Monday, October 2, 2000

Radiohead’s Kid A released

First posted 3/23/2008; updated 9/24/2020.

Kid A

Radiohead


Released: October 2, 2000


Peak: 11 US, 12 UK, 12 CN, 2 AU


Sales (in millions): 1.48 US, 0.3 UK, 3.48 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: experimental alternative rock


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Everything in Its Right Place
  2. Kid A
  3. The National Anthem
  4. How to Disappear Completely
  5. Treefingers
  6. Optimistic (10/7/00, 10 MR)
  7. In Limbo
  8. Idioteque
  9. Morning Bell
  10. Motion Picture Soundtrack


Total Running Time: 49:56


The Players:

  • Colin Greenwood (bass)
  • Jonny Greenwood (guitar, keyboards)
  • Ed O’Brien (guitar, effects, backing vocals)
  • Philip Selway (drums, percussion)
  • Thom Yorke (vocals, guitar, keyboards)

Rating:

3.660 out of 5.00 (average of 20 ratings)


Quotable: “The weirdest album to ever sell a million copies, but it’s also a testament to just how complicated pop music can be.” – Josh Tyrangiel/ Alan Light, Time


Awards:

About the Album:

“Rather than return to a straight ahead guitar sound after OK Computer, Radiohead went further down the experimental rabbit hole.” TL “Instead of simply adding club beats or sonic collage techniques, Radiohead strive to incorporate the unsettling ‘intelligent techno’ sound of Autechre and Aphex Twin, characterized by its skittering beats and stylishly dark sonic surfaces.” STE This finds the band “embracing samplers, sequencers and, to the eternal dismay of drummer Phil Selway, a drum machine.” TL

“To their immense credit, Radiohead don't sound like carpetbaggers, because they share the same post-postmodern vantage point as their inspirations. As a result, Kid A is easily the most successful electronica album from a rock band — it doesn’t even sound like a rock band, even if it does sound like Radiohead.” STE

“The album opens with the heavily Cuisinarted voice of Thom Yorke declaring ‘Yesterday I woke up sucking on a lemon,’ and only gets cheerier from there. Melodies bob and weave behind walls of dissonance, but they are there, and when they resolve there are many moments of hard-earned beauty.” TL

“Despite its admirable ambition, Kid A is never as visionary or stunning as OK Computer, nor does it really repay the time it demands. OK Computer required many plays before revealing the intricacies of its densely layered mix; here, multiple plays are necessary to discern the music’s form, to get a handle on quiet, drifting, minimally arranged songs with no hooks.” STE

“Of course, the natural reaction of any serious record geek is that if the music demands so much work, it must be worth it – and at times, that supposition is true. But Kid A’s challenge doesn’t always live up to its end of the bargain. It’s self-consciously alienating and difficult” STE – the “opposite of easy listening” TL – “and while that can be intriguing, it seems deeper than it actually is. Repeated plays dissipate the mystique and reveal a number of rather drab songs (primarily during the second half), where there isn’t enough under the surface to make Radiohead’s relentless experimentation satisfying.” STE

“But mixed results are still results, and about half of the songs positively shimmer with genius.” STE In the end, “Kid A is easily the most successful electronica album from a rock band.” STE Put another way, this is “the weirdest album to ever sell a million copies, but it’s also a testament to just how complicated pop music can be.” TL


Notes: A collector’s edition of the album added a second disc of live recordings.

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