Radiohead
Hail to the Thief


4.0
excellent

Review

by sulkenigma USER (10 Reviews)
August 15th, 2010 | 17 replies | 3,862 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is the album that shows the most variety within Radiohead’s quarters.

4 of 5 thought this review was well written

For those who have not yet pledged allegiance to Radiohead, with their 2003 release ’Hail to the Thief’ you have all the more reason to commit to their mighty sounds. Personally, a few words that come to mind when I think of this album are: varied, colourful, alternative and unique. Take the album cover, for example, and notice the warm, colourful, experimental impression which it generates.

After consecutively acclaimed and immensely discussed albums, was this long awaited follow up the expected or unexpected delivery? An immediate answer to that is possibly.

Even the band themselves have claimed this as a happier album. The signs of optimism are evident in the track 'Sail To The Moon' which is a simply beautiful song. Dominated by piano with interesting lyrics such as “Maybe you’ll be president. But know right from wrong”. Lead singer Thom Yorke does an excellent job to further convince people of his superb vocals. Even if, lyrically, the album might not be as positive elsewhere on the record, a good majority of the music definitely combats this.

Needless to say, there are a handful of tracks that could attract any fan of alternative music upon first listen. A prime example of this is the quirky opener titled ‘2 + 2 = 5‘ which shows an ascent back to the times when Radiohead weren’t afraid to use the guitar as a primary instrument, fully emphasised with a short and sweet solo. The next song 'Go To Sleep' also resurrects the guitar for this album acoustically and electrically and with emphasis on the line “Over my dead body”, this perfect jigsaw of a song still contains that special formula Radiohead are known for.

As this is 21st century Radiohead, there are a bunch of songs that can be perceived as "Weirdies" or at least "Hang on a second, this sounds nothing like The Bends or OK Computer!" and the most obvious is the bizarre second track which, even with a dynamic switch of tempo, still suffers the disease of repetition. The soundscapes in 'Backdrifts' and 'The Gloaming' are pleasant but are also drawn to the more tiresome side of the spectrum, at least for many casual Radiohead fans.

After further 'Love-or-hate' songs such as the poppy 'Where I End and You Begin', the shrill and creaky 'We Suck Young Blood' or the spooky, supernatural 'There There', the album decides to shine again towards the end from a completely different angle. The paranoia frenzy of 'Myxomatosis' already sounds amazing merely due the song title and the delicacy of 'Scatterbrain' is terrifically... delicate. The true and unpredictable gem of the album has to be the closer as Radiohead are still able to write a song that sounds nothing like they've done before. Only they could get away with a line such as "Walking like giant cranes and with my X-ray eyes I strip you naked".

This album is definitely not their magnum opus, but Radiohead have discovered that it does not have to be. This is the album that shows the most variety within Radiohead’s quarters. Whereas the previous album Kid A was more experimental and revolutionary, this is truly their most alternative offering. This is less of an album, more extended evidence that whatever genre they tackle, whatever depth of mind they are in, they can still create truly magical musical numbers, despite the music occasionally carrying them away.



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user ratings (3335)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Apollo
August 15th 2010



10266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

better. Take out the ratings system dude and you'll have my pos

Terrifyer
August 15th 2010



3403 Comments


I know many aren’t fans of track-by track reviews and I apologise but here are my ratings for the songs. I am terribly sorry if I have offended anyone (!)


2+2=5 4.5/5
Sit Down, Stand Up 3.5/5
Sail To The Moon 5/5
Backdrifts 4/5
Go To Sleep 4.5/5
Where I End And You Begin 5/5
We Suck Young Blood 3/5
The Gloaming 4/5
There There 5/5
I Will 3.5/5
A Punch-Up At A Wedding 4/5
Myxomatosis 5/5
Scatterbrain 5/5
Wolf At The Door 5/5
this whole section needs to go. just put a 'recommended tracks' section at the end

731
August 15th 2010



662 Comments


one review a day.


East Hastings
August 15th 2010



4391 Comments


I know many aren’t fans of track-by track reviews and I apologise but here are my ratings for the songs. I am terribly sorry if I have offended anyone (!)
at least this part needs to go, the ratings are a bit unnecessary but not glaringly annoying


sulkenigma
August 15th 2010



62 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Done

Apollo
August 15th 2010



10266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

but dude seriously, 1 review a day. you have 3 reviews on the front page

IAJP
August 15th 2010



378 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

used to love this album. always prefered amnesiac to all of radiohead's work though.

Bulldog
August 15th 2010



3796 Comments


in b4 ire

Slipping Away
August 15th 2010



1261 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Album is good but its their worst besides Pablo Honey

zoso33
August 15th 2010



201 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Incredible review. Honest and to the point; and true.

Bitchfork
August 15th 2010



7584 Comments


"Album is good but its their worst besides Pablo Honey"
like not at all.

Terrifyer
August 15th 2010



3403 Comments


csb go make a list of radiohead ranked

Prolapse
August 15th 2010



4370 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

plz gtfo

Ire
August 15th 2010



41749 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

boring album

Bitchfork
August 15th 2010



7584 Comments


this is like one of their least boring albums what are you all on

Slipping Away
August 15th 2010



1261 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the first half is great, the second half not so much

sulkenigma
August 22nd 2011



62 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just revamped this review. I'm such a beast (!)



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