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Radiohead’s The King Of Limbs, not the King Of The 2011 Polls

Radiohead’s The King Of Limbs, not the King Of The 2011 Polls

It’s December and the End Of The Year Lists are slowly coming in. Whenever Radiohead release an album you’ll usually find it at the top of the annual charts. However, not this year…

Four big monthly music magazines Q, MOJO, Paste and Uncut have all published their Top 50 of 2011. In those four lists, Radiohead’s The King Of Limbs ranked highest in Uncut’s list (#7) and lowest on MOJO’s (#47). The Guardian put The King Of Limbs on number 27.

Update: Clash and Rolling Stone published their lists, both with The King Of Limbs on number 5. Also added: Stereogum with Radiohead’s record on 30, NME on 20, WIRE on 27, Drowned in Sound at 32, Prefix at 23 and SPIN doesn’t have Radiohead listed. Pitchfork published their list as well and no sign of Radiohead in their Top 50. Readers of Rolling Stone voted The King Of Limbs to number 2.

Below are all Top 5’s. For it’s worth, mine is here: in no particular order, what’s yours and how would The King Of Limbs rank?


07 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
05 Josh T. Pearson – Last Of The Country Gentlemen
04 White Denim – D
03 Metronomy – The English Riviera
02 Gillian Welch – The Harrow & The Harvest
01 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake


47 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
05 Kate Bush – 50 Words For Snow
04 Jonathan Wilson – Gentle Spirit
03 Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
02 The Horrors – Skying
01 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake


32 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
05 Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
04 Bon Iver – Bon Iver
03 Adele – 21
02 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
01 Florence & The Machine – Ceremonials


13 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
05 Middle Brother – Middle Brother
04 tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l
03 My Morning Jacket – Circuital
02 Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
01 Bon Iver – Bon Iver

Clash Magazine

05 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
04 Battles – Gloss Drop
03 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
02 The Horrors – Skying
01 Modeselektor – Monkeytown

Rolling Stone

05 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
04 Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
03 Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What
02 Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne
01 Adele – 21


30 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
05 The Weeknd – House Of Balloons
04 Fucked Up – David Comes To Life
03 Bon Iver – Bon Iver
02 Drake – Take Care
01 Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost


20 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
05 Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
04 Wild Beasts – Smother
03 The Horrors – Skying
02 Metronomy – The English Riviera
01 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake


27 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
05 The Beach Boys – The SMiLE Sessions
04 Hype Williams – One Motion
03 Eliane Radigue – Transamorem – Transmortem
02 Rustie – Glass Swords
01 James Ferraro – Far Side Virtual

Drowned In Sound

32 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
05 Kate Bush – 50 Words for Snow
04 SBTRKT – sbtrkt
03 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
02 Tim Hecker – Ravedeath, 1972
01 Antlers – Burst Apart


50 Britney Spears – Femme Fatale (Yes, Radiohead not listed, but Britney is)
05 Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
04 Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for My Halo
03 EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints
02 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
01 Fucked Up – David Comes to Life


23 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
05 Kanye West & Jay-Z – Watch the Throne
04 Fucked Up – David Comes to Life
03 Danny Brown – XXX
02 Destroyer – Kaputt
01 Shabazz Palaces – Black Up


05 Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
04 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
03 M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
02 Destroyer – Kaputt
01 Bon Iver – Bon Iver

New York Times (Jon Parales)

05 Tom Waits – Bad As Me
04 Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire
03 Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne
02 Paul Simon – So Beautiful or So What
01 Feist – Metals


05 Drake – Take Care
04 Frank Ocean – Nostalgia, Ultra.
03 Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne
02 Bon Iver – Bon Iver
01 Adele – 21

The Guardian

27 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
05 on Iver – Bon Iver
04 Beyoncé’ – 4
03 Frank Ocean – Nostalgia, Ultra.
02 Katy B. – On A Mission
01 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

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  • Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver?

    Lol, looks like bland is the new black.

  • lol @ “Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver”. double self titled or what? the record reads “Bon Iver, Bon Iver” which means “artist, title”
    deserves to be in the top 5 though

  • Now, I am NOT a fan of any of the other albums on the list, BUT let’s face it…this was not Radiohead’s best album. I am the biggest Radiohead fan there is but let’s be honest with ourselves. This was not suppose to be an album of hit after hit. This was a concept album that was created solely off of an idea, a computer program. This is a work of art. Artists today do not create “albums” anymore. They go after “the hits.” I applaud Radiohead and Nigel. “Well done!!!” Let’s not all throw up our arms that our favorite band did not do well in the polls. Let’s just be thankful that Radiohead is still giving us a product that comes from their hearts and their wonderful minds.

  • fleet foxes and bon iver should top every list. tkol is placed ridiculously low in some lists

  • very well put BRENT, I couldnt have said it better myself..

  • Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues I think deserve top honors spot for sure, like it or not the album really hit a nerve with people in a way that TKOL could not (as much as some of us wanted/would like it to)

  • interesting that the top albums feature great vocals and very personal lyrics. Computer generated music leaves me cold. I will enjoy TKOL much more played live by humans, enhanced by the computer. Thom is at his best when he reveals himself emotionally in his voice and lyrics.

  • It’s because TKOL didn’t have 2 extra songs on it. People are so conditioned to have a full RH album that anything less than 10 tracks will just not do.

  • @Brent And even if the album wasn’t anything special to you, the songs still are. You must be a fool to think these are weak songs. From the Basement/Colbert show and recent live versions of the song has proven that much that TKOL are well crafted songs. I know critics can’t just keep putting RH in their top 5 year end list every damn time they release an album but RH gives them no choice. TKOL is the one album they’ve all decided, and waited for, to finally put RH somewhere else on the list besides the top 10.

  • Mylo Xyloto in the Top 5 is ridiculous. It’s a shitty album…

    For me, TKOL was the best album in 2011. But maybe I’m just too crazy about Radiohead…

  • I don’t care much for The King of Limbs myself. Sorry about that.

  • I’ve been losing faith in Q magazine’s reviews and opinions in music and to rank Coldplay’s album #5 for the solidifies my thought.

    Its not Radioheads best album thats for sure, but the more I listen to it the better it gets.

  • Don’t worry guys, TKOL will head top other lists….like the shitiest album ever list for example.

  • @Cloudermahash

    Its because the album was $50 and the music is not that good.
    Get off your knees and zip Radiohead pants back up.

  • @Amnesiacwhat? $50???? I paid only $8.99 for mine. Hey, because you couldn’t control yourself doesn’t mean you have to take it out on RH. Good music or not, you’re bitter that you made a very stupid decision as a consumer and now you’re just shitting on TKOL for the sake of.

  • lol @ Justin Vernon you would say that!

  • Art is not meant to be rated.

  • @Cloudermahash
    No I listened to the music and made that decision.
    Plus, I’ll just wait a few years and sell it to some brainwashed kid for more. HA!

  • @Amnesiac What? You’re an a$$hole. Every post you leave on this website is sarcastic and mean.

    As for the post itself, I think KOL would have done better if RH had released it as a live album. Definitely not their best, but not terrible either. Even if it were their worst, it’s still leagues better than the new Coldplay album.

  • The king of limbs is good

  • I think in retroperspective it will be more appreciated.. It’s something new, and something amazing (at least in my ears)..

    Any list with the new coldplay in it should not be trusted.. And I don’t really care for these lists anyway, I love TKOL. As well as Panda Bear and Wilco and I can’t see them in these lists..

  • A lot of better material this year, tons of great stuff in electro and hip hop genres, some interesting rock stuff here and there too. These lists just brought up the most well known or generic indie rock stuff. I like the new pj harvey and metronomy, don’t know about the rest.

  • Seriously who fucking cares what magazines and tv and all these motherfer’s say. Who the hell are they? They are just freaking hipsters who want you to like what they like, they are THE ESTABLISHMENT! FUCK THEM, LIKE WHAT YOU LIKE!

  • @Sid Vicious
    “You’re an a$$hole. Every post you leave on this website is sarcastic and mean.” Wow! What a non-mean post.

    You have obviously not read all my post. But I know that when someone dislikes something in a group that does he is immediately hated. Psychology 101. Like being back in high school.

    So, to be “liked”….
    This is the greatest album ever and if you don’t like it you’re just being sarcastic and mean……


    Do you feel better now that I’m one of the herd?

  • Bon Iver = Peter Cetera in Hipster jeans. Get over him, his new album is a horrid mess.

  • Personally, I think this is one of Radiohead’s best efforts. It’s a carefully arranged piece of music, one that REQUIRES start to finish listens. They made such a big deal about the vinyl release it caused over 20,000 to buy the album exclusively on the traditional format this year. I believe it’s the reason vinyl sales are up 40% this year. The new fan base they snagged with in rainbows was undoubtably (to begin) one that listened to music purely through digital. This is an album to remind them (us?) to listen to albums (again?). It’s as understandable as it is absurd why it’s not (high) on end of the year lists. The king of limbs demands more out of the listener. Admittedly, perhaps too much for this high pace, disconnected modern world. not suprisingly though, that seems to be one of the themes of the album.

  • my top 5 this year would be…

    1. The king of limbs
    2. Helplessness blues
    3. Bon Iver
    4.. W H O K I L L
    5. James Blake

  • Adele over Radiohead? LOL

  • My top 5 is:

    1. Radiohead – The King Of Limbs.
    2. Motherfucker
    3. Motherfucker
    4. Motherfucker
    5. Motherfucker

  • Clash Magazine

    5. RADIOHEAD – ‘The King Of Limbs’
    4. BATTLES – ‘Gloss Drop’
    3. PJ HARVEY – ‘Let England Shake’
    2. THE HORRORS – ‘Skying’
    1. MODESELEKTOR – ‘Monkeytown’

  • Adriaan – we don’t have spotify in Canada, so the link to your list won’t even open for me. I’m quite curious to see your list.. could you (or anyone else) post it?

    And for what it’s worth, MY top 5 for 2011 (in no particular order) is:

    Panda Bear – Tomboy
    Radiohead – The King of Limbs
    Wilco – The Whole Love
    Feist – Metals
    Tom Waits – Bad As Me

    I might have put Beach Boys’ Smile, but I’m not sure if that counts as a 2011 album. Honourable mention to PJ Harvey too.

  • @ cosplusisin

    Alright, in alphabetical order (and still subject to change):

    Alamo Race Track – Unicorn Loves Deer
    Antlers – Burst Apart
    Atlas Sound – Parallax
    Awkward I – Everything On Wheels
    Destroyer – Kaputt
    Gardens & Villa – Gardens & Villa
    Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
    Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
    My Morning Jacket – Circuital
    Pete and the Pirates – One Thousand Pictures
    Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
    Real Estate – Days
    Roosbeef – Omdat Ik Dat Wil
    Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde
    Spinvis – tot ziens, Justine Keller
    Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Mirror Traffice
    Strange Boys – Live Music
    Tim Knol – Days
    Vaccines – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
    War On Drugs – Slave Ambient
    Washed Out – Within And Without
    Wilco – The Whole Love
    Youth Lagoon – The Year Of Hibernation

  • Nice. Thanks for posting!

  • Bad As Me and King of Limbs were the only albums of this year I heard so far. Both their own things that polarize fans in new fresh n exciting ways. I think I’m good with just these 2 for now.

  • So what?

  • The Kind of Limbs is not a good album

  • Everyone has an opinion like they have assholes, they all stink…like what you like you dont have to try to be cool.

  • My list keeps changing..
    1. Ok Computer
    2. The Bends
    3. The King Of Limbs
    4. Kid A
    5. In Rainbows
    6. Hail To The Theif
    7. Pablo Honey
    8. Amnesiac.

    Top 5 songs:
    The Bends
    A Punchup At A Wedding
    House of Cards

  • @Cloudermahash,

    I never said the songs were not special. An “album” is a flow of songs. And I do agree that the live versions of the songs are MUCH better. I only listen to Live from the Basement in my car.

    I love when people get into fights on message boards! haha.

  • 50 favorites albums of 2011 – NPR music

  • Even though I liked the album the first time I heard it, my experience is that it’s a much better album than it first appears to be. Typical Radiohead.

  • Agreed. TKOL is a grower for sure. The additions of Staircase, Butcher, Supercollider and Daily Mail only make it stronger. I must admit I’ve listened to this album over 100 times now. I will say Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver make my top 5, but Radiohead holds down the number 1 spot. However, it took 20 plus listens before I they climbed into that spot.

  • These are my twisted words/Harry Patch

  • Go listen to In Rainbows and tell me TKOL is good.
    What artistry and poetry and see the contrast of this album
    Seriously. Is there a difference?


  • @Amnesiac What

    How many “bad” Radiohead albums will it take before you give up and find some other band to obsess over? You have a right to your opinion of course. But if you think their new direction is “garbage” why don’t you just move on? I mean, there’s a good chance that you’re going to hate their next album as well. What are you going to do then?

    Just curious.

  • The King of Limbs is the King of them all. Best album I’ve heard so far this year.

  • The King of Limbs sucked… get over it.

    I’ve listened to it about 100 times, because it’s Radiohead. But it doesn’t get any better.

    On the plus side, we can now look forward to a sucky Atoms for Peace album.

  • King Of Limbs = The most complex and subtle Radiohead album ever.
    That´s the problem.

  • @Fastnet, and you’re still roaming around here for Radiohead news, huh? I see…

  • I remember when some people used to say they didn’t like ‘Kid A’, then they realised they just weren’t ready for it. It’s was too much, just as now TKOL is.

    I’m afraid to say, some of you guys got stuck inside the box.
    Seriously, I don’t know what you guys wanted to hear.

  • An artist is transformed not by people kissing his ass but those who show an opinion of being better.
    That’s ALL that artist are trying to do. Be better than themselves.
    So when an artist hears nothing but kiss ass you get this type of pitter patter garbage.
    I guarantee Radiohead went back to the studio because SO MANY PEOPLE just where not impressed.
    I have probably listened to Radiohead longer than most have been past puberty. So no I will never leave. I will always encourage greatness from those I see promise in.
    The next album will far surpass this one and this will be just a distant memory.
    After years of waiting it finally came…….

  • I don’t get it, for Bloom alone this album is amazing. I admit at first listen a lot of it seemed very affected by technology, but with each listen it sounds more and more organic. It seems chock full of instruments to me, but ambient and part of a larger shared sound rather than front and center individually. I think it having only eight tracks hurt it though in some circles, but regardless, in my opinion some of the songs on that album are absolute ace.

    (Bloom, Feral, Lotus Flower, and Separator)

  • […] The King of Limbs is arguably Radiohead’s least accessible album, released to mixed reviews and failing to top year-end lists across the board. Though the album wasn’t universally acclaimed, “Lotus Flower” somehow managed to find its […]

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