Radiohead – King of Limbs

Alright, I think I’m about ready for this. After two months of deliberation, I think I’ve figured it out…

I don’t like this album. Blasphemy! I know! I just don’t “get it” I guess. Radiohead‘s newest album, The King of Limbs, dropped sometime in mid-February. I got it, I listened to it repeatedly, and nothing. I let it go for a week or so, listened to it again, and nothing. I waited a few more weeks, put songs into other playlists to see if they would catch my ear, and nothing. While other bloggers and music outfits were feverishly typing away, I sat behind my desk feeling like I was missing the boat. I thought, “Why the hell am I not hearing what all these other people are hearing!?” I didn’t want to just spout off words with no meaning. I just wanted to fully understand this album, if that’s even possible.

I really wanted to like this album. I like Radiohead in general and pretty much think that Thom Yorke is the best thing since penicillin, but this time around, I’m just not digging it.

It doesn’t help that this album starts out with the cacophonous mess, “Bloom”. It really doesn’t make me want to listen to the rest of it. (I know, this is funny considering that I always bitch about albums that put all the good songs first, but can’t a girl get some balance here!?) Yorke and the boys built a kingdom out of weirdness and this is no exception, but in an awfully drab version. In Rainbows was borderline “too weird” for me, but amidst that feeling was the hope that it was merely an arrow in the right direction. There was still always this feeling that the album was just about to take off, but stayed grounded. This one doesn’t even get a twirl of the propellers.

The album does get considerably better after “Bloom”, but nowhere as good as previous efforts. Perhaps I am ruined by OK Computer. That is a distinct possibility. It picks up a bit with “Good Morning Mr. Magpie”, dips again with “Little by Little”, reaches it’s peak halfway in with the awesomely funky “Feral”, then quickly spirals back down into Weirdtown, USA.

Melodies? Too mainstream. Discernible lyrics? Too mainstream.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy a vacation from their typical sound…While I loved The Bends, Pablo Honey, OK Computer, I welcomed the change that was Kid A and Amnesiac. I really liked the integration of more electronic elements and even the distortian of Yorke’s voice. It sounded like a natural progression from where they had been. I guess I jumped ship somewhere around the time of Hail to the Thief.

I assume it must be hard to continue making music after you’ve already released a genre redefining album, but props to Radiohead for trying. I can at least tell myself that I made every effort to like this album, but that’s exactly the problem. I shouldn’t have to “make myself” enjoy an album, it should smack me in the face with all of it’s goodness! While a valiant effort on their behalf, Radiohead falls flat on this venture. I’ll be eagerly awaiting their next, and hopefully better, album. C



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