Me and the long-haired swaying one that is Daniel Cumming went to an
exclusively exclusive Radiohead-themed (D'oh!) playback of Kid A last night. Only
buggers in Scotland to hear the album (excepting poofy journos and other assorted
wankers) up til now :) Here's a joint review of the album - Dan's comments will
be prefaced by a [D] so that he can take his appropriate share of the blame...
Here's a wee quote from Daniel... [D] Hello [/D] Onto the important stuff: My
anus... no, I mean the album.... "Kid A" a musical spectacular or a massive
and incredible flop? (1) Everything In It's Right Place [J] I quite liked this.
Love the loopy-swoopy cut up vocals of the Thomster. Quite atmospheric - almost
what Godspeed You Black Emperor! would be if they discovered (a) vocals and (b)
electro-funk. Atmospherical roller-coaster is what I'd use to describe the range
and movement of this track. Top stuff. [D] A good opener. This is to Kid A what
Airbag is to Ok Computer, not just because it's the first track but it has the
same musical position in the total range of the album that Airbag had on Ok Computer.
Graceful and a bit scary, it's rather attacking. Ratings: [J] 8/10 [D] 8/10 (2)
Kid A [J] No! No! No! Oh, well, alright then... I suppose that this track'll be
okay after a few listens, but it's very very inaccessible the first time of listening.
The second time they played it, it sounded a little better, but I'm still very
unsure of what I think of this little tune. I'm not as blinkered as... [D] Ignore
Jason. ([J] Many people do) This IS a good track. It opens with a little bit of
piano playing two notes at a time, 3rd's and minor couples, a few semi-tones.
It sounds rather like a bit of soundtrack for a movie with a big nightmare sequence.
The bass comes in and adds a firmer basis for the tune. From there on is rather
good, little bitty a-tonal a times but I like that. ([J] Dan likes many things,
such as speaking in English, yet a foreign language at the same time...)
Ratings: [J] 6/10 [D] 8/10 (3) The National Anthem [J] Quite cool. I like the
little "everyone" getting played a lot over the music, but in the background,
if you know what I mean. Speaks to me of subdued emotions and a yearning to get
out of the individual to join the masses. Or maybe that's just me. A vast improvement
on Kid A, but again it just isn't Radiohead to me as yet ([D] Whine, whine, whine...).
I think this, like the album as a whole, will be a grower. Don't give up on it
after the first few listens, let it wander on for a while... [D] The opening sounds
a lot like Angel by Massive Attack just for the opening bass line and when the
drums kick in, but from there on it's totally it's own song. There's a bit near
the end when is a totally whacked out Jonny Greenwood guitar solo that lands musically
somewhere between the second solo in Paranoid Android and the weirdy bit in Vamos
by the Pixies on Surfer Rosa, the strange thing being its played on a trumpet
([J] ??????????????) . There is great brass presence, all in all the first 3 tracks
are quite an assault on the senses. Ratings: [J] 7 and a half/10 [D] 8/10 ([J]
Sense a pattern developing here, folks? Told you he was blinkered ) [D]
I'm not blinkered, it's just that this album hits on the same territory as other
bands and other styles of music I like. Just because YOU don't appreciate it!
[J] Oooh! Permission to hold handbag like so? *holds handbag like so and goes
"oooh!"* 4. How To Disappear Completely And Never Be Found ([J] I refuse to cut
the title to the official length!) [J] *in the style of the Rock* Finally, Radiohead,
have, come, back, to music! Yes folks, it's a *real* song - and by a song I mean
lyrics and music that actually can be sung along to quite happily at home without
the aid of a Moog. I loved this track ever since I heard it as a bootleg, and
the studio version, while slightly inferior, still kicks a substantial amount
of arse. Nice one boys - the most 'traditionally Radiohead' sounding track on
the album, and we finally hear a guitar (that isn't a trumpet, eh Dan?) [D] Ok,
hands up in the air, I don't like this track, I never have. It just gets on my
tits in parts. I think this version is way better than the bootleg I heard. I
don't know, it's very sombre and I like that, can't put my finger on what I don't
like about it. Maybe it will grow on me. ([J] Maybe it's not got enough trumpet
solos) Anyway ignore Jason's remarks about this being the first time you hear
a guitar. The music throughout the entire album never feels like it needs a guitar's
presence. Ever. ([J] I must raise my point here. I think that three-quarters of
the album is *screaming out* for a wee bit of Greenwood guitar, on a guitar that
is...) Ratings: [J] 9/10 [D] 5/10 ([J] I assume he meant to rate it as an 8 but
missed the key) (5) Treefingers [J] Hands up who liked Meeting In The Aisle. Anyone?
(Daniel's raised his hand, but he's not worth bothering about, he hears guitar
solos where no guitars exist. The man's clearly potty. Don't get me started on
the sideburns...) This is like MITA, but vastly inferior. And I didn't even like
that. I think I may grow to hate this almost as much as I despise Fitter Happier.
It has no right being in my album!!! *froths at the mouth* Ok, I'll calm down
a little. ([D] No he won't) I know that the music press will go nuts for this
track, but I really don't see anything of merit in it at all. It's something a
12 year old with a Moog or a decent PC could throw together in a lunchtime. [D]
([J] and another thing..! *gets slapped in the head by Daniel with a trout*) Anyway,
Meeting in the Aisle was fantastic, so is Fitter Happier - Jason is one of those
types who skips tracks like that. ([J] I have *never* skipped MITA, nor Fitter
Happier - although I do program it out 9 times out of 10). Everybody note: Jason
has just contradicted himself!! Whoo! Depends on your definition of "skip" I suppose.
Anyway, this is a weird one. No melody at all, just chords and some whale noises.
Lots of whale noises. The whole Atlantic quite possibly. ([J] didn't Vanessa Feltz
and Roseanne eat all the Atlantic's whales years ago?) Didn't impress me really,
but might do it for some people really dreamy but not for me thanks. Ratings:
[J] 2/10 [D] 4/10 (6) Optimistic. [J] Finally there's a track I would rank as
good enough for The Bends or OKC. Yay! This starts off masterfully - with Thom's
almost ethereal vocals wailing and weeping over some slow/fast/slow breakbeats.
Moves into a steadier rhythm and kind of equalises to match the vocals. The whole
song is really catchy, yet really spiritual and emotional too. A real track for
mind, body and soul. Lovely stuff. If album 5 is closer to this that Treefingers,
I'll be a happy man. Of course if album 5 is more like Treefingers, I shall personally
slice my wrists with album 5's edge. And when that doesn't work - CDs not being
notable for their sharp cutting edges, I'll just shoot myself. However, I'm losing
track here. This one would be, if they changed their minds, a natural choice for
a single. It's that good. [D] Basically what Jason said about the style of the
song and the structure and everything. Other than that there are loads of tracks
on this album good enough to be on OKC... on The Bends, however ... Only a couple.
The most interesting thing about this track is how much more the vocals stand
out against the rest of the music. In other tracks Thom sings around the corners
of chords and rhythm and flying off on tangents and aiming for the sky. In this
the vocals run a straight line like they are fighting a battle or something and
make up part of the beat to keep the song pushing on. It's rather impressive and
nothing like anything on any other album or track I've heard. Ratings: [J] a double
rating here: Compared to the rest of Kid A: 11/10, compeard to the rest of Radiohead's
catalogue: 9/10 [D] 8/10 ([J] Dan seems to have regained his hand-eye coordination
with regards to the numberpad ) (7) In Limbo [J] "lost at sea, I'm lost
at seaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" Says it all really. If ever an album suggested a desert
island, this is it. The song, however, isn't *too* bad. A little tinkly at points,
almost like Robert Miles' "I can play three notes on a keyboard" music grown up
a little. Vaguely atmospheric, but not overly so. Not one of my favourites, but
fairly reasonable all the same. [D] Once again, totally ignore Jason. ([J] Did
you hear someone speak? I didn't...] This is an incredible track. It starts
off with just these four chords played with slow attack. It sounds rather sterile
to start off with, but when the vocals come in this song goes to another planet.
([J] Can it take Treefingers with it? Please? I'll beg??) Thom singing corners
around the chords and swirls and trailblazes a path through the song, This in
my opinion is the best vocals Thom has ever done in a song ever. The album as
whole really does show off Thom's ability to harmonise, and how it's progressed
from the likes of "Black Star" - "I keep falling over, I keep passing out..."
still totally hits me amazingly, and the likes of Let Down are all fantastic,
but it's taken to another level with this song. Totally amazing, fantastic, superb
and many other complimentary adjectives. Ratings: [J] hmm. about 6ish/10 [D] 9
and a half/10 (8) Idioteque [J] Funniest moment of the night was when the announcer
attempted to tell us the name of Track 8. "Ibit.. Idoitns .. Idistond.." His final
attempt was "Idiot Ettiquete" before he gave up Again, I'm not sure of
this track. I liked (believe it or not) how In Limbo gradiated into it - I do,
aside from the things I don't like in the album, think that the running order
is near-perfect. Each song is in it's correct place. For an example of bad placement,
look at Fold Your Hands, by Belle & Sebastian where the two cheeriest songs are
around a really sad song written from the viewpoint of a rape victim. Anyway,
it's not bad. I can't really think of much to say about this song - it sort of
passed me by a little. Nothing outstanding, but nothing hideous either. [D] Okay,
Jason is right about the track order, it is spot on. However he has once again
([J] Daniel's beginning to back away slowly as he writes this, due to the cartoonish
steam jets emmiting from my ears...) He was also cracking his knuckles angrily.
However, back to what I was writing. This is another great track. These final
few songs on the album make a more graceful > ending to a record than Street Spirit
did for the Bends... ([J] Blasphemy!!!!!!! *Jason burns with religious zeal*)...or
The Tourist was for OKC. It starts off with really cheesy drum beats but the whole
song changes and turns on a heel and because very muscular, musically. It's hard
to describe but it has weight and strength and power... It's like a big wave or
something... Memory is a bit clouded, but I remeber clearly that I REALLY liked
this song. Ratings: [J] I wish I could remember it clearer, but 7/10 [D] 9/10
(9) Morning Bell [J] I loved the opening to this. Single drum beat. Single drum
beat. Single drum beat. Lotsofdrumbeatsreallyfasttogether. Repeat. For some strange
reason, this song reminded me of No Surprises. I have absolutely no idea why though,
cos it really didn't sound like it. Must be subliminal or something. Anyhoo, I
really liked this, quite gentle yet pulsing at the same time. A totally contradictory
piece of music, which you really have to hear to understand what the hell I mean
by that. I still maintain that if this album had some much-needed guitar, it'd
be *so* much better... *Daniel growls* [D] Another track I like. It start gently
and builds and swoons and soars and just does fantastic stuff in general. It has
the same strength and muscle as Idioteque but in it's own right. Truely astounding,
just beautifuly entertaining. Ratings: [J] 8/10 [D] 9/10 (10) Motion Picture Soundtrack
[J] ([D] Stand back everyone, Jason's going critical) ARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!
What the fuck have they done to this song?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!? I *loved* this on the
bootleg, the gentle acoustic strumming and soaring vocals of Thom E. Yorke, but
what they've done to this on the album is absolutely appaling. Imgine buying a
little pony. Hand rear it from birth, ribbons in it's mane, bottle fed, never
seeing another human being aside form yourself. Now take the pony, and give it
to some spur-wielding maniac to break it's spirit on it's first ride out. Someone
with a whipping frenzy and a hatreed for animals. This is what I feel Radiohead
have done to Motion Picture Soundtrack. The absolutely classic vocals of the original
have been mashed under the clumsy feet of "really stupid noise ®" I hate this.
I have never in all my life thought that Radiohead could destroy a song that I
once liked. Whenever they've covered another song I love, they've never failed
to improve it. Covering their own, they've destroyed it. Complete and utter rubbish.
I really don't understand why they felt the need to change it so dramatically
unless it was to appease the music press' unending search for "experimentation."
I shall never listen to the Kid A version of this track again if I can help it.
I would actually go out, buy a CD burner, burn the whole album (obviously chucking
away Treefingers too) except this track, and replace it with the far superior
original. Thom, Jonny, Colin, Ed, Phil - you guys have disturbed me greatly today...
[D] Oh God. Deary me. Let's wipe the slate clean after Jason's rant. Good Lord,
I mean, here the poor lad was, expecting to hear a guitar on this track and they
removed it! My god, we all just know how this album is SCREAMING OUT for more
guitars don't we? They took the guitar out of the precious little tune. And do
you know what? They made the ultimate version of this song *jason cracks his knuckles
and tries to strangle me* This song has all the fragility of the accoustic and
vocal duet Thom created on his own ([J] Except now you can't even fucking make
out the vocals.) I could hear them fine. Only now the song fills the sky the space
around you, every little gap in your brain is filled with happy feeling chemicals
([J] It's not meant to be happy - It's Radiohead!!!! It was never a 'happy song!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!')
and it takes a safety pin to all the dark recesses that only do anything when
something major in your life happens like falling in love or the death of a relative
and pricks them into life. As for Jason's remarks that it's a sad song, maybe
yeah, but no matter what the mood of a Radiohead song, it never fails to uplift
me, no matter how sad and down I am, Street Spirit would raise me up, and any
other "depressing" Radiohead song you could care to mention. ([J] Don't get em
wrong, songs like that uplift me too, but they're not meant to be bouncy-happy.
The reason these songs uplift you is because you can feel a connection with the
spiritual and emotional power and feeling of the artist(s) involved. Not because
they give you a safety pin to poke the bad places with...) Emotions are created
by the release of chemicals in the brain. It is this creation of chemicals by
the music and all the connections you were ranting on about that I meant by the
safety pin remark, the chemicals are the saftey pin stabbing the bits of your
brain into life as the chemicals make all the bits of your brain light up and
go "yay! Stimulation". ([J] Anyone else feel that the previous couple of sentences
would not be out of place in Trainspotting? You can imagne Danny wandering Edinburgh
telling random passers by "The chemicals man! The chemicals are important!" *sigh*
If we don't agree to disagree here, this review's going to be one big argument...)
This is the single most spectacular track on the whole album and the best final
track on any Radiohead album. That's right, that includes the Bends. ([J] *shakes
head sadly* Alas poor Daniel's musical taste, we knew it not very well at all...).
This is simply astounding, nearly brought me to tears. ([J] Yes, I agree with
Dan - it made me cry too...) Words cannot describe the brilliance of this track.
([J] Yes they can... try rearranging "very" "not" and "good") Radiohead have outdone
themselves here. Ratings: [J] What am I rating? There's no song here... 0/10 [D]
Blow it out your ear! 10/10 [J] That's the album finished now folks. I'm going
to beat Daniel over the head with my old Motion Picture Soundtrack CD bootleg
while he begs for mercy and screams like a girl. But first we're going
to take average ratings for the tracks, and also an album overall. We hope you
enjoyed our review, I don't think the corpse that once was Daniel did......
Nah, I'll let him say a closing few words while I hunt for a calculator... [D]
Jason's claims of physical torment towards me are terribly misguided. It may take
longer for him to reply as he'll be typing with only one finger. ([J] I'm doing
something with one finger, but not typing...) Anyways, I think the review gives
a pretty good spectrum of opinions since we clashed. I feel that there is something
in this album for everyone and all the lads need a pat on the back ([J] With a
sledgehammer) and a deserved rest ([J] What? As opposed to sitting on their arses
for three years plotting on how to destroy Motion Picture Soundtrack???). Average
Ratings: [J] 6.45 -not exactly stunning, is it boys? [D] 7.85 - the whole album
is greater than the sum of its parts. Album Rating as a whole: [J] I'd say 7/10.
Better (just) that Pablo Honey, but not fit to tie OKC's laces, never mind The
Bends. The 2 of those points, I must add, are for the running order. [D] Somwhere
between 8.5 and 8.45 out of ten. [J] Ok then, bruised and battered we've managed
to make our way through the near-fist fight that this review ended up as. We've
agreed to do another, quickie follow up review, when the actual album has been
listened to a little in our respective stereos. Until then, we hope you enjoyed
the ride. Au revoir. --Jason Andreas Guardian of the Obvious It is said, that
when He saw a weed trying to grow between two rocks, that he moved one of the
rocks. Later, when He saw that the weed was flourishing, he placed the rock back
on top. He explained to us; 'That was its fate.' ICQ: 45821217 AIM: RadioJase