March 21, 2011
It feels strange to say that this sound isn’t much different than prior Radiohead albums. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve grown up on Radiohead, going back to 1995 when I was 10 years old watching ‘Ok Computer’ for the first time… freaked out of my mind. I’ve grown so expected to hear drastic changes in their sound from album to album that I’ve learned to gauge each one as if it was from an entirely new artist each time.
I was pleasantly surprised, as usual, listening to The King of Limbs. It doesn’t seem like 4 years ago Radiohead released ‘In Rainbows’ but that is in fact the case. The two albums are structured very similarly. About 10 songs, very full, and long instrumental transitions to carry the songs from one to another. The King of Limbs is actually only 8, but you wouldn’t guess if you just listened to the album straight through initially.
The King of Limbs carries a little more jazz than Radiohead typically uses, to which I am a fan. The opening song, ‘Bloom’, begins with a very progressive upbeat jazz bassline that stays consistent over an eclectic array of ambient strings and random electronic sounds. It’s a great intro to the album and if you weren’t prompted, it’s hard to tell where one song begins and another ends.
Thom Yorke comes up with great melodies in his singing to compliment the instruments, and in some cases, his own voices. He harmonizes over his own vocals a few times, one of his better features I think, and a somewhat rare talent in the genre he uses.
Every band gets to a point where they start to run low on their creative juices and don’t venture out as much in search of new sounds. Radiohead has probably been venturing for new sounds longer than most bands have been in existence, but I will admit, it seems like they are running out of new styles to create. It’s tough. The Radiohead of 1993 is nothing like the Radiohead of 2011, and if their has ever been a sound that I believe the group is satisfied with, it’s the one they currently have now. The songs don’t sound dull or repetitive and still test your listening skills to their fullest extent.
I haven’t had to say “It’s not as good as their last album”, and I don’t believe I’m going to for a while. I just think the formula might stay the same.
Songs to listen to:
Songs that suck :
Little By Little