Ranking all songs on Radiohead’s masterpiece ‘Kid A’
Radiohead’s fourth studio album, Child A, has left such an impressive legacy in the music world that it hardly needs to be presented. As well as being one of the most critically acclaimed British albums of all time, it marked a turning point in Radiohead’s sound. After the immense stress OK Computer years, Thom Yorke and the rest of Radiohead wanted to move away from the guitar-centric sound that had defined their production so far.
Drawing inspiration from electronic music, classical, krautrock, and even sound design from early computer games, Radiohead quickly developed a new approach to songwriting that used the post-structural processes of artists like Aphex. Twin and Autechre, whose music was written in a deeply modern style. and non-linear way. Due to these influences, Child A offers a range of songs without a clear structure. Indeed, many tracks seem to have been reconstructed from fragments.
The absence of one of the usual markers that Radiohead fans would have been accustomed to by Child A meant that many of them found the album difficult to access initially. Of course, that’s the beauty of Child AThe more you listen to it, the more it seems to reveal itself, slowly unfolding into one of the most sublime and surprising albums of the first decade of the 21st century.
Below we will attempt to categorize each of the songs on the album, a difficult task given that this is an almost flawless album.
Ranking of all songs on Radiohead’s “Kid A” album
Compared to tracks like “Everything in its Right Place”, “Kid A” and Idioteque “,” Optimistic “is certainly one of the simpler numbers on the album. In many ways it feels a bit like one. Hangover from Radiohead’s Pablo Honey era, a rock track that gets straight to the point with a bit of daring.
Despite the intoxicating R&B-infused melodic line and thundering guitars, ‘Optimistic’ just doesn’t have that wonderful sense of the unknown that defines so many tracks on the rest of the album.
9. “morning bell”
It’s almost painful to have to classify “Morning Bell” separately from “Idioteque”. The sequence of these two songs is one of the most refreshing moments of the Child A. Although they are totally distinct from each other in style and instrumentation, they complement each other perfectly and, listened to in tandem, appear to contain traces of each other’s DNA.
On its own, ‘Morning Bell’ doesn’t sound so fascinating. It’s a slow burn that culminates in one of the LP’s most satisfying interludes when all the ambiguities of Yorke’s lyrics give way to a swirling shoegaze guitar storm. But, one way or another, he still manages to leave you hungry for something that he hasn’t quite managed to deliver.
“Treefingers” sometimes looks more like a miasma than a piece of music. With this, the fifth track on Child A, Radiohead reduces his craftsmanship to the essentials, weaving an intricate ambient thread between various electronic and orchestral instruments to create rich, harmonic textures.
The ambient nature of ‘Treefingers’ acts as a welcome interlude between some of the album’s more substantial tracks, cleaning up the sonic palette before beefier tracks like ‘Optimistic’. As a result, ‘Treefingers’ doesn’t have as much to stand out. That being said, it’s an essential part of the album and Child A it wouldn’t be the same without it.
7. “In limbo”
A surprisingly complex piece of music, ‘In Limbo’ is almost impossible to define. With its angular arpeggios and its fluid structure, it manages in one way or another to contain all the ambiences of “Treefingers” while evoking the same anguish of guitar pieces like “Optimistic”.
Rather appropriately, ‘In Limbo’ ranks somewhere in the middle of our list. It’s not quite one thing or the other and afterwards it seems hypnotizing and confusing in the same breath.
6. “Everything in its place”
What an opener.
“Everything in its Right Place” sets the tone for the sequence of sprawling, electronics-infused tracks that are about to follow. Like many of Kid A’s tracks, it’s a song defined by its ambiguity.
From its metrics to its instrumentation to its lyrics, every aspect of this song seems to move and reshape itself with an impossible dexterity.
5. “The national anthem”
I have a theory that the third songs on albums are usually the best. While ‘The National Anthem’ doesn’t quite manage to outperform some of the album’s more accessible tracks, it still packs quite a punch.
This is by far the most avant-garde song of Child A, embracing a range of experimental techniques such as sound collage and tonality. And yet, thanks to his underlying groove, he feels intensely joyful. Two songs in “The National Anthem” serve as Radiohead’s statement of intent for the entire album.
4. “How to disappear completely”
The fourth track on Child A is as dislocated and ghostly as one would expect from a song that begins with the line, “That there, that’s not me.”
While undeniably one of Radiohead’s most tearful tracks, the song deserves listen after listen. The contagious nature of the track may have been due to Jonny Greenwood’s Krzysztof Penderecki-inspired string arrangements which, as the song progresses, modulate between lush diatonic harmonies and nightmarish dissonance, giving the song its beauty. indescribable and amorphous.
I challenge anyone to listen to ‘How To Disappear Completely’ and not feel deeply changed.
3. “Child A”
Child A ‘The title track isn’t just one of the most perfect encapsulations of technological anxiety, it’s also a testament to Radiohead’s flawless song. With its mellow synth tones, the track sometimes sounds like some sort of futuristic lullaby designed for an alien species, or – as Radiohead probably wanted – a robot.
It’s somehow surprisingly simple and bafflingly complex, reflecting the simultaneous wonder and bewilderment that have since defined the Internet age.
2. “Film soundtrack”
Surely one of the most heartbreaking songs on the planet, with ‘Motion Picture Soundtrack’, Radiohead borders on the sublime. It’s a song that seems to reside on the very edge of consciousness, just before the speaker was consumed by the “red wine and sleeping pills” that led fans to claim that the song is about a suicide attempt. .
Musically, the track sparkles with all that makes Child A so brilliant: an accessible composition, combined with lush electronic textures, and an experimental sensibility. Overall, ‘Motion Picture Soundtrack’ is an almost perfect Radiohead song.
What is it doing here? “Idiotic” may not seem like an obvious choice for the top spot, but it’s by far one of the most amazing songs in Radiohead’s catalog. With its 8-bit motor rhythm and intensive use of samples, it feels rooted in the pioneering electronics of Aphex Twin without being reduced to mere mimicry.
Combined with Yorke’s fragile harmonies and Greenwood’s fragmented guitar lines, the track takes on a unique momentum that seems to carry it far into the stratosphere, beyond the guitar-based rock music that defined Radiohead’s early career. and to a new sound that would be fully established in The king of limbs.