Amnesiac is a better album than Kid A!

Amnesiac is a better album than Kid A!

Radiohead


There I said it. It is not the ‘Kid A cast offs’ or the ‘Kid A B Sides’. In its own right, it is a better collection of songs. At the risk of upsetting many, I’m going to explain why I think this with the use of my own track rating system that I usually use on new music but which I think is an interesting way of listening to music. Looking back on some of my reviews it is clear to me that some initial assessments can be totally incorrect (Songs of Innocence) or completely right and justified over time (Lost in a Dream, Trouble will find me, Blackstar). This is why I like my system.

So with this in mind, I have done a retrospective rating of the two albums I’ve listened to dozens of times; variously on vinyl, digitally or mobile (usually). I thought it might be interesting (to me) in figuring out what I’ve always known. Given I usually go to Amnesiac ahead of Kid A, and In Rainbows ahead of both, I assumed I was with the flow. However, after a quick Google, it is clear I am rather out of step with mainstream Radiohead thinking. So what am I to do? I just needed to decide how to rate them.

The context of these two albums is important too. We have to remember that Kid A and Amnesiac came after Pablo Honey (1992), dominated by the MTV hit ‘Creep’, and then The Bends (1995), their alternative Britpop full stop. Though already creaking at this time, Radiohead produced OK Computer (1997), their antidote to the crumbling 20th Century. OK Computer was a revelation but left the band and Thom Yorke shot. Kid A and Amnesiac were Thom Yorke’s deconstructed musical medicine, conceived mainly by him as he strolled Cornwall’s cliff tops.

radiohead-kida-albumart

Kid A
11 Tracks
47’06”
October 2000

Everything in its right place ****
Kid A ***
The National Anthem ****
How to disappear completely *****
Treefingers ***
Optimistic ****
In Limbo ***
Ideoteque ***
Morning bell ***
Motion picture soundtrack **
(Untitled) **

Total 36*

 

radiohead-amnesiac-albumart

Amnesiac
11 Tracks
43’55”
June 2001

Packt like sardines in a crushd tin box ****
Pyramid Song ***** (five)
Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors ***
You and whose army? ****
I might be wrong ****
Knives out ****
Morning Bell/Amnesiac ***
Dollars and Cents ***
Hunting Bears ****
Like spinning plates **
Life in a glasshouse ****

Total 40*

So, that’s the end of that!

(By the way, I know this is not ‘New Music’ but I had nowhere else to put it!)

2 Comments

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  1. 1
    Matthew

    Interesting. I always go for Amnesiac when I want a blast of Radiohead, so much so that I’m beginning to forget about Kid A. I must reappraise it. Mind you, A Moon Shaped Pool is getting all my attention currently. That feels like a real return to form.

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