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Radiohead - Kid A CD (album) cover

KID A

Radiohead

 

Crossover Prog

3.94 | 768 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TCat
5 stars At the end of the "OK Computer" tour, Radiohead was feeling very burned out. They all felt that they needed to take the band in another direction, but the direction they wanted to go was a matter of argument among the members. Of course, Yorke had the most say about where the band would go, but was willing to disband if everyone didn't reach an agreement where to take the band. Yorke had started listening to more electronic based bands and wanted to rely less on melody, and to use textures and treat his voice as an instrument and not necessarily the focal point with traditional melody after traditional melody playing one after another. He was really impressed with the range of emotions that were evident in different types of music, particularly electronic, and started to be influenced by Krautrock, 20th Century Classical Music and Jazz. He was also tired of the imitators that were out there, and after the success of "Ok Computer" thought it was time for the band to move on.

It is interesting that the success of the band just about brought on their demise. The members of the band had a hard time accepting that not every member would be playing on each track, and that caused a lot of arguments among the members. They tried splitting up the band so that at one time a few of them would work on song basics while the others fleshed out and finished the songs and then they would switch roles, that was everyone was involved with the music all of the time. After doing this for a while, using electronics to carry it out for the most part, the band all became convinced that this was the way to go, and "Kid A" started to come into being. In fact, there were so many songs completed, that they were going to release it as a double album, but then they decided to split it and save some of the songs for the next album "Amnesiac" which is what they did.

To me, this album is a masterpiece. Radiohead had progressed to another style of music, away from alternative based guitar rock to more of an experimental/electronic sound, and they nailed the sound on this album. This is quite a collection of emotive songs, with a lot of depth and texture, which is what Yorke was aiming for. The beautiful thing about the album is it doesn't sound like the band was stepping into unknown territory, the songs on this album are beautiful and full of emotion. Getting a lot of inspiration from Aphex Twin and a few others, Radiohead developed a new signature sound. They got away from the traditional pop format of verse-chorus formula to a more untraditional and unique way of songwriting. Yorke's vocals were sometimes processed and other times not. I feel his voice did become an instrument here, that he was able to develop different sounds to help add texture to the overall song instead of distracting from it.

There is quite a range of sounds here, including a brass section in "The National Anthem" that creates more and more dissonance as the song continues until chaos ensues. The instrumental "Treefingers" sounds like a synthesized song, but it is actually Greenwood's guitar processed by Yorke to sound ambient and electronic. "Everything in it's Right Place" and "How to Disappear Completely" processed Yorke's voice into a surprisingly beautiful texture, even taking a monotone recording of his voice and digitally altering it to create the melody. And "Idioteque" is such a unique song that uses short samples of two different electronic tracks from the 70s, that one of those creators of on of those samples (which was taken from a much longer work) actually wrote a book about "Idioteque" and the theory behind it.

This album is definitely progressive in every sense. Just because it doesn't sound like it's from the 70s doesn't mean that it is not progressive. Being progressive means not sticking with a formula, like sounding like something from the past, but it is building and developing sounds into new and exciting territories and not remaining stagnant. This is how we can consider Radiohead a progressive band. This is a masterpiece of an album and deserves all 5 stars.

TCat | 5/5 |

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