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A fascinating album, but a big departure from their 1990s releases
on 11 February 2015
'Kid A' (2000) represented a shift towards very bleak territory indeed for a band who, let's face it, have always tended to look on the black side of the human condition. This release reflected Thom Yorke's disturbed state of mind in the late 1990s and, both musically and lyrically, the 'soundscape' created is highly atmospheric with the emphasis centred on electronic music, rather than based around the distinctive guitar hooks of Jonny Greenwood to drive the material forwards - a feature which made albums such as 'The Bends' and 'OK Computer' so popular in the mid-1990's. Unsurprisingly, there were no hit singles from this album, reflecting the conscious effort made by Radiohead to deliver a radically different style; a brave move and a decision which certainly split the music critics (although, to be fair, the overall reaction to Kid A was positive).
Most importantly, do I like this album ? Personally, I had to persevere with it in an attempt to appreciate all of its finer points but, even so, I can't in all honesty say that I have found listening to 'Kid A' makes for a comforting experience. However, there are some daring and quite brilliant sections which show just how innovative these guys are. In conclusion, I would simply say that 'Kid A' is well worth buying, but, it is probably wise to start your Radiohead education by buying one of their first 3 studio albums with 'The Bends' possibly representing the best option.