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Kid A 20th Anniversary

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smug dismissal of The Smile yields no space for insight or conversation and your extreme and false portrayal of the bands politics is obviously terminally influenced by one disagreement (they played a

Me, who only has like five songs from Kid A on my phone:

still love amnesiac, and kid a. they flip flop regularly about which i prefer.  haven't listened to either in awhile, but when i think "do i feel like listening to rh right now?" those 2 are the ones


Mobile Industry Awards 2020: Startup of the Year is Kid-A

Kid-A was founded by two former Vodafone colleagues, Adam Toms and Andy Silcock, who wanted to disrupt the mobile accessories space by working more closely with operators to help them harness the full power of their direct channels and increase sales. 

Kid-A’s ambition to be creative, innovative and, above all, different. It’s why the firm named itself after Radiohead’s fourth album, which was a huge departure from the band’s previous efforts. The company considers itself to be like that album – uniquely innovative in an exciting industry that has been dominated by the same brands.

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The approach or set-up is crucial. For instance the way we worked on the last record was to rehearse everything up to such a standard, where most of the parts have been so finely tuned, that recording was largely a matter of capturing the best performance. And that’s fine, but recording in this way tends to mean that the songs have a certain way of sounding, i.e. – pretty good in a live/band context. Well that’s not enough now, and I think there is a feeling that unless we change our approach then we're just going to become (?) of ourselves and ever so dull. There was a wonderful moment this week when we were all crowded round the TV watching this programme documenting the story of hip-hop; and it was the classic years from ’86 through to ’92 with RUN DMC, Public Enemy and NWA, etc. Some of the greatest records ever made. And they interviewed Hank Shouclee [sic] – he was the fella who produced Public Enemy in the early days – and made the great 'It Takes A Nation Of Millions...' album. And he was explaining their methodology – the way they recorded. Basically they all set-up with samplers, Devo, drum machines in the same room and recorded. Now most of it, he said, sounded like a mess, but apparently there were great moments, that were then cut up and from that the basic track was constructed. The effect of hearing this was like 'Well, why the fuck can’t we do this?' – it could be so exciting. We have the means to make a communal racket so why not harness some of this technology and use it within our own sphere. I mean we’re not going to make a hip-hop record, much as we’d like to, but what was exciting was the idea that kind of approach, or something similar offered us a necessary alternative to the way that we have largely worked until now. 

Once we have done this then we might really get somewhere.

- Ed’s diary

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so, today the New Yorker reprinted a Nick Hornby 'essay' about kid a, not sure why they don't want to call it a review, which it essentially is.   "Beyond the Pale".  It's so weird to read things that were written about this band 20 years ago, and man - 20 YEARS AGO!  honestly, i didn't really listen to radiohead then, didn't start til a year or so later than that with amnesiac.  it wasn't anything i read about them that made me want to hear them, certainly not this thing by nick hornby.  he did say enough good things about them that they would seem intriguing, i suppose.  but the thing came across like a very self conscious thing, like he really wanted you to know he was judging them, not a fanboy at all, no, even if he did devote a whole paragraph to creep. and he did not like kid a much at all. which is just bizarre to me.  

just kind of weird reading it these days.  

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Wow I agree with almost every word in that Nick Hornby shit now. It is indeed weird reading because the entire worldview of me and other 2000s Radiohead stans was built on rejecting Nick Hornby’s views there (then again we were, um, 16). The couple of things I’d still take issue with is the defense of Tony Blair’s Kosovo policy (which, granted, pretty much all mainstream US media were praising until the Iraq War caused us to rethink these kinds of colonial “interventions”) and the conflation of being less pop with switching from guitar to synths. Even on the latter point, Hornby doesn’t seem particularly rockist, and is probably just being accurate about the state of the pop charts in 2000, where most artists were way more electronic than ‘90s Radiohead but at the same time, most pop hits also contained catchier guitar riffs (used in as a supporting instrument in most pop and even big beat “electronica” at the time) than most of Kid A.

Radiohead’s post-Kid A albums have been a lot better than Kid A because they maintained the synth and beat influences while being more unapologetic about being pop music. Kid A isn’t bad by any means, and I do think it’s better than OKC or The Bends, one reason is because the lyrics, an underrated aspect of Kid A, are much better (Hornby’s dismissal of Paranoid Android is where I was nodding my head the hardest) but even if you compare Kid A and its supposed companion Amnesiac or its alleged sequel King of Limbs, both of those albums are great in ways Kid A doesn’t even come close to.

I listened to King of Limbs a few days ago and it’s still a masterpiece. Wish I could say the same about Kid A, which I was once sure was the greatest artistic achievement in human history, but only affects me at all around one in three times I hear it, and even then, seems to require it to be 4 am and rainy or foggy to make any sense. But I’m thankful Kid A was made because it did get through to me in a way that no better album probably could have when I was a kid. The idea of having to work at things and not dismiss art/people/whatever on first impressions (and even, not accept them too... not assume that what you think at first will be always true... which includes the ability to grow off music) has been a lesson Kid A era Radiohead taught me. It’s probably the single most important thing any music ever offered to me.

For my life before Kid A, there were things I liked and things I didn’t. If school forced me to study something I didn’t like, I’d do it (sometimes...) but otherwise I just felt content in my dislike. I never questioned the set of cultural values around me that could have caused me to like and dislike the things I did. I wasn’t particularly judgmental toward others based on the music they liked, but I just assumed taste was unchangeable. That meant I had no way to understand even concepts like how consciousness is constructed. Kid A was an album my crush said was good, and critics said was good, and yet I didn’t like it AT ALL (except Treefingers which is still my fave. I was mostly into game/movie/TV music at the time). So it was the first time I really worked at liking something. And no matter if that thing itself may not have been worth the effort, I learned that art can be about changing your mind.

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do you even like radiohead, tho?  it seems like most things you post are how much you really really hate them.

interesting to look at that review of an album that was the latest thing the band had done at that time, and then all these thing like king of limbs and in rainbows came later, and it changed your perspective of kid a.  like its just a constant evolution of your thinking on things you experience in life.  who knows if anythings good or bad, what you think when you heard it in 2000 and then later 2020, its like it must be totally different music.  but of course, it isn't.  its you thats changed.

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