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Radiohead Kid A

Radiohead Album Reviews

Named after a Talking Heads‘ song, Radiohead are the most critically acclaimed band to emerge in the 1990s. They convened informally in 1986 as teenagers while attending Abingdon School in Oxford, and were originally known as On A Friday. Front-man Thom Yorke infuses his gorgeous voice with his neuroses, while the band’s main weapon is guitarist Johnny Greenwood whose unpredictable style gives the band a vitality and edge. Drummer Phil Selway, guitarist Ed O’Brien, and bassist Colin Greenwood are all strong musicians as well, but less distinctive.

Radiohead initially enjoyed exposure with the song ‘Creep’ from their 1993 debut Pablo Honey, but as a whole the album was a developmental effort that only hinted at their potential. With their sophomore effort, 1995’s The Bends, Radiohead effectively clocked Brit-pop and 1990’s alt-rock; their consistent songs and Johnny Greenwood’s unorthodox style left pretenders like Oasis and Blur looking listless in comparison. With success, Radiohead became more ambitious; 1997’s OK Computer feels inspired by Pink Floyd’s spacey, nihilistic work, and is often cited as a key album of the 1990s.

2000’s Kid A was regarded as a major departure at the time, adding electronics and grooves to their sound, and often abandoning conventional song structures. Released at the height of their influence, it effectively stakes out the sonic territory for their later career. Since then, the group have settled into a more comfortable routine, releasing an album every few years to widespread interest and acclaim. While it’s simply impossible to repeat the incredible artistic growth of their first few albums, Radiohead have remained a vital creative force.

As much as I enjoy Radiohead, and despite that their guitar technician’s daughter is a work colleague, I’ve always found them to be a band I admire more than a band I love. This is probably deliberate on the band’s part; there’s a detached austerity to Thom Yorke’s voice and lyrics, notably on OK Computer, that’s intentionally there as a critique of modern society. But it’s difficult to argue against the proposition that Radiohead are the most significant rock band of their era.

Best Ten Radiohead Songs

There There
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
Everything In Its Right Place
The Tourist
Paranoid Android
Karma Police
All I Need

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Radiohead Pablo Honey

Pablo Honey – Radiohead

1993, 5.5/10. Radiohead’s debut album is very much formative, like a generic 1990’s alt-rock record.

Radiohead My Iron Lung

My Iron Lung (EP) – Radiohead

1994, 7/10. Marks the moment where Radiohead started to make an impression of being more than just another promising band.

Radiohead The Bends

The Bends – Radiohead

1995, 9/10. Radiohead went on to make more innovative records, with The Bends they mastered Brit-pop.

Radiohead OK Computer

OK Computer – Radiohead

1997, 8.5/10. At its best, OK Computer is like Pink Floyd for the 1990s, with soaring melodies, engrossing textures, and probing lyrics.

Radiohead Airbag How Am I Driving

Airbag/How Am I Driving (EP) – Radiohead

1998, 7.5/10. The quality of outtakes from OK Computer on this EP is surprisingly impressive, with songs like Polyethylene.

Radiohead Kid A

Kid A – Radiohead

2000, 9.5/10. Abandoning rock music, Kid A finds Radiohead exploring more esoteric influences

Radiohead Amnesiac

Amnesiac – Radiohead

2001, 8/10. Drawn from the same recording sessions as Kid A, Amnesiac is even less song orientated than its predecessor.

Radiohead I Might Be Wrong Live Recordings

I Might Be Wrong (Live) – Radiohead

2001, 7/10. Live renditions of the esoteric and electronic material from Kid A and Amnesiac.

Radiohead Hail to the Thief

Hail to the Thief – Radiohead

2003, 8.5/10. The textural cut and paste of Radiohead’s previous records is toned down into more conventional song structures.

Radiohead Com Lag

Com Lag (EP) – Radiohead

2004, 5/10. A collection of Radiohead b-sides that, for once, actually mostly sound like b-sides.

Radiohead In Rainbows

In Rainbows – Radiohead

In Rainbows 2007, 9/10 In Rainbows is most well known for its release strategy; the band self-released it as pay-what-you-want download, … Continue Reading In Rainbows – Radiohead

Radiohead The King Of Limbs

The King of Limbs – Radiohead

The King of Limbs (2011), not yet rated I haven’t spent enough time with The King of Limbs yet to … Continue Reading The King of Limbs – Radiohead

Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool

A Moon Shaped Pool – Radiohead

A Moon Shaped Pool (2016), not yet rated Have barely listened to this one yet.

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