Radiohead
Amnesiac


4.5
superb

Review

by Caleb McAlpine USER (109 Reviews)
January 12th, 2009 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Radiohead has organized a harrowing parade of music that plays out better when it's not taped to the side of Kid A.

I often wonder why Radiohead initially referred to Amnesiac as 'the other songs from the Kid A recording sessions.' If both albums had been released as a double album, or even if it was just marketed as a totally different album, I'm certain listener's immediate opinions on this album would differ. Even though lead vocalist Thom Yorke assures that 'they were conjoined twins separated at birth,' people seem set on the fact that Amnesiac is Kid B.

I beg to differ.

The beautifully monotonous opener 'Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box' starts Amnesiac in a good place. Thom Yorke's droning vocals half-mumble in and out of electronic filters over the ambient percussion and melancholic keyboards, creating an atmosphere as relaxing as it is tense. It is no surprise to anyone that Yorke's lyrics are as eery as always, but as he sings 'I'm a reasonable man, get off my case,' he sounds more believable then he ever has.

'Pyramid Song' continues the ambient murmur established in the first track with it's cruise-control drumming and somber piano. Airy samples and unnerving strings join the cause halfway through the song, crafting a soundscape chilling, yet beautiful. Along the same lines as 'Kid A's title track, 'Pulk/Push Revolving Doors' spins itself through a nauseating and mesmerizing repeated cycle that ultimately ends up as an extended introduction to the album's highlight 'You And Whose Army?' With Yorke's muddy vocals and Ed O'Brien's relaxed jazz chords painting yet another solemn journey of a song that eventually explodes into a haunting piano-driven coda.

Musically, Amnesiac isn't a far cry from Kid A. Keyboards, drum loops and repetitive off-beat lyrics are used to their full ability, and unlike other artists who write decidedly strange and incomprehensible songs, Radiohead does it convincingly, and by the end of the record you can be rest assured that Yorke probably is insane. Guitars and bass are scarce in the album, but it is entirely appropriate.

After the first four funereal songs, 'I Might Be Wrong' and 'Knives Out' adds variety to the album, only to return to the lugubrious remake of 'Morning Bell/Amnesiac' which builds up an uncomfortable tension, much like a stomach cramp, before 'Dollars & Cents', 'Hunting Bears' and the whirling 'Like Spinning Plates.' It should be noted while songs like these three are not strong tracks in their own right, when played in the context of the album, they couldn't be more appropriate, as they truly mold and shape the uncomfortable ambience that Amnesiac presents.

Radiohead has organized a harrowing parade of music that plays out better when it's not taped to the side of Kid A. Functioning only as an album, and not as individual songs, Amnesiac is a musical out-of-body experience. It's twitchy, it's ill-at-ease, and it's one of the most captivating records I've ever heard.



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3.9
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Comments:Add a Comment 
McP3000
January 12th 2009


3941 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

whats with all the recent amnesiac reviews?

Channing
January 12th 2009


497 Comments


yeah guys you're annoying mcp3000

Waior
January 12th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I was unsatisfied with the most recent one, but I hadn't read the other ones before writing this one. Retrospectively, that was a mistake. Electric City's review sums up what I had to say in a more convincing manner.

Kid B just needs more love! This Message Edited On 01.12.09

Doppelganger
January 12th 2009


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Amnesiac is superior to Kid A.

Mendigo
January 12th 2009


2299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

word

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2009


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

im tempted to agree

IAmInsect
January 12th 2009


3799 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

you all are wrong

Waior
January 12th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

It's an overall masterpiece. Kid A didn't connect as well, I think.

This is also the heaviest an album can get without one moment of distorted guitars. It's like a bag of wet cement.

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 12th 2009


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is far weaker then Kid A in almost every regard. In fact, album is weak by Radiohead's standards period. Packt Like Sardine, Pyramid Song, You and Whose Army and Life In a Glass House are the only songs that are really good. There are a couple that are slightly above average, and Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors is the worst thing the band has done since Pablo Honey.

Doppelganger
January 12th 2009


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

All the songs are the only songs that are really awesome.

Commortus
January 12th 2009


237 Comments


Amnesiac is the weakest in Radiohead's catalogue with the exception of Pablo Honey and possibly The Bends.

Waior
January 12th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Doppelganger speaks the truth, and Commurtus got his album name's morbidly confused.

roofi
January 12th 2009


959 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Packt Like Sardines is becoming my favorite Radiohead song ever.

Waior
January 12th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

It was the first Radiohead song I liked.

kitsch
May 31st 2009


5107 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this is their best album, every song is genius. the remake of morning bell is so badass.

natey
May 31st 2009


4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I agree. "Life in a Glasshouse" is hot

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 31st 2009


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

my 5 review for this is gonna come one day my other one is just shit

Waior
May 31st 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Please do it. No review on this site (especially not this one) does it justice.

Tulannical
June 1st 2009


2051 Comments


this grew off me but still a great album

PoodleRapist
February 9th 2010


255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

amen. i think nearly every song on amnesiac makes me want to melt.



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