Tuesday, 25 August 2009

2000: Kid A

It's one thing to scoff that it's really not that brave or experimental at all - the band themselves were the first to point out that their own listening at that time was far more obtuse - but let's put things in context here. Radiohead's previous two albums had catapulted them to the level of worldwide, stadium-creaking rock ubiquity that Kings of Leon currently enjoy. And then they dropped this, to the sound of a million fifteen year-olds scratching their heads.

I was one of them. Kid A was just like nothing else I'd heard before. A lot of the songs lacked verses, choruses, guitars, drums, rhythm, singing, or all of them, and yet it was beguiling because of that. It seemed to occupy a world of its own, not least because all the other music I owned at the time sounded more or less like the stuff that filled up the radio, and the CD players of my friends. It was also the first time I really started to think about an album as being not just a collection of songs, but a 'long player' musical experience. The album swells and ebbs with the rhythm of a piece that was meant to be heard in one sitting, though the centrifugal force that is 'Idioteque' undoubtedly stands out, a career highlight for a band whose career is more or less one long series of highlights. It was the turn of the decade and Kid A was to be incredibly influential in the years following its release, as much on the type of records I listened to as the artists who made them.

1 comment:

Matthew! said...

Oddly enough, Pitchfork posted their review of Capitol's 10th anniversary 'Collector's Edition' cash-cow on the same day I wrote this.