Radiohead
The King of Limbs


4.5
superb

Review

by Andru Okenuf USER (31 Reviews)
February 21st, 2011 | 35 replies | 3,245 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Taking a lighter tone than we've ever seen, Radiohead delivers something as unexpected as it is a thing of beauty

8 of 8 thought this review was well written

In 2001, when he was asked about Kid A, Ed O'Brien described the band's new direction as a "freedom to approach the music the way Massive Attack does: as a collective, working on sounds, rather than with each person in the band playing a prescribed role." The rejection of the model that proved so successful in Ok Computer divides people to this day, yet, love it or hate it, the risks they took over a decade ago helped add another dimension to the band.

Why the point of comparison? Not since they shocked the world with 'Everything in Its Right Place' has Radiohead set as different a tone as they do in the opening minute of 'Bloom.' Aphex Twin style electro beats jump around chaotically before Thom Yorke breathes his "universal sigh." There is no sense of foreboding but a welcoming loss of control. Sounds drift you into an incredibly beautiful atmosphere, which, despite a myriad of dystopian elements, sets a gorgeous tone that pervades the entire album.

'Little by little' is a track that flirts with you tantalizingly, adding and releasing pressure until you feel used, but the enigmatic and far too overlooked 'Feral' might be the most powerful as well as the most mysterious (what is being mumbled in the background??) track the band has ever laid down. Laying down a beat that sounds like it could have been taken from the Talking Heads album Remain in Light, an infectious overtone then manages to burst at you on a new and completely disconnected emotional level every few seconds. While this has been compared with the more ambient 'Treefingers' as well as 'Faust Arp', and it certainly serves as a crucial divide between the slightly tormented feelings of side A and the more complacent side B, it attacks in a way that no song ever has.

'Lotus Flower', however, manages to bring The King of Limbs to another level. Budding poets could do far worse than examining the lyrics that make up this cryptic gem: "There's an empty space inside my heart / And it won't take root / Tonight I'll set you free." As if it was his goal all along, Yorke’s voice beautifully rises above the demons that have been tormenting him since 'The Bends', sending us instead toward awkward feelings of freedom from the things we cannot control.

'Give Up The Ghost' and 'Seperator' cement this uplifting vibe. In the former, Thom Yorke vocals are thrown on top of more Thom Yorke vocals, and as he battles his own urge to give up on life, he still manages to soothe and comfort. The latter, on the other hand, brings forward your conscious self ("wake me up"), directly opposing the all-consuming 'Street Spirit' in both greatness and tone. And with it, the album ends on a note much like The Beatles just played Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise), noticeably lacking brooding feelings of paranoia and terror which have always been Radiohead staples.

There may be more passion behind ‘The National Anthem’ than any track on here, and clocking in at under 40 minutes, it may be too short, but these tracks have impeccable flow, a clear direction, incredible musicianship, and they are all unlike anything that have ever been heard before. Given Radiohead albums’ histories of aging gracefully, in 9 years time it would not come as a surprise if this will be considered one of the ten best of the decade.

(For further reading on the significance of 'Street Spirit': http://bit.ly/dX5Kuc)



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user ratings (2393)
Chart.
3.5
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
aok
February 21st 2011



4165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yea, I know, the last thing this site needs is another review of this album, but I felt like no one was quite saying the things on my mind so I felt compelled.

If you are a fan of this album, I would recommend:

Aphex Twin – Ageispolis (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uw7TY-zPaas)
DJ Shadow – Midnight in a Perfect World (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmzHRGoKca0)
Massive Attack – Safe From Harm (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m90X0Ub4B2E)


Please be gentle with it and don't dismiss what I've written since I did put a lot of effort in. Thanks everyone

letsgofishing
February 21st 2011



874 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Last paragraph could use a little bit of work, but despite that it's a good review, I mean the hard work is evident. But
come on man, this is the 12th review, you know you're going to get flack for that.

(that's the expression right, flack...I'm not quite sure.)

mutatedfreek
February 21st 2011



7351 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

12 reviews and still no particularly well written negative ones.

aok
February 21st 2011



4165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

yea, i know, and i deserve the flack, but i had this outlined after a day, and was waiting for things to sink a little further so i didn't want to ditch it.

I moved things around in the last paragraph a bit. Hope that improved things and thanks for your constructive criticism

ConsiderPhlebas
February 21st 2011



6157 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Those links all lead to better songs than anything on here

letsgofishing
February 21st 2011



874 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah, last graph kicks much more ass now.

and really it's a great review, I have no problem with you posting it.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 21st 2011



7008 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First, let me say that I’m biased, and If you’re someone that would rather hear Avenged Sevenfold play “Bat Country” instead of R.E.M. play “Try Not to Breathe” you are too.

Lines like that make me stop reading a review - any review - immediately. Furthermore, the sentence doesn't exactly a.) make sense and b.) has capitalization and punctuation errors.

Needless to say I didn't read any further. I'm sorry.

Digging: Caleb McAlpine - All Things New

mutatedfreek
February 21st 2011



7351 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

He's at it again!!! Bad Irving, bad.

WashboardSuds
February 21st 2011



4884 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

not a bad review. actually, pos.
there's an obese amount of reviews for this 3 day old record

i fear I like this unhealthily

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins

aok
February 21st 2011



4165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@ConsiderPhlebas I tend to agree.

@the self appointed supermod Irving -- that just wasn't a proper lynching. I must say that a single (deleted) sentence trying to rationalize why it is that people love or hate radiohead is all it takes for you to dismiss a review? Tsk tsk...

@anonyminusers => gimme something here. So far all I know is one of the sentences that used to be on this review wasn't good.

rjmunthe
February 21st 2011



395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The summary wasn't very good either

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 21st 2011



7008 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm not a self-appointed supermod aokuneff - far from it, in fact. And I resent that accusation. I'm just telling it as it is: if a review starts out by selling itself short and seriously undermining the credibility of the reviewer, I find that I switch off. Have you heard that adage in public speaking - never start off by saying "Hi guys, this is my first time, so do go easy on me yadda yadda yadda"? Well, it's the same thing.

Frankly I've read too many TKoL reviews already to give another comment, but here's my take on your review:

i.) There's too many punctuation/capitalization errors. Did you give this a read-through? Here:

a.) The times (UK) - The Times
b.) The bands rejection - The band's rejection
c.) Not since they shocked the world with “Everything in Its Right Place” has Radiohead jumped off in such a completely different direction as they have in the opening minute of “Bloom,” before Thom Yorke finally inserts his powerful voice as an instrument atop Aphex Twin style electro beats that have been jumping off in all directions at once since the start.

Run-on sentence. Makes for awkward reading. And there's a litany more of similar things just strewn throughout this review.

Do take the time to revisit and re-edit your work. It will end up making the entire experience more enjoyable for everyone; yourself included.

ii.) In terms of content however, I think you did a decent job. Your arguments are quite fleshed-out, and you do justify lots of your thought processes by discussing the features of a given song, and why it deserves the rating it got. The only comment I would make here is that this review sounds a tad too conversational. Start off by phasing out those personal pronouns and anecdote-like arguments. IMHO, sounding detached and objective goes a long way towards convincing someone than an unbridled, all-out rant.

So there you go. Sorry if this was a bit harsh.

And for the record, pos. For only a 6th review this was pretty good.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
February 21st 2011



23617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Irving is growing up in front of our very eyes! how cute.

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

scissorlocked
February 21st 2011



3479 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

those were goddamn good instructions

Digging: Fantastic Mr Fox - Sketches

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 21st 2011



7008 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh, and ditch that 4.3/5 thing. There's a reason why the scoring system only allows half points. Telling me that Album X is a 4.3 does not in any way indicate a meaningful difference between it and another album which got a 4.2.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
February 21st 2011



23617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Irving I must say, lately your posts have been

i.) constructive
ii.) awesome to read
iii.) formatted
a - like a motherfuckin champ

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 21st 2011



7008 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank you Aids, greatly appreciate your kind words =)

I guess I just realized that saying "HOMIGOD GREAT REVIEW POZ!!" was not as good and/or helpful as properly pointing out my personal grievances with the review. Just trying to do for others what people like Keelan, Atavan, Sowing, and Vanderb0b have done for me.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
February 21st 2011



23617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

don't worry Irving, you know I like you, I just chuckle a little when you dissect reviews on sputnik like it matters. not like you shouldn't, constructive criticism is basically why I write on this site.

you know what I'm saying man, it's just funny to see

aok
February 21st 2011



4165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@Irving -- i wanted to grab your attention. I actually and genuinely have great respect for your critiques and was extremely disappointed not to receive a greater amount of feedback from you the first time around. I caught the times error, but both b and c are news to me.

I spent too much time making the links worked to properly revisit the album i suppose, but I will once over this so that as soon as it leaves the front page (and everyone forgets about it), it will be at its best

fr33convict
February 21st 2011



11678 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

stop being helpful irving what the hell is this pitchfork or some shit i can make as many errors grammar in a sentence as i fuckin want you just watch this mother fucker keep runnin on and on what you gonna do bout it

:P



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