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Press on Radiohead’s The King Of Limbs – The First Reviews

When Radiohead released In Rainbows digitally in 2007, the collective music press got their reviews online in no time. Today is no different with the release of its follow-up, The King Of Limbs. Here’s a round-up of The King Of Limbs reviews that have been published online.

Rolling Stone has a track-by-track breakdown. “With eight tracks spanning 37 minutes, The King of Limbs is surprisingly short – but it’s also typically rich with electronic texture.” — Will Hermes

Another track-by-track review comes from The Telegraph. On closing track Separator: “It’s a perfectly understated ending to Radiohead’s most mellifluous collection, not so much a chill out as an exhausted cigarette break in the eye of the hurricane, down time from a disaster. If Radiohead are still a rock band, then no one has told them. This is something else entirely. The sound of the future calling.” — Neil McCormick

Radiohead The King Of LimbsThe Telegraph have another review up. This one’s from Lucy Jones and she asks “is this Radiohead’s most feminine album? […] It’s a treasure. It places the band’s ability to write beguilingly beautiful songs first and puts the grit and testosterone on the backseat. There are songs on it which will win the band new fans, there are others (Feral particularly) which won’t. Codex, Little by Little and Separator are highlights and will leap high up the band’s canon. I knew it: there is no end to Radiohead’s genius.” — Lucy Jones

“A fans-pleasing eighth album from Britain’s most consistently brilliant band,” says the BBC. “Thom says something about dragonflies, something else about nobody getting hurt; the words blur and blend, though, as beneath them the simplest, most strikingly gorgeous piano motif bores its way into the heart. And it’s here, not any of your limited-character blogging or video-sharing sites, that Radiohead trump all comers, again. — Mike Diver

NME reviewed all eight separately as well, and in their final verdict we quote: “This is an avant-garde record, and most definitely not a return to the crowd-pleasing songwriting of the ‘OK Computer’ era. In a sense it’s a continuation of ‘In Rainbows’ in that Radiohead have now worked out how to be experimental without sacrificing the human element. As on that record, they display the knack of sounding deceptively machine-like. It sounds electronic even when it isn’t – but there’s always a pearl of soulfulness hidden within.” — Luke Lewis

Wall Street Journal: “The King of Limbs, the new Radiohead album, balances beautifully the band’s gift for melodic rock, energetic electronic rhythms and crafty musical experimentation. Quietly assertive, engaging and accessible, it’s a worthy successor to “In Rainbows,” their 2007 release. It’s a short album – eight songs; a little more than 37 minutes – but the music is richly textured and complex.” — Jim Fusilli

The Guardian: “Yes, you can still marvel that one of the world’s biggest bands are releasing music totally lacking in commercial concerns. And yes, they’re still leading the pack when it comes to releasing music in an exciting, innovative way. But whereas their business model is unusual, there’s a nagging feeling that The King of Limbs is more like business as usual.” — Tim Jonze

SF Weekly write: “Only half the grooves-not-songs were good on first listen, and none were great. The very little guitar is welcome when there is any, and judging by the same old rhythm tricks and dull James Blake rip, Radiohead no longer sounds like innovators thinking three steps ahead of us. The band sound like it’s been running on empty ever since John Mayer deciphered its Klingon. The best moments here were the ones least like themselves: South Asian guitars, Mideastern percussion, swooning (if not quite sultry) soul. Radiohead needs to go further, and the fact it needs to be told that means it’s no longer in the lead. — Dan Weiss

Vanity Fair: “Well worth the $9 download and will get several plays on headphones during Manhattan errand runs. But if I hear someone raving about it in line at the movie theater, I might just have to pull a Marshall McLuhan from Annie Hall: “Oh, really? Well, I happen to have the members of Can here.”” — Marc Spitz

Gigwise go track-by-track and end with: “Radiohead’s ‘The King Of Limbs’ might only be eight tracks long but there’s not a single moment that hasn’t been painstakingly constructed, de-constructed and put back together again. With all the ingenious ways the band are now choosing to release music, it’s easy to forget just how inventive, avant-garde and, at the end of the day, emotionally touching the songs they make are. ‘The King Of Limbs’ is an engrossing listen, an album that sends you to an emphatic high before wrapping you up in a blanket to recuperate. Masterful.” — Jason Gregory

The Toronto Sun praise Radiohead on their release tactics and on The King Of Limbs they say: “It’s not a game-changer a la Kid A. It’s not even as accessible as In Rainbows (and that’s using the term loosely). It’s understated and introspective. There are no big anthems, no singalong choruses — virtually no choruses at all, in fact, just layers of skittery rhythms, dreamscape sonics and atmospheric vocals. The lyrics are preoccupied with nature — lotus flowers, magpies, fish out of water and whatnot — in contrast to the music’s unnatural chill. Coupled with the title — which refers to a 1,000-year-old tree in Britain — it suggests a man-vs-nature theme.” — Darryl Sterdan

London Evening Standard: As is the Radiohead way, as befits a an album whose cover nods to Edvard Munch’s The Scream, The King Of Limbs will reveal its diverse charms even slower than it downloads, but while there is no pop music among these eight tracks, there is much to savour . . . The King Of Limbs combines elegant pain, weary despair, uncomfortable dislocation and an unmistakeable seam of comfort. Business as usual for Radiohead, then. — John Aizlewood

The UK edition of Metro rates the album four out of five: “Like Yorke has already shown, The King if Limbs is music to rock out to in the most introspective way as its beautiful melodies drift into and linger in the forgotten pockets of your mind. — Ann Lee

The Independent says The King Of Limb is good but not great. “If The King Of Limbs was by any band other than Radiohead, the world would shrug. But when it’s Radiohead? Hold the front page.” —Simon Price

“Radiohead is defying that mindset, creating exactly what it wants on its own timetable, to make another sudden digital splash,” write The New York Times. “The King of Limbs is Radiohead in its familiar richly depressive mode: full of pained longing and fixated on musical nuance, getting lost in sound and then clawing its way out beautifully. As an album, it’s too brief. But these are songs to dive into.” — Jon Pareles

Esquire: “The King of Limbs is a fine record for a rainy day, although it’s hard not to wonder if it would be received as well as it has been had it come under the imprimatur of, say, a band releasing its second or third album. Which is something else you have to give the band credit for: Whether wondering how they managed to get a particular sound out of Thom Yorke’s voice or how they seemed to solve the Internet, Radiohead certainly keep you guessing. And talking about them with your friends”. — Maura Johnston

Radiohead, it seems, has become a dance band, we read in Los Angeles Times. “The music’s enveloping resonance, the unalloyed pleasure it brings, colors Yorke’s lyrics; even when they go morbid, they seem less concerned with demons than with ghosts who might be tamed. “Open your mouth wide,” he sings in “Bloom.” “Don’t blow your mind with why.” No harm, it turns out, in sometimes letting the bones (or maybe, once in a while, the booty) lead”. — Ann Powers

The Observer: “In truth, The King of Limbs sounds a little predictable, certainly at first. It is very much the heir to 2007’s In Rainbows, imbued with some of the spirit of Yorke’s solo outing, 2006’s The Eraser. Which is to say, it sounds another death knell for fans of The Bends and OK Computer still hoping for a late recantation and a return to anthemic guitar rock. […] Radiohead’s dense and knotted eighth album may sound a little predictable at first but it merits close and long listening.” — Kitty Empire

Chicago Tribune‘s Greg Kot rated the album 2.5 out of 4 stars, stating “the new Radiohead never resolves the friction between the physical freedom of dance music and the carefully constructed architecture of more insular, inward looking art-pop. Its reference points are abstract jazz-fusion albums that implied funk without actually embracing it: Miles Davis’ “Bitches Brew,” Herbie Hancock’s “Sextant.” That’s heady, serious territory, but then Radiohead has never really been about fun. At certain moments, “King of Limbs” hints that it someday could be, with a ferocious rhythm-based album along the lines of Talking Heads’ “Remain in Light.”

But for now, they’re not quite as loose-limbed and uninhibited as the Yorke of “Lotus Flower.” Instead, a more appropriate title for “King of Limbs” might be one borrowed from another abstract jazz album: Ornette Coleman’s “Dancing in Your Head.” ” — Greg Kot

The New York Post: Fans who have been intimidated by some of Radiohead’s headier rock experiments should feel more comfortable with “Limbs.” The band embraces the most accessible, melodic elements of “Kid A” — upbeat and energetic without the annoying and repetitive boom-boom bass lines of traditional dance music. — Dan Aquilante

Graeme Virtue wrote for The Herald Scotland: “Where the album does triumph, however, is as a symbol of Radiohead’s artistic pre-eminence. They are a band totally in control of their destiny, now so digitally entwined with their worldwide fanbase that there is no need for mediation through record companies or – whisper it – music critics. And while it’s easy to characterise them as chilly and alienated – the better to explain their fierce musical discipline, rejection of rock cliche and Thom Yorke’s dancing in the Lotus Flower video – the fact is they’re actually having a whale of a time, making the art they love free of commercial pressure and idiotic interference. — Graeme Virtue

So what is the Radiohead album really about? It’s about a tree, in that it’s about staying true to your roots.”

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  • 8/10. It is quiet and mostly beautiful.

  • Too soon to call. It’s only been out for a day, come on..

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Radiohead News, Corey duBrowa, Arjan Vergeer, ROBERT ANDRÉS GÓMEZ, Wennano and others. Wennano said: “@radioheadnews: The first reviews of Radiohead's #thekingoflimbs are in:” que pensara @ruleiro […]

  • i think that Tim Jonze of the Guardian is going to be feeling a little silly later on. just watched the video review they’ve got on their site now and i frankly feel that haven’t a clue. seems they just want stagnant boring traditional song structures and melody. catch up guys! radiohead blow me away once more. i love it.

  • i also dissagree with their take on the album being nothing new. oh come on..this is a different beast altogether. some elements used in the past possibly. but now those things have come together as one whole and made something new. something mature.

  • hmmmm

  • So…is it just me that after 10 listens still thinks this sounds more like a Radiohead B-Sides compilation or a follow-up to the Eraser? Is Jonny Greenwood still even in the band? 🙁

    Sorry to rant…I was just so excited about this as I loved In Rainbows so much and thought this would be an even better album. It feels like nice chillout music for the background but nothing more. Like a bunch of Four Tet remixes of Atoms for Peace songs.

    -bummed Xavi

  • how do they know the truth, i wonder

  • Xavier, you’re not the only one. This album ranks as least favorite of all so far… I was so excited to hear the new material, but it is so hectic…and… I’m fairly disappointed. Starting to regret the newspaper purchase.

  • very weird reviews…

    looks like they all try to be as creative as thom

  • Same here…I never thought I’d ever like a Radiohead album less than Pablo Honey.

    I blame Flea.

    not sure why…I just do. 😉

    I actually pre-ordered the Newspaper thing and the regular release…double-paying on purpose just to be nice. I kinda want my money back now. 🙁

  • That’s it. The album seems to be loops cutted. Where is melody? Where is song structure? Where’s Jhonny? Where’s the drummer? Only rythm loops with xtreme reverb and fantasmagorical space treatment. Very dissappinted me too… It sounds like material with no place to be released. Strange…

  • I love the different reactions. Every single album release since OK Computer everyone starts arguing the moment one of their albums comes out. I’ve heard both that it’s a departure for them, that it’s too similar to their other work, that the first five tracks are the best, that the last four are the best, that this is the worst album they’ve released, that this is the best since Kid A, people seem all over the place with it. I think the general sentiment from the reviews is accurate though, there is some great stuff, a few songs rivaling their best work (codex…), but it’s not going to blow anyone away like their “famous” albums.

  • I don’t want to sound like I don’t appreciate the experimentation and innovative nature of the band, but I just think this album is bizzarre in a way. I loved the Eraser to death, but this album seems so incomplete and lacking the magical touch that the rest of their albums seem to have. In Rainbows is my favorite record of theirs, and I know it would be tough to follow it up, but like others have said, it seems like a skipping vinyl. Again, not putting the boys down, just for me sonething is seriously lacking.

  • What a shame, Ive seen Radiohead allllll over the world, I will always love them. BUT the techno shit HAS TO STOP….Now I know why Phil, and Johnny are doing their own thing. Could it be goodbye to Radiohead.. And could Pearl Jam BE THE BEST band????????

  • AOL Spinner track by track:

  • The album truly feels incomplete. And that’s not a good thing. I really like what is there, but it’s like the second half is missing. The album feels like a preview.

    Give up the Ghost is great though. And Little by Little.

  • This should be called The Eraser II aka Thom’s second solo album. Where are all the other band members at? So dissapointed with this..

  • I think it’s way too early for anyone to be writing definitive statements. I’ve pretty much spent my whole day listening to this album, seeking out lyrics, etc… I’ve seen several of these songs live as I caught one of Thom’s Orpheum shows in LA (Lotus Flower was played) and another in Santa Barbara (Giving up the Ghost was played). I live in Utah and pretty much do anything I can to get Radiohead shows.

    I have initial impressions, but they are only that. I remember being completely let down when Kid A came out, but there were some hooks in there I just couldn’t shake… so I listened again and again and again. With each listen I was a little put off, but I needed another taste. Before long it was like crack. I couldn’t get enough of it. It’s still my favorite album to this day.

    I LOVE 5 of the songs and I’m still digesting 3 of them. I love that Thom speaks so heavily in metaphor. I’ve brought so many of my own life meanings into several of the tracks already. I want to write a formal review at some point, but I’d feel arrogant for even trying.

  • ‘where are the other members?’ ‘it feels incomplete’. People asking these questions should try actually Listening. Regardless of whether you think its the shit or the pit, listen for pete’s sake. Each song is thick with layers, the driving beat of phil, jolting bass of colin, dripping reverb from jonny and sonic echoes from ed are all there on bloom, as on the other tracks. The album sounds nothing like radiohead, neither did kid a. The album sounds incomplete, so does kid a, to this day, which is why it sounds better with every listen. as ed said ‘the aim of the game is to keep moving’, somat like that anyway. .. ..

  • I never thought I’d say this but my love for Radiohead is dying.

    The boys have given us works genius ot ART with their past albums. Although, I appreciate they’re effort on this, they’re magic seems to be tapped out; it sounds like other groups in the indie rock realm. Also It seems Thom has taken complete control over recording, why do most lead singers become egomaniacs? could this be the begenning of the end? Time will tell

  • They’re all wrong! A Radiohead album can’t be reviewed after only a couple of hours. That’s just… UNpossible. Time is part of the experience.

    Makes me think of another genius: Kubrick movies generally received mixed reviews when they hit theatres… only to become classics and critics-favorites years later.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go listen it for the very first time and make my own opinion 🙂

  • I just listened to the album and I have been a fan since the beginning. I have to say I was Highly disappointed!
    We waited for 4 years and got Techno filler garbage.
    There were some jems and new direction.
    CODEX and SEPERATOR was the jems.
    The rest was Drum machine Caca!!!
    I hope Radiohead is teasing us and will be coming up with a new album this year.
    What they don’t realize is they are the Rockin’ band of our generation. We have to hear news and radio say how wonderful Lady Gaga is with her filth and Poppy bullshit it just sickens me!!!
    Now we wait for 4 years for a new album and this is what we get. Don’t get me wrong. The fill in stuff was cool.
    A band that simply rocks. I’m not sure if they realize this or not. Make an album every year or so and ROCK ON!!!
    It does need to be new and inventive.
    Its what Radiohead does on the toilet every morning.
    Just think how MANY classics we would have if they just recorded their beautiful Poetry for us more often
    I’m jealous and let down.

  • sure, we could have used a few more tracks, but i’m sure we’ll get some more just like we have with most other radiohead albums.

    oh and the vanity fair quote was funny, does sound like there was a lot of Can influence.

  • After like the 20th listen and finally blasting it in my car…I have to say it’s starting to make sense. I started the day insanely excited…then completely disappointed…and now I’m just enjoying it for what it is. A very different Radiohead record that might not be amazing but is definitely good.

    Who knows though…maybe in a week I’ll say it’s the most amazing record ever.

    I still think Feral sucks though. 😉

  • 2nd listen. I got it. Beautiful.

  • I’m incredibly disappointed. To only receive 8 tracks, when they’ve been recording for 4 years, is ridiculous. Perhaps, they’d be pardoned if the tracks were of actual quality but unfortunately, the great majority of them are incomplete, or at least appear to be. The length of the album, is generated by repeated loops, so in actuality there is only about 20 minutes, of genuine Radiohead; the rest if processed bullshit. This is where I derive a lot of my anger. These periods of instrumentation should be occupied by Johnny’s signature guitar riffs, or Ed’s drones, instead it’s void. I’m interested in hearing, how a band of 5 incredibly talented musicians, could produce something so sparse; and it doesn’t even provide for nuance. It comes of as lazy. In conclusion, I feel this is a half-assed effort, and perhaps signals the end of Radiohead. 4 years for something like this is unconscionable. Sorry guys…

  • no-one gets it

    whereof one cannot speak one must remain silent.

    its their best album, and there is surely more to come very soon, the signs are there you fucking idiots

  • we lost RADIOHEAD…long live THE NATIONAL!!!! stop crying for god’s sake…we lost tom…he is happy….listen high violet by the national

  • Whoever said they have been recording this album for four years can’t do math. It has been three years and four damn months since In Rainbows were released… just because you see release years as 2007 and 2011, it doesn’t make it automatically four years between releases… idiot.

    Seriously, they toured and promoted In Rainbows… by the time they were done and back in the studio, they probably spent maybe two years recording this one — for Radiohead, that’s pretty good I’d say!

  • It’s funny, this is probably one of the most layered albums Radiohead has put out, and yet its also their most empty. The songs simply meander along with the same loops in the background, and many of the loops aren’t even nice to listen to. This whole collection of songs seems to simply be experimentation on Radiohead’s part, with little to no thought given to the people who would be actually listening to the album.


  • Hmmm, another polarizing Radiohead record. Who would’ve thunk it! First listen – Little by little, Lotus flower & Codex are the standouts to me. Second play and Bloom really made me understand that this will be like most of Radiohead’s last several albums. Stuff won’t always jump out at you on the first few listens, but the layers will unfold and the beauty will be revealed.

    It’s probably not going to be my favorite album from them, I think it’s too short, 7 real songs and Feral which is this albums Gloaming/Treefingers-esque filler. I miss Jonny’s guitar work – he’s just too amazing of a guitarist to not have some songs that play to his talent. He does some beautiful orchestral stuff, but I still want some guitar! Hopefully they’ll have another release soon like the Kid A/Amnesiac tandem. There’s got to be more from these sessions than 8 songs.

  • What the hell is this repeated drum loops?

    What happened to your music?

    There are perhaps 3-4 songs worth listening to again but nothing ill have on the IPOD in the future.

    Radiohead have definately gone down the Pan…. Bs dudes.. serious.

  • People keep saying about how u have to listen to radiohead albums several times….

    Shutup already about having to listen to stuff over again….Give it a rest.

  • We all react how we do; so – power to the people! You like it, you don’t – okay. I ain’t gonna twist yer arms. I have loved the band since ok computer – and for me, the best songs ever are airbag and like spinning plates. I also felt a little let down at first, but then – the noises are just so interesting. It isn’t American Idol, or John Mayer, but thank god! These guys ALWAYS do this stuff – I mean, I LOVE Skirting on the Surface, and where is that? It frustrates me, too.

    But – I am taken by the plethora of sounds and changes; and these still have poppiness to them, too. I could never get into Autechre; this is like Autechre, but with the pathos and precision and such;

    little by little marches like a wild west show with bad news riding into town; I mean – man – the transitions are so cool, and those moans –

    Why do people need a guitar to make music?

    Yes, I talk forever – but I read all yer other damn posts; suck it up or skip on!

    Lotus Flower – it sounds like some ominous broken record of all our techno world; something hallow, and echoing; bits of data functioning; the voice and words – seem to be talking to the audience – as if what YOrke is saying matters not to us, but we manipulate it; and it feels a little lonely – but real, man.

    I don’t really get this – quest for originality argument, either; what IS new and fresh? Who have done more new things other than radiohead, if such a thing is real or true? It feels sincere, and not a copy; Can, this, that; hey, it beats Kid Rock.

    Codex has beautiful mixes of jazz; it’s like the album feels minimalist, but then – it ISN’T at ALL; it is FULL of sounds.

    And you know – while still somber, it also sounds sort of happy in many parts.

    Separator – hell, I don’t know who plays what in this band anymore; JOnny, Phil – they could all be playing anything; but clearly there are different people in there; there are all sorts of little voices.

    So – do what you will. I don’t know – best, worst; it was so sudden, and exciting, and a gift. It would be a wonder if half of us could make such “crap.”

  • Why’s everyone such a jerk? I liked it. Whatever your face, times infinity, forever, Amen. Signed, Everyone

  • Decent early review here

  • guys…really do not buy this…not worth it…keep listening to in rainbows if you are a new fan…and keep listening to kid a if you are a geek who understood their evolution/mutation…and keep listening to ok computer if you want the ultimate album by radiohead…most of the people here are waiting for CREEP II which will never happen!

  • The scope of reactions the album has given off is amazing. Everything from “Wow, this really sucks and it sounds like a Thom Yorke solo album” to “Masterful, unparalleled, a real stroke of genius”. All I have to say, as a fan of more than 15 years is that I am truly happy we have a new Radiohead album on our hands. It’s not their greatest achievement, but they don’t want it to be. At this point, Radiohead have proven to everyone (including their fans and especially their detractors) that music can be a real conversation piece, like it’s supposed to be. Some of these comments are clearly childish in their own respect. As a “fan” and as a fan, you are entitled to your own opinions and for that I respect you very much. What really, really grinds my gears are those who will always have something to complain about, no matter what. Listen, you’re not important, the world doesn’t revolve around your feelings, again, you are entitled to say what you want, but don’t come here and sound like an incompetent fool. The band doesn’t care about proving to you how monumental they are, they can do whatever they damn please. We don’t have to like it, but we can appreciate it because, let’s face it, you’re not in the band and you never will be. Don’t make it about you, learn to appreciate things and maybe, just maybe, you’ll understand what these guys are trying to do. I hope that you do understand….one day.

  • Check out this website giving nods to the release of the new album and video –

  • Good website for music and entertainment, and gives a nod to the new album release:

  • […] to tempt you into buying the album read the glittering first reviews that the press have given […]

  • I’m just waiting for their ‘new’ new album and will listen to King of Limbs in the meantime. “if you think it’s over you’re wrong.” – Separator.

  • Corndog, very entertaining – thanks!
    Frank, loved your post. Really, well said, man:)

    As for my take if anyone cares – I think it’s a grower, and it is their expression. Thanks guys yet again for inspiring me.

  • Glenny – I was about to say the same thing about Separator. It definitely seems like it’s pointing to something else, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we know soon. They said over and over around the time of Kid A and after that they wanted to get out of the album-tour-album-tour cycle and move to a model of shorter releases, more frequently. Maybe this is the start of that. After all, they certainly seem to be more “together” as a band than they have for years, and are definitely enjoying their freedom. This fits with people saying the album sounds “incomplete” – that can’t be in reference to the songs (well crafted, blah blah etc etc) but only in relation to the length of the album. If you’re disappointed by that, don’t think of it as an “album” – just appreciate the music for it’s artistic merit – which in my opinion after just a couple of listens, is vast.

    Final word: so many people seem to have their favourite Radiohead album and want the new stuff to be a reworking of it (be it OK Computer, In Rainbows, Kid A or The Bends) – if you’re that bothered, then listen to your favourite and be challenged by the new stuff, because surely that’s what art is about.

  • I used to like more when these things are done by thom solo and when the band coms together to do things like in rainbows.

  • i was waiting for this moment so long, as probably all of you were. yesterday i had a listen to the song lotus flower. yet the hype and buzz of all the waiting was so much that i did not know what to think, moreover, i could not feel anything.

    yet today, when i listened to it again, i found that it was beautiful. it was absolute beauty. i forgot about the waiting, forgot about the hype, in fact forgot that it was a radiohead track or that a band called radiohead existed. i just listened to it and in my ears was one of the best things i’ve ever heard. now, i’m definitely buying the album. not only because it’s radiohead, but because it’s wonderful music.

  • Ignore the pompous twat from the Guardian newspaper. He probably likes Oasis.

    KOL will dig deep into your psyche – it’s not an easy record but give it time and there is genuine beauty in there. These guys don’t give a toss about reviews or chart placings – they’re not those ignorant irish idiots u2.

    if you enjoy it, great – if you don’t fair enough – but give it a few listens before writing it off…

  • This is quite derivative.
    I wonder if James Blake and Burial are asking for royalties for Bloom?
    The problem is that unlike when Kid A was released, the music that Thom listens to is widely available, so we can all hear the originals, and then compare them to the Radiohead versions.
    Did not expect this album to be such a drop off from In Rainbows.
    Musicians output usually declines as they age, but I’m surprised that Radiohead would so nakedly copy other artists.

  • You people are assholes. Go listen to Kelly Clarkson.

  • I dont’ listen to Kelly Clarkson.
    But if I want to listen to dubstep or grime, I’ll listen to dubstep or grime, not Radiohead’s watered down version of it.

  • You people stop listening to radiohead with their old records in your ears, each album has its own story to tell, and THIS IS ART, PURE AND FREAKING ART!! whether you people think it’s their style or not; it’s not a matter of style, but feelings, and this has LOTS OF in.
    i just agree with that “incomplete” feeling, but i’m sure we’ll have more coming out – and as far as i know These Are My Twisted Words, they definetely haven’t given up guitars, just trying something new, so stop complaining..

  • Jim,

    what Radiohead have done is take sterile laptop music (Burial) made by lonely men and infused it with something human and made great music.

    All music borrows from other genres – why should Radiohead be any different?

    And to be fair, if you can hear any grime in Codex or Give up the Ghost, then you have shit in your ears…

  • I have to say, I was as disappointed as the rest of you on first listen, enjoyed it a little on second listen, and fell in love with it on the third listen. I suppose I was expecting another In rainbows, I wanted to hear some acoustic guitars with a string section….but we got THE EASER II….i also questioned, where is the rest of the band?

    However! I have a feeling that this is one of those albums that grow on you, which is fine with me. Much of the music I love now didn’t make sense to me at the start. And this is Radiohead of course, so you can reality sense that there is something there, in every song. It just seems that we have to work for it a little this time around. GIVE IT TIME!

  • Look people, just fuck upand listen to the music. I’m yet to be fully convinced but I can assure you that in 2 weeks, say, everyone who hasnt given up on this will genuinely accept this as another worthy collection to Radiohead’s set. There are some real gems on this (GUTG, separator,etc) but it’s not entirely about the individualism of each song, its the theme of the songs that contribute to the album – like every song seems to be about nature e.g. Savernake Forest.
    I understand why people are disappointed, I really do because I admit I was at the beginning. But I’m gradually growing to the concept and also I believe new material is on its way!

  • Jim,

    what Radiohead have done is take sterile laptop music (Burial) made by lonely men and infused it with something human and made great music.

    All music borrows from other genres – why should Radiohead be any different?

    And to be fair, if you can hear any grime in Codex or Give up the Ghost, then you have shit in your ears…

    No, I was referring to Bloom specifically.
    Music certainly borrows from other genres.
    Radiohead is borrowing from artists who are currently making music. It was a surprise to me that it was so clear this time. In Rainbows was not derivative in the sense that this is. I suspect that Kid A was, and Aphex Twin said as much when it came out. Now that all forms of music are widely accessible via the internet, this sort of naked “borrowing’ can be seen for what it is.

  • here’s another

  • These new reviews are a deadline race. It’s about speed, not content. As time passes, the reviews will be more clear-eyed, and they will be bad. And they should be.
    If you dont have anything to say, you shouldn’t be making music. In the past, Radiohead were doing new things. Here, they’re rehashing British electronic music. Not impressed at all.

  • @Jim

    where did you heard or read them saying their music is totally different ?

    music is not sience !

    so relax and listen to the music you like…

  • Further to my previous comment, I’ve since listened to some James Blake (I’d not heard of him before) – seems very good, but I’m not sure why people are saying that he should get royalties or that Radiohead are being derivative. From what I can tell, he’s been around for 2 years. I’ve just listened to TKOL again, and then allowed iTunes to carry on and play the next track in my library, Worrywort. Released 10 years ago, fits next to TKOL very well. Predates James Blake’s work by 8 years. So what if artists sound the same – as for being able to hear the music Thom Yorke likes, that doesn’t mean he should change his musical output to stuff that you’ve never heard. And because of the fact that his influences are more easily accessible these days, I’ve just been introduced to Blake and will listen to a lot more of his music. Isn’t that “royalty” enough?

  • KO Computer
    February 19, 2011 at 6:06 pm


    where did you heard or read them saying their music is totally different ?

    music is not sience !

    so relax and listen to the music you like…
    I do listen to music I like, and radiohead has been one of my favorites for a long time.
    I think that because their older output was so exceptional, my standards for them are very high. They put on an excellent live show, and have released incredible albums in the past, so it’s a disappointment for me to hear them become so derivative.
    If this were a crappy album by another band, it wouldn’t bother me so much. Or if Radiohead had gone their own way, tried something new and failied, I would be ok with it.

    It makes me sad to see a band like Radiohead copy other artists.

  • Andrew Trevers
    February 19, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Further to my previous comment, I’ve since listened to some James Blake (I’d not heard of him before) – seems very good, but I’m not sure why people are saying that he should get royalties or that Radiohead are being derivative. From what I can tell, he’s been around for 2 years. I’ve just listened to TKOL again, and then allowed iTunes to carry on and play the next track in my library, Worrywort. Released 10 years ago, fits next to TKOL very well. Predates James Blake’s work by 8 years. So what if artists sound the same – as for being able to hear the music Thom Yorke likes, that doesn’t mean he should change his musical output to stuff that you’ve never heard. And because of the fact that his influences are more easily accessible these days, I’ve just been introduced to Blake and will listen to a lot more of his music. Isn’t that “royalty” enough?
    I would not call Worrywort a dubstep copy. Worrywort does not sound like Burial. Bloom does.

  • @Jim:
    I’m surprised you cite James Blake for Bloom, can you point specific element when you hear him? Personally I hear more James Blake in the voice of Give Up The Ghost (that I love, by the way).

    Anyway, I don’t see what is wrong of getting inspired by great music, as long as you don’t just copy chords/melody, etc. Actually, it is how music evolve.

    James Blake himself is obviously inspired by Antony And The Johnsons, for example.

  • By the way, I hear more Flying Lotus in Bloom than James Blake or Burial…

  • @jim:

    you really don’t get it !
    how old are you ?

    did you know picasso
    had a matisse painting
    in his basement and
    whenever he got stuck
    he went downstairs
    to get inspired…

    …wich isn’t copying

    but again relax man
    don’t take this to serious

    have a nice weekend

  • Really sounds like Can and Bitch’s Brew. This one is about chaos. It’s about one million fragments that contribute to a whole. It alienates you and makes you take a step back so that as time passes you’re able to see the wide angle, the bigger picture. How it fits into the landscape of our lives. That’s good art. It makes more and more sense as time passes and I think this will be the case with this record.

  • The band does not owe its fans anything. They make the music they want to make. if you don’t like it, then too fucking bad.

    Don’t buy their next album.

  • KO Computer
    February 19, 2011 at 6:19 pm


    you really don’t get it !
    how old are you ?
    Old enough to be able to question my tastes and know that blind hero worship gets you now where.

    So you know art history… I guess that makes your opinion on music definitive.

    When you borrow from multiple sources and make them your own, that is called inspiration (such as the sound they ended up with on Ok Computer).
    When you borrow from one source, thats called copying.

  • ..that’s it Radiohead.. keep on weeding out the pseudo-fans until it’s just the rest of us. I love the album and much love to you guys for satisfying your own artistic cravings before attempting to appeal to the masses.

  • As someone has previously said nothing more than background music for mine. When i finished listening to it the first time I didn’t really have any desire to listen to it again. Why do we have to listen to an album 20 times to “get it”. You could listen to anything 20 times and it will grow on you, doesn’t mean you like it you’re just used to listening to it by then. I really don’t care about them trying to be different just write some songs. There are a couple of alright tunes on there but I have never been one to skip songs on a Radiohead album. King of Limbs might change this.

  • @Jim: Well then be reassured, there is definitely more than one influence in Bloom. (I saw Flying Lotus, Four Tet, Burial, James Blake and more from different people on forums)

  • haha jim you’re so lame…

  • @Jim: Frankly, I’m listening again (again) to bloom and I never hear James Blake (that I love by the way) ! Could you be more precise?

  • @ KO

    Good, intelligent response.
    When intellectual intimidation doesn’t work, go with the playground stuff.
    Well thought out on your part.

    @ Corey

    Exactly. It’s filler, they’re b-sides at best. Give Up the Ghost and Separator would be the lesser tracks on other radiohead albums, but are the standouts here because there is a measure of songwriting involved.


    You’re right. This album will separate those of us who are willing to listen to people who are making good new music, whoever they are, from those of us who have irretrievably crawled up Thom’s ass.

  • oh that ‘lame’ was just an innocent reaction

    you should know…

    again again & again relax man

    friendly grtz from amsterdam


  • don’t bore us
    get in the chorus
    open the floodgates

    we want the good bits
    without the bullsh!t
    and no heartache

    hold on, hold on, hold on

    no pain and
    no suffering
    and no one gets hurt

    we absolve you

  • @Jim:
    Come on, why are you avoiding my question? You don’t have any argument to support your allegation?

    I’m not setting any trap, I’m really interested into the discussion about TKOL influences.

  • I just love how many on here seem to “know” what Radiohead (Thom Yorke) were thinking. Bunch of mindreaders here. I also love how many can seem to predict that “another” album is going to be released. (just listen to the lyrics for messages…). I love how many will accept the mediocre album and try to convince themselves that after many listens it will “make sense”.

    Let me be hated by saying Radiohead are not the groundbreaking innovators they have always been in the past. (Remember when people referenced Radiohead as the inspiration for their albums?)

    The loyal fans are letting their expectations down. If your okay with spending what you did for this then you have money to burn, and the more you applaud and accept what is being put out then the level of quality will go down.

    As it is Thom just slurs and mumbles his way through songs these days. If you want to compare Kid A to TKOL then play KID A first then this new garbage. You will see the quality difference, and you will see other members of the band in the album.

    Thom toured many of these songs solo or with another band. (irony?)

    This album is empty. Can one of you amazing awesome loyal rich fans pay me back if you love this album so much?

  • @Jim
    So because you don’t like this album, anybody who does “have irretrievably crawled up Thom’s ass”?

    I don’t mind you not liking it but I think that comment is a bit off.

  • liked the album, but i was hoping for a twisted words kind of sound.

  • man there are some serious idiots on here….
    ..anyway that aside. i wonder if a lot of you lot have only heard this on a cheap stereo/headphones. i fortunately have a very high end hifi and i can tell you this album absolutely sings on it. ‘feral’ which a few are saying is ‘filler’ sounds gorgeous.
    the whole albums got an incredible relentless drive to it…whilst still being melodic and groovy.
    i fear there are a lot of so called radiohead fans who are rather stuck in a rut as far as music is concerned.

  • I came into this album unfamiliar with anything that was going to be on it. I listened to a few early recordings of Lotus Flower & Give Up The Ghost, but other than that I didn’t know any of these songs. Their past four albums I had early bootlegs, numerous versions of most of the songs that would be on those albums, and listened to them over and over. I had it worked out it my mind what they should sound like on record – and when the album finally came out I was often disappointed with the way they turned out. It took time to really appreciate what they had done with them and they grew on me – Kid A became my favorite album.

    It was nice for once not to have my own expectations placed on what was coming. It made this album a lot more fresh on first listen. After 3 listens I’m digging more than just Little by Little, Lotus Flower, and Codex. The others are starting to come together for me. I still think this is only half of what’s in store and could see another short album coming in the next 3-6 months. I think it’s only part of the puzzle, and I think it’s a great start.

    I know a lot of fans, especially newer fans probably built up this release so much in their mind, they set themselves up for disappointment – like I had in the past. Try listening with an open mind and not putting so many expectations on it next time.

  • Go suck a toe 15steppy…buy me some of those sexy headphones while your at it….

  • truth hurts. ho hum…

  • Is it just me or does this album seem like Part One of a set?

    Seperator suggests a move towards a more accesible, toneful second half and leaves me waiting for the next part, a fading out of Seperator befoe it commences.

  • 15step… your so dreamy and hip.

    Wish we could all accessorize like you. Funny I remember when you could hear all the “relentless melodic grooves” (pshit) w/o the application of “very high end hifi” (oh the world!).

    Oh but guess anyone w/o money is stuck in a rut…while your at it go such both toes it should keep your mouth busy…

  • that’s not the point i was making at all Nostradamus.
    i’m purely saying that you can really hear everything really well on a good setup. adds greatly to the listening experience.
    no need to be sarcastic…while your at it….get over yourself!

  • All I know is Pearl Jam wouldnt be caught dead making an album like that..

  • what what in the butt

    no rly, go read a review from a dude in Toronto on this blog:

  • I like it. I want to listen to it more. I don’t know why I like it, I just do. It feels interesting and I notice different things every time I listen to the songs. Why must some of the reviews attempt to rival the complexity of Radiohead’s music? In the end, it’s just music and you needn’t justify why you like it with gushing big words, or write a graduate-level thesis on why you don’t. It’s music! Great to some and poo-pooed by others and the world keeps spinning.

  • Although this album is not as shocking as both OK Computer and Kid A were to me, and as of now hasn’t invoked the emotional reaction that In Rainbows had, I still like the album a whole lot.

    Most of their albums are reactions to things happening (The Bends was partly a reaction to their success, Kid A’/Amnesiac to playing the same songs two years in a row, don’t have a clue what they were doing and the writer’s block following to that , Hail To The Thief obviously has something to do with having children in a world that was ruled by people like Bush, Cheney and the record label managers) and OK Computer to me is the defining album of last few decades. In Rainbows and The King of Limbs don’t have that kind of uniform message.

    In Rainbows than has the advantage that it sounds deeply personal, and that it include Nude and Videotape, which no real person can possibly ignore. At the moment (and it might change with listening the album for the seventh, eight or twenty third time) I feel like The King of Limbs lacks either such a coherent theme or that honest and personal feel, and its only strength is that intruiges me.

    TL;DR I feel like The King of Limbs lacks the features that made the previous Radiohead albums great, with the exception of being a brilliant and intruiging piece of music

  • go for a walk – at 5am in the morning by yourself – stare up at the stars in the sky – no one around – dive into a crystal clear lake?
    this album is meant to be listened to completely fresh, try listening to it with headphones right when you get up.
    Open your mouth wiiiiiiiide – a universal sign*
    that’s what i hear

  • I feel this album is like a soundtrack, one person’s emotional journey, like a solitary enlightenment. There’s a reason the first few songs are hectic. It does make sense. ahhhh…

  • Or you know, if you want the ‘easy’ way of understanding it, go roll up a joint hah hah hah
    But I recommend option A first

  • If I hear one more person say they are disappointed because they want to hear more of The Bends, or OK Computer, I will have to shoot someone. Radiohead is not ‘anthem rock’, and probably never intended to be. This album is gorgeous, and not only because I am a fan. This band keeps evolving. Thom is continually reinventing himself. That is his full-time job, and he does it very well. With that said, I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get The Present Tense, Mouse Dog Bird, Super Collider, The Daily Mail. Just sayin ..

  • @DrTchockII, @maestrotee well said! I understand people have different opinions and likes but you have to be able to understand the genius behind this band. Then it all makes more sense……..

  • maestrotee – separator is mouse dog bird

  • for all the people bitching, this is art. you want music that keeps the same dated feel album after album, go become a nickelback fan. you want a band that becomes successful with a sound and then leeches it for all its worth until they’ve become a caricature of itself, seriously go somewhere else. the reason these guys stand out above everyone else is they challenge you, and honestly for the first time in 10 years they’ve put out an album that makes you reach for something not comfortable and that’s what makes kol so beautiful. this isn’t a collection of “radiohead songs” like httt or ir, its a new sound, a new direction, a fresh approach, like it or not its the same principle that made kid a so amazing, it doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate ok computer or any of their past work, just means that was 14 years ago, kid a 10, and imo its a good thing they don’t sound the same they did then.

  • The King of Limbs is a pretty typical and accurate assertion of each member of Radiohead’s influence… be it musical or whatever. Seems natural and beautifully understated.

  • I think it’s only half an album. If you think it’s over than you’re wrong. Anybody else with me on this? They have our email and password. I will be anxiously awaiting the second half of this album. Just sayin.

  • *then* 37 minutes. 1/2 of 74 minutes. The length of a CD.

  • I have been listening to Radiohead since they formed and their music has ‘saved my life’ on a number of occasions. Pablo Honey, The Bends and OK Computer all got me through my teenage years, and inspired me to write my own songs. Kid A/Amnesiac got me through University and a particularly nasty break-up, whilst Hail To The Thief and In Rainbows helped me during the transition into my thirties.

    I am grateful for their sheer musical innovation; I don’t want to just listen to The Bends and OK Computer clones being churned out year after year. We have enough regurgitated pop/rock bands out there as it is, who have all the creativity of, well, the Gallagher brothers for a start.

    The King of Limbs is just a natural progression of the way their musical direction has been heading in the last decade, and they have once again turned up out of the blue (or in an interstellar burst if you like!), to reinvigorate my faith in music.

    Some people have complained that this album is too short. Well I would rather have eight really good songs than an album full of filler. Look at Bowie’s Station to Station – that only has six tracks!! If we are going to be rewarded even further with more songs very soon then even better, but I am content with exploring the musical diversity of these eight for the time being.

    Thankyou Radiohead, and keep on innovating.

  • This album is going to grow on you like a disease! I had the same feeling when I first heard Kid A, do I like this? this is strange! but the more you listen to it the more it reveals itself, there are moments of such beauty in this record, Codex literally brought me to tears, Lotus Flower, Separator & Give up the Ghost are also up there, but I also love the abstract layers in this album, so much room for your imagination to run wild, Feral is currently my favorite, the bass line in that track is killer! For all the people expecting a return to the Bends/OK Computer days this album will not sit favorably with them, but for the rest of us who are into many and varied genres/styles of music, this is slowly but surely gonna climb up the ladder of greatness with each listen, as did Kid A which still sits firmly at the top, will The King Of Limbs dethrone it? Only time will tell! Viva Radiohead!!!

  • Wasn’t sure what to make of it when I first heard it, I certainly didn’t dislike it. But now after a couple of days I can tell you that this album won’t let go of you, it just worms its way into your brain. Maybe not quite as groundbreaking as Kid A was at the time but it really unfolds with time like it did. I like it much more than In Rainbows and HTTT (although there are some great individual songs on those albums).
    For me, It’s right up there with OKC, Kid A and Amnesiac.
    God I love this band.
    Please tour Australia/NZ soon, seriously how long has it been?!

  • I’ve been enjoying KOL more and more every day (it’s a grower). Codex is the standout for me, so far. And I think the way they released it was inspired (it’ll be available Saturday …. eh, fuck it, let’s release it Friday).

    But I sincerely hope there’s more coming soon. If I have to wait another 3+ years for something new, I’m going to go out of my mind and lose my patience with RH. Yeah, yeah, David Bowie and a whole bunch of other people back in the day released albums with 6 or 7 or 8 tracks on them. But David Bowie also released albums in ’73, ’74, and ’75 before Station to Station was released in ’76, so he didn’t make his fans wait 3+ years and only give them a 6-track album.

    Here’s hoping for more, and soon!

  • Spent all weekend listening to The King of Limbs and it’s poor. I love them, but it’s p**s weak, structureless and self-indulgent.

  • Some reviews have said that this is their least varied album yet. Really? I don’t buy that. Compare Feral to Give Up The Ghost.

    Some of the dimwitted comments I have seen posted in response to this album are nothing short of hilarious. I have seen comments questioning Radiohead’s relevance, their ability to write guitar-based music, and even whether or not they still have “it”. Which is unbelievable.

    Whereas it seems most people’s reactions on hearing the album were immediately of disappointment and, strangely, almost betrayal, mine was of euphoria; Bloom truly moved me, despite all of it’s beats and bleeps. In fact, because of them. It sounds ridiculous, but that track seems to capture our world. The bulk of the song is his voice, the beats, and the bass, but when the trumpet kicks in, I start thinking of the natural world, the “fish going by” and what keeps Thom alive.

    I’m fairly confident that – like Kid A – after some fixed period of time, perhaps one year, perhaps five, the world will realise the genius of The King Of Limbs, and appreciate that it is a combination of all of their musical aspects, electronic and organic. It is a depiction of our world, the balance between modernity and the natural world.

    A final point that obviously billions of people have already made; I’m practically certain more songs will materialise from these sessions in the near future. The 2 vinyl records advertised in the “Newspaper” album. Also, most people seem to have interpreted the “Newspaper” part to refer to the way the artwork will be presented: could it not be related in any way to John Lennon’s idea that music should be produced in the style of a newspaper, weekly? Also, how you can advertise a “Newspaper” album without including a song – one of the most promising that I’ve seen in the videos of Thom’s live shows – called “The Daily Mail” seems silly.

  • In French / En français sur

  • I just love the fact that this album has caused so much controversy in such a small space of time. Very few bands can do that. Take Muse’s last album for instance – that was a much more indulgent album, but it wasn’t really anything amazingly new or innovative. it kind of came and went – business as usual. But this album…..I can see people talking about it for weeks to come!

    The fact that we are all debating the merits of this album is what music should be about – music is an art form after all, so why not discuss it like modern art?

    So much modern music is disposable rubbish that comes and goes like daily newspapers. This album is music of real substance. On one hand it is really sparse and simple….on the other it is incredibly dense. If there is more to come of the same then I look forward to it!

  • Good point, made by… somebody. Does it really take five people to make this guff?

  • con o r has one of the most assertive comments so far…

  • I didn’t like it too much on first listen,
    but its starting to grow on me now after about 10 listens.
    Like previous albums, i needed to get the melodys in my head before i started enjoying it.
    It could end up being a classic!!…. maybe.
    In my opinion half of radioheads brilliance is their lyrics, and the story behind each song.
    So if you can’t understand what he’s singing then you’re not gonna fully appreciate the tracks and their meaning.
    I’d recommend playing the whole album once whilst reading the lyrics:
    and yeah there are only 8 tracks totalling 37:34
    but In Rainbows was only 42:41, and Hail to the Thief 44:01.
    Yeah it would’ve been nice to see a couple more, but i’ll settle for quality over quantity any day!

  • glad more people on here are speaking out positively about the album now. i agree with a lot of points that i’ve read. and paul welding my current favourite is ‘feral’ as well. love all those awesome sounds in it and you’re right that bass line is immense.
    i totally agree too with whoever said that this album is a complete piece of music rather than a collection of songs. i thought the exact thing after first hearing it. it truly is a beautiful piece of work. got a real life of it’s own.

  • Codex is absolutely beautiful. I can honestly say I understand why some people don’t like it and don’t give it a chance.

    However, with every single one of Radiohead’s albums since okc, I’ve been a little disappointed on first listen, but there’s 1 or 2 stunning songs that draw me in. On this one initially it was codex. Now I love also lotus, little by little and gutg.

    Give it a chance and it will draw you in like sirens singing you to shipwreck.

  • […] there are many early reviews already pouring in for The King Of Limbs, there are also some more carefully thought out articles […]

  • I hated this album at first, but with every listen, it keeps getting better and better. I take back what I said up there. LOL. You just need to give it some serious listens before it clicks. This is an incredible album.

  • I think there are loads of us repeatedly listening to the tracks just trying to take it all in. Its only monday haha! Seems like an eternity since last friday.

    Jones I am glad you have had a re-think. There are probably a lot of people who have been dismissive at the start, but who are slowly realising the brilliance of the music.

    I didn’t like HTTT that much when I first listening to it, but listened again the other day and it is a great album. I think TKOL will be the same for many people.

  • I wonder who the negative critics are trying to appeal to. That’s like me telling my boss how to do his job.

  • I’m shocked with the Pitchfork review… Only 7.9… =( In their “words” this album is the second worst of the Radiohead legacy… Shocked…

  • […] It’s been over a week since Radiohead released their 8th album The King Of Limbs. Here’s another review round-up, following last week’s reviews. […]

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