Albums, Videos

Radiohead | The King of Limbs

3 Comments 15 | March | 2011

So by now you’ve heard of a little band called Radiohead.  Over the course of 25+ years these five gentlemen have developed an uncanny ability to shatter perceived musical boundaries and are now playing by their own rules.

The mainstream attention began to reach critical mass with the 1997 release of OK Computer, an album now considered a mainstay on Best of the 90’s lists, and even Best of All-time lists.  Whereas Pablo Honey and The Bends delivered a few radio-friendly hit singles, Ok Computer pushed beyond the pop/rock envelope and really laid the groundwork for the experimental albums to come.  Not to mention, anyone who has heard “Fitter Happier” will never look at a Speak and Spell the same way again.

Then came Kid A.  Seemingly having been prepared for the future of Radiohead, the boys from Oxfordshire delivered the most giant-est mindfuck since the end of The Crying Game.  I distinctly remember getting an advanced copy (read: pirated advanced copy) of that disc and listening to it while studying at the library.  Turns out the only thing that was studied was the music.  What was I listening to?  What happened to the pop?  What happened to the rock?  Somebody call the (karma) police!  Radiohead has been kidnapped or brainwashed or brainnapped!

Then, like the elusive answer to a riddle, we got it (like, the royal “we”).  And when it hit us, it hit us H-A-R-D.  “This is incredible.  This is amazing.  When can we expect Kid B?!”

Amnesiac, Hail to the Thief, and In Rainbows followed (in that order) and each widened the gap between Radiohead and the rest of Earth, musically.  Even in the age of the internet, when accessibility has played a significant part in leveling the playing field, Radiohead keep pushing their way to the front, demanding your attention…but in a very polite way, as would be expected from proper Brits.

Radiohead Mix

Last go ’round, In Rainbows featured a “pay-what-you-want-to-pay” model that led to a few aneurysms in the brains of major record label moguls and elicited a response similar to the one Merlin gave Maverick upon receiving the details of the plan to “bring him in closer.”

“YOU’RE GONNA DO WHAT?! (at the 8:20 mark)

At that point they’d toyed with the music itself, the packaging, the distribution, and every reciprocal form of media associated with the music industry.  Thus, upon announcing their newest album, King of Limbs, many wondered if they had any tricks left in their act.  Granted between the five of them, they have numerous sleeves, hats, and asses to pull from, but like a bizarre magician, you can only fit so many bunnies in your ass…or so I’ve been told.

The result?  Well…given the popularity of hybrids these days, I’ll go with that description.  Borrowing from the styles so excellently crafted on Kid A, Amnesiac, Hail to the Thief, and In Rainbows the eight-track album (not to be confused with an 8-track album), captures ingredients from each and casts them into a new mold (much in the same way that Taco Bell continues to crank out new products using the same 8 ingredients.  Mmmmm…..Beef Meximelt!).

Thus it seems we have been given a break, a brief period of respite in which to simply bask in the great music that Thom, Johnny, Colin, Ed, and Phil have given us.  This is in lieu of the process that we have grown accustomed to over their last four releases, a protracted relationship involving courting of our senses, gentle stroking our pleasure zones, and constant reassurance that “it’s still Radiohead, baby.”  Perhaps something is lost in not having to try so hard to “figure it out,” but similar to having the solution when posed with a familiar riddle, there remains a sense of pride in knowing that you already “get it.”

I’ve taken great care in not getting too specific with my thoughts of the album, especially individual tracks, for fear that the abundance of new music out there has created a finicky audience, willing to dis and dismiss without a proper vetting period.  This condition is exacerbated by the complexity of a typical Radiohead song, which is anything but typical.  None jump out at you, screaming, “I’m the good one!  Better than the rest! Play me on repeat!”  Eventually the listener may find a particular song or songs that tickle their fancy or *gasp* decide that they don’t care for it at all.

Having had some “alone time” with the album, how do you feel about King of Limbs?  How do you feel about Radiohead?

  • Will they eventually knock the Earth off its axis, sending us hurtling into to the depths of space where the only thing between us and our icy deaths is a North Face fleece?
  • Are they so abstract that Jackson Pollock will rise from the dead to see what all the fuss is about?
  • Will they reissue Ok Computer with the updated name The Best Computer Ever?
  • Will the heaping mounds of hype surrounding them become a viable source of energy in Britain?
  • Will the intense scrutiny surrounding them eventually become hot enough to melt the sun?
  • Will the music industry fall to its knees and declare itself a vacuous emotional wasteland, completely incapable of continuing on in this life when the bar has been set at a level that only God can see, but yet He cannot even reach it??

Whatever your answers, there’s no doubt that they’ll be around for a while, making up new rules as they go along, and pulling bunnies from their…..hats.

Band Website | MySpace | iTunes | Amazon

  • I can’t help but laugh about “the naysaying musical mush-minds.” Hope I never become one of them!

    I agree with you that they have rarely gone wrong with their music and I could listen to any and all of their albums straight through, on repeat, for an entire day. Straight, gay, other…doesn’t matter. Love the album. Love the band. Love its members. Hell, go on and GODDAMN love ‘em!!

    Excuse me, I must repent now.

  • I can’t help but laugh about “the naysaying musical mush-minds.” Hope I never become one of them!

    I agree with you that they have rarely gone wrong with their music and I could listen to any and all of their albums straight through, on repeat, for an entire day. Straight, gay, other…doesn’t matter. Love the album. Love the band. Love its members. Hell, go on and GODDAMN love ‘em!!

    Excuse me, I must repent now.

  • Amisk8er

    no surprise (no pun intended) that I have something to say about their new album, I goddamn love this band and therefore indirectly the individuals responsible for comprising it. Does that make me gay? I don't know but I do know that they can do no wrong when it comes to music.

    Not sure I would be able to splurge on the full $49 package, but the music is what's important anyway. I guess I could only say that Feral seems less creative than the rest of the album, but rumor has it that TKOL is only a disguised “disc 1” anyway.

    I think the album is sick, maybe not quite as sick as Kid-A but still amazing nonetheless. I'm stoked that there AREN'T any tracks that stand out DEMANDING radio time. Please just leave the naysaying musical mush-minds to their Katie Perrys and Lady Gagas, cuz if you don't get it then you probably weren't designated as one who should get it. I'm sure there are plenty of Radiohead fans out there who were disappointed, but I think the Radiohead fan block is divided anyway, caused by some sort of magical shift between OK Computer and Kid A. I just love everything (alright so a few select tracks on Pablo Honey don't get any playing time at all), especially many of the non-album tracks.

    Thanks for asking the tough question here, as I'm sure TKOL has caused some controversy… I can only hope that there are others like me who find the album dope.

    enjoy!

San Diego Shows

Twits

© 2017 Long | Distance | Drunk. Powered by Wordpress. Login

Daily Edition Theme by WooThemes - Premium Wordpress Themes