England - Full Moon 51 - 12/11/00
Ladies and gentlemen: the nominee for weirdest chart hitter 2000 is Radiohead with their Kid A. And the winner is....: Radiohead, Kid A!
Since Radiohead broke through and were launched for the masses and to stadium rock (against their will, most likely), they've been trying to scare away the audience. Without luck. They create great music but they also add odd twists and bends way off mainstream. OK Computer was one of the strong albums to close last millennium. This time it seems like they wanted to present some of their post-millennium tension and also to challenge their listeners to the max. Must be some magic touch, plus, of course, the extraordinary voice of Thom Yorke.
Kid A swims through a lot of genres. Radiohead mix and flirt with club culture, lounge jazz and ambience. "Everything In Its Right Place" is, well, not exactly that but more of a sign of what'll come. Title track "Kid A" is simply awkward, while "The National Anthem" stroll on with its semi-monotonous rhythms and lounge lizardry. The instrumental "Treefingers" submerge totally within ambient music, or, should I say, is hovering over slow-motion tree tops. Some tracks follow the musical path (with its lyrical shadows) from last album, such as "How To Disappear Completely" and the single choice "Optimistic". The most fascinating track is maybe "Idioteque" with its cool, minimalist electronic disco beat (including a couple of effective samples).
I don't agree on all the masterpiece acclamation Kid A has received, but it's definitely a different, and cold (as the icy cover art) journey through music. Some highlights for sure, but also some insignificance. The pessimism is intact and the kids are still somewhat paranoid.
Copyright © 2000 Håvard Oppøyen