This is the final Radiohead album, as after this release and as of the time of writing the band took an indefinite hiatus musically. The album as well has also been seen as a bit of a comeback listening experience, as the previous album The King Of Limbs was not very well received by Radiohead’s standards. In any respect, this is a very significant album from the outset as True Love Waits which has been a live favourite in various forms performed by Radiohead, is on the album as the final track. Nonetheless, this is a great step in the right direction for the band musically and this is no doubt worth hearing, even if it is outright bad, as Radiohead’s final album to date is a conclusion to a band that made some great music. Without further hesitation, let’s hear this album and see where it takes us.
Burn The Witch begins the album with some rhythmic string sections, hi-hats and a sense that we have something excellent and exciting here. Some random sounds then enter, and Thom Yorke begins singing nicely over the top here. Unlike other singers, his voice has held its quality over the years. Some warped lyrics are here, and they perfectly match the sounds at hand. This is an outstanding musical experience that sounds really excellent, and this is far better than anything Coldplay have done for a very long time. The rhythmic string sounds are definitely awesome here, and Thom Yorke sings about having panic attacks and the like. Typical Radiohead stuff. Still, this is a pretty, simple, melodic and compelling listening experience. A really fantastic and awesome listen, Radiohead achieve the near impossible for a Rock group, relevance well past their heyday. It ends with freaky melodies before concluding. Excellent.
Daydreaming has some particularly warped wind chime styled melodies that are Psychedelic and pitch-shifted. This eventually has some piano seeping on in and is a very pretty, melancholy ballad style piece of music. It sounds quite sad melodically, almost as if Radiohead knew that their time at that point was up. Thom Yorke sings in a pleasant and wonderful voice about daydreaming itself. This is not a happy sounding tune, and the music is very sad and moody listening. Still, this is an excellent performance, complete with some intricacies such as reversed harmonies. Towards the middle of the song, this launches into a layered and melodic piece that exudes warmth and melodies galore. It is difficult to see one listening to this in a very happy mood, it just does sound unsettling and rather melancholy in terms of vibe. Still, this is a great listening experience, despite the negative cloud musically about it. The cut-up and modified digital sounds are really awesome and brilliant though, and make this stunning track come alive. A joyous tune in a moody way, Radiohead make intellectual and emotional music become an art. Towards the end is a partial string section, with a build-up of intricate melodicism to conclude. A good piece of weird but essential listening. The outro sounds super freaky. Not for the light-hearted.
Decks Dark begins with some interesting sounds in the right channel, with some basic electronic drumbeats in the left channel. Thom Yorke then sings beautifully with some more piano. Again, he sounds very great as a singer here, even more so than he had done in the past as a singer, which is a good improvement. A fine listen and a beautiful piece of melodic beauty, this leads into a pretty, artistic and interesting piece with female gospel harmony vocals as well. Radiohead is perhaps the very late 20th and very early 21st century’s answer to Pink Floyd with their innovation and artistry. They do not lack those traits here whatsoever. This is a much more recognisable and impressive album for the most part since 1997’s OK Computer, although the other Radiohead albums between the two are also essential listening. There is an interesting and electronically layered set of melodic piano, guitars and other fragments of sound that exist in the latter half. All in all, this is chilled Radiohead, no Paranoid Android robots here. A relaxing piece that ends well, excellent music.
Desert Island Disk begins with soft ambient sounds, acoustic guitar and playing that is excellent. This is a short and sweet Spanish guitar sounding piece with electronics that sounds excellent. A lush and subdued listen, Thom Yorke’s voice has some subtle effects placed onto it, which matches neatly with the electronics here. This is most likely the most overlooked Radiohead album to date. You certainly can hear the effort placed into the music, and this demands repeat listens. In the second half, some subtle percussion and a trippy build-up occur with Thom Yorke repeatedly singing, “You know what I mean”. Great music and Radiohead put in the effort where most bands are really lacking. A great effort through and through, and worth your time.
Ful Stop begins with some muffled drumming and electronic fuzz bass style sounds, which gradually get louder. This is another interesting tune, with some ultra weird sounds throughout that are quite science fiction like. Soon enough, some muted and atonal horns enter, which sound quite spacey. This is a great instrumental sort of piece that is really quirky and interesting musically, and the sounds present are intricate, interesting and out of this world. The logical 21st century answer to 1980s science fiction inspired culture? Likely so. This is brilliant music that sounds pretty and different for what it is. Thom Yorke’s falsetto flutters above it all. Soon enough, some interesting textures emerge, with some intricate Jazz styled drumming. A refreshing and different tune to listen to, this is a great exercise in the pure artistry of Rock and Electronic textures. It nearly stops in the second half, sounding really excellent and fresh simultaneously. The sounds here are original and unlike anything else in the history of music. A great and enjoyable piece of music to hear, this sounds really cool throughout. It ends with some melodic guitar playing and weird electronics to fade.
Glass Eyes begins with some stereo panned electric piano melodies that are dual-tracked and mixed in with effects. Soon enough, this tune gets kicking along and Thom Yorke sings about the dystopian future that this world has become. This is brilliant musically, despite the aura of negativity that Thom Yorke is singing about here. A wonderful tune to listen to, the strings and melodies throughout are really something to listen out for. An awesome piece of music nonetheless, this sounds really thorough. A great listening experience, this sounds marvellous. It ends with violin strings, beautiful.
Identikit references the album title throughout. It begins with more soft drum beats, an interesting guitar melodic progression and another great tune is here, complete with loads of electronic editing. Again, this is thrilling, epic and brilliant. This may be a longer song than what was here before it, but it sounds like a postmodern musical masterpiece, the album in general that is. A great piece of British heartbreak, this keeps the theme of romanticism that is fairly present in this album going. Thom Yorke sings with passion and soul. He is not a pitchy, whiney singer. Instead, Thom Yorke is a skilled vocalist, delivering passion and melody together very much perfectly in a falsetto way. The second half of this tune sounds very artistic and pretty, in amongst the lyrical mayhem here. A great listening experience and something worth many repeat listens, the conclusion of this song is really interesting and textured. Sounding somewhat like Public Image Ltd, Radiohead does impress the listeners out there, once again. Excellent.
The Numbers takes what sounds like a sample from The Rolling Stones (see if you can recognise it), before launching into a really cool pastiche of piano, electronic sounds and advanced structures and textures respectively. After a little bit, acoustic guitar enters as well, along with rolling snare drum beats. The music here is of great quality. Thom Yorke sounds very mellow and mystical in this song, and he does a great job musically here, as per usual. Although many dismiss Radiohead as arty, the case is this is informed by art but transcends it as well. The intricacies and excellence of this music are very mindblowing. Easily the best listen of 2016, Radiohead comes out on top with all the competition around them. There are some awesome and pleasant harmonies in the middle that use some awesome reverberation on them. An anthemic and futuristic sounding tune, the string section here is just tasteful and brilliant. This is the best that British music can offer in the 21st century. An image evoking and classy tune, this does leave an impression on the listener. Simply fantastic, it ends with some multitracked harmonies, more strings and an anthemic conclusion that sounds unlike anything else. It ends with the pianos and looped laughter. Excellent work.
Present Tense begins with some nice harmonies, harp styled guitar sounds and a soft, gentle feel musically here again. A bit of a change from what has been here before, this does sound like a leftfield step here. Thom Yorke eventually gets singing, and the music progresses nicely. Thom Yorke’s lyrics come in fragmented form and act as a stream of consciousness. Another brilliant effort by Radiohead, this is a good and innovative sounding piece of music. Another song about breaking up, Radiohead are brilliant at their moody craft. A million miles better than anything Coldplay did after their first two albums, this majestic and pretty music takes you places. A great tune to listen to, and a nicely constructed piece of music that still shines bright today. “In you, I am lost” indeed, referring to broken love. Another great piece of music. It ends with subtle drum sounds, great.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief begins with some interesting and cut-up electronic sounds which sound a little hiss laden and warped. This is clearly not a highlight track of the album, given its name. It is much closer to experimental Ambient music, albeit with Thom Yorke singing as opposed to anything else musically. A good piece of melodicism regardless, this tune is very futuristic, minimalist and adventurous. The poetic lyrics match this tune very nicely, and this is an unforgettable sonic trip throughout. An enjoyable listen, there are reversed sounds thrown into the mix, along with strings and other interesting overdubs here. A fantastic musical experience, this does not disappoint. It goes into a descending melodic chord progression in the second half of the tune, which sounds deep. A good piece of music to set to a soundtrack, Radiohead has nailed it here, and this is a lesser track. The outro has some very Nine Inch Nails IDM-styled EDM sounds to boot. Weird, but very cool. It segues into the next track.
True Love Waits is the final track. It begins with melodic piano, and has some direct lyrics, “I’ll drown my beliefs, to have your babies…” for example. A deep and moody piano ballad that is quintessential Radiohead listening, this is simple yet twistedly beautiful. Pleading for a lover not to leave, Thom Yorke says it all here and reflects the very sad nature of breaking up with a lover. This is not a very happy sounding tune, and the overall ambience is quite negative. A great and emotionally expressive piece of music, this is very deep and dark music, not something that should really be taken lightly. Nonetheless, it works incredibly well and sounds really dismal. Musically, it is ingenious Radiohead that must be heard by many. A very sad tune from start to finish, the ending is very sad indeed. Depressing song, although very good to listen through regardless. It ends with some sustained piano chords, before concluding.
Radiohead has created another musical masterpiece here. From start to finish, there is a huge amount of consistently stunning and awesome music for fans to listen to. It is postmodern Burt Bacharach styled music that has some OK Computer and George Orwell’s 1984 styled vibes mixed into it as well. Regardless a tremendous effort. Should you listen to this album? Definitely, seek this gold mine out today. Radiohead may reform in the future, so keep an eye on the music news, if you dig this music here.
Brilliant, heartbreaking and epic.