Posted on 15 May 2011.
I was working at WUPX, the college radio station at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan during the 2000-2001 school year. In addition to being the Classical Music Director, I also had a mid-day show where we had to play the songs in rotation. I remember when Kid A first came out and our station director was really pushing multiple tracks in rotation, especially the title track “Kid A”.
Many of the college DJs were kind of scratching our heads at the song and the album as a whole; I mean we were all familiar with OK Computer, but where had Radiohead turned this time? I remember the DJ before me was finishing up his show, and the last song he played was “Kid A” and he said something that stuck: “If you thought OK Computer was Radiohead experimenting, then explain to me what this is?”
In fact, even the experimentation on OK Computer, which I will call “pseudo-experimentation” compared to Kid A, pales in comparison to this album. The closest song to the previous album would be “Optimistic,” but even then that had its alt-rock and early experimentation elements stripped from it.
While I compared OK Computer to U2’s Zooropa in terms of its experimentation and departure from anthem rock, then Kid A would be akin to U2’s Passengers. The only difference is, this was much more successful and not as pretentious.
Like Passengers, lyrics are stripped way back on Kid A, and are mostly instrumental, combining classical, techno, and just a hint of house-beats, as found in “Idioteque.” The complete instrumental “Treefingers” always reminds me of “An Ending (Ascent)” from Brian Eno’s Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks album, which appeared in the film Traffic. The trippy “The National Anthem,” and the somewhat depressing “How To Disappear Completely” and the swirling “Motion Picture Soundtrack” are definite standouts on this thoroughly constructed and artfully mastered experimental album from Radiohead.
The second disc contains live tracks from the BBC Radio One Evening Session on November 15, 2000, LAMACQ Live In Concert at Victoria Park in England on October 2, 2000, Canal+ Studios on April 28, 2001 and I Might Be Wrong live recordings.
The DVD is more of a let down than the one on the OK Computer deluxe edition. This time, we are given three songs from the Jools Holland performance. I realize that the DVD was limited since there were no official singles, and thus, no official music video promos, but surely they could have found more than three songs recorded on video for this album.
For instance, where was the video for “Motion Picture Soundtrack” that contained all of the 30-second films to promote Kid A originally seen on MTV? After doing some searching on YouTube, I found the video that Radiohead released for this. It appears that the poster changed some things in the video, but it contains all of the original “blips.” You can watch it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7RKakVGvPc
Since there were no official singles released, there are no sleeve covers in the deluxe edition. However, in addition to the original CD insert, it also includes the hidden booklet that was in the original pressing.
Kid A (standalone album) – 5 out of 5 stars
Kid A (2 CD/1 DVD) – 3 out of 5 stars (For only 12 minutes of playing time on the DVD)
Disc 2 Tracklist:
(BBC Radio One Evening Session – 15/11/00)
1. Everything In Its Right Place
2. How To Disappear Completely
4. The National Anthem
(LAMACQ Live in Concert: Victoria Park, Warrington, England – 28/04/01)
(Canal+ Studios – 28/04/01)
6. Morning Bell
7. The National Anthem
8. How To Disappear Completely
9. In Limbo
11. Everything In Its Right Place
12. Motion Picture Soundtrack
(I Might Be Wrong – Live Recordings)
13. True Love Waits
(Later…With Jools Holland - 09/06/01)
1. The National Anthem
2. Morning Bell
Editors’ Note: PopWreckoning has one unopened copy of this special edition of Kid A to be given away to a resident of the United States. To win, all you have to do is comment with your favorite song from the album Kid A and explain why the song stands out to you. The comment that stands out to the Editors the most, wins.
Please remember to include a working email address so we might contact you for mailing information. Contest will run until June 10.