Radiohead is back with its eighth studio album, “The King of Limbs.” Released one day earlier then expected, it came as no surprise. The band is known for announcing album releases just days before the actual release date—this time just four days before.
This compilation from Radiohead is different from its previous albums, but in a good way.
Previous Radiohead albums have consistently ranked among the greatest of the respective decade—”OK Computer” in the 90s and “Kid A” and “In Rainbows” in the 2000s—mainly because of the groundbreaking sound produced. With “The King of Limbs,” Radiohead isn’t groundbreaking or genre-defining, but switching gears to something completely different.
The album’s opening track ,“Bloom,” begins with a sweet piano melody, but after a few seconds is bombarded with a static beat and frantic drums. It sounds similar to previous Radiohead tracks, yet completely different at the same time. The beat and nearly incomprehensible lyrics of Thom Yorke, the lead singer, are similar but the feel and the pace of the song is relatively new ground for Radiohead.
The track “Feral” holds this same feeling. It starts with a frantic drum beat like “Bloom,” and has sporadic electronic sounds mixed in with what sounds like Yorke sighing. It keeps the beat throughout the song, which near the end begins to get very catchy and bass heavy.
But not all of the album’s songs take the electronic, fast paced beat of “Feral” and “Bloom.”
With “Little By Little,” it begins with a pseudo-South American drum beat. Then, the melodic stylings of Jonny Greenwood on guitar come in and the track begins to sounds like Radiohead of old. Even the lyrics from Yorke explore similar themes from previous albums, such as alienation from society, paranoia and the constant search for happiness.
“Little by little, by hook or by crook, never living earnest, never get judged, I don’t know where it is I should look,” Yorke sings.
“Codex” offers another glimpse into Radiohead’s past with a soft piano melody and lyrics searching for that perfect place.
Yorke sings, “Slight of hand, jump off the end, into a clear lake, no one around, just dragonflies flying to our side, no one gets hurt, you’ve done nothing wrong.”
“The King of Limbs” is the shortest studio album released by Radiohead, clocking in at 37 minutes and 24 seconds. Although brief, Radiohead has put together a solid album that is definitely worth paying the $9 the band is charging for it. While there are no standout tracks on this album compared to previous ones, it represents a new path for Radiohead. The more electronic sound is certainly not new but the use of the beats combined with Greenwood’s melodic guitar sound and Phil Selway’s drumming makes for a new and exciting take on the familiar.