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RADIOHEAD

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Radiohead biography
Formed in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England in 1985

With every new album, UK quintet Radiohead reaches ever further to expand their sound, shedding their initial classification as an alt.rock band to become one of the leaders in experimental, challenging modern music.

Radiohead's official introduction to the world was 1993's 'Pablo Honey', built of simple songs that were introspective and sometimes melancholic. Garnering massive success thanks to a huge hit single, Radiohead turned a cold shoulder to the mainstream and recorded 'The Bends', which, while still firmly in the modern-rock mold, didn't make concessions to the mainstream's expectations. Experimentation and arrangements began to blossom on this album, but only hinted at their next phase. 'OK Computer' was released in 1997 and took the world by storm, alienating some older fans while gaining a slew of new fans from all walks of musical life. This album turned the idea of the modern rock album on its head, utilizing a vast array of sounds, touching on everything from '70s progressive rock to the emerging techno/electronica movement, strengthened with a rather grandiose production job. It was an ambitious, adventurous work that will hold up decades from now. Despite spawning several hit singles, it was an immense chunk of diversity that showed Radiohead were going to be an unpredictable entity in the ensuing years.

To their credit, the band did not rest on their laurels as the mainstream's darling art rock band, pushing the envelope much further upon the release of 2000's 'Kid A'. An angular, sometimes difficult work, 'Kid A' was a perplexing shift in direction. It sometimes sounds like a band running riot in a musical equipment warehouse/museum, such is its wide array of tones and sonic dexterity. Songs become anti-songs, and you never know what's waiting around the corner. Capitalizing on this newfound freedom to go anywhere with their music, the band released 'Amnesiac' a year later, often looked at as the companion piece to 'Kid A'. 'Amnesiac' mirrored the approach of 'Kid A' while holding up strongly in its own right.

2003 brought the band's sixth studio album, 'Hail To The Thief', a 14-song monster that seemed to be the culmination of everything that came before it, with a firm eye toward a number of new realms. With a seemingly limitless arsenal of ideas and the electronic toys to make those ideas become reality, the future sound of Radiohead is an open field for the...
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RADIOHEAD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

RADIOHEAD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.52 | 381 ratings
Pablo Honey
1993
3.81 | 585 ratings
The Bends
1995
4.05 | 989 ratings
OK Computer
1997
3.95 | 791 ratings
Kid A
2000
3.64 | 465 ratings
Amnesiac
2001
3.44 | 469 ratings
Hail to the Thief
2003
3.83 | 578 ratings
In Rainbows
2007
3.26 | 356 ratings
The King Of Limbs
2011
3.90 | 387 ratings
A Moon Shaped Pool
2016

RADIOHEAD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.60 | 103 ratings
I Might Be Wrong - Live Recordings
2001

RADIOHEAD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.18 | 28 ratings
7 Television Commercials
1998
2.76 | 21 ratings
The Astoria London Live
2005
3.19 | 22 ratings
The Best Of
2008
4.13 | 25 ratings
The Kings Of Limbs - Live From The Basement
2012

RADIOHEAD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.08 | 24 ratings
Radiohead Box Set
2007
3.33 | 27 ratings
The Best Of
2008
2.31 | 13 ratings
TKOL RMX 1234567
2011
3.75 | 4 ratings
Minidiscs Hacked
2019

RADIOHEAD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.65 | 16 ratings
Drill
1992
4.50 | 2 ratings
Creep
1992
3.39 | 65 ratings
My Iron Lung
1994
2.61 | 24 ratings
Itch
1994
3.14 | 25 ratings
Street Spirit (Fade Out)
1996
4.31 | 29 ratings
Paranoid Android
1997
3.95 | 21 ratings
No Surprises / Running From Demons
1997
3.83 | 54 ratings
Airbag/How Am I Driving?
1998
2.54 | 31 ratings
Pyramid Song
2001
2.98 | 24 ratings
There There
2003
2.68 | 19 ratings
Go To Sleep
2003
2.53 | 36 ratings
Com Lag: 2plus2isfive
2004
3.79 | 19 ratings
Reckoner
2008
3.61 | 18 ratings
Bodysnatchers / House Of Cards
2008
3.91 | 23 ratings
Nude
2008
3.86 | 22 ratings
Jigsaw Falling Into Place
2008
2.26 | 25 ratings
Harry Patch (In Memory Of)
2009
3.02 | 32 ratings
These Are My Twisted Words
2009
2.00 | 1 ratings
TKOL RMX8
2011
3.40 | 33 ratings
Supercollider / The Butcher
2011
3.45 | 30 ratings
The Daily Mail / Staircase
2011
3.63 | 19 ratings
Spectre
2015
4.00 | 2 ratings
Ill Wind
2019

RADIOHEAD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Amnesiac by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.64 | 465 ratings

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Amnesiac
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars It would seem here that Thom and company are trying to imitate, pay homage to, or evoke the experimental music of the 1960s BEATLES. They also seem to have become quite enamored of New Orleans music and jazz sounds, stylings, and motifs.

1. "Packed Like Sardines in A Crushed Tin Box" (4:00) interesting start but then goes wrong. (8.5/10)

2. "Pyramid Song" (4:48) Excellent top to bottom--and very experimental. Love the Beatles-like orchestration. My favorite song on the album. (9.75/10)

3. "Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors" (4:07) playing with trip hop and glitch and scratch electro-editing. I like it! (8.75/10)

4. "You and Whose Army?" (3:11) almost retro 1950s blues turning into BEATLES piano-based psychedelia. (8.75/10)

5. "I Might Be Wrong" (4:53) electronic opening joined by BUSH-like guitar. It really goes nowhere else until 3:50 when all drops out and some interesting Bayou-bluesy electronica finishes it. (8.25/10)

6. "Knives Out" (4:14) interesting interplay from the three guitarists and nice vocal melodies. (8.75/10)

7. "Morning Bell/Amnesiac" (3:14) another song that contains elements that are very reminiscent of BEATLES music circa 1967. My other top three song. (9/10)

8. "Dollars & Cents" (4:51) guitar play like some of the early electrified guitars of the 1950s or 1960s with a bit of a jazz or bassa nova feel and rhythm to it. A top three song for me. I love the playfulness of the vocals and drums. (9.5/10)

9. "Hunting Bears" (2:01) Bayou blues. Not enough to make this one viable other than as an experimental interlude. (3.75/5)

10. "Like Spinning Plates" (3:57) highly experimental sound engineering over which Thom starts whining halfway through. (8.25/10)

11. "Life In A Glasshouse" (4:34) Dixie blues-house horns! Interesting. (8.5/10)

Total Time: 43:50

I appreciate all of the experimental melding of very old riffs and sounds with contemporary innovations in electronica, but often the songs feel quite monotonous to a lyric-deaf listener like me.

B/four stars; an interesting collection of songs meeting the usual Radiohead standard for experimentation and mood. Three great songs and some other curios.

 OK Computer by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.05 | 989 ratings

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OK Computer
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by progtime1234567

4 stars Radiohead's OK computer is a classic art rock and alternative rock album. The record has been celebrated by many people and websites, but is OK computer as great as people say it is? The answer would be yes. I am a little biased on the album though as I am not a huge fan of Radiohead and I don't listen to a lot of alternative rock, but I still really enjoyed the album. OK computer has classic songs on it such as Paranoid Android and Karma Police, which are both great popular songs. songs like Airbag and Lucky aren't as well known, but they are also great. All of the songs on the album are great, and the experimentation is there too. I will admit that I do not listen to Radiohead a lot, but they are a great band. OK computer is a classic rock album that is well worth a listen, or five.
 OK Computer by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.05 | 989 ratings

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OK Computer
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by johnobvious

2 stars I recently came across an article about the 20th anniversary of OK Computer as well as another glowing review on PA for Talk Talk's Laughing Stock album around the same time. With neither album being something that I found particularly enjoyable, I figured I would listen back to back after seeing them sit on the shelf for many years to see if I might be wrong about one or both. Here I review Radiohead.

Some people love it but it is not universally hailed as being wonderful is what I have observed. I always liked Paranoid Android but felt the rest was pretty "blah." So what now? Nothing has really changed my overall view and I now realize that the cool parts of Paranoid Android make up but a small part of the song, with the balance being along the lines of the rest of the album. Generic angst is the overall mood I am getting, a "too cool for school" vibe that wants you to either embrace their "vision" or dismiss the whole thing out of hand and they don't really care on which side you fall. These are eclectic but straight forward rock songs for the most part with nothing leaving a lasting impression. You may have the impression or been told you need to hear this album. Trust me, you really don't. 2.5 stars.

 A Moon Shaped Pool by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.90 | 387 ratings

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A Moon Shaped Pool
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by kaiofelipe

4 stars On a sad record even for Radiohead's gloomy standards, Thom Yorke reflects, among other themes (there is room for the politicized "Burn The Witch", for example), about the end of his marriage. Even the fact that "True Love Waits" (a song that has been featured on the band's shows since 1995) finally made it onto a Radiohead album is deeply symbolic, as it was only after ending his long relationship that Yorke recorded the final version of a song that exposes love in a more open and transparent way: "And true love waits / In haunted attics / And true love lives / On lollipops and crisps / Just don't leave / Don't leave". Highlights: "Burn The Witch", "Daydreaming", "Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief" and "True Love Waits".
 The Bends by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.81 | 585 ratings

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The Bends
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by kaiofelipe

5 stars After an irregular debut, Radiohead took a huge qualitative leap in The Bends. Several factors contributed to this leap: a better producer (John Leckie, engineered by the band's future producer, Nigel Godrich), a more consistent repertoire, a better use of their influences (from U2's arena rock to Jeff Buckley's vocal style and sound dynamics) ... and, as Tom Breihan pointed out in an article about this album for Stereogum, the confidence level: "The Bends is an album from a band fully in command of its gifts, one who understands exactly what it wants to do". The first track, "Planet Telex", has a touch of psychedelia combined with a vigorous sound. The following three are all classic: the poweful title track (which contains lyrics like "I wish it was the sixties (...) I wish that something could happen"), the beautiful ballad "High and Dry" and the melancholic crescendo of "Fake Plastic Trees" ("She looks like the real thing / She tastes like the real thing / My fake plastic love"). The core of The Bends contains some not so well-known songs which are almost as melodically captivating as their hits: the rockers "Bones" and "Sulk" and the delicates "(Nice Dream)" and "Bullet Proof ... I Wish I Was". The record's final stretch is spectacular: the exciting "Just" (perhaps one of the band's most iconic songs, thanks in part to the music video), the sarcastic "My Iron Lung" (a response to the success of "Creep") , the addictive chorus of "Black Star" (their first Godrich-produced track) and the gloomy "Street Spirit (Fade Out)". The Bends is Radiohead's most hit-filled album, although it took a year (and 5 singles, including the My Iron Lung EP) for one of its songs reach on the UK Top 10 ("Street Spirit" went straight to #5 in January 1996) and the US Top 100 ("High and Dry" peaked at #78 in April '96). The recognition was gradual, but definitive: the years go by and this CD continues to be considered Radiohead's first great album.
 I Might Be Wrong - Live Recordings by RADIOHEAD album cover Live, 2001
3.60 | 103 ratings

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I Might Be Wrong - Live Recordings
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by thesimilitudeofprog

4 stars This album delivers the incredible Radiohead live show, showing off how dynamic and energetic this band is.

This version of "The National Anthem" has so much more life and atmosphere. Radiohead obviously enjoy playing this one and make it a real favorite to play live. "I Might Be Wrong" is played with much more speed and sounds more livelier than the Amesiac version. Another brilliant reworking from its original and the crowd respond really well. "Morning Bell" is quite similar to the studio version and gets a good crowd response as it is one of the best tracks on Kid A. "Like Spinning Plates" is the most different from the studio version. I love this version. The Amnesiac version was a technical racket of noise. This live version has evolved into a gentle yet exhilarating piano with tranquil vocals from Mr. Yorke. This is definitely the standout track on the album even though every track is incredible. The vocals and lyrics get their spotlight as it is a lot easier to digest than on Amnesiac. "Idioteque" was probably the best track on Kid A and it works wonders here. It is played excellently live as it is a difficult track to recreate. Obviously they gave it some tweaking to bring something new to the stage. If you listen close enough you will hear the crowd singing along to Thom's strange ramblings. "Everything in its Right Place" is extended a lot here with a strange build up intro that is new to this album. The track is everything that the studio album is and more. "Dollars and Cents" is a lot livelier and the bass sounds even better here. The last two minutes are exceptional as they progress further and further than the studio track dared to go. Then we have "True Love Waits" which is an extra special acoustic piece by Thom Yorke alone. Still one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard. Thom's voice is emotional and moving and it's probably his greatest moment as a singer and a songwriter. This is a brilliant close to a fine live album. You'll love this piece of music.

For a short live album, it is excellent and should be considered one of the band's best albums. Because of the passion of the songs and the uniqueness throughout most of the album, it is definitely deserving of your time.

 TKOL RMX 1234567 by RADIOHEAD album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2011
2.31 | 13 ratings

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TKOL RMX 1234567
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

2 stars Radiohead's "TKOL RMX 1234567" is a remix collection released in 2011. It might seem like a strange title until it is explained. TKOL stands for the album "The King of Limbs". Thom Yorke thought this album was full of songs that could be reworked and remixed into some interesting variations, as the original album was recorded by studio experimentation, using loops and electronically enhanced sounds and sequences and he wanted to do further experimentation with them by having different artists rework them. What resulted was a series of EPs, or 12 inch singles that had either two or three of these remixes. There were a total of 8 EPs in all by the time it was all said and done. However, the 8th EP was not finished by the time this collection was put together, hence you have the remix EPs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. The 8th EP featuring 3 remixes was not included in this collection, but is available separately.

So, it has always been difficult for me to review remix albums, mostly because, unless the original track is made better, or made into an entirely different creature all together, I don't see much point in it. This double CD has a total of 19 tracks altogether, and of course, the original album didn't have that many, so you see most of the tracks here are included more than once in different versions. Fortunately, it is a bit difficult to hear the redundancy of the tracks because there is quite a bit of variation between them. And some of them definitely either improve on the original or sound completely different from the original, but there are others that are much too repetitive or boring. There is also the fact that I never found this album to be one of their best, I find it much to clinical, and that is also considering the fact that I really like "Amnesia" and "Kid A", their most electronically centered albums. There just isn't much in "The King of Limbs" that sticks with me.

That being said, I do find that I enjoy some of the tracks on this collection better than the original. For example, my favorites here are the Caribou remix of "Little by Little", the Scavenger remix of "Morning Mr. Magpie", "TKOL Altrice Remix", and the Blawan remix of "Bloom". Some of the others are not bad, but, as can be expected, some are too repetitive or don't have enough development or aren't really improvements. There is also the fact that this is a difficult album to listen to all the way through for me because of the repetitiveness apparent on a lot of the tracks and that it is very electronic sounding.

If you love remix albums, then you should check this out, because I understand that my own taste might not be yours. If you don't like electronically produced music, then you should stay away. If the source material was better, at least in my opinion, then I also might have enjoyed this more, but its hard to say. Just because its a remix album doesn't mean that I won't like it because I have found a few that I really enjoy. This is not one of them. I can't really call it poor however, but I can't see it being of much interest other than to collectors and completionists.

 OK Computer by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.05 | 989 ratings

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OK Computer
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

5 stars After a questionable debut, taking many of the worst aspects of alt rock at the time, and their solid, more refined followup album 'The Bends', Radiohead perfected their initial sound here in their third album, 'OK Computer'. Rather than many tracks that could come off as simple, 'OK Computer' adds layers upon layers of sound to each track, giving the entire album a spacey, futuristic atmosphere, with droning electronic noise on top of distorted guitar, paving the way for some simply excellent soundscapes and atmosphere to complement the alt rock sound that the album has, pushing it far above what would be expected of such an album.

The album keeps its sound very cohesive all throughout, a constant tone that is extremely serious and at times, depressing. The first track 'Airbag' starts the album off extremely strong, with many elements that when listened to closely, almost seem as if they're playing slightly different songs, especially the bass, which plays a riff very similar to that of 'Porcupine Tree's' 'Hatesong' while the other instruments drone on, with the aforementioned electronic noises appearing throughout, all as Thom Yorke sings in his unique way, putting emotion into the music while simultaneously almost sounding as if he doesn't really care, which ends up working out in the song's favour quite significantly. 'Paranoid Android' is an easy choice for best song on the album, or by the band in general, a 3 piece song that simply builds upon itself in each section, starting off with beautiful layered riffs over a vocal melody that set up the extremely dark tone of it, complete with some breathtaking moments, particularly the hook. The song then takes on a much heavier approach, toning down the sonic depth and instead making each individual note from each instrument, along with vocals, be filled with power, all before the third section simply blows everything else out of the water, with some of the most perfect use of vocal harmonies and layering I've ever heard, with amazing use of mellotron on top of this, leading to one of the most powerful moments on the album.

After this point, the majority of the tracks can be put into one of two categories, the extremely atmospheric, relaxing songs, and the ones that are extremely tied to the alternative rock roots of the band. 'Subterranean Homesick Alien', 'Lucky' and 'The Tourist' all fit into this category for me, all heavily focusing on capturing particular emotions and tones, rather than making a catchy song, each sounding simply beautiful, with the last 2 closing off the album amazingly, with a gradual decrease in any sort of intensity, emotional or otherwise, until 'The Tourist' comes on, which is by far the most relaxing song on the album, and by the band in general. On the other end of the spectrum, 'Let Down', 'Karma Police', 'Electioneering' and 'No Surprises' all make for very solid alt rock tunes, with a lot of real depth to each track in terms of sound, even though the songs themselves seem very simple. 'Electioneering' is the exception to this, having a simple structure, but also being very simple and riff driven instead, with a fun, heavily distorted riff that simply allows one to rock out. 'Exit Music (For a Film)' marks easily the most impactful moment on the album, gradually building as everything distorts, starting off as a standard track before ending in something incredibly powerful and cathartic, as even Thom Yorke's usual droning vocals feel much more solemn here. 'Climbing Up the Walls' takes the atmosphere a step further by not making it depressing, as much as eerie, bordering on downright terrifying, with everything having a scratchy quality to it. The song has a very distant, isolated feel to it, with very sparing use of any sort of sound, with the drum beat being incredibly monotonous and simplistic, with any other noise being infrequent, bringing even more attention to the heavy vocal distortion. The other sounds begin coming in as the song progresses, constantly making everything feel more claustrophobic, with even the beautiful string arrangements simply serving to add more contrast to the unpleasant elements of the song, all ending in a chilling scream. 'Fitter Happier' is an odd track to me, because while all it provides is creepiness, I feel like it ties the album together, despite how musically poor it is, since there is very little there other than a robotic voice and minimalistic piano.

This is definitely an incredible album, no matter what genre you insist on putting it in. It's filled with powerful emotion, immersive atmosphere, and expert use of a wide variety of techniques, subsequently leading to a collection of sonically complex compositions, each sounding beautiful and simultaneously impressive when looked at closer. 'Radiohead' significantly refined and improved their sound from their previous two efforts, adding a level of complexity and atmosphere to their alternative rock roots, making for a simply incredible album all around.

Best Songs: Paranoid Android, Exit Music (For A Film), Climbing Up The Walls, Karma Police

Worst Songs: Fitter Happier

Verdict: An extremely good album with a lot of complexity to it, masked by a commercial sound, making it quite easy to listen to while also being quite interesting to analyse. Recommended to anyone who won't whine about a somewhat commercial sound.

 The Bends by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.81 | 585 ratings

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The Bends
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Radiohead saw some major success with their first full album "Pablo Honey" and the major hit "Creep". However, they weren't about to release another album like that one, and they didn't want to be a "One Hit Wonder" band, which there were plenty of them out there. So, they re-worked their sound in order to retain interest. At first, their next album "The Bends" didn't do so well and dropped quickly off the charts. However, they opened for bands like "R.E.M" and this helped them regain their popularity, and over the years, this album has gotten the publicity and fame that it deserved.

For this album, Radiohead moved away from the grungy sound of "Pablo Honey" and even away from the alt-pop music of their previous incarnations "On a Friday" and "Manic Hedgehog". Their lyrics got more cryptic, their music became harder to define as they became more experimental, they started using more keyboards and the guitar more atmospheric and harsh. This resulted in their next step towards a more progressive sound, and you can hear the steps taken throughout this album towards that style. Many have even considered "The Bends" along with "OK Computer" as some of the best albums ever recorded.

"Planet Telex" opens the album and it has the distinction of being the only song not written before recording of the album began. It was written after a night of drinking and Thom Yorke made the vocal track while lying on the floor. The song has a much more electronic sound than most of the other songs on the album, and as such, is a foreshadowing of the direction the band would take on the next album "OK Computer". The overall sound has a warbling feeling to it. Even with the electronic processing, the music is heavy and dark and driven by guitars and a recurring piano riff.

The next track is the title track "The Bends". It is another heavy song about becoming famous and how everyone wants to be your friend, but will they be with you when you come out on the other side. This one is a bit louder than the previous one overall. "High and Dry" was the first single of the album. It is driven by a strummed riff and more calm than the previous 2 tracks. It is also written in more of a standard format. Even so, it is a nice track that grows on you easily.

"Fake Plastic Trees" is one of Radiohead's most famous tracks, and rightfully so. It is a beautiful track that even Yorke admitted that it made him cry. It is a statement against over-capitalism and how it can make everything colorless and lifeless and everyone wants to become plastic. I am sure most everyone has heard this one, but if you haven't, then you need to, it's absolutely beautiful and heartfelt, one of my all time favorite songs.

"Bones" begins with a processed echoing guitar and soon gets moving with a heavy bass line. This song is about the fear of aging. The verses are soft with a guitar-heavy chorus and Yorke starts to use his falsetto voice more effectively at this point. "(Nice Dream)" is a softer sound with strummed guitars and a lilting rhythm. There is a nice violin added to instrumental foundation. The middle section is a very exciting change of pace for the song as a wild guitar riff is introduced and things get more chaotic, then it returns to the original softness again.

"Just" is another great song about narcissism, or as Thom explains, a certain friend. It starts as a single guitar strum and then explodes into a somewhat noisy riff and immediately calms for the verse, while it is loud during the chorus. The returning ascending guitar riff keeps returning and ends up finishing the song off as it keeps ascending until it holds a screeching note and then falls apart to the single strumming riff again. This one is another favorite.

"My Iron Lung" refers to and is about the song "Creep" that basically kept the band alive before this album. They had that fear of being a One Hit Wonder. This has a great processed guitar riff that has a cool shaky feel to it. The song is also one of those that sticks with you. The noisy sections in the song allude to the loud sections in "Creep". "(I Wish I Was) Bulletproof" has a more experimental vibe to it and also acts to foreshadow the direction of the band. Yorke's vocals are on the mumbly side, but it really works well for this pensive track. There is a lot more electronic effects throughout this song, but it still retains it's melodic side, so it's not a complete turn to the experimental side yet. Thom's vocals as he sustains the word "bulletproof" are simply beautiful.

"Black Star" reminds me more of a track from "Pablo Honey", but it does have a better usage of dynamics. The lyrics deal with relationship problems and the things you can blame the problems on. "Sulk" was written in response to massacre at Hungerford, Berkshire, England where 17 people were shot. The original lyrics were changed by Yorke so that people wouldn't think it had to do with Kurt Cobain's death around the time the album was released. The album ends fittingly with one of Radiohead's darkest songs "Street Spirit (Fade Out)". Yorke considers it very dark and the band usually plays it at the end of their set list in concert because of it's darkness. However, it is still a beautiful and lush song.

So, "The Bends" might not have much to lend itself to being progressive, but it was a huge step in that direction. As far as the Prog Archives site goes, I have to at least consider it an excellent album, meaning it deserves at least 4 stars, but in a non- progressive world, it is easily a 5 star album. It is above the bar set for most alternative music in that it is more heartfelt and unique than most, and as such, it sets the bar high for an amazing and talented band.

 Amnesiac by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.64 | 465 ratings

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Amnesiac
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Radiohead recorded more than 20 songs in a more experimental vein than what they had done previously. These songs were originally going to be released by the band on a double album, or possible as a series of EPs. They eventually decided to release the songs across two standard albums because the music was thought to be too dense for most listeners to listen to in one sitting. Thus, "Kid A" and "Amnesiac" were born. "Kid A" was released first, and many fans and listeners were surprised at the sound that was being produced from a band that was considered to play guitar-based rock. The band definitely took a huge risk, because most of these songs were more electronic and experimental than what their listeners were used to. But people accepted the changes and embraced "Kid A" and this was followed up by "Amnesiac" where most of the remaining 20 songs were included.

"Amnesiac" as described by Thom Yorke, is a different way to look at "Kid A", sort of an explanation. It contains music that is highly experimental and even approaches the sound of Krautrock at times. Along with the typical guitar-based music, you get looped recordings, electronic manipulation, vocal manipulation, and drum machines. It was important to the band that no one of the members felt left out of the songwriting/recording process because of the new ways they were writing and producing music on these songs.

So while "Kid A" seemed more cohesive, this album does not seem to be as much of a concept that was evident in the previous album. But that's okay, because the style of the music is cohesive. I love the fact that the band expanded their horizons on these two albums, they were not content to ride off of past successes, and because of this, their fan base grew even more. It also opened up a lot of listener's minds to experimental, non-typical rock. However, "Amnesiac" is still a very misunderstood album. Many listeners skip past the more repetitive songs to listen to the ones the like the most. This ends up creating a lot of different viewpoints on the overall acceptance of the album. So hopefully shedding a little light on the tracks will help with the understanding of what the music was trying to convey.

"Packt Like Sardines in a Crushed Tin Box" starts out the track list with a more upbeat rhythm and with processed vocals from Thom. The rhythm is a tinny-sounding beat which sounds like someone beating on a pot. This one to me is a bit weak for a starting track, but it does work as a preface to what is to come. Lyrically, it's sort of a warning that if you didn't find what you were looking for previously, maybe you should try something different, which is what the band was doing here, going against being labeled as a certain kind of band. The next track is the amazingly beautiful "Pyramid Song". This was one of the singles from the album, and is probably one of the less experimental tracks. However, it is driven by piano and keys and it has a very strange rhythm. This is one of my favorite Radiohead songs, completely full of emotion and beauty. The orchestration sounds like someone pleading to the listener, and some eerie sounds soon come along, but only add to the yearning of the music. Out of nowhere, rhythm kicks in when you least expect it, but it doesn't detract from the song, it enhances like you wouldn't expect.

"Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors" has Thom's vocals processed again, and is a strange one indeed. The lyrics are based on a text about different kinds of doors as explained by a "Childcraft" book. The song itself is about choices, how some are important and some are not. Probably one of the weaker tracks here. It utilizes a looping track from much earlier sessions from a song that wasn't released until much later called "True Love Waits" as the sound backing the lyrics. "You and Whose Army" uses strange items like egg crates and etc. to create the effects of this song. This one is a politically based song about betrayal of leaders that had been trusted, specifically Tony Blair in this case. Much more interesting than the previous track and also more accessible even with the strange objects that were used.

Next up is the track "I Might Be Wrong." This is based on a blues guitar riff written by Greenwood, the band's guitarist, which acts as the foundation of the song. It is played under a more robotic beat, so is actually a combination of electronic and standard instrumentation. The lyrics are sparse but portray hope that a change for good is coming. "Knives Out" was another single from the album. It is less experimental and really packs a wallop as far as emotion. Strangely enough, the lyrics seem to be about cannibalism, but they are likening big business, specifically the record industry, to preying on the weakest in the human race. The guitar work on this track is influenced by The Smiths guitarist's style.

Next is "Morning Bell/Amnesiac" which is a more experimental version of "Morning Bell" from the album "OK Computer". Yorke said it was included because it came from a different place than the original and it just felt right. The lyrics are mostly the same, but it is a slower tempo accompanied by a chiming sound. "Dollars and Cents" is the next track. This one was originally over 11 minutes and was inspired by the krautrock sound. Yorke wanted Jonny to write a Coltrane-inspired track and this was the result of that. The guitar has a warped kind of sound and there is an orchestral passage in the background that has a far away sound to it. It is also a more traditional meter than most of the songs on the album. The next track "Hunting Bears" is a very sparse instrumental piece with a looped guitar sequence played underneath another guitar and synth. It acts as a link between the preceding track and the following one, but interesting enough to not just be considered filler.

"Like Spinning Plates" is probably the most interesting tracks on the album as far as experimentation goes. The song "I Will", which at the time was an unused track and would later be used on the album "Hail to the Thief", is played backwards as the accompaniment. Yorke liked the melody that the reversal of the song created, and he wrote lyrics to go along with this new melody. He then learned how to sing the lyrics in the first verse backwards, which he did. The backwards vocals were reversed and then recorded against other instruments, and that is why the first verse has that backward-sounding effect, yet you can still understand the lyrics. Kinda neat trick, huh? The remaining lyrics are sung normally, but many listeners wondered how that first verse sounded so strange. The last track is "Life in a Glasshouse" and is the only one written after "Kid A" was released. The band was unhappy with this song was sounding, because it sounded to much like funeral music. They contacted famed jazz trumpeter Humphrey Lyttleton, and asked him to listen to a demo of the song. He suggested they make it into a New Orleans Jazz Funeral style. They recruited his brass band to play on the song, and that is the sound you get. You still have that funeral march beat, but it sounds cheery against the bright horns. Humphrey's horn part is mostly improvised against the original track.

So, there you have it. Radiohead at their most experimental, and in my opinion, it works well. With only a few exceptions, the music here is very interesting, even ground breaking at times. It had a great influence, along with "Kid A" in getting a new generation interested in music exploration and opened the doors to other bands wishing to explore new musical avenues. I don't quite consider it a 5 star album, but it is close. There is just a slight feeling of not being as cohesive as it could have been, and a couple of the tracks are a little too repetitive and weak, but for the most part, it is still an excellent album.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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