Day 42 – #292. Radiohead – The King of Limbs

Radiohead - The King of Limbs

More like RADiohead. I’m sorry, still working on that one.

The King of Limbs was released on my birthday in 2011, so I automatically have both a spiritual and metaphysical connection to it that cannot be explained.

I feel like this project is doing more than its fair share: reuniting me with some “old friends” and forging new, intimate attachments. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that listening to an album is wholly different on headphones versus listening through a speaker system.

The King of Limbs is a record that needs to be experienced through headphones because of the dense, lush, and intricate instrumentation and ambient sounds. There aren’t just small sections or bridges that sound better if they’re in your head versus just being around you; the whole album benefits from sonic surprises.

As an example, my first few listens through “Give Up The Ghost” had me thinking it was the weakest track on the album. But hearing the song through a good pair of headphones brought out the bird songs and the open, airy feel, and I was sold. Same with the hand claps in the background of “Lotus Flower” – it would be really difficult to hear over car speakers or a stereo system.

On another note, as someone who has little to no rhythmic ability (see: my dancing – as spastic as Thom Yorke in the video for “Lotus Flower” but lacking any of the fluidity or talent), my respect and admiration and Phil Selway and Colin Greenway knows no bounds.

I only know about the concept (and the word in general, I suppose) of “syncopation” because of Animal Collective, but it’s quite prevalent on The King of Limbs. “Bloom” opens with a meandering, syncopating piano. It’s the most warmth I’ve ever felt from a Radiohead song, and I’ve belted out “Karma Police” in my car while speeding on the interstate, so… you don’t know anything about me, really at all.

At only 8 tracks and not even 40 minutes long, it’s by far the shortest output from the band. Supposedly, it was the first part of a larger album, but that remains to be seen.

One way or another, subsequent tours have produced the best Thom Yorke hairstyle to date:

Pony Up

From 2011’s The King of Limbs, here’s “Lotus Flower”:

Standout tracks: “Bloom” and “Give Up The Ghost”
Weakest track: Nope.

RIYL: This band is in a league of their own.



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