I recently came across a new look to SomethingAwful.com. It turns out that they are parodying Pitchfork Media with their own RichDork Media. Here is what the proper site, Pitchfork Media, said about Radiohead’s Kid A album:
I had never even seen a shooting star before. 25 years of rotations, passes through comets’ paths, and travel, and to my memory I had never witnessed burning debris scratch across the night sky. Radiohead were hunched over their instruments. Thom Yorke slowly beat on a grand piano, singing, eyes closed, into his microphone like he was trying to kiss around a big nose. Colin Greenwood tapped patiently on a double bass, waiting for his cue. White pearls of arena light swam over their faces. A lazy disco light spilled artificial constellations inside the aluminum cove of the makeshift stage. The metal skeleton of the stage ate one end of Florence’s Piazza Santa Croce, on the steps of the Santa Croce Cathedral. Michelangelo’s bones and cobblestone laid beneath. I stared entranced, soaking in Radiohead’s new material, chiseling each sound into the best functioning parts of my brain which would be the only sound system for the material for months.
The butterscotch lamps along the walls of the tight city square bled upward into the cobalt sky, which seemed as strikingly artificial and perfect as a wizard’s cap. The staccato piano chords ascended repeatedly. “Black eyed angels swam at me,” Yorke sang like his dying words. “There was nothing to fear, nothing to hide.” The trained critical part of me marked the similarity to Coltrane’s “Ole.” The human part of me wept in awe.
The Italians surrounding me held their breath in communion (save for the drunken few shouting “Criep!”). Suddenly, a rise of whistles and orgasmic cries swept unfittingly through the crowd. The song, “Egyptian Song,” was certainly momentous, but wasn’t the response more apt for, well, “Creep?” I looked up. I thought it was fireworks. A teardrop of fire shot from space and disappeared behind the church where the syrupy River Arno crawled. Radiohead had the heavens on their side.
For further testament, Chip Chanko and I both suffered auto-debilitating accidents in the same week, in different parts of the country, while blasting “Airbag” in our respective Japanese imports. For months, I feared playing the song about car crashes in my car, just as I’d feared passing 18- wheelers after nearly being crushed by one in 1990. With good reason, I suspect Radiohead to possess incomprehensible powers. The evidence is only compounded with Kid A– the rubber match in the band’s legacy– an album which completely obliterates how albums, and Radiohead themselves, will be considered.
Even the heralded OK Computer has been nudged down one spot in Valhalla. Kid A makes rock and roll childish. Considerations on its merits as “rock” (i.e. its radio fodder potential, its guitar riffs, and its hooks) are pointless. Comparing this to other albums is like comparing an aquarium to blue construction paper. And not because it’s jazz or fusion or ambient or electronic. Classifications don’t come to mind once deep inside this expansive, hypnotic world. Ransom, the philologist hero of C.S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet who is kidnapped and taken to another planet, initially finds his scholarship useless in his new surroundings, and just tries to survive the beautiful new world.
This is an emotional, psychological experience. Kid A sounds like a clouded brain trying to recall an alien abduction. It’s the sound of a band, and its leader, losing faith in themselves, destroying themselves, and subsequently rebuilding a perfect entity. In other words, Radiohead hated being Radiohead, but ended up with the most ideal, natural Radiohead record yet.
The experience and emotions tied to listening to Kid A are like witnessing the stillborn birth of a child while simultaneously having the opportunity to see her play in the afterlife on Imax. It’s an album of sparking paradox. It’s cacophonous yet tranquil, experimental yet familiar, foreign yet womb-like, spacious yet visceral, textured yet vaporous, awakening yet dreamlike, infinite yet 48 minutes. It will cleanse your brain of those little crustaceans of worries and inferior albums clinging inside the fold of your gray matter. The harrowing sounds hit from unseen angles and emanate with inhuman genesis. When the headphones peel off, and it occurs that six men (Nigel Godrich included) created this, it’s clear that Radiohead must be the greatest band alive, if not the best since you know who. Breathing people made this record! And you can’t wait to dive back in and try to prove that wrong over and over.
I’ll admit, I got a laugh over it. But wait until you see what they said. You’ll have to scroll all the way down their page to find it.
Traveling through space at 293.37246 million billion miles per hour, traveling past star systems and glowing golden suns, comes Radiohead’s latest offering. Discovering a new Radiohead release is like staring into the eyes of Jesus Christ and feeling the eternal stream of love and awe that flows from Him. I might be so bold as to claim that Radiohead is the Jesus Christ of music; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost combined into one small package featuring the limitless talent of Thom Yorke.
So how do I review such an inherently perfect, flawless recording? It would be unfair of me to simply state, “this CD is perfection in the literal sense of the word,” as that would not give such a masterpiece the sufficient praise it deserves. Putting this disc into your stereo and listening to it is like having the saints pee liquid gold into your ears. A beautiful, flowing, melodic wall of sound embraces you like the mother you never had because she was a filthy whore.
Track 1, “Ale A Gator,” opens up with a lush field of melodic vibraphones and marimbas trumpeting the arrival of Thom York’s genius. A glassy string section envelopes the sound field and reminds me of the time I was doing heroin in the middle of Canterbury Park. Finally Yorke’s angelic voice sweeps in, crooning the following incomprehensibly intelligent lyrics:
Ale A Gator, the world is your at your feet
With a gaping mouth and jagged teeth
Your eyes remind me of capitalism (the telephone is ringing)
And your love is love like loving eyes, I will be there for you
Ale A Gator
Ale A Gator
Dragging through your personal hell
Ale A Gator
Ale A Gator
Encrusted jewels and a kissing kill across your gentle forehead
Time for sleep
Time for sleep
Time for sleep
Time for sleep
Gentle Ale A Gator
Such raw, unrelenting beauty caressed my soul like fingertips running across my spine. The power, the genius, the immeasurable talent which escapes from this porous CD can easily overwhelm you without proper preparation. Teams of NASA scientists could spend hundreds of years attempting to discover the meaning behind Thom’s words, but nobody is intelligent enough to properly do so except Thom himself and his alter-ego, Jesus Christ. Perhaps some day they will both do a duet together and we can finally see who’s truly the Son of God.
As for tracks 2-9, I was unable to listen to them as I was so blown away by Radiohead’s sheer power that I beat my CD player into pieces with a rake so it would never be defiled by another, inferior compact disc. I shall review the rest of the album once my dad flies back from the Hamptons and buys me a new SUV to play it in.
This was too priceless to pass up. If you love a band so much that you can’t laugh at them, then you are being too serious. I love Radiohead, but (c’mon) that was priceless.