“KID A MNESIA” - Radiohead Album Review

posted November 9, 2021 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Fernanda Lopez

British phenomenon, Radiohead, surprised fans with the release of the reissue of their signature albums, “Kid A” and “Amnesiac”.

This album, made out of three discs, is a compilation of both albums and unreleased songs from recording sessions. Disc one is the critically acclaimed “Kid A”, disc two is fan favorite, “Amnesiac” and disc three is a combination of different versions of released songs, interludes and outtakes.

“Like Spinning Plates - ‘Why Us’? Kicks off the record. This version of the original song, “Like Spinning Plates”, is touching and raw, as Thom Yorke’s falsettos and the piano lead the way.

Short and rich songs, like “Fog - Again Again Version” resemble “Faust Arp”, from their album “In Rainbows”, as they both have distressing lyrics alongside interesting, even joyful instrumentals.

The fourth song in the album, “If You Say the Word”, was the first glimpse of this album, released back in September. This mysterious track could be considered a signature Radiohead song, with experimental echoes, Spanish guitars and Yorke’s vocals seamlessly blending with Greenwood’s arpeggios; it shares many instrumental elements found on their 9th studio album, “A Moon Shaped Pool”.

Their latest single, “Follow Me Around” has a ‘folky’, even ‘grungy’ instrumentation that sounds like an Alice in Chains MTV Unplugged thanks to the simplicity of the guitar and the harmonies in the chorus.

However, not every song in this album was a success for Radiohead, as “Pulk/Pull - True Love Waits Version” is one of the worst alternate versions released by the band.

The vulnerability, simplicity and sadness that makes the original song, “True Love Waits” so special are lost in this version, as synthesizers and auto-tune interfere with the sorrowful lyrics and delivery.

The album’s last section is the strongest, as “The Morning Bell - In the Dark Version” is another alternate song of the fan-favorite, “The Morning Bell”. This version has soothing instrumentation joined by Yorke’s humming, which resembles a tender lullaby.

“Pyramid Strings” is one of the most intriguing songs on the album. This string arrangement behind “Pyramid Song”, from “Amnesiac”, fuses both melancholia and experimentation, resembling “Revolution 9” by The Beatles.

The last tracks, “Alt. Fast Track” and “Untitled v3” are opposites, one being fast-paced instrumentation with both strings and drum beats, and the other one being a string arrangement of harps. The ending song, “How to Disappear into Strings”, is one of the most impressive string arrangements the British band has released yet. This cinematic piece ties the album together. In this piece, Radiohead shows how their music can transmit many emotions with just instrumentation.

This album was a success for the British band, as not only did they show their fans a new side, with songs from the vault, but they also managed to create a new ambiance by combining both “Amnesiac” and “Kid A”.

Despite fans wanting more B-Sides than alternate versions of existing songs or instrumentals, this album was crafted almost to perfection.

Rating: 8/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Song: “How to Disappear into Strings”.
Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: “Pulk/Pull - True Love Waits for Version”.

Fernanda Lopez is a freshman majoring in telecommunications. To contact her, email lfl5339@psu.edu