Hail To The Thief Review

artist: Radiohead date: 06/08/2011 category: compact discs
Radiohead: Hail To The Thief
Released: Jun 10, 2003
Genre: Rock
Tones: Brooding, Melancholy, Quirky, Wintry, Freewheeling, Wistful, Somber, Lush, Yearning, Enigmatic
Styles: Alternative Pop/Rock, Experimental Rock, Indie Electronic
Number Of Tracks: 14
 Sound: 9.9
 Lyrics: 9
 Overall Impression: 9.7
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (7) 24 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9.3
Hail To The Thief Reviewed by: stellar_legs, on november 05, 2003
4 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sound: As much as any Radiohead fan would hate to admit, Radiohead's last two offerings, 1999's Kid A and 2000's Amnesiac, took them off the map for a long time. A lot of music listeners just could not access the brooding electronica of those last two albums. Well, Hail To The Theif keeps on tradition with those 2 albums. Half of it that is. We finally have another Radiohead guitar album to put up alongside there 1997 masterpiece Ok Computer. There is no show off solos, or complicated riifing and jamming, but what guitarists Johnny Greenwood and Ed O' Brian have done is familiar Radiohead guitar that will feel at home with any fan of the band. As far as the electronica goes, the albums is still filled with electronic data-like squiggles and computer-y synth sounds, but there's a difference here: Almost every song on HTTT is so downright catchy and hook-ladden that you'll find it hard not to sing along with these melencholy beats and grooves. Songs like the groovy, piano track "Punchup at a Wedding" and the fuzzed out, muffled "Myoxamoatosis" will inspire you to sing aloud every time the chorus hits. The album starts off incredibley strong with the perfect hail storm of an opener with "2+2=5." As a slow building menotanous guitar line holds the rythm together, electronic trinklets that almost sound like drops of water play alongside, with frontman Thom Yorke's school boy crooning lulling us in, then waking us up when the track explodes, with Yorke splurting out almost in pain "You have not been paying attention!" The song from that point almost changes entirely, as if you're listening to a different song. And who wouldn't move their head to the rolling drums and Stones-y guitars of the acid lullaby "There There." Inviting you in and not letting you leave, this haunting track hooks you lock, stock, and barrel until the last drumrool. Perhaps the best here is the acoustoc folk-lore of "Go To Sleep." Sounding more akin to something off of Ok Computer, an acoustic guitar plays a swaggering ryhtm while Thom's somewhat lower voice dominates, and surprise! A solo from Greenwood, sounding almost played entirely on the neck-pickup, with a raw, booze soaked slow rock jam that last until the final note of teh song. A lot of the musical styles and playing on this album are breathtaking. // 10

Lyrics: Forcing you to scrutinize each word, Radiohead have always held a mysterious quality about there lyrics, never stating directly in the song what the purpose of it all is. Perhaps one of the more odd tracks is "Myoxamatosis" a song about a stray cat who has obviously had sex with another cat, and has caught some rabid disease that causes the feline protagonist haulucinations and foaming from the mouth. Almost funny, the song keeps a very witty, almost psycho approach the whole time, almost leaving you wondering what in the hell you just listened to. The closing track "A Wolf At The Door" will go down as a Radiohead classic. The song deals with the demons that people face every day, and not being able to handle these problems and solve them ("I keep the wolf at the door but he calls me up," sings Yorke, "calls me on the phone, tells me all the ways he's gonna mess me up.") It's hilarious, frightning, and sad at the same time. // 8

Overall Impression: All in all, if you don't like Radiohead, this album isn't going to change your opinion on them. But for fans, this is all that a Radiohead fan could ask for: some of their best electronica, great riffs, and a sound that can't be matched to other Radiohead albums. This is a very good surprise for all Radiohead fans, and anybody else brave enough to enter Thom Yorke's melencholy other-wordly sounds. But one things certain: You'll be singing these songs to yourself long after the record has stopped spinning. // 10

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overall: 9.7
Hail To The Thief Reviewed by: A music fan, on november 12, 2005
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: Radiohead's sound changes on every album. The band is constantly changing. If you listened to the band's debut, Pablo Honey, and then Hail To The Thief, you would know what I mean. Thom Yorke's voice has changed dramatically, from decipherable to his new mumbling singing-style (listen to Myxomatosis). In this album, Radiohead combine their original "rock" style with their later electronica to make a masterpiece of an album. For example, 2+2=5, an amazing opening track, starts off with the sound of a guitar being plugged in (wonderful sound). Then you hear a mechanical beat, followed by a guitar playing arpeggios. The song uses a mixture of rock and electronica, to form one of the best songs on the album. // 10

Lyrics: As always, Thom Yorke's lyrics are superb. Metaphoric and meaningful, every song gives a different mood. Yorke has continued to keep up his standard of lyrics. // 10

Overall Impression: Hail to the Thief. One of the best Radiohead albums, along with OK Computer and The Bends. Everyone will find something they like here. Highlights include: 2+2=5, Backdrifts, Go To Sleep, Where I End And You Begin, There There, Myxomatosis and A Wolf At The Door. This album easily blows anything Coldplay has ever done out of the water. // 9

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overall: 9.3
Hail To The Thief Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 26, 2004
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: This is probably the best Radiohead album of all time in my opinion. The albums starter song 2+2=5 starts out slow but ends as one of the best songs of all time. The middle section where all three guitars are playing chors at the same time is awesome. Stand Up, Sit Down is real good at the beging and I thought it was going to end the same but they put some weird computer effect at the end which I think ruins the song. Go to sleep is just a great rock song. There, There was the reason I bought the album and still is one of there better tracks. And Myxmatosis and Wolf at the door are great enders. // 10

Lyrics: The Lyrics are great, they arent Yorkes best but they still are cool and scary sometimes and are even funny (especially in Myxmatosis). // 8

Overall Impression: Radiohead is my favorite band of all time ever since OK Computer came out and this is a great album for them. They cut back on Computer effects which I'm glad for. The best song has to be 2+2=5 on the album just because of the end minutes. I can't wait till the next radiohead album. // 10

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overall: 10
Hail To The Thief Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 22, 2005
1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: In my opinion, the reason Radiohead isn't on the forefront of modern music is because they are too smart, intelligent and artistic for most people nowadays. I know some people are critical of the experimentation, they are entititled to their own opinion, but I think that if they listen with an open mind, they will really catch on the true genius of the album. It's amazing how the instrumentation really adds on the effect of the song, thats something that hardly any other bands do and I would kill to have that ability in my music. For example, in Like Spinning Plates, the overlapping whooshing effects really create an uncontrolled panic when I listen to it, which really adds on to the lyrics and how to me they're about the fragile and dangerous condition the world is in today. Really cool. Also in Pyramid Song (which is by the way the most beautiful song ever put on paper), the slow egyptian sounding piano creates a mystical feeling, and really makes you feel like you're "going to heaven on a little row boat". Amazing ability that they have. // 10

Lyrics: As usual with every Radiohead CD, absolutely outstanding lyrics. They're so wonderfully vague at times (you and whose army, like sardines, knives out, the list could go on) you can think of a million ways the lyrics can apply, which is so cool because it really allows you to think about the music, instead of just listen to it. // 10

Overall Impression: Overall, the reason amnesiac sounds like kid a is because they were recorded at the same time. Highlights for me are pyramid song, like spinning plates, I might be wrong, among others. I could go on and on about the music and how damn good it is, but it is late and I'm kind of tired so I think I might go to bed and listen to amnesiac instead of talking about it. // 10

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overall: 9.3
Hail To The Thief Reviewed by: unregistered, on september 18, 2006
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Hail To The Theif is Radioheads 6th album and was released in July 2003. They have gone back to using more normal song structures and using more guitar than during the last two albums, Kid A and Amnesiac, but they still have the electronic, unusual time signatures. It is my personal favourite Radiohead and is one of their most under rated. The electronic sounds of Myxomatosis and A Wolf At The Door sound great next to the more guitar based tracks such as There There and Go To Sleep. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics during this album aren't the best ones that Thom Yorke has ever some up with, but they are still great, mysteriously vague, scary and sometimes even witty. Thom Yorke has always been a great singer, and he, as ever, sings brillianty on this album. Although it's sometimes hard to make out what he is saying, that just seems to make it better somehow. // 8

Overall Impression: As I have said, this is my favourite Radiohead album, it's a perfect fusion between The Bends and OK Computer and more recent electronic stuff like Kid A and Amnesiac. My favourite songs from the album are 2+2=5, There There, A Wolf At The Door, The Gloaming and Myxomatosis. If don't have this album, buy it! Even if you don't really like them, I bought this after a freind recommended it and it got me into Radiohead, before I had only really heard Karma Police which I thought was a bit boring, but this album opened my eyes to the genius that it Radiohead. // 10

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overall: 10
Hail To The Thief Reviewed by: unregistered, on october 18, 2006
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: After buying all of radioheads albums, I can soundly say that this is the best. this album just oozes quality, and is definitely one of the defining moments of the noughties. once Thom screams "You have not been paying attention!" in 2+2=5, the albums' awesome opener, you know that you are listening to something big. this album has the innovativeness of Kid A, the awesome guitar of the bends, the sweet lyrical melodies of Amnesiac, and the production of OK computer rolled up into one package, but it is more than that, radioheads strongest album to date. "Sit Down Stand Up" has the best build up ever in a song, go to sleep's drunken outro will keep your fingers clicking, there there's groove is immense, and myxamatosis is a hilarious idea for a song. what a cracker. // 10

Lyrics: Thom Yorke remains the ultimate enigma, whos lyrics can be perceived as pure weirdness, extremely deep and emotional, or about life and the world in general. I believe that this album contains all of the above. I believe thom shines the most in the opener, the fabulous 2+2=5. he croons the first minute and a half, almost luring you into a false sense of security, then catches you off guard and continues the off the wall groove of the song. His lyrics are as strange as ever, and even though the vocal effects have been toned down from Kid A, he remains as odd and as amazing a vocalist as ever. // 10

Overall Impression: This album is, in my opinion, one of the best of the last 20 years. Now that all the hype has settled, we can truly see Radiohead's grand vision. // 10

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overall: 9
Hail To The Thief Reviewed by: Trifonas, on june 08, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: In "Hail To The Thief", Radiohead, are less progressive than "Kid A" and "Amnesiac". They are experienced and immediately they give their sign. An overall music style for this album is Alternative Rock. However you can hear Rock, Electronica and some Free-Jazz songs. Electric guitars with a lot of effects, magical melodies and epic Jazz-Rock parts are the main factor of making this album exceptional. On the other hand, some parts are interesting but not very good (e.g. The experimental "Myxomatosis", that is very strange with a very alternative rythm and effects). When they use piano the songs are very slow, with Jonny Greenwood playing lower harmonics and very interesting. They use weird chords and progressive climates and that defines that they are all good musicians. The thing that stays in your mind when it ends is its melodies, its rythnms and that you want to hear it again. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics are of political style. The often imply a lot of things about the government's management of the Iraq matter. They aren't different from the previus Radiohead albums, they still have this melancholic breeze and the way Thom Yorke sings them makes them depressive. He sings very well, but sometimes goes frantic and loses control of his voice. He can give variations (e.g. he has another tone in "I Will" from "2+2=5" and different tone in "A Wolf At The Door" from "Sail To The Moon"). Infact if you haven't listen to Radiohead you can't understand that he is the singer in all of the songs. // 9

Overall Impression: It is one of the best Radiohead albums and the best of the 00s. The most impressive songs from the album are "2+2=5" (I like it because it changes every 40 seconds and it keeps you hanging on), "There There" (a very good chord variation and great lyrics), and "A Wolf At The Door" (which is the best of the album - ballad and here we can listen to Thom singing like he never sang before). It's one of my favorite CDs and I would pay again to listen to it. // 9

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