Sound — 8
Amnesiac, Kid A's ugly twin, gives glimpses of Radiohead's glorious talents, but is somewhat tainted by over-experimentation. The better tracks on the album are those with a more traditional sound, like Pyramid Song, but other potential gems are shrouded in instrumentals that sound like Thom's baby was let loose with daddy's toys (look no further than the beautiful version of Like Spinning Plates on I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings compared to the only just decent album version). I'm not criticising the band's affinity for wackiness - it worked on Kid A and OK Computer - but there are several tracks on this which are rather unconvincing in comparison. Ed O'Brien's moment in the spotlight, Hunting Bears, is a nice instrumental that works well in context. All in all, Amnesiac sounds good, but is poor when you have heard the band's other albums.
Lyrics — 7
Words go perfectly hand in hand with the sound, which is a result that few can achieve as well as that seen in Radiohead's work. The lyrics here are not Thom's best, but due to the hypnotic quality of the album, the weaker ones do not take much away from the overall Amnesiac experience. Needless to say, his vocals are exceptional. These are the standout lyrics: All my lovers were there with me All my past and futures And we all went to heaven in a little row boat There was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt (Pyramid Song) If you'd been a dog They would've drowned you at birth (Knives Out)
Overall Impression — 7
Top 3 Album Highlights: 01. Pyramid Song - Ranks among Radiohead's finest songs 02. I Might Be Wrong - Great bassline from Yorke 03. Knives Out - Desperation over haunting guitar line, a great song Following up arguably the greatest ever 1-2-3 album punch of The Bends (1995), OK Computer (1997) and Kid A (2000) would be no easy task, and on Amnesiac, Radiohead unfortunately did not maintain their high standards. There are some great moments - Pyramid Song was Thom's favourite Radiohead track for a while, and both 'Knives Out' and 'I Might Be Wrong' are also very impressive, but on the whole Amnesiac sounds like a hangover from the Kid A days, or an embryonic Yorke solo album.