This weekend marked the 10 year anniversary of Kid A, easily one of my favorite and most listened to albums of all time. Not only is every song flawless but one song in particular happens to be my favorite song of all time so needless to say my opinions about the album are lofty. I listened to Kid A straight through a few times over the last 3 days. With so much new music to hear and explore its easy to forget our favorite albums. Driving home from Gloucester on Saturday I put my phone away and turned up the volume to listen through twice (bad traffic) and I was floored. To still find such joy in an album I have heard hundreds of times is testament to the work.
Kid A came out at the perfect time for me. I was heavily into the techno scene and in particular I was listening to a lot of progressive breaks and music with emotive sounding keys. Kid A pretty much married the sound I was spinning with my favorite non-dance music. It was quite literally perfect. Everything in its right place......
The album recording was a very difficult process for the band and nearly broke them up. Ed O'Brien kept an online blog and talked very candidly about the troubles in the studio. He saw himself and a guitar player, an instrument that the album lacked. Phil Selway, the bands drummer, was clearly miffed and the introduction of electronic drum machines. It was all backward. However, in times of difficulty magic can emerge and the Radiohead that came out of the studio was a much different band, a much better band. Thoms existential crisis was fading, and the band members were challenged to use new instruments and find ways to stay involved. Their talent was taken to a new level and continues to evolve even today. The problems Thom was facing, writers block, depression, and his hatred of the music industry machine is best reflected in the song How To Disappear Completely. Thom wrote the song in a hotel room in Dublin, hence the line Float Down The Liffy (The name of the River that runs through Dublin) Word has it that prior to the RDS gig in Dublin Micheal Stipe told Thom, who was having anxiety about performing live, to tell himself that he's not there and its not happening. The song is one of the most beautiful I've ever heard.
This album really does stand for something. Its Radiohead giving the middle finger to the music industry. Its working title was "No Logo", inspired by the Naomi Klein's book and the concept of anti-consumerism is rife throughout the record, most notably on my favorite song Idioteque. But it was not so much the theme that got me, it was the music, Thoms vocals, the experimentation, the courage, and the simple fact that to follow up one of the greatest albums ever written with somehting this different and equally as good is remarkable. Kid A, best album of the decade, maybe the best album ever. Thank you Radiohead. You have changed my life many times over.
I hope everyone is having a smashing Fall.