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4.1 out of 5 stars
Kid A
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2011
It seems fairly common to not 'get' this album to start with. It's not so much a case where I would say that the word 'difficult' is an understatement, as if you approach this without a view to sentimentality or depth then you'll most likely still find some enjoyment in certain tracks provided that the brand of ambient electronica on here is to your taste. The right ears, however, hearing this from its opening track to its teary conclusion, will become completely absorbed. This is revered by many as one of, if not the best, albums ever created. Everything on offer here is only included on the basis of meticulous design; a seamless and often heartbreaking fusion of the artificial and the organic, from the synth-rooted drum-driven glitching of the magnificent Idioteque right down to the audible pumping of the Harmonium's bellows on the album's exquisite closer.

That closer is Motion Picture Soundtrack, and taken alone or at the end of a lesser album would still be heart-stopping. At the end of Kid A, it moves mountains. I've yet to hear it without getting goosebumps, and I've listened a great number of times. It's easy to call this album pretentious or self indulgent or whatever have you, but whether or not you buy into or even care about this being the very deliberate 'commercial suicide' that it is alleged to be, it cannot be refuted that a great many people find such beauty in this music that they nigh on swear by it. If you stop thinking about why things are happening in the music- if you completely put any stigmas at the back of your mind, and really just listen- you'll find that everything here just works. From the packaging to the lyrics to the writing to the fades between songs to even the most subtle of little production touches, this is as complete a musical package as you'll ever find, and just about the best you will too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2003
Some may argue that as the triangle chimed at the end of OK Computer, nothing could ever surpass let alone equal the work of the massive artisitc statement Radiohead made. With the unnerving prospect of media hype, they rightly chose to let music satiate the hungry pack of dogs that the press came to be.
The mixed reviews were, truth be told, the result of a public insulted by unintelligible popular culture, and all in all by marginalising themselves Radiohead secured cult status as musical innovators for years to come. The stark beauty of the opening electronic spits and ethereal keyboard introduction opens up the listener, referencing cult warp starlets such as Aphex Twin, or Icelandic experimentalists Mum. Yet even through the warped title track and indeciferable vocals, you cannot quite percieve how the album will pan out. Bring on 'National Antem', a fiery explosive affair, complete with Johnny Greenwood's insane brass brainchild and thudding basslines. Thom meanwhile renders himself insane with enough odd screams to frighten away the tamer listener (lovers of 'Nice Dream' may wish to run by this point). Just when guitar was out of the question, as the new post-OK Computer methods took sway, they reintroduce a song written years before with 'How to disappear completely'. The song is given a sonic makeover, recalling the more homely moments of Sigur Ros and to many is a peak of the album. The visionary statements give Yorke's voice its first real workout, and it does not disappoint. Treefingers then adds breathing space, recalling Brian Eno's ambient skill, before Optimistic gives the more Bends prone listener some remote comfort and shows Colin Greenwood's stylish basslines are improving with age.
Perhaps the most remarkable movement of the album follows, with the dreamy madness of 'In Limbo' fading into the harsh electronic beats of 'Idioteque', paying homage to Autechre perhaps, but riffling adverse lyrical banter (ie. Mobiles Chirping, Take the money and run). This defines the release as quite possibly the stongest fusion of electronics for a supposed guitar band. Why however should they constrain themselves to settings of the now weak comparitive early material and questionable productions of pre-Godrich days. The insane stir of Morning Bell leaks cut-paste wordplay ('Where dya park the car?') Thom adopts to place himself in a lonely post-modern world.
The album closes with the melancholic beauty of 'Motion Picture Soundtrack', with sublime Mercury Rev like strings and understated optimism. It is without doubt a stunning end to what inevitably will become the first classic of the new century. Earning them a US no.1 and plaudits amongst all genres of musician, it puts Radiohead's name amongst the great artists, not just of an age, but in recording history. Yet I still can't work out what Ed O'Brien did
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This album is one of most innovative albums of all time, i'm in complete and utter amazing that people can't appreciate this album. It's so clever that it could never be immatated. The first track "Everything in it's Right Place" presents an unbelievable array of sounds although the lyrics aren't quite as good as on ok computer the song is utterly superb, next "kid a" not the best song ever but probably the one that has grown on me a lot, much better than the computerised "fitter happier" it generates a calm relaxing melody to sooth anyone, before bringing us on to the Catchiest and fastest song on the album apart from "idioteque" "the national anthem", has such a cool beat to it that anyone can listen to it in anymood and the song itself like most of the album can be interpretted in different ways. Next comes the most beautiful song on the album "How to Disappear Completely" is so harmonic and when i first heard it i didn't take much notice of it to be honest but it has slowly become one of those i constantly find myself singing to with the most beautiful lyrics and sounds. The biggest and only disappointment on this album has to be "treefingers" which is basically a very dull instrumental which the album could have done without. But this is soon forgotten as "Optimistic" hits the stereo probably the most familiar one to the OK computer sounds on the album although this isn't as clear as you would think, what makes this song so brilliant is the repetative chorus line which can be sung in any mood or on any day, it is a lovely song to sing to and makes me feel good to sing. "in Limbo" follows on from "optimistic" and the two could easily be mistaken as one almighty epic, the introduction to this song is again attractive although the song isn't as exciting as the majority of the others on the album it is one that you will enjoy listening to when hearing the whole album. "Idioteque" this is one masterpiece of a song possibly the best on the album and if there were to be any singles released from this album it could have been this one. A brilliant beat with catchy lyrics that you will never forget one that you will listen to again and again when first listening to the album. "morning bell" may well be the scariest song radiohead have done since "climbing up the walls" with harsh and blunt lyrics such as "cut the kids in half" repeated over and over. But what seems so evil sounds so good, it may be my favourite of the album as it just sounds incredible and is again easy to hum to. The last track is as beautiful as anything Radiohead have ever done "motion picture soundtrack" is easily the nicest song on the album and again one you will again want to listen to over and over. There is also a hidden track on Kid A but i don't know why this was put on here, as it seems a bit of a waste.
I think that the reason behind the album causing such diversity is due to no singles being released. The releasing of "idioteque" or "how to disappear completely" may have prevented the album from being misunderstood. As with many Radiohead albums and ep's it will take a few listens to get used to the songs. But once you've started liking them there is definetly no going back. These songs will haunt you for life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 February 2002
I agree with one of the previous reviews saying they should have released amnesiac first. Kid A is far more experimental than amnesiac, just listen to kid A and treefingers to figure that out. What radiohead could have done is combined kid A and amnesiac and produced the greatest album of all time. period. The best of amnesiac added to kid A would be a work of total genius. Replace treefingers with pyramid song, i might be wrong for in limbo and life in a glasshouse, you and whose army and dollars and cents as new tracks and you would have an unpeatable album. Unfortunately they didn't do this. Never mind, his album is probably their most criticised and probably their best, if not the best of all time. Opening with the optimistic sounding everything in its right place, containing the great lyric, yesterday i woke up sucking on lemon and then proceeding to the experiment that is kid A. Not a botched one though as it is a good track with the strange sounds combining into a great tune. National anthem is memorable for its wild bassline that gets stuck in your head for days on end. how to disappear completely is a absolute classic. every radiohead album has 1 or 2 tracks of amazing beauty, thinking about you on pablo honey, fake plastic trees on the bends, exit music and lucky on ok computer, pyramid song on amnesiac and this on kidA (and also motion picture soundtrack). treefingers is fine as far as it goes but it doesn't go anywhere, rather like hunting bears on amnesiac. Still, pleasant to listen to. Optimistic has really great lyrics and a good tune. In limbo is a bit of a disappointment but there isn't any bad songs on this album, it just isn't AS good as the rest. Idiotheque is a classic, pure genius, rushed lyrics that you can't get out of your head (2 weeks of it just gets annoying tho). Morning bell is far better on here than on amnesiac although no match for what follows. Motion picture soundtrack was actually an ok computer 'reject' (altho thom loves it). This song is so amazingly beautiful it brings me to tears. The funeral organ really adds to it. Despite this the song is actually quite up-beat (for radiohead anyway). This is the song i want played at MY funeral. To sum up, you may love this, you may hate it. I took the chance and i love it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2001
i think it was STING who once said and i quote
"the life span of the average band is 3 albums"
well i think old thom and the boys from oxford must have taken those words of wisdom to heart because this sure aint any thing like any previous RADIOHEAD record and we have to ask ourselves the question why should it be? there are only so many variations on the guitar/ drums/ditties as so many bands find to their cost. KID A is bewildering,beautiful,funky,strangly moving and a triumph of composition and production. It is one of those albums that you can put on and leave and never ever tire of. It will live forever in top album lists and it deserves to. The people who don't like it need to have their hearing checked or stay with TRAVIS!!. KID A is just wonderful music and what could be better than that?? Comparing this to their other recordings. If you sat them side-by-side it would be difficult to say that all of them had been made by the same band, particularly if you remove Tom York's voice. I was disappointed by it initially, but the more I listen to it, the more I like it and whilst it's never going to make my top 10 records of all time it certainly has something about it which makes me listen to it again and again. I think that the reduced level of emotion caused by the sterile studio production and the carefully planned sound detracts from what is essentially a very accomplished album. Everyone should listen to it at least twice before drawing their own conclusions. Personally I'll probably spend the coming months trying to figure it out
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2000
Nobody in the world can deny that KID A overflows intelligence. This word is the better that can describe to KID A: intelligence. Other adjectives can fit like: alternative - really -, progressive, experimental, absorbent, intimist, etc, but KID A is an INTELLIGENT recording. It is not an easy-listening album , but not as weird as announced it. The trick is listening to it from the beginning until the end, without interferences, nor interruptions. It is an album to listen to it with too much concentration (listening to it with headphones, still magnifies it more) and to take by the 50 minutes of rock music: the true rock of future. Who has said that KID A is not a rock album, in my opinion, is mistaken. "KID A" causes that OK Computer sounds old. It's a fucking problem but it's real. "KID A" leaves your ears tuned in another key. I think that it's because Radiohead sticks a pair of kicks to the music and harmony theory. Anything that you listen to next, it will seem to you old. The first time that I listened to KID A, in front of the hi-fi, the speakers, and my collection of CDs and vinyls, I thought that what I was listening to -KID A- threw to the garbage all my other recordings, it was a feeling similar to: year 0 of the new rock age, this is alternative and the other one is a fucking shit. Radiohead is going to lose many followers with KID A, but without a doubt they will gain many others and KID A will fortify all the followers who always wait for the evolution of all good band that boasts. Really friends: KID A has become a masterpiece.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2001
We're waiting...We're still waiting...it's been a while now...Come on...You can do it!!! It's arrived. Kid A is here. It's three years since the highly successful OK Computer had its day and now at long last the fourth album is here. Now, before the release everyone had said that this would be different from the Radiohead of old. Oh they were right. If you thought there was a lack of possible singles on OK Computer, you would struggle to find one here if you tried for a year. Throughout this album only a handful of lyrics are actually possible to understand and the music is distorted to say the very, very least. A bad thing then? A failure? I don't think so. They haven't made this album for anyone else other than themsleves. it's not for the fans who adored them after hearing the last album. This is experimentation...if not down right madness. The nearest thing to the Radiohead of old would be the heart renching 'How To Disappear Completely' and at a push 'Morning Bell', however the other tracks which include the almost dance DJ friendly 'Optimistic' will leave you amazed and baffled. If you believe what you've heard - then this album is poor. If you give it a genuine chance (and it may well take a few listens) then you WILL grow to love it. People are scared of the unknown and Kid A is the perfect definition of this. These people though are people who have missed out on a masterpiece...unless they change their minds of course.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2000
Those of the other reviewer's here who rated this 1 or 2 stars can only have listened to it a couple of times.
Kid A has been slagged off in the majority of the music press because it's not a direct copy of The Bends or OK Computer... and okay, I DID feel very disappointed when I first heard it, but I've not stopped listening to it. The songs I hated first I'm getting into now in a BIG way (The National Anthem and Optimistic), and the songs I loved (How To Disappear Completely and In Limbo) I now rate as Radiohead classics.
It's a classic grower, in true Radiohead style. Music that lasts is great music, and this is great music.
Buy the album, listen to it, digest it, love it.
M
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2001
Its taken a long time to get used to Kid A. Now, a year after first hearing it, im wondering why it was so hard to get into. Infact the depth of this record is quite astonishing, theres still more for me to discover. Only the other day I discovered a booklet hidden behind the CD inlay tray. and might I say that the art for this CD suits the album perfectly. Its a record of being lost, powerless as an insect in the modern world. "Optimistic" is the anthem for all 20 somethings wasting away in offices accross Britain. Personal favourite songs are "In Limbo", and "Idioteque", which manages to ROCK without there being any guitars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2000
Radiohead's eagerly anticipated but yet strangely un-hyped fourth studio album finally arrives after a lengthy, 3 years plus, wait. Following this the obvious question is of course, is it worth the wait ????? The answer to this is both yes and no. No to those who were awaiting an extension to either "The Bends" or "OK Computer" and a big fat yes to all those fans who are not put off by a new direction. This new direction comes in the form of the band exploring the new medium of electronic instruments blended with the traditional Radiohead tuneful guitars and Yorke's haunting vocals. The mix is a fantastic achievement and on tracks such as "How to Disappear completely" one cannot help but draw an emotional response that not only cannot be found with other bands, but is not even hinted at. In short, the album is both melancholy and uplifting and always manages to tap into your psyche unlike other recent records which are merely released to please the masses and sell in scandalous quantities. The lack of publicity may dent the sales of this record, but if you're smart and you know good music, you'll add it to your collection.
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