Anima (Thom Yorke album)

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Anima
Thom Yorke - Anima.png
Studio album by
Released27 June 2019 (2019-06-27)
GenreElectronic
Length47:44
Label
  • XL
  • Unsustainabubble
ProducerNigel Godrich
Thom Yorke chronology
Suspiria
(2018)
Anima
(2019)

Anima is the third solo studio album by British musician Thom Yorke. It was released on 27 June 2019 by XL Recordings and Unsustainabubble. Yorke and longtime producer Nigel Godrich developed Anima through live performances and studio work. It was accompanied by a short film directed by Paul Thomas Anderson released on Netflix and in select IMAX theatres, and will be supported by a North American and Asian tour.

Writing and recording[edit]

Yorke wrote Anima following a period of writer's block and anxiety.[1] Inspired by seeing electronic musician Flying Lotus improvising live with loops, Yorke and longtime collaborator Nigel Godrich developed Anima through live performances and studio work. Yorke would send Godrich "sprawling" unfinished tracks and Godrich would edit the tracks into shorter samples and loops, which Yorke wrote vocals to.[1] They performed several Anima tracks, including "Not the News", on the Tomorrow's Modern Boxes tour.[2] Radiohead drummer Philip Selway contributed "sped up drums" to "Impossible Knots", and Atoms for Peace drummer Joey Waronker appears on the end of "The Axe".[3]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Anima comprises electronic music with "layers of electronic fuzz and deconstructed noise". Yorke said the themes behind the album included anxiety and dystopia: "For some reason I thought a really good way of expressing anxiety creatively was in a dystopian environment."[1] The title Anima, a reference to the psychoanalyst Carl Jung's concepts of the anima and animus, came from Yorke's "obsession" with dreams.[4]

Anima's music has been described as being "full of wraithlike frequencies and fibrillating pulses".[5] Opening track "Traffic" "channels the heady grooves and pulses of Floating Points".[6] "Dawn Chorus" is a "reverential song about loss, nostalgia, and regret" with "hushed", almost-spoken vocals.[5] "Not the News"' melody "evokes a ticking clock"[7] and builds to a "mass of chaotic orchestration".[8] "Impossible Knots" features a "propulsive electric bassline", whereas album closer "Runwayaway" makes "trance-like use" of blues guitar.[5]

Promotion and release[edit]

Yorke announced the album on social media on 20 June.[9] It was released as a download and on streaming services on 27 June 2019, which will be followed by CD and vinyl editions to be released on 19 July 2019.[10] It will be supported by a North American tour.[10]

Before its announcement, Anima was promoted with a viral marketing campaign. In June 2019, posters in cities around the world appeared advertising "Anima Technologies", a company claiming to be able to recover lost dreams with a "dream camera". Calling the advertised number led to a prerecorded message advising that Anima Technologies had been "seized" after "unlawful activities", followed by part of the track "Not the News".[11] This was followed by projections on London landmarks.[12]

Short film[edit]

The album was accompanied by a 15-minute film, also titled Anima, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. It was played in some IMAX theatres and released on Netflix on the day of the album release.[9] The film features Yorke's partner, actress Dajana Roncione, plus choreography by Damien Jalet and projections by Tarik Barri, who has toured with Yorke.[3]

In the film, Yorke is on a train of uniformed passengers ("Not the News"). He meets the eye of a woman (Roncione), and pursues her when she forgets her bag ("Traffic"). They meet in the street, dance together, and board a tram ("Dawn Chorus").

The film began with a concept from Yorke about workers whose "bodies don't work any more" and are being "pushed by an invisible force". The team wanted the first sequence to be "oppressive and hyper-precise so it feels like a machine", influenced by dystopian stories such as Nineteen Eighty-Four and Metropolis and the physical comedy of Charlie Chaplin.[13] For the "Traffic" sequence, the team created a platform inclined at a 34-degree angle and placed the camera at the same angle, erasing the slope.[13]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic84/100[14]
Review scores
SourceRating
Clash9/10[15]
The Guardian3/5 stars[16]
The Independent4/5 stars[17]
NME4/5 stars[18]
Now4/5 stars[19]
Paste8.9/10[20]
Pitchfork8.3/10[5]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[21]
The Telegraph5/5 stars[22]
Under the Radar8.5/10[23]

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, Anima has an average score of 84, based on 22 reviews, which indicates "universal acclaim".[14] Philip Sherburne of Pitchfork wrote that it was Yorke's "most ambitious and assured solo album yet" and "the first one that feels complete without [Radiohead] behind him", awarding it "Best New Music".[5]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics by Thom Yorke; all music composed by Yorke and Nigel Godrich.[24]

No.TitleLength
1."Traffic"5:17
2."Last I Heard (...He Was Circling the Drain)"5:06
3."Twist"7:03
4."Dawn Chorus"5:23
5."I Am a Very Rude Person"3:44
6."Not the News"3:57
7."The Axe"6:59
8."Impossible Knots"4:19
9."Runwayaway"5:56
Total length:47:44
Vinyl bonus track[10]
No.TitleLength
10."(Ladies & Gentlemen, Thank You for Coming)" 

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Anima.[25]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2019) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[26] 52
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[27] 27
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[28] 59
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[29] 83
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[30] 36
French Albums (SNEP)[31] 100
Irish Albums (IRMA)[32] 73
Italian Albums (FIMI)[33] 54
Scottish Albums (OCC)[34] 35
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[35] 23
UK Albums (OCC)[36] 50
US Billboard 200[37] 187
US Top Dance/Electronic Albums (Billboard)[38] 5

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Frost, Thomas (May 2019). "Thom Yorke: Daydream nation". Crack Magazine. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  2. ^ Baesemann, Ryan (17 June 2019). "Thom Yorke seems to have mysteriously announced a new album". Mixmag. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b Yoo, Noah (26 June 2019). "5 Takeaways From Thom Yorke's New Album, ANIMA". Pitchfork. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Watch Thom Yorke Discuss New Album ANIMA, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, More in New Interview". Pitchfork. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Thom Yorke: ANIMA Album Review". Pitchfork. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  6. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (27 June 2019). "Thom Yorke review, ANIMA: Radiohead frontman explores the subconscious on this stark album". The Independent. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  7. ^ Trapunski, Richard (27 June 2019). "Review: Thom Yorke's Anima is a trip into your own mind". Now. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  8. ^ Petridis, Alexis (27 June 2019). "Thom Yorke: Anima review – angst, anguish, paranoia and… jokes?". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  9. ^ a b Blistein, Jon (20 June 2019). "Thom Yorke Details New Solo Album 'Anima'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  10. ^ a b c Bloom, Madison (20 June 2019). "Thom Yorke Announces New Album ANIMA". Pitchfork. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  11. ^ Madison, Bloom (15 June 2019). "Thom Yorke Previews New Song Via Hotline From Mysterious Ads". Pitchfork. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  12. ^ Reilly, Nick (20 June 2019). "Thom Yorke continues to tease solo album with mysterious projections on London landmarks". NME. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  13. ^ a b Dazed (15 July 2019). "Choreographer Damien Jalet on the dystopian world of Thom Yorke's ANIMA". Dazed. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Reviews for ANIMA by Thom Yorke". Metacritic. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  15. ^ Murray, Robin (26 June 2019). "Thom Yorke - ANIMA". Clash. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  16. ^ Petridis, Alexis (27 June 2019). "Thom Yorke: Anima review – angst, anguish, paranoia and… jokes?". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  17. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (27 June 2019). "Thom Yorke review, ANIMA: Radiohead frontman explores the subconscious on this stark album". The Independent. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  18. ^ McMahon, James (26 June 2019). "Thom Yorke – 'ANIMA' review". NME. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  19. ^ Trapunski, Richard (27 June 2019). "Review: Thom Yorke's Anima is a trip into your own mind". Now. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  20. ^ Edelstone, Steven (28 June 2019). "Thom Yorke: ANIMA Review". Paste. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  21. ^ Sheffield, Rob (27 June 2019). "Thom Yorke Creates Dystopian Rapture That's Perfect for Our Terrifying Times on 'Anima'". Rolling Stones. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  22. ^ Power, Ed (27 June 2019). "Thom Yorke, Anima review: a bleak dystopian rhapsody you can actually dance to". The Telegraph. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  23. ^ Watkins, Michael (28 June 2019). "Thom Yorke: ANIMA (XL) - Review". Under the Radar. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  24. ^ "ANIMA / Thom Yorke". Tidal. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  25. ^ Anima (liner notes). Thom Yorke. XL. 2019. XL987.CS1 maint: others (link)
  26. ^ "ARIA Chart Watch #532". auspOp. 6 July 2019. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  27. ^ "Ultratop.be – Thom Yorke – Anima" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  28. ^ "Ultratop.be – Thom Yorke – Anima" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  29. ^ "Thom Yorke Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  30. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Thom Yorke – Anima" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  31. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Albums Fusionnes – SNEP (Week 27, 2019)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  32. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography Thom Yorke". Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  33. ^ "Album – Classifica settimanale WK 27 (dal 28.06.2019 al 04.07.2019)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  34. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  35. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Thom Yorke – Anima". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  36. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  37. ^ "Thom Yorke Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  38. ^ "Thom Yorke Chart History (Top Dance/Electronic Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 9 July 2019.