My fondest memory of Kid A isn’t the most special or exciting, but it’s one of those neat life moments that somehow seems to stick with you like a bad penny, even if you can’t remember your own family member’s birthdays. Not like that exact scenario has ever affected me, per se. Moving on.
Kid A was released in 2000, a full removed from the massive success of OK Computer, the album that put Radiohead in the music world’s spotlight. Even at 13 years old, I had high expectations for the record because of how much time I had spent dissecting OK Computer.
Around that time, my family had moved from Jacksonville to Brooksville, an experience I wrote about early in this project. We were robbed literally the day after we moved in (by some two-bit hoodlums riding dirty, no doubt), but it turned out to be some sort of hazing prank because most of our stuff ended up back on the driveway the next day. Strange experience. One of the victims of the incident though was my stereo.
So I got to give Kid A its first listen on a brand new and amazing (or, to my immature ears) system. Now for the unpopular opinion: despite its massive success, it’s my least favorite Radiohead album.
Yes, it’s the first to feature a string section and the incorporation of niche instruments like theremins and something called an “ondes Martenot.”
Yes, it set the tone for each album to come.
Yes, it’s an excellent record.
But even the “leftovers” recording that came out the next year packaged as Amnesiac trumps the kid.
I read through some of the history involved in the recording of Kid A, and what it basically amounts to is that lead vocalist/genius mastermind Thom Yorke had writer’s block. I can see that in some spots, especially on a song like “In Limbo” which makes me squirm. It’s not a ‘bad’ tune, per se, but following a song “Optimistic” it sticks out like a thumb-shaped man.
But I’m only one man and I have the opinion of half of one because I like Andrew W.K.
From 2000’s Kid A, this is Radiohead’s “National Anthem” –
Standout tracks: “The National Anthem” and “Everything In Its Right Place” and “Optimistic”
Weakest track: “Morning Bell” or “In Limbo”
RIYL: Experimental pop, experimental electronic, and their later work.