Radiohead
Hail to the Thief


4.0
excellent

Review

by Blair Chopin USER (108 Reviews)
August 12th, 2006 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


With Hail To The Thief, many Radiohead fans would wonder what the band would do next? The band had redefined the genre so many times throughout their previous albums, ranging from Brit-Pop to Intelligent Techno.

But Hail To The Thief is the album were Radiohead mixes Techno with the Rock sound presented on their earlier albums. The sound can ether sound perfect like on songs such as "2+2=5 and "There There" or a little messy such as tracks like "The Gloaming and A Punch up At A Wedding".

Another controversy around the album was the title "Hail To The Thief", is a title suggesting that President Bush stole the 2000 election? Though the album comes on like that on the opener "2+2=5", with very political lyrics in the supporting lines, With lyrics such as "Sandbag and Hide", the band denies it saying it was about the 1888 election. The haunting breakdown, which I believe is were the band is trying to prove something especially for an album opener: "You Have Not Been Paying Attention", is the kind of scary line we last saw from Radiohead on "Climbing Up The Walls", on Ok Computer. With No Signs of Electronic being used this look like it will be a new kind of Radiohead experience.


But when Electronics are used they are not used well at all. In Radiohead's previous techno albums "Kid A and Amnesiac" the band worked there butt's off in there recording sounds to make sure the sound was absolutely perfect, In "Hail To The Thief", the electronics sound messy and don't fit Thom vocals well at all, on tracks such as "The Gloaming" the electronics are used to create a scary kind of feel and it works but it doesn't match Thom vocals as well.

But in the tracks were they blend the two genres of Rock and Techno together with patience, this album is definitely a classic. "There There", features some great lyrics which are perfectly matched with a jungle like drum beat and video. "2+2=5" sounds like a progressive rock-song where all the electric guitars are turned up and the song finishes smoothly with one of the best breakdowns Radiohead has ever had. "A Wolf At The Door", is pretty awesome because it shows meaningful lyrics and a cool and fast electronic beat to move along with it. It also features the best chorus besides "There There" on the album. "We Suck Young Blood", is as demanding as the opener with a beat change that will absolutely take your breath away and smooth lyrics sang to a clapping beat. Though it takes a while to grow on you, the track is definitely worth the wait.

But this album is not like Radiohead because there are to many fillers. People who say this isn't a collection of songs don't know the band. When a Radiohead album spans from about 5 genres in about one album, you know it's not album they spent two years in studio making, they had some of the songs ready before this album. "Go To Sleep and Where You End And I Begin", are both optimistic songs that sound like they could come off "The Bends", "Go To Sleep" has demanding lyrics with an acoustic feel and "Where You End And I Begin" has more of a scary feel with a powerful breakdown and it leads perfectly into "We Suck Young Blood".

Thom's lyrics are as scary and powerful as they have ever been. If they were more exposed on this album I think it would make for a more enjoyable experience, also if Jonny Greenwood had more of an involvement in the band playing electronics on this album during every track I think it would be a better album.

And some tracks try to hard to be great, "The Gloaming" try’s to give you the bug screeching scary feel that "Climbing Up The Walls" has, and it really doesn't have a distinct chorus or breakdown. "Sit Down, Stand Up", try’s to have an epic breakdown and it would have been achieved if it weren’t repeated constantly for about 1 minute and 30 seconds.

And then some tracks don't try at all. "A Punchup At A Wedding" sounds like a laid-back version of "Life In A Glasshouse", and it doesn't work out good at all. "Scatterbrain" is a beautiful song with a great chorus, but the chorus is repeated only once or twice and really has no effect on the song at all.

When Radiohead takes there time and makes the sound mix with Thom's lyrics this album has the potential to be great. But unlike the other Radiohead albums this album doesn't do that successfully and it ends up being a mediocre album, at least from Radiohead.

The Good:
2+2=5
Sail To The Moon
Go To Sleep
Where I End And You Begin
We Suck Young Blood
There There
Myxomatosis
A Wolf At The Door

The Mediocre:
Scatterbrain
I Will
A Punchup At A Wedding
Backdrifts
Sit Down, Stand Up

The Bad:
The Gloaming

Pros:
Mixing of Previous albums sound
Some songs are well produced

Cons:
Mediocre overall
Some tracks are just fillers

4/5



Recent reviews by this author
Sun Kil Moon BenjiSoundtrack (Film) Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
The Avett Brothers The CarpenterNick Drake Bryter Layter
M. Ward Transistor RadioYellowcard When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes
user ratings (3423)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Holy Diver
August 12th 2006


8 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is definitely my favorite Radiohead album. I love the dark atmosphere it gives off and even though some of the individual tracks might be considered less than great, I think as a whole it all works together perfectly.

Some of the songs you said were mediocre I love. Scatterbrain, Backdrifts, and Sit Down, Stand Up are 3 of my favorites.

Kage
August 12th 2006


1172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[QUOTE=Holy Diver]This is definitely my favorite Radiohead album. I love the dark atmosphere it gives off and even though some of the individual tracks might be considered less than great, I think as a whole it all works together perfectly.



Some of the songs you said were mediocre I love. Scatterbrain, Backdrifts, and Sit Down, Stand Up are 3 of my favorites.[/QUOTE]
My exact thoughts, taken straight from my brain.

Decent review. Intelligent Techno is a genre?

francesfarmer
August 12th 2006


1477 Comments


Another controversy around the album was the title "Hail To The Thief", is a title suggesting that President Bush stole the 2000 election?


I've heard that the album was dedicated to Jonny's son.


Kage
August 12th 2006


1172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I read an interview wherein Thom Yorke said straight out that the title is not a reference to President Bush.
You can argue with him, if you want, but it might be kind of futile.

PECOAE
August 12th 2006


23 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is probably the best Radiohead album - it's my favourite anyway. Every song has an emotion assigned. They're not just songs (Pablo Honey - OK Computer) or just thoughts (Kid A - Amnesiac) associated with music, every song has an emotion and creates an unbelievable world.

Kage
August 12th 2006


1172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Excellent way of putting it, pecoae. Even though I'd have to say I don't agree with your views on the rest of the Radiohead albums, your description of this one is very good.This Message Edited On 08.12.06

Two-Headed Boy
August 12th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Um...your review isn't too good but this is a fine album.

slack
August 12th 2006


249 Comments


Tied with Kid A as my favorite Radiohead album.

Phil
August 12th 2006


1473 Comments


Yeah, I agree with AV8RS. Its not a too great review. Not that I've written one yet. I think its either the first or second best album Radiohead has done.

The Jungler
August 12th 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Woah AV8RS, you brought down your rating on this?

Two-Headed Boy
August 12th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

:cool:

Oddsen
August 13th 2006


1127 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've been wanting to get this for a while and after reading this i think i will. Good review.

HorrorPunk
August 13th 2006


39 Comments


I've never really like Radiohead but if I had to choose my favorite of their albums this would be it.

PECOAE
August 13th 2006


23 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Every song is a gem.

Especially Go To Sleep.

Zebra
Moderator
August 21st 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Amnesiac" is so much better then this because it had a lot more variety and interesting songs. With "Hail to the Thief" Radiohead get kind of boring, especially songs like I Will and Scatterbrain. If it weren't for a few marvelous tracks this would definitely be the weakest Radiohead album.

rockfan123
March 16th 2008


344 Comments


yawn...



most overrated band ever

extraordinarily bland.

SHOOTME
May 29th 2008


2393 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Get a life rockfan123.

I am glad you're banned.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy