Radiohead - Hail to the Thief
Ever since i had the epiphany that King of Limbs was a lot better than any other album I've really ever heard in the last few years, definitely being on my top 5 for the last 5 or so years, I decided that Radiohead were worth knowing back to front. Before King of Limbs, I'd only listened to OK Computer, In Rainbows, and Kid A, and I figured it was time for that to change. So I went to my local store and picked up the Hail to the Thief CD for a tenner.
I hadn't heard much about Hail to the Thief. I knew it was meant to be "OK Computer II" but I really don't know why - It sounds like a natural step between OK Computer and Kid A, like the missing record that linked the two together, not a return to Radiohead's roots. It's also amazing. It's an album that gets better and better each time you give it a listen, and perhaps the only thing that stopped it being a huge hit would be that quite a few songs on are pretty obviously filler material.
Obvious stand out songs are There There, which was released prior to the album as promotional material, A Punch Up at a Wedding, which is pretty pop friendly and has got some nice lyrics and I'll be fucked if that bass line isn't one of the catchiest that Radiohead have done. There are some nice Kid A style experiments in Backdrifts, the Gloaming and suchlike, and a really great close to the album with Wolf at the Door, which boasts some unrelenting and hardhitting lyrics about a bar fight his majesty professor Yorke got into with some drunk dudes one night in the year 2000.
That said, there are some standout tracks, and some not so standout tracks. As I said before, the album suffers from filler. I'd probably get rid of Sail to the Moon, I Will, and Where I End and You Begin at the least, because they're nothing new, nor are they particularly interesting either - Sail to the Moon continues in the vein of the Tourist, The Pyramid Song, How to Disappear Completely - those slow ballads that always seem to have at least one appearance on a Radiohead album and probably reached the pinnacle with Nude - frankly the tune is interesting but the lyrics are inexcusably terrible, and even for Thom Yorke, their are new steps taken in how to be totally illegible with Sail to the Moon. I don't know how I Will even got onto the album. It bored me.
Thing about this album though, is it needs repeated listening. The first time you hear it I think you might catch a hint of the creativity that went into this album, but the way to get the best out of this particular album is to listen to it like, 3 times or more - so long as you skip the filler. Definitely worth the $10 I paid for it.