Radiohead: Kid A

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Kid A is the fourth studio album by English alternative rock band Radiohead, released in October 2000 by the Parlophone label. A commercial success worldwide, Kid A went platinum in its first week of release in the UK. Despite the lack of an official single or music video as publicity, Kid A became the first Radiohead release to debut at number one in the US. This success was credited variously to a unique marketing campaign, the early Internet leak of the album, or anticipation after the band’s 1997 album, OK Computer. Kid A was recorded in Paris, Copenhagen, Gloucestershire, and Oxford with producer Nigel Godrich. The album’s songwriting and recording were experimental for Radiohead, as the band replaced their earlier “anthemic” rock style with a more electronic sound. Influenced by Krautrock, jazz, and 20th-century classical music, Radiohead abandoned their three-guitar line-up for a wider range of instruments on Kid A, using keyboards, the Ondesmartenot, and, on certain compositions, strings, and brass. Kid A also contains more minimal and abstract lyrics than the band’s previous work. Singer Thom Yorke has said the album was not intended as “art”, but reflects the music they listened to at the time. Original artwork by Stanley Donwood and Yorke, and a series of short animated films called “blips”, accompanied the album. Kid A has been considered one of the most challenging pop records to have commercial success. The album won a Grammy for Best Alternative Album and was nominated for Album of the Year. It also received praise for introducing listeners to diverse forms of underground music. Despite the band’s new direction alienating some fans and critics, KidA received generally positive reviews from notable music publications. It was subsequently listed by multiple publications as one of the bestalbums of recent years, and in 2009 was ranked No. 1 in lists of thebest albums of the 2000s by Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and The Times.

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