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Radiohead - Kid A CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.95 | 761 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars What happens when you write one of the greatest albums of all time and reach the inevitable peak of your career, knowing that nothing can beat the previous album? It's happened to many bands. A classic case is Dream Theater struggling to beat their "Scenes from a Memory" album because it was too good (altohugh in my opinion, siz degrees and train of thought are masterpieces). Radiohead avoided their plummet and produced "Kid A". This album takes the height of experimental rock music, multilayered sounds, bittersweet vocals, haunting melodies and depressing lyrics, and fused it with some mild electronica to create their weirdest and most experimental album yet. This one could definetly be seen as prog. Part one of an incredible double album (the second being amnesiac which was recorded in the same sessions). This album had no singles or promotional videos, yet still came out on top as a bestseller and blagged best album in the brit awards, beating many pop acts and mainstream rock albums.

This album took me months and months to get into, as it was so different to anything i had ever heard at the time, this album is one of the strongest, weirdest and most beautiful moments of the bands career. "Everything in its Right Place" kicks off the album with gentle electronica. This album combines a mixture of drum machines and Phil Selways own personal touches. The production on this album isn't quite as layered and complex as Ok Computer but they have gone for a different kind of experimental outlook by putting in weird mixing and mastering into this album which builds up the weirdness of it all. This is evident from the very start.

the title track is a difficult one yet i think it is incredibly ghostly, sounding like something out of a horror movie or a Silent Hill game. It is scary in the fact that is so gentle and strange, making the album unique in a whole new way. The band have obviously lost some of their rock qualities of the first 3 albums and gone for a more underground approach. This album still possesses the classic Radiohead signature sound, it has evolved tremendously here. This track uses the first set of electronic beats, almost referencing a mellow techno related sound. Thom uses very weird effects on his voice yet that piano intro is undeniably beautiful.

The weirdness continues, with a stretchy yet rocking intro that sticks the bass guitar up on the front line to give a more dirty and familiar sound. "The National Anthem" is a live favourite, Phil uses manual drums on this track and gets a lush sound. there is the addition of brass instruments which is new to this album, giving not only an experiment in sound and production, but expanding their choice of instruments as well, a technique familiar amongst us prog rockers. The high pitched squels that Thom provides on this track pay off well, making "The National Anthem" a classic track.

"How to Disappear Completely" is one of my favourite Radiohead tracks. This brings back that familiar depressing, moody vocal sound with a dirty mellow musical soundscape. when Thom sings "i'm not here" it is very deep and emotional. "Treefingers" is a strange instrumental track that keeps the flow of the album going using progressively built up sounds. It is neither a standout track nor one to skip.

"Optimistic" is a wonder. Optimism isn't exactly a very Radiohead thing but this track is both dull and full of life. Thoms dull and depressing vocals are still apparent yet shine out greatly with the guitar work here. The lyrics are again, very clever, weird and just plain incredible. This adds balance and life to the album brilliantly and is well placed in the middle of the album.

"In Limbo" is a masterpiece in its own right, perfect with builds ups, a strange intro that tags on so well from the previous tracks closing techno jam. Thoms chilling "I'm on your side" cuts through the song, breathing new life. This track weaves in and out of quiet and emotional parts and builds furthur to end in a distorted uproar with tortured vocals.

"Idoteque" is the peak of the album, probably the greatest track on the album, blending electronic beats perfectly with some of Thoms craziest yet best vocal and lyrical work, this is really something original and different. I've never heard anything like this. The song thrives with unexpectancy and anticipation so much that it will have you listening again and again.

"Morning Bell" is a fine follow up to this track, i prefer this to "Morning Bell/Amnesiac" on the next album. This is definetly a progressive track as it changes and changes almost as if its following different movements within the song. The album closes with a heartwarming epic, "Motion Picture Soundtrack" which is full of emotion. Once the strange intro is out of the way, Thoms signature vocals build up a depressing lullaby yet something we can all relate to and cry over. There is a bit of silence and then a trumpety extra bit to close the album.

This is a stunning piece of music, incredibly original and accessable once you have got past the difficult change in style. This album is very prog in a subtle way but not full out prog. This is definetly an essential album along with all of their works, and will fit nicely with the most die hard prog fans collection. Radiohead prove that they can follow a masterpiece with another masterpiece and are definetly one of the greatest bands in existance.

frenchie | 5/5 |


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