Radiohead – The King of Limbs Album Review
Album review for Radiohead’s brand new “The King of Limbs.”
Radiohead have become indie rock legends by doing what they feel is right. The have always made the music they wanted to make and not worried about what critics say or how it is received. That attitude, along with an abundance of talent has built them a huge, loyal fan base that will follow them anywhere. They gave their last record away for free, letting you pay whatever you felt like paying. “The King of Limbs” they sold on their website first, then today released in stores in CD format. Even their distribution model is now down on their terms.
Listening to The King of Limbs makes me want to go back and listen to other Radiohead records. I don’t mean that in a bad way. In a way The King of Limbs is the perfect example of evolution at work. Radiohead have always been able to create a mood. Johnny Greenwood never gets the credit he deserves as a guitar player, but he is all over this record setting atmosphere and ripping apart scenery with knifelike cuts of sound and fury. This record is moody and filled with atmosphere that seeps into you. Put your headphones on and crank it up! Listening to it is like running into an old friend from school. I makes you happy you are where you are now, but also makes you want to go home and check out your high school yearbooks and relive a little of the past.
The King of Limbs by Radiohead is a short record, clocking in at just 37 minutes, but it packs a lot of punch. Thom Yorke fades in and out with his trademark wail. His lyrics are as deceptive and cryptic as ever, but in a way as you give the record and second and even third listen it seems almost as if The King of Limbs serves as the eulogy to the old Radiohead. Maybe the band is finally free of whatever expectations or demands were placed upon them and now have the freedom to pursue what they want. As the record comes to an end an exhausted sounding Yorke breathes, “I’m free of all the weight I’ve been carrying.” Later he then invites us to “Jump off the end/The water’s clear and innocent.”
Radiohead has always defined itself with change. The days of OK Computer and The Bends are long gone. On those records Yorke was out front, leading chest first with defiant lyrics and a voice that led the machine, but now he has faded into the groove and his voice is used as much as another instrument in the band as it is the lead singer of one of the biggest, most beloved rock bands in the world. Their last few records have been heading in this direction and The King of Limbs seems to have finally brought them to that place they have been searching for and yet Yorke at one point snarling, “You’ve stolen all my magic/Took my melody” seems unhappy about it.
With layers of sound, lyrics that could fill a college thesis and production that pulls it all together brilliantly The King of Limbs is sad, amazing, beautiful and angry all at once. It feels like Radiohead saying goodbye to their past and hello to their future all with one handshake. What that future will sounds like we will have to wait and see.
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