On the 14th Feburary this year Radiohead fans recieved some long awaited news; the band had announced via their website that they would be releasing their eighth studio album just five days later on the 19th. Almost two and a half years after the incredibly recieved In Rainbows was released, fans expected something huge and mindblowing from the group to mark their return. On the 18th the group released a video to their song ‘Lotus Flower’ on their website which featured Thom Yorke dancing to the song, with a minimalistic black and white theme. Just after this was released the band announced that they were releasing their album a day early, so was available to download right there and then, much to the joy of their dedicated fans.
On the first listen, the album was quite simply disappointing. After all of this build up for days, creating such a hype, the album was a mere thirty seven and a half minutes short with not one song that would be instantly liked. It seemed as if the hype was greater than the album almost.
However upon listening to it a few times more after my initial displeasure, in an attempt to ‘give the album more of a chance’, I grew to appreciate the album a lot more. There still weren’t any iconic songs on this album like most of their other work, but this had a modern feel to it and showed how the band were definitely progressing and paving the way for other artists. Everytime I listen to this album, which I am doing as I write this, I appreciate the efforts put into this record increasingly more. Thom Yorke’s flawless vocals over simplistic melodies is almost soothing and calming. I could listen to this album repetatively and still never know any of the song titles bar Lotus Flower, because of how smooth the transition from song to song is (and also because of how the album does just pass you by a bit). This record is definitely an album, and not a CD full of singles which is a treat for the ears in this day and age.
I hestitate to say this, but the album brought a hint of nostalgia through its similarities to Kid A, an album released by the group over 10 years earlier. Listening to TKOL reminded me of the first time that I listened to Kid A and how I didn’t ‘get it’ at all the first few times, and took a while to appreciate the complexity yet simplicity of the album. TKOL did exactly this, but was definitely a more mature approach to the alternative style almost created by the group.
TKOL will never be my favorite Radiohead album (my favorite is The Bends) and it will never be the most memorable album either. However, the album has a certain feel to it which just makes it feel more special. Overall in my opinion, it is definitely an album worth listening to; it may not be as accessible as some of their other work to newer fans, but is worth an attempt to listen to.