Precons: I know Kid A well. My college roommate loved Radiohead and really loved this album when it came out our freshman year. I hadn’t heard much Radiohead before college and was lukewarm on them. My favorite song was that one in Romeo + Juliet. I think the only other ones I heard were Creep and Karma Police which were ok but usually bummed me out more than anything, maybe because I thought Thom Yorke was mildly retarded. Kid A seemed like an improvement over the dull, sedated impression I had of them, and I liked it enough to download some of the tracks from Audiogalaxy, but when you only like something that most people including your roommate worship, it changes your perception.1 Pretty soon we were listening to preview tracks, which I also liked, from the fast approaching sister album Amnesiac, but by the time sophomore year rolled around, the case of Radiohead fever I almost came down with developed into Radiohead backlash syndrome. We moved into nicer dorms, and I gained another Radioheadhead roomate. Both of these guys were music majors, so I ended up hanging out with a lot of other music majors and guess who they all fawned over? Englebert Humperdinck. No wait, Radiohead. It got to be sickening after a while. I mellowed out after college though, and now I listen to Kid A and/or Amnesiac once in a while. Brings back memories.
During my Radiohead soaked college years, one of my roommates, not one of the music majors, this was a slightly crazy kid from the Bronx who didn’t have Radiohead anywhere near his radar, thought the titular repeating lyric on “Everything in Its Right Place,” was “everything Dennis Rodman.” Listen to it again with this in mind. If you’re like me, you’ll never be able to hear this song again without thinking of The Worm.
The last half of “The National Anthem” reminds me of the end of Slick Rick’s “The Ruler’s Back” when the trumpet keeps going on and on and ramping up and is kind of cool but can be also be annoying but you’re mostly just saying wow I can’t believe it’s still going on.
“Idioteque” leaves me conflicted. It sounds pretty cool, but it seems like it’s supposed to be cool. Like you’re supposed to just flip out over it the first time you hear it. This shouldn’t necessarily be a problem, Tarantino movies are supposed to be cool and I eat it up, and maybe that wasn’t really their intent at all, but it irks me. Maybe it’s the way Thom Yorke sings on this one that is more annoying than usual. Maybe it’s just because this was my roommate’s favorite, and I remember one night we were out partying and he was talking to some other Radioheadhead and it turns out they went to the same concert and this kid described how he went nuts as soon as he heard the first few notes of this song. That always bothered me.
The last track, “Motion Picture Soundtrack,” is actually 7 minutes long on the album, with 3 and a half minutes of silence at the end. I don’t think I ever noticed that when listening to the CD, but stuff like this can be annoying. What’s the point?
If you want to seem cool when someone asks what’s on your ipod, just say Motorhead and Radiohead. And any solo artist with “early” in front of their name. Early Billy Joel, early Springsteen, early John Tesh before he went corporate and lost his edge. – paraphrased from Adam Carolla
1. This is my Shaun of the Dead theory. I really like Shaun of the Dead. In a vacuum, I’d say it’s great, I love it, a solid 7, maybe even an 8. But there are so many people who love it even more. Relative to what I perceive as the general opinion, my rating isn’t so favorable, and I start to feel like a Shaun of the Dead detractor, like I have a problem with it. When people bring it up, I talk about it like I would a middling 5. But I thought it was a good movie, I swear!
Favorite Track: Optimistic. Runner up: Everything in Its Right Place
Least Favorite: Treefingers. The mellowness of “How to Disappear Completely” was nice after the chaotic “National Anthem,” but to follow it with this is putting me to sleep.
Overall: 3.5 stars