December 2, 2022 | CULTURE | By Jan Alfaro
Music recommendations are a form of love.
Seriously, it’s a major way I give and receive love. So, story time to back that up: one day after watching a show with one of my housemates, we start talking about music from the episode we just finished and then start showing each other music. He puts on, “Everything in Its Right Place” by Radiohead and we leave it at that.
After the block ends, I stay on campus for block break and the only thing I listen to is that song and the rest of the “Kid A” album, which I highly recommend listening to if you’re experiencing a more solo block break, contemplating life, or just taking things slowly.
That said, my block break, and even now, has been so impacted by this small music recommendation. In this way, I’m writing this week’s article as a product of love and I write each earjam with love, hoping you might find new music to listen to or old music to become re-addicted to. So, without further ado, here’s this week’s “Kid A”-inspired article.
Two articles prior, I talked about Blood Orange and briefly mentioned his work with director Luca Guadagnino. Then, last earjam I branched off this Guadagnino mention to talk about Thom Yorke’s “Suspiria”. This week, I’m still talking about Thom Yorke but now as a part of Radiohead.
The English band was formed in 1985 and consists of Thom Yorke, Johnny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, and Philip Selway. You could say the band has aged like fine wine because no member has been replaced throughout the band’s long career. “Kid A” is the group’s fourth studio album, released in October of 2000 following their critically acclaimed, “OK Computer.”
The same housemate told me that “Kid A” came from a place of tension in the band, where band members had different ideas for their future, vocalist Thom Yorke was experiencing writer’s block, and O’Brien was depressed. I googled this and it’s true. Radiohead somehow managed to isolate themselves after almost breaking up at the end of the “OK Computer”era and put together this fantastic album, one that received a Grammy for best alternative album in 2001 and was said to be one of the best albums of all time by Time and Rolling Stone magazines.
Despite their praise, criticism accompanied the album release as some said it was “commercial depression” and “intentionally difficult.” Regardless of the feelings, Yorke appeared in an exclusive interview shortly after the album’s release and denied these comments as intentions for the album.
In terms of the sound, the album was a change for the band as they shifted from art rock/alternative rock to electronica/experimental rock. Genres are complicated umbrella terms, but you get the gist: no acoustic guitars. The album uses the ondes Martenot, a very unique electronic synthesizer-sounding instrument, programmed electronic beats, some strings, and even some horns.
Summarizing the album composition, you have ambient “Treefingers,” classical, “Motion Picture Soundtrack,” hectic electronica, “Idioteque,” alone-in-a-pool-at-night electronica, “Everything In Its Right Place” (my favorite), electronica with bass guitar and drums, “Kid A,” and post-rock, “In Limbo” to categorize a few.
All songs feel very raw, something highlighted in the eerie, “How To Disappear Completely.” Senses of dread, melancholy, and desolation loom over all songs where the band’s headspace while creating the album is very present.
Give the album a listen as well as the songs in the associated playlist a listen.
Let me know what you think. Actually do… email me anytime. firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe even music recommendations if you really want to. Cheers. As always, playlist link below.