#8: Wrap-Up

Radiohead has a purpose for all their music. Their previous album Ok Computer was so different from Kid A that people just did not know what to think of the album at first. But after listening, people enjoyed it. People enjoyed it so much, that the album won a Grammy for best alternative album. Not only that, but it also won album of the year. It is shocking to me, that Radiohead changed up their music so much from their previous album and gained so much success so fast. Usually, devoted fans either HATE or absolutely LOVE new music of their favorite artists.

The album is random as hell and experimental, yet so successful. It is actually considered to be a very challenging album, but in my opinion, some songs just do not belong. Those couple of songs that I do not like just have no challenge and are TOO simple or have a cliché experience (divorce in Morning Bell). However, the songs that I do like are extremely enjoyable; they pose a challenge, as well as an underlying theme that a successful album does not have to have a specific structure or theme. Despite Radiohead being very political, each song is not about that, but about something different and in general life and what’s to come. Although there really is no theme, I have noticed that in every song, Thom sings as if he feels defeated, almost close to giving up, but he continued to write music and show all of his feelings. At the end, however, he proves that he is alright and has that determination and motivation to keep on going. I have to admit that the songs I ended up hating, I knew from the first listen I wouldn’t like them. The songs I loved, all made a great first impression to me. These songs “uniqueness” just drew you into this “world of Radiohead” and everything else gets paused and muted. Overall, I have come to appreciate the album way more than when I first listened to it. The album is certainly unlike anything I have ever listened to, it is very different, but in a good way. Just keep in mind, some songs may be a little strange at first impression and only after the first full listen the album seem like it is a masterpiece and is worth listening to. However, after listening to it for a while a listener will be able to distinguish that. There is definitely a song for everyone on this album, you will certainly make a deep connection to your life with at least one song. The soothing sounds, space-like beats, Thom Yorke’s sweet voice, and the ambiance of the album are perfect if you are feeling sad and alone, this album is definitely something you should listen to because it will definitely calm you done and cheer you up!

 

Rating 4.5 out of 5!

 

Sources:

http://www.last.fm/music/Radiohead/Kid+A

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-best-albums-of-the-2000s-20110718/radiohead-kid-a-19691231

#7: Impression After One Week…

After a week of listening to the album, I got more and more into the album. I actually noticed that I was humming Everything in its Right Place the other day. Thanks professor Dunphy!

I have listened to the album in various venues such as my room, on the train, in school, and just walking on the street. I have to say, the album sounds like crap listening through iPod headphones, it is so much better sounding through loud speakers or my boyfriend’s noise-canceling DJ headphones, you hear everything! I have noticed that for some reason, listening to Kid A on the train always annoyed me and I always wanted to skip all the songs. I guess it was because majority of the time, I was miserable going to school so early in the morning. Only at home, school, and other places I could listen to the album fully in peace and actually enjoy it.

Everything in its Right Place got a lot better. At times when I was down or studying, it just seemed to cheer me up, give me more energy, and the upbeat music and sort of fast vocals gave me a little more optimism.

Kid A got a little more creepier to me after a week of listening. It actually kind of scared me thinking about the future. One of my biggest fears is growing up and just change in general. Now that I know the meaning of the song, it makes me picture the future world as it was portrayed in the movie “Artificial Intelligence”. The beginning of the movie starts off with showing New York City, destroyed and abandoned. If Kid A was played at that very scene, it would have been perfect. The baby in the song, as I picture it, is played by Haley Joel Osment. Hopefully we won’t get THAT advanced so soon.

Overall, majority of the songs on the album, I did like. There was something about each song that made me like it, something different, each song had its very own personality. I think this album is definitely a work of art, just not at the first listen. You have to listen to the album more than once to get into it.

Rating: Still…4 out of 5!

#6: Song that… ???

The song I really cannot even have an opinion for and dislike is Treefingers. The song starts off soft, and has basically the same beat throughout the entire song, ambient slow sounds. Just like Kid A, it has this sort of space-like feel to it. While listening to the song, the title reminded me of a huge tree in a Twilight-looking forest with huge roots; with Bella creepily standing there and Edward weirdly sparkling. Those roots symbolize fingers and are just slowly moving on their own. I really do not know the meaning or reason for this song because it has no lyrics. Perhaps it is just a little segway song Radiohead created for the next song on the album, which is Optimistic.

The song could be interpreted to be optimistic, it is really relaxing and peaceful, definitely something I would listen to while doing yoga. However, this song is definitely not something I would blast on my iPod while walking on the street. It really has no use for me and I think it is two minutes and thirty-two seconds of nothing. I have to admit though, since Treefingers is a fully instrumental song, it was the soundtrack of my train ride one morning. Everyone in the train, including me was so miserable to be going to work or school. Everyone’s sluggish movements fit perfectly with the slow song, as if people heard my iPod headphones and were purposely moving to it. Someone in a review actually said:

Sounds like they got too lazy to write a real song, so they said “hey, let’s make random guitar noises and call it abstract. Don’t get me wrong though, Radiohead is awesome”.”

I actually agree with that person’s opinion. Seems like Radiohead just clicked random buttons on a computer or synthesizer to create this song. (It is actually speculated that a lot of the lyrics on the album have just been picked out of a hat). In an interview with Ed O’Brien, the guitarist and backup vocalist, actually said that this song was all done with guitar. It was at first a guitar solo by him and then Thom recorded about ten minutes of it and then cut and paste it into a sampler to create this ambient song.

Overall, I think this song belongs in some soundtrack and that is exactly what happened, it is the original soundtrack in the movie “Memento”. This song is nothing but a bunch of random noises to me.

Rating 1.5 out of 5!

Sources:

http://www.greenplastic.com/radiohead-lyrics/kid-a/treefingers/

#5: Absolute Favorite Song!

Despite the song being very slow and being about such an intensely emotional event (not typically what I like), Motion Picture Soundtrack is another song I love. The song starts off with a church-like organ playing. Not a surprise, but the beginning once again draws me in, I find it so calming. But when Thom Yorke’s beautiful soft voice enters the picture, the song gets twenty times better. The beginning lyrics of the song:

Red wine and sleeping pills
Help me get back to your arms
Cheap sex and sad films
Help me get where I belong”

Red wine and sleeping pills suggest only one thing, which is suicide, death, or just absence. However, knowing a little bit about Radiohead, I know they do not really have a history of writing about committing suicide which leads me to believe this song is not about Thom Yorke or any of the band members committing suicide but someone else. Maybe the person did not die, but just does not exist in Thom’s life, perhaps a beloved ex-girlfriend. The lyric that suggests this is “help me get back to your arms”, which is obviously referring to another person. Once again, I can deeply connect with the feeling after a special someone is just not there anymore, both physically and mentally. It does not necessarily mean death, just the lack of an individual’s presence. “Cheap sex and sad films. Help me get where I belong” shows how Thom Yorke is slowly breaking down and does not know how to react. Perhaps, he is receiving cheap sex from a prostitute. The prostitute and sad films are just distractions for Thom to help him cope with his recent and unfortunate loss.

Stop sending letters
Letters always get burned
It’s not like the movies
They fed us on little white lies”

This next set of lyrics suggests even further that maybe Thom broke off a previous relationship himself. He sounds so defeated, so close to giving up, almost fed up. His ex-girlfriend keeps sending him apology letters, but he just keeps burning them to try and get rid of that memory. The happy endings that were shown in movies were not going to happen, the letters were not going to change Thom’s mind. Another very familiar experience to me. Breaking off a relationship is just as hard as getting broken up with because no matter what there will always be that little “spark” (or at least most of the time).

Motion Picture Soundtrack is only about 3 minutes long, but the song lasts about 7 minutes long. I always thought that was just a glitch on my iPod because after the song was over, there was just silence, so I would always skip it. Little did I know, that if I continued to listen, at about 4:30 a new hidden song begins to play. The hidden song only lasts about a minute and has no spoken lyrics, just music playing, which for some reason reminds me of the “Hallelujah” song. The song has a godly sound to it.

My absolute favorite part of the song is when the background music starts to suggest a little optimism. Behind Thom’s voice, these magical-like harps start playing. Even though it does not fit into the genre at all, it fits in so perfectly with the song. Like I said previously, it has such a godly-like tone to it, perhaps trying to make the connection to heaven and that is where Thom will meet the person in their next life. Another favorite part is when the music has a slight pause and Thom’s voice hits a high note, saying “maybe I will see you in the next life”. He holds the last high note for so long. I just love the emphasis on that very last lyric of the song. So much emotion in such a simple song!

Rating 5 out of 5!

 


Sources:

http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=8750

#4: The Song that Makes Me Want To Cry…

Another song, which I enjoy but makes me want to cry is Morning Bell. The song starts off with “Light another candle. Release me”, I do not know what that means but can only come to the conclusion that it is a religious reference. The song then continues to say “you can keep the furniture” and “bump on the head”, which in my opinion, refers to a divorce. A “bump on the head” could symbolize the physical fighting that was going on. The lyric “release me” is constantly being repeated, which I think means that Thom just does not want to be held and imprisoned by his wife or girlfriend’s chains any longer. Just like mentioned later on in the song, “nobody wants to be a slave” and neither does Thom. He is sick and tired of being the one who mainly contributes to the relationship.

Thom is then trying to find the car, trying to get away. “Clothes are all over the furniture”, so perhaps his clothes is everywhere being thrown around. Seems like Thom is getting kicked out but then he remembers about his dear children. “Cut the kids in half”, in my opinion suggests that if the parents do split up, the kids’ time will also be split up, they will have to share their valuable time with both adults.

I can easily interpret this song because it is something I dealt with at a very young age, too young. Although I did not fully understand everything, I began to connect the dots. At that age, I saw and heard things I should not have; my parents were constantly arguing over things I didn’t comprehend, yelling and just fighting 24/7. Then one day, I saw clothes everywhere and my dad packing. Everything happened so slow, yet so fast. Now, being almost ten years since their divorce, I realized how well I dealt with the situation and how much I learned. I was “cut in half” like the song said. My time had to be shared with both my mom and dad, even up until this day. It is difficult, it really is. The song is great , with a lot of emotion in it. However, it makes me picture everything that went on, which I do not really want to think about. Which is why I do not like this song.

After doing some research, I learned that Thom has a long term girlfriend (it is not known if they are married) whom which he has two kids with. Thom has never been married, which leads me to think that this song is not about going through divorce, but maybe the desire to get divorced at times where he feels pressured and stressed. The reason Thom doesn’t want to get married is possibly because he does not want his marriage to lead to divorce. He does not want to be labeled, and believes that you don’t have to be married to love a person. Everyone knows that relationships can get tough and at times you just need time alone to think. Perhaps Thom, at one point, felt as if he was being taken advantage of and didn’t receive enough credit.

Rating 3.5 out of 5!

Sources:

http://www.tv.com/people/thom-yorke/trivia/

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/radiohead/morningbell.html

#3: Song I Would Listen To In The Spaceship After My Abduction

The most weirdest and disliked song: Kid A. The song starts off with a sweet space lullaby. Listening to it, I felt like I was drugged by aliens and was flying around in outer space in their spaceship. The beats are very sweet up until the robotic voice comes in. Of course, the numerous times I listened to this song, most of the lyrics were really hard to comprehend. Since my computer makes these weird transformer noises when I control the volume, I literally thought the robotic voice was just a problem with my computer.

As I tried to interpret the song before looking up the lyrics, I just could not understand what the significance of this song was. Basically, the only clear vocals I understood throughout the song were “shadows at the end of my bed”. I already knew the motivation for writing this album so I could only come to think that Thom Yorke was referring to his feelings of being drained and scared of the fast pace of his fame. The shadows at the end of his bed could be a simple metaphor to the fame and it is just haunting him as he is trying to go to sleep. Another interpretation could be that the shadows are a metaphor for the people who do not support Radiohead, despite the amount of passion they put into writing their music. More specifically, it could refer to Kid A because it was such an experimental album and a huge modification for the band. Perhaps, that is the reason why the lyric “shadows at the end of my bed” is so clear unlike the other ones…it is the overall message of this song.

I could not figure out what the song was about, so it made me think I am definitely not the only one. But maybe that is what the song is about, a metaphor to life and the world in general, trying to figure out what it is all about…the journey called life. However, I surely do not know what the context behind the crying baby and the robot has to do with anything.

At the end of the song, it says “the rats and children follow me out of town. Come on kids”. Now this sounded familiar, it made me think of the childhood tale, The Pied Piper of Hamelin perhaps. Hm? The story had many versions but the most known one is when a town is infested with rats so the Pied Piper comes to get rid of them for a small reward. As he plays his instrument, the rats slowly begin to follow him. He goes towards the river, causing all the rats to drown. My last interpretation, I think the Pied Piper is obviously compared to Thom Yorke and the rats are possibly compared to the bands’ “haters”. Just like rats, they continue to judge and gnaw on Thom, not leaving him alone (not accepting his fame).

For giggles I made this image:

 

According to Yorke, this song is his vision of the first cloned baby. The song is about our current and future technological advancements, as well as the dangers of them. As stated by a fan, “It questions what it means to be a human being in the context in which every relationship is mediated by technology and technical rationality”. In my opinion, I think there is a subliminal message throughout the song. This song is though to be a bit controversial because supposedly the lyric “I slipped on a little white lie” played backwards is “Andrew Little must be shot”. After listening, I just think people are over thinking it and trying to create something new out of it song, I did not hear the Andrew Little part. However, I did notice that the song played backwards literally sounds the same as played regularly. Weird….

The song is clever and is definitely something Yorke would write about. The song is different, but in a good way (sort of). However, after listening to this album for two weeks, majority of the time alone in my room, the robot voice and crying baby kind of scared me off. The song was just way to creepy for me.

 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5!

 

Sources:

http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/11945/

http://www.helium.com/items/1689559-poetry-analysis-the-pied-piper-of-hamelin-by-robert-browning?page=3

http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=3759

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2: Favorite Song…Everything in its Right Place

The first song that played on my iPod was “Everything In It’s Right Place”, which is my favorite song. Although I listen to mainly all types of music, my personal favorite is post-hardcore/screamo with a little pinch of electronica/trance. The electronic sounds, weird voice effects, and synthesizers in this song drew me in right away because that is the music I enjoy listening to.

The song starts off with an effect of what sounds like bits of Thom Yorke’s voice playing in reverse. The maybe hundred times I listened to this song, I could never make out what exactly he was saying. The first thing that jumped into my head, was this some time of subliminal message? (It is actually thought that Thom Yorke is saying “Kid A” repeatedly). The song then continues with “Everything in its right place”. My interpretation of this is that Thom Yorke just experienced something horrible and is trying to recover.

Later on in the song, it says “Yesterday I woke up sucking on a lemon”. I had no idea what the importance was of that lyric; but after thinking about a lemon, I thought…it is sour. Perhaps Thom Yorke compared the aftermath of whatever happened in his life and his emotions to a lemon simply because he was upset and it was clearly showing that he had a “sour face”.

My interpretation of the song was close, but quite wrong. After further research, I found that this song was written in response to how Yorke felt after a concert of his, absolutely drained and “burnt out”. The band was getting famous so fast that Thom could not take it anymore, he just did not know how to deal with it and did not know how to keep up with that accelerated pace.

The same lyrics re-occur in the song. Despite the repetition, I loved it! A lot of the time, for some reason this song would go on when I was studying or doing homework, the soft music was so relaxing and actually made me focus more. Surely, Radiohead cannot be compared to Owl City but the similar mellow background beats made me fall in love. The lyrics of the song are not very challenging, however, the message and motivation behind it is very emotional and powerful. This song actually reminds me of myself a lot because I get stressed out too much. Having to balance school, friends, family, working and many other things, I get overwhelmed very easy. Despite my phases of pessimism, after a while I am always determined that everything will fall right into place after I work hard enough. My life certainly does not compare to a rock star like Thom Yorke, but I can definitely connect to him and see how exhausted he feels.

Rating: 5 out of 5!

 

Sources:

http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/11944/

http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1537

 

 

 

#1: First Impression of Radiohead’s Kid A

The professor’s pick album I chose to review was Kid A by Radiohead. Kid A was recorded in Paris and parts of England and Denmark by a producer named Nigel Godrich. Kid A was the fourth album released by the band on October 2, 2000 in England and on October 3rd, 2000 in the United States and Canada. The album was a big change-up for the band; being greatly influenced by jazz and twentieth century classical music, the earlier rock style was replaced with more of electronic-like sounds and very abstract lyrics. How did people react to this album? In its first week of release the album went platinum thanks to the unique advertisement of it as well as the anticipation for it because of Radiohead’s previous album in 1997, Ok Computer. As stated on the assignment sheet, Kid A was written in a response to the bands’ rejection of their quick success. In 1998, Radiohead was followed by Grant Gee in a “rockumentary”. The quote on the cover art could not explain what the band felt any better:

“If you have been rejected many times in your life, then one more rejection isn’t going to make much difference. If you’re rejected, don’t automatically assume its your fault. The other person may have several reasons for not doing what you are asking her to do: none of it may have anything to do with you. Perhaps the person is busy or not feeling well or genuinely not interested in spending time with you. Rejections are part of everyday life. Don’t let them bother you. Keep reaching out to others. When you begin to receive positive responses then you are on the right track. It’s all a matter of numbers. Count the positive responses and forget about the rejections.” -Thom Yorke

The reason I chose to do this album was because I wanted to choose an album that was modern, as well as not too old (in the middle). Since I have never really listened to Radiohead, other than “The Daily Mail” on the first day of class, I really did not know anything about Radiohead other than always hearing that Ok Computer was supposedly one of their best albums. Before even listening to the album, I expected this album to be pretty good from all the high ratings I have seen. However, just quickly glancing at the song titles, majority of them were a little bit negative other than “Optimistic” (duh). For two weeks my iPod followed me, with the album being the only thing I listened to. The first song that went on, “Everything In It’s Right Place” gave me a little taste of the album and what to expect. The weird voice effects, cool beats, Thom Yorke’s soft voice and the combination of different musical instruments made me know I was already going to enjoy this album very much. After listening to the album fully for the first time, I came to realize that each and every song had its own personality and was different in some way. My thoughts were that it had a sad, negative, and just overall pessimistic tone because of the slow music and vocals. Although there were a couple of weird songs, I was very impressed with the album. I liked it a lot!

Rating 4 out of 5

Sources:

http://medinamag.com/2011/09/meeting-people-is-easy-the-full-movie-about-radiohead-for-free/

http://www.last.fm/music/Radiohead/Kid+A