Review Summary: This is really happening… sort of
I had never even seen a shooting star before. 25 years of rotations, passes through comets' paths, and travel, and to my memory I had never witnessed burning debris scratch across the night sky. Radiohead were h- okay no, joke’s over.
Well, It finally happened. Radiohead emerged from the slumber and blessed us with a much anticipated reissue of their seminal album Kid A and its sister release Amnesiac. I’m not going to bore you with endless trivia or fawning over these records or other bull*** no how, because we’ve heard it all before. I know it, you know it, everyone with ears knows it. These two albums are very important, very influential and very good and it’s great to have them packaged in one little bundle like sardines in a crushd tin can. Instead I’m going to keep this short and simple. Kid Amnesia is a let down. Now don’t get me wrong, the music here is as good as it was back then but as a reissue that’s to stand next to the fantastic OKNOTOK boxset and the sprawling goliath that was the Minidisc compilation, this is pretty thin all things considered.
The Kid A sessions are sort of mythical in the eyes of Radiohead fans, not just because of the music they spawned but also the chaotic and miserable time the band went through. Songs were tracked, fully finished, discarded. Tracks that had been teased online or at concerts were attempted but never found their footing. As such, a huge catalogue of unreleased songs or early attempts at beloved later releases piled up and the mystique around these songs continued to grow over the years. Now, with a chance to finally show them to the world, Radiohead have decided not to. I understand wanting to keep early demos or studio sessions private, and that’s mainly why the group weren’t thrilled in the slightest when 20 hours or so of OK Computer sessions leaked onto the internet, but even still, what’s here is barebones.
Trust me, it’s amazing finally hearing a studio version of the infamous ‘Follow Me Around’, in all its cold and icy glory, and the additional treat of the previously unheard ‘If You Say the Word’ and the much sought after industrial version of ‘True Love Waits’ are great additions, but the rest of the bonus disc is simple made up of random studio fiddling about, slightly different takes of previously released songs and some isolated tracks from ‘Pyramid Song’ and ‘How to Disappear Completely’. No ‘Nude’, no ‘I Will’, no ‘Burn the Witch’, none of that stuff. I mean for God’s sake, there’s not even any of the B-sides of this thing. Sure, it’s nice to see at least a little bit of the band’s development of certain songs, as the mad cluster of notes and sounds slowly take shape into recognisable melodies, but for what this could have been, a true look at the band’s output during these times, Kid Amnesia feels almost deliberately slight.