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Radiohead - Amnesiac CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.64 | 463 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Before I go further, I want to say that I do consider RADIOHEAD prog in the overall view. While I despise the "next Pink Floyd" comparisons I used to hear, I do think that's the element the two bands have in common. My two-star rating is not an attack against RADIOHEAD's status as a prog band. It's just that my reactions vary considerably to these albums. This one was an experiment that didn't go so well.

It worked on Kid A. It didn't work so well here. It's tough to say given that I consider Kid A to be the ultimate RADIOHEAD masterpiece if not one of the most seamless albums that I own, but it's unavoidable. Unfortunately, I cannot honestly say that Amnesiac is of anywhere near the same quality as Kid A. For one thing, cohesion is mostly lacking here--there is not really a flow from one song to the other.

The truly damning problem, however, is the fact that there are too many songs that for various reasons, I simply cannot stand, and no amount of listening or re-listening has changed that. "Knives Out", "Morning Bell/Amnesiac", "Hunting Bears", and "Life in a Glass House" simply lack any enjoyable factor in them. The latter three just plod along directionlessly and especially in the case of that awful remake of "Morning Bell", rather tunelessly until the end. I simply cannot comprehend what possessed RADIOHEAD to slaughter a song that worked so well on Kid A, and actually release the corpse to the public. "Life in a Glass House" isn't that bad, but is dull enough that I simply have no need to listen to it. The same goes for "Hunting Bears", which more than any track on Amnesiac smacks of filler. As for "Knives Out", while it's faster-paced, I simply cannot stand it, neither lyrically nor musically. I don't understand what anyone sees in it.

That isn't to say this album is without merit. "Pyramid Song", "Push/Pulk Revolving Doors", "You and Whose Army" (the end of it, anyway), "I Might Be Wrong", and "Like Spinning Plates" are all certainly worthy of mention, especially the utterly sublime "Pyramid Song", which is almost on par with the ultimate RADIOHEAD masterpiece, "How to Disappear Completely". Which is no insult to it...I'm not sure most songs COULD ever attain to such a high level. "I Might Be Wrong" is excellent here--particularly when the synth riff kicks in. It works far better here than in the studio (I've never understood all the raving and drooling about live RADIOHEAD, anyway, for the most part).

As I said, there are some very nice songs on this albums that I would definitely select if I were compiling a Greatest Hits of RADIOHEAD album. The trouble is, there just wasn't enough for me to keep this thing around, and I finally ripped the songs that I do like and sold the CD. Amnesiac quite simply lacks the consistent quality for me to consider it a good album. Knowing that Amnesiac is essentially a slapped-together album of outtakes doesn't help me any, either. And coupled with Hail to the Thief, which I also think is excessively "hailed" by some, given that it's not up to par with the three RADIOHEAD greats, I have to wonder if RADIOHEAD floundered or flat-out lost its touch after its three masterpieces in a row. Only their next album will tell.

FloydWright | 2/5 |


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