TOP TRACK: “Idioteque”
Radiohead were in disarray after 1997’s groundbreaking OK Computer. Frontman Thom Yorke got the spins every time he touched a guitar, the band lay exhausted from an extensive touring schedule and the group no longer had any interest in writing rock music. Somehow, these were the conditions that brought Kid A to the world.
Kid A met and disappointed all expectations at once. The “saviors of rock ‘n’ roll” delivered an album that lived up to the staggering precedent set by OK Computer, yet simultaneously signaled a musical paradigm shift, shattering conceptions of rock music and the band itself. Gone were the spacious guitar riffs and allusions to classic rock, and in their place was a stunning soundscape of beeps, whirrs and avant-jazz. Was this the future of rock music?
The answer seems to be yes. Since the album’s 2000 release, artists around the globe, from Phoenix to Coldplay to TV on the Radio, have tried to imitate its sound. And imitation, as we know, is the highest form of flattery.
— John Cassillo