Review Summary: I'm playing with myself/Baby's got the bends/Let down and hanging around/Rats and children follow me out of town/Tonight we ride ghost horses/I won't let this happen to my children/Words are blunt instruments/Don't haunt me.
The remixes to Radiohead’s “The King of Limbs” are just as ironic as they are brilliant. The whole release is ironic because Radiohead have essentially made a career out of remixing their old sounds. “The Bends” was really just a mature remix of “Pablo Honey,” ”Ok Computer” was a progressive, low-fi, and borderline grungy remix of “The Bends,” “Kid A” was the techno, electronica, psychedelic remix of “Ok Computer,” “Amnesiac” was basically a more experimental version of “Kid A” with new lyrics, glitches, and hooks, “Hail To The Thief” was a 21st century hard rock yet techno influenced remix of “The Bends,” “In Rainbows” was a remix of all Radiohead’s previous albums and was basically more of a greatest hits album that it was a cohesive album (as if that is actually a bad thing,) and “The King of Limbs” was Radiohead drowning themselves in the sounds of “Kid A” and “Amnesiac” but presenting them in a laid back, reflective, and often misunderstood way.
Maybe the genius of Radiohead is found in their uncanny ability to reinvent themselves on every album or maybe they have just figured out something that 99% of musicians before them never had the common sense to figure out. Maybe Radiohead have found that the key to defining two decades, the key to making memorable albums, and the key to not sounding the same on every album is just tinkering and remixing the sound of the previous albums. Maybe all of Radiohead’s classic albums are just cleaned up versions of old recycled riches, maybe all of Radiohead’s songs that we view as 21st century commentary are really songs that used to be about Thom Yorke hating pop music in 1993, and maybe every progression is more logical and simple instead of experimental and generation defining. Maybe “TKOL RMX 1234567″ was just Radiohead’s way of coming out of the musical closet for good.
“TKOL RMX” is Radiohead’s way of giving the middle finger to anyone who thought the remixes I discussed earlier would ever stop, it is a slap in the ass to anyone who thought Yorke’s vocals were too distorted on “The King of Limbs” or that the album did not have enough guitars, it is a finally coffin to anyone who thought Radiohead would go back to being influenced by Blur. The remixes to the songs on the “King of Limbs” give them a new identity just as much of they give them a change of sound. Every remixed song gives us the feeling of a man who is overwhelmed, apathetic, and angry towards modern politics and economics (“Ok Computer and Hail to The Thief,”) a man who is trying to fall in love with the world but just ends up hating himself (“In Rainbows,”) a man in a mid life crisis that is so bad that it has become an apocalypse (“Kid A” and “Amnesiac,”) and a man who really just wants to be a rebellious boy again (“Pablo Honey” and “The Bends.”)
So even though the sound of the remixes of “The King of Limbs” might not be that much more experimental than the actual synthesized and distorted studio album, it still serves as an effective remix album in a way that no remix album has really done before it. The contributing artists present TKOL in a way that is open: open in its sound, open in a way that every song can be interpreted, and most importantly open in the way that it sounds like many different creative artists worked on this album instead of just one. This openess leads to a remixing of the important themes and soundscapes on just about every Radiohead album: the themes and sounds that made us hate ourselves, the themes and sounds that made us feel like the world was going to end, the themes and sounds that made us question our government, and the themes and sounds that made Radiohead one of the greatest bands of our time. ”TKOL RMX” is basically a Radiohead greatest hits album that isn’t by Radiohead. It is a greatest hits albums by artists that understand that Radiohead’s career is about more than eight songs its about eight different experiences and themes with each album. Since the artist perfectly grasp this they have not only made a remix album but an excellent and effective homage to Radiohead’s groundbreaking career. A career that might have been based off remixes in the first place.