Sound — 8
The title of Radiohead's 4th album is one of irony. Nothing on this album is in it's right place at all. Radiohead are a rock band. And like most rock bands, there going to have something you can latch onto right off the bat. Those expecting that kind of playability are driving down the wrong highway. I suggest going back and taking the curvy road, because that's what's in store for you. Electronic textures abound on this record, with computer-like squiggles that sound like geeks sitting alone in there room playing with there toys. Where the hell are the guitars? Radiohead are a rock band remember? Still, this is defenitly a product of it's moment, and a pure act of obsession on Radiohead's behalf. But there's still alot to sink your teeth into. Consider the crusty, space-funk of "the National Anthem" which, before you know it, transforms into what sounds like a jazz orchestra falling off of a cliff. Then there's the faint, whisper-quiet acoustics of "How To Dissapear Completely" which lulls you in, and hooks you, line and sinker. And sometimes, Radiohead just go out of the way to deliver straight up, sleekly polished techno, like on Ideoteque, which sounds as if it's wrapped in a layer of chrome. Only one song makes full use of Radiohead as a whole band (the rough, almost There There-ish "Optimistic"). All expectations are thrown out of the window, and guitarists will more then likely toss this album aside. But stick with it, and these songs will get through if you let them.
Lyrics — 8
Kid A comes without a lyrics sheet. And half the time, you won't understand what Thom Yorke is mumbling to himself. It's as if his words come from his mouth, split into several parts, and fight to the death. There's no clarity here. No easy enjoyability. Just a man alone with his words and thoughts. Who knows what he's singing about on "Everything in It's Right Place." Maybe a bad night out ("yesterday I woke up sucking on a lemon," sinsg Yorke, "There are two colors in my head."). He isn't telling, and your less then likely to find out. As anti-establishment as Ok Computer was, Kid A seems to seperate Radiohead into there own world, free of rules and care ("Big fish eat the little ones," sings Yorke on Optimistic, "that's not my problem").
Overall Impression — 8
Basically, Kid A is powerful enough to devide it's listeners into 2 camps: the ones who will dispose of the album the first listen, due to the fact that it ignores the standard of what a "Pop" album should be, and those who find it to be a life-altering statement, freeing it's listeners from the chains of modern music. Me, I'm undecided. I'm leaning more towards the 2nd camp. Kid A is definately something special. How special depends on the listener.