Monday, October 2, 2000

Radiohead’s Kid A released

First posted 3/23/2008; updated 12/19/2020.

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 (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: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Rather than return to a straight ahead guitar sound after OK Computer, Radiohead went further down the experimental rabbit hole” TL “with a disc of complex electronic explorations.” EW’09 While OK Computer is considered Radiohead’s ultimate masterpiece” EB Kid A is “the sound of the biggest band in the land reinventing itself before our eyes.” PM Lead singer Thom Yorke said the album was “like getting a massive eraser out and starting again.” RS’11

“With producer Nigel Godrich, Yorke, guitarist Ed O'Brien, drummer Phil Selway, bassist Colin Greenwood and guitarist Jonny Greenwood created an enigma of slippery electronics and elliptical angst, sung by Yorke in an often indecipherable croon.” RS’11 With Kid A, “Radiohead made the first true rock of the future.” RS’11 It “has proved to be the band’s most influential record” EB and “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.” AMGPut 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

“From the spine-tingling four-note downward melody that opens Everything in Its Right Place, it was clear that Radiohead had taken a huge leap into colder, stranger territory.” GU “The heavily Cuisinarted voice of Thom Yorke declar[es] ‘Yesterday I woke up sucking on a lemon,’ and only gets cheerier from there.” TL

“Cold to the core, Kid A made alienation sound so alluring.” EB This is the “opposite of easy listening” 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” AMG by “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.” AMG

The electronic influences that had filtered into OK Computer reached maturity – most spectacularly on techno anthem Idioteque.” GU It “seems to be about an evacuation or apocalypse, underscored by a driving and syncopated loop of electronic percussion and a moving set of four sampled chord inversions from avant-garde classical music.” PM

“The closest thing to riffing…was the fuzz-bass lick in The National Anthem.” RS’11 It “rode a driving four-measure bass line to chaotic joy, allowing a group of eight saxophones and brass to play like a Mingus band on free-jazz amphetamines.” PM “Yorke’s loathing of celebrity inspired the contrary beauty” RS’11 of the “delicate and shimmering” PM How to Disappear Completely, “with its watery orchestration and his voice flickering in and out of earshot.” RS’11 Meanwhile, “the guitars in Morning Bell sounded more like seabirds” RS’11 and Yorke’s “electronically squished pleading in Kid A sounded like a baby kicking inside a hard drive.” RS’11

OK Computer required many plays before revealing the intricacies of its densely layered mix; here, multiple plays are necessary…to get a handle on quiet, drifting, minimally arranged songs with no hooks.” AMG “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.” AMG “About half of the songs positively shimmer with genius,” AMG but Kid A is “self-consciously alienating and difficult.” AMG For some that will mean that “your tenth listen is better than your first and your hundredth best of all.” PM For others, the album may come across as seeming “deeper than it actually is.” AMG


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

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