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Radiohead - Kid A CD (album) cover

KID A

Radiohead

 

Crossover Prog

3.95 | 750 ratings

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rogerthat
Prog Reviewer
5 stars I love the time I spend listening to music and think of it as a pleasurable experience. But if what the music began to resemble a monstrous creature that, having somehow leapt out of the stereo, started creeping towards me slowly but surely? And if it was yet so enchanting that it paralyzed me to watch, frozen with fright, as it did so?

That weird description would aptly sum up my reaction to the first time I 'properly' heard Everything In Its Right Place. The first time I actually heard it, it sounded too unlike what Radiohead I knew and I couldn't penetrate it. When I did, I was, needless to say, mesmerized.

The repeating electronic loops of Everything in Its Right Place more or less sum up what Radiohead achieve with Kid A. It's electronic, but it's still alive, so much so that it's scary. It is just a repeating loop but it's not static; it feels like it's moving, all the time, closer to you. And powerless as you are to resist, you shall be sucked into another world, one of a cloning experiment gone horribly wrong.

What's interesting, though, is you don't really need to know much about the concept to enjoy this album. In fact, you may not need to try too hard to understand what on earth is Thom Yorke saying (or singing). I don't. It hardly matters, at least to me. Kid A portrays a powerful and hypnotic mood of the kind that's rarely heard in contemporary music. The kind that has labyrinths of seemingly infinite depth from which emanate strange sounds that you notice for the first time after having listened to the album several times..."oh, did I really miss this before!"

Everything....is hardly the only track that manages to achieve such a mesmerizing effect. How to Disappear Completely is not too far off on the creepiness quotient. I don't know whether I should feel sad for and empathize with Yorke as he sings, "I am not here, this isn't happening" or listen to the ominous sounds in the background and feel afraid. Once again, not a track that exhibits a lot of development in the conventional sense understood and favoured by progheads but its impact is profound.

Morning Bell is a little more conventionally proggy. It changes direction quite a bit and comes the closest to sounding like Pink Floyd of all tracks on this album....and it's still not a whole lot. It's decidedly a far cry from the Radiohead of OK Computer and is often even more effective than the best moments of that album...quite comfortably so.

Which brings me to the most amazing aspect of Kid A. It is one of the most incredible attempts by a rock band to reinvent itself. Very few rock bands have changed their style so drastically with their follow up to a (proclaimed) masterpiece and still retained an intangible something that's recognizable as their trademark. Robert Fripp achieved it by overhauling the line up of musicians. Radiohead did nothing of the sort for Kid A. Every band member found a role for himself in this new style and contributed to creating a radically different experience for the audience. While their execution is still convincing enough to make this drastic change of face work.

There's not a whole lot more to say about what is easily my favourite 21st century rock album. I don't think attempting to describe the tracks any further would make much sense when it comes to this album. Especially because the surprise at discovering that this is indeed Radiohead, the same band that made Bends and OK Computer, is a huge part of the experience. Magnificent masterpiece of modern rock, gets all 5 stars without hesitation.

rogerthat | 5/5 |

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