horns come in. They create a free-jazz style cacophony. It sounds like a real national anthem is played at the end.

"How To Disappear Completely" is the first song on the album to feature guitar. It could have been on OK Computer. Lots of strings. U2-like guitar effects. Some lovely singing from Yorke in this song. "Treefingers" sounds like ambient Eno, while "Idioteque" sounds like Aphex Twin. "Optimistic" sounds the most like OK Computer. I love the fast guitar after a minute and a half. The song ends with a jazzy/funky beat. This version of "Morning Bell" is better than the one on Amnesiac. Features a great drumbeat. More electric piano sound from the Ondes Martenot.

Some of the lyrics for the album were made by cutting random lines out of newspapers and pulling them out of a hat. On "Morning Bell" the line "cut the kids in half" is taken from an article about divorce, for example. The last song "Motion Picture Soundtrack" is based on harmonium. Parts of it remind me of Sigur Ros. A bass sound comes from cello I think. Later on there is glockenspiel(?) or celesta(?). Very nice. A very experimental mainstream album for the year 2000. Radiohead directly influenced many rock groups of the past decade to add electronic elements to their music. Not a masterpiece but great modern 'prog'. 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |

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