By Grace Garner
From the blooming opening to the separating closer Radiohead’s newest album is bound to conquer minds and limbs alike.
Released Feb. 18, here is a track-by-track review of Radiohead’s latest, wonderfully constructed album The King of Limbs.
“Bloom”: A great intro song to the album, “Bloom” lulls listeners in with a gentle piano piece that eases into an electronic beat with marching percussion. Thom Yorke’s mumble-jumble voice graces the noise with soothing, random vocals about nature. Oddly enough, the first time I listened to this song all I kept thinking about was redwood forests and black holes in space. I often say Radiohead gives you a natural high, and this song is proof.
“Morning Mr. Magpie”: The opening line croons “You’ve got some nerve coming here / You stole it all, give it back.” The beat has underlying sounds of something you might find in an African dance hall while adding plenty of dub-step ambiances throughout. Yorke haunts you with his voice, sounding threatening and inviting all at the same time, giving this upbeat track a sinister twist.
“Little by Little”: Easily one of my favorites off the LP. The best line of the entire track is when Yorke sings in his shaky falsetto “I’m such a tease and you’re such a flirt” reeling you in for the kill. This song tenderizes the album with its first “warm” song.
“Feral”: All noise and no lyrics, Yorke transforms his voice into an instrument, emitting trance-like sounds that accompany the choppy track making it sound deeply dark. It’s one of those songs you can see being in a scene from an indie movie, a transitional piece that moves the story along, which also seems to be its purpose for the album.
“Lotus Flower”: This song is simply a beauty. You feel as if you’re on a roller coaster, riding the rails up and down in slow motion, beginning at the base of the hill with plenty of bass, reaching higher and higher until you’re on your way down with Yorke’s voice carrying you, floating on the gentle beating of drums and the occasional claps that sound so perfectly in-sync that your head starts nodding unknowingly to the beat. Yorke promises that “I’ll set you free” and for 5 perfect minutes you actually feel you are.
“Codex”: More of a ballad than anything else, “Codex” has a great piano harmony and a slow jazz-like tune that sweetens the optimistic track, placing you in a very peaceful state of mind.
“Give up the Ghost”: From the light chattering of birds at the beginning to its soft-plucking, guitar-strung end, you can see Thom and the band sitting out in nature harmonizing while listening to this track. It’s a beautiful love song with Yorke begging in soft whimpers “Don’t hurt me” and finally releasing himself into the arms of a lover at its finish.
“Separator”: Ending with more of a hum than a bang, “Separator” draws you into a short coma with Yorke singing “Wake me up” amidst the rhythmic drum sequence and light, electric guitar riffs, finalizing the CD with an after-feeling of awe.
I’d recommend buying The King of Limbs to music lovers with eclectic taste. It is definitely not a CD everyone will love, but it is one that is filled with originality and artistry. It is not bubblegum pop nor is it hardcore rock; it’s in a class all its own. This album will be sure to broaden your musical horizons and take you on a journey unlike one you’ve ever experienced.