Radiohead has never been a band to rest on their laurels-or really even care. Yes, they defined what a guitar could do in the early 90’s with their albums Pablo Honey and The Bends. They then redefined what a band could do in 97 with their masterpiece OK Computer. But, when you consider it, it’s their 2000/2001 period that defined their sonic pallet moving forward. Kid A Mnnesia is the anniversary celebration of that period with more tidbits added in for good measure.
Radiohead, dreading the rock star persona that OK Computer created for them, Kid A shows an about-face from their previous familiarities. Everything here is as it should be even 21 years later. “Kid A” still has its bounce and childlike wonder. “The National Anthem” maintains its place as one of the hardest hitting songs ever released by the band. “Optimistic” seems as relevant as ever in today’s world. “In Limbo” is the musical equivalent of what the title suggests. The music creates an off kilter haze that goes for a dark, tumble down that rabbit hole. “Idioteque”-one of my favorite tracks-has the band going dark disco. Kid A maintains why it’s one of the most important albums released.
This might be a bold statement but, out of the two albums I’m more of a fan of Amnesiac. “Pyramid Song” is one of the most beautiful things the band has produced and will always be my favorite. The album is continually great but it’s most important that we talk about the third disc of extras. “Like Spinning Plates (‘Why Us? Version)” is fantastic because to have a studio version that basically takes after the live version on I Might Be Wrong, is perfection. “Fog (Again Again Version)” takes what was already given to us as a b-side and mixes in the childlike wonder that “Kid A” possesses. The real reason to get excited about the collection is “If You Say The Word” and “Follow Me Around” are on it. It’s always a rare treat for extra Radiohead b-sides and these tracks don’t disappoint.
Radiohead has given us a gift by celebrating Kid A and Amnesiac 21st anniversary with the Kid A Mnesia collection. While some of the other bonus material is a bit of cutting room floor filler. Radiohead reminds us that in today’s world these songs matter even more-for better or for worse.
Key Tracks: “Like Spinning Plates (‘Why Us?’ Version” / “If You Say The Word” / “Pyramid Song”
Artists With Similar Fire: Barbarossa / Atoms for Peace / Broken Bells