You didn't come here for a hot take on a 20 year old album but that's what this is. Yesterday I saw a tweet, and it made me anxious. Because I'm still not sure where Kid A sits with me. Which would put me in the "meh" team, I guess. That piece is perfectly written and summarizes Kid A/Radiohead and that era perfectly.
Radiohead's Kid A was released 20 years ago. Is it the perfect soundtrack to the end times, or is its real legacy that it changed fandom?— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) October 1, 2020
Dueling essays from @mat (https://t.co/BDqB8wIv1n) and @elamin88 (https://t.co/rk4JYKc1FX) put everything in its right place.
I got the album on CD shortly after it was released. I was a first year college student, 400 miles away from home, and the guy I voted for in the presidential election had just lost even though he got more votes. It was weird times, and this album amplified all of that for me. Driving to and from college, alone, in the snow, with this album blasting...was a lot.
Everything In Its Right Place fades out, even. Huh? The National Anthem banger of a bassline is great for the first three minutes (it repeats itself for 5 minutes). I've got nothing good to say about In Limbo. I remember being very conflicted when I learned that the few notes in Idioteque were sampled from a 1973 song. Those are the weird bits. I also love those songs (except In Limbo). I still get goosebumps listening to Motion Picture Soundtrack. I even enjoy and am continually inspired by Treefingers .
When I went to a Radiohead concert for the first time in 2018 they played three songs from Kid A in a row. The setlist was weird as hell, but I'll remember it forever. That said, I didn't love that part of the show.
I actually enjoy this take on Kid A/Amnesiac, which is nice because those two albums should almost always be mentioned together. The problem with that reconstruction though is that it is missing Like Spinning Plates, which is a fantastic song.
I'll wrap this up by saying Kid A isn't my favorite Radiohead album. It isn't my least favorite, either. That's a tie between Pablo Honey or The King of Limbs (although Lotus Flower and Bloom were both phenomenal, live!). But my opinion on it hasn't really changed in 20 years. It hasn't gotten better, or worse. I think Hail To the Thief is criminally underrated, and In Rainbows slightly overrated (but still wonderful - it is the most accessible Radiohead album IMO). It's wild to me that I've been enjoying this band for over 20 years. Fingers crossed that they've got a few more albums left in them 🤞
Album scans from this blog post.