Kid A

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Kid A
Radiohead.kida.albumart.jpg
Studio album by Radiohead
Released 2 October 2000
Recorded January 1999 – 18 April 2000
Genre
Length 49:56
Label
Producer
Radiohead chronology
OK Computer
(1997)OK Computer1997
Kid A
(2000)
Amnesiac
(2001)Amnesiac2001

Kid A is the fourth studio album by the English rock band Radiohead, released on 2 October 2000 by Parlophone. On the verge of a breakdown after promoting Radiohead's 1997 album OK Computer, songwriter Thom Yorke envisioned a radical change in direction. Radiohead replaced their rock sound with synthesisers, drum machines, the ondes Martenot, string orchestras and brass instruments. It also incorporated influences from genres such as electronic music, krautrock, jazz, and 20th-century classical music. They recorded Kid A with OK Computer producer Nigel Godrich in Paris, Copenhagen, Gloucestershire and their hometown Oxford, England. The sessions produced over 20 tracks; Radiohead saved many of them for their next album, Amnesiac, released the following year.

Radiohead released no singles or music videos to promote Kid A and conducted few interviews and photoshoots. They became instead one of the first major acts to use the internet as a promotional tool. The album was made available to stream and was promoted with short animated films featuring music and artwork. File sharing services shared bootlegs of early performances, and the album was leaked before release.

Kid A debuted at the top of the charts in Britain, where it went platinum in the first week, and it became Radiohead's first number-one album in the United States. Like OK Computer, it won a Grammy for Best Alternative Album and was nominated for Album of the Year. Its departure from Radiohead's earlier sound initially divided fans and critics, but it later attracted widespread acclaim; at the turn of the decade, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and the Times ranked Kid A the greatest album of the 2000s. In 2012, Rolling Stone ranked it number 67 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Background[edit]

Following the critical and commercial success of their 1997 album OK Computer, the members of Radiohead suffered burnout and songwriter Thom Yorke suffered a mental breakdown.[1] Drummer Phil Selway said Radiohead worried that the success of OK Computer had "turned us into a one-trick band".[2] Bassist Colin Greenwood said: "We felt we had to change everything. There were other guitar bands out there trying to do similar things. We had to move on."[3] Guitarist Ed O'Brien had hoped Radiohead's fourth album would comprise "snappy", melodic guitar songs, but Yorke stated: "There was no chance of the album sounding like that. I'd completely had it with melody. I just wanted rhythm. All melodies to me were pure embarrassment."[2]

Troubled by new acts he felt were imitating Radiohead,[4] Yorke believed his music had become part of a constant background noise he described as "fridge buzz",[5] and became hostile to the music media.[1][6] He suffered from writer's block, and said: "Every time I picked up a guitar I just got the horrors. I would start writing a song, stop after 16 bars, hide it away in a drawer, look at it again, tear it up, destroy it."[2] He told The Guardian: "I always used to use music as a way of moving on and dealing with things, and I sort of felt like that the thing that helped me deal with things had been sold to the highest bidder and I was simply doing its bidding. And I couldn't handle that."[1]

Yorke became disillusioned with the "mythology" of rock music, feeling the genre had "run its course".[4] He had been a DJ and part of a techno band at Exeter University,[4] and following OK Computer began to listen almost exclusively to the electronic music of Warp artists such as Aphex Twin and Autechre: "It was refreshing because the music was all structures and had no human voices in it. But I felt just as emotional about it as I'd ever felt about guitar music."[1] He liked the idea of his voice being used as an instrument rather than having a leading role in the album,[7] and intended to move Radiohead from traditional songwriting and instead focus on sounds and textures.[7] He bought a house in Cornwall and spent his time walking the cliffs and drawing, restricting his musical activity to playing the grand piano he had recently bought.[8] "Everything in Its Right Place" was the first song he wrote on the piano.[8]

Recording[edit]

Radiohead recorded the strings for "How to Disappear Completely" in Dorchester Abbey, Oxfordshire.

Radiohead began work on Kid A in Paris in January 1999 with OK Computer producer Nigel Godrich and no deadline.[9] Yorke, who had the greatest control in the band, was still facing writer's block.[9] His new songs were incomplete, and some consisted of little more than sounds or drum machine rhythms; few had clear verses or choruses.[9] Instead of working as a traditional rock band, Radiohead experimented with instruments including modular synthesisers and the ondes Martenot, an early theremin-like electronic instrument, and used software such as Pro Tools and Cubase to edit and manipulate their recordings.[2]

The band struggled with Yorke's change of direction. Guitarist Jonny Greenwood was concerned that the album "might appear too gratuitous a move towards electronica and random digital experimentation".[9] His brother Colin feared "some awful art-rock nonsense just for its own sake so that it looks like you're cutting your nose off to spite your face."[9] According to Yorke, Godrich "didn't understand why, if we had such a strength in one thing, we would want to do something else. But at the same time he trusted me to have an idea of what I wanted."[10] The band had to accept that not every member would play on every song, which caused conflict. O'Brien said: "It's scary - everyone feels insecure. I'm a guitarist and suddenly it's like, well, there are no guitars on this track, or no drums."[9]

In March, Radiohead moved to Medley Studios in Copenhagen for two weeks.[9] According to O'Brien, the sessions produced about 50 reels of tape each containing 15 minutes of music, with nothing finished.[9] In April, Radiohead resumed recording in a Gloucestershire mansion.[9] The lack of deadline and the number of incomplete ideas made it hard for the band to focus, and they agreed to disband if they could not agree on an album worth releasing.[9]

In July, O'Brien began keeping an online diary of Radiohead's progress.[11] In the same month, Radiohead moved to their new studio in their hometown Oxford.[9] By the end of 1999, six songs were complete, including the title track.[2] In January 2000, at Godrich's suggestion, Radiohead split into two groups: without using acoustic instruments such as guitars or drums, one group would generate a sound or sequence and the other would develop it. Though the experiment produced no finished songs, it helped convince the band of the new direction.[9]

Radiohead sampled this portion of "Mild und Leise", a 1976 computer music composition by Paul Lansky, for "Idioteque".

In early 2000,[12] Greenwood, the only Radiohead member trained in music theory, composed a string arrangement for "How to Disappear Completely" by multitracking his ondes Martenot playing.[13] Orchestra of St John's performed the strings, which were recorded in Dorchester Abbey, a 12th-century church about five miles from Radiohead's Oxfordshire studio.[12][14] Radiohead chose the orchestra as they had performed pieces by Penderecki and Messiaen.[15]

Jonny Greenwood playing the ondes Martenot (pictured in 2010).

Yorke recorded "Motion Picture Soundtrack" on a harmonium pedal organ, influenced by songwriter Tom Waits; Greenwood added samples of harps, attempting to recreate the atmosphere of 1950s Disney films.[13][16] "Idioteque" was built from a drum machine pattern Jonny Greenwood created with a modular synthesiser. Feeling it "needed chaos", Greenwood experimented with found sounds and sampling.[17] He gave the unfinished 50-minute recording to Yorke, who took a short section of it and used it to write the song.[17] Greenwood could not remember where the song's four-chord synthesiser phrase had come from; he later realised he had sampled it from "Mild und Leise", a computer music piece by Paul Lansky released on the 1976 LP First Recordings – Electronic Music Winners. Lansky allowed Radiohead to use the sample after Greenwood wrote to him with a copy of the song.[13]

Yorke had recorded an early demo of "The National Anthem" when the band was still in school.[13] In 1997, Radiohead recorded drums and bass for the song, intending to develop it for an OK Computer B-side, but decided to save it for their next album.[13] For Kid A, Greenwood added ondes Martenot and sampled sounds from radio stations,[13] and Yorke's vocals were processed with a ring modulator.[18] In November 1999,[18] Radiohead recorded a brass section inspired by the "organised chaos" of Town Hall Concert by the jazz musician Charles Mingus. Yorke and Greenwood directed the musicians to sound like a "traffic jam"; according to Yorke, he jumped up and down so much during his conducting that he broke his foot.[15] Radiohead also worked on several songs that were not completed until recording sessions for future albums, including "I Will" and "A Wolf at the Door" (released on Hail to the Thief),[19] "Nude" (In Rainbows),[20] and "Burn the Witch"[21] and "True Love Waits" (A Moon Shaped Pool).[22]

On 19 April, Yorke wrote on Radiohead's website: "Yesterday we finished recording. I am free and happy and now I'm going for a walk in the park."[6] Having completed over 20 songs,[23] the band considered releasing the songs as a series of EPs or a double LP, but struggled to find a track listing that satisfied them.[24] Instead, they saved many songs for their next album, Amnesiac, released eight months later. Kid A was mastered by Chris Blair in Abbey Road Studios, London.[25]

Music[edit]

Style and influences[edit]

Kid A is influenced by 1990s IDM artists Autechre and Aphex Twin,[1] along with others on Warp Records;[2] by Björk,[26][18] particularly Homogenic,[27][28] whose song "Unravel" was Yorke's favorite and is occasionally performed as an intro to "Everything in Its Right Place";[29] by 1970s Krautrock bands such as Can,[2] by The Beta Band;[30] and by the jazz of Charles Mingus,[15] Alice Coltrane and Miles Davis.[7] During the recording period Radiohead drew inspiration from Remain in Light (1980) by their early influence Talking Heads,[31] they attended an Underworld concert which helped renew their enthusiasm in a difficult moment[32] and band members listened to abstract hip hop from the Mo'Wax label, including Blackalicious and DJ Krush.[33]

The string orchestration for "How to Disappear Completely" was influenced by Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki.[1] Jonny Greenwood's use of the ondes Martenot on this and several other Kid A songs was inspired by Olivier Messiaen, who popularised the early electronic instrument and was one of Greenwood's teenage heroes.[34] "Idioteque" samples two computer music pieces, Paul Lansky's "Mild Und Leise" and Arthur Kreiger's "Short Piece". Both samples were taken from Electronic Music Winners, a 1976 experimental music LP which Jonny Greenwood had stumbled upon while the band was working on Kid A. Thom Yorke also referred to electronic dance music when talking about "Idioteque", and said that the song was "an attempt to capture that exploding beat sound where you're at the club and the PA's so loud, you know it's doing damage".[7]

"Motion Picture Soundtrack" (a song written before "Creep"[35]) was an attempt to emulate the soundtrack of 1950s Disney films. Yorke recorded it alone on a pedal organ and other band members added sampled harp and double bass sounds.[13][16] Jonny Greenwood described his interest in mixing old and new music technology,[34] and during the recording sessions Yorke read Ian MacDonald's Revolution in the Head, which chronicles the Beatles' recordings with George Martin during the 1960s.[7] The band also sought to combine electronic manipulations with jam sessions in the studio, stating their model was the German group Can.[2]

Kid A has been sometimes characterised as post-rock, due to a minimalist style and focus on texture.[36] It has also been described as post-prog,[37] electronica,[38] electronic rock,[39] ambient[40] and experimental rock.[41][42] Jonny Greenwood's guitar solos are less prominent on Kid A than on previous Radiohead albums; however, guitars were still used on most tracks.[7] The instrumental "Treefingers" was created by digitally processing recordings of Ed O'Brien's guitar to create an ambient sound.[43] In addition, some of Yorke's vocals on Kid A are heavily modified by digital effects; Yorke's vocals on the title track were simply spoken, then vocoded with the ondes Martenot to create the melody.[7]

Lyrics and title[edit]

Yorke wrote many of Kid A's lyrics by cutting up words and phrases and assembling them at random. Many were everyday cliches and banal observations, such as "Where'd you park the car?"; others are violent ("cut the kids in half").[44] The chorus lyric of "How to Disappear Completely" was inspired by Yorke's friend Michael Stipe of R.E.M., who advised Yorke to relieve tour stress by repeating to himself: "I'm not here, this isn't happening".[45] Another line came from a dream Yorke had in which he was running down the River Liffey. The chorus lyric of "Optimistic" ("try the best you can / the best you can is good enough") was an assurance by Yorke's partner, Rachel Owen, when he felt that "nothing we'd done was releasable".[46] Radiohead used Yorke's lyrics "like pieces in a collage, pierced something together and [creating] an artwork out of a lot of different little things".[46] They did not publish Kid A's lyrics in the liner notes, as they felt they could not be considered independently of the music.[47]

The title Kid A came from the name of one of Radiohead's sequencers.[48] Yorke said he liked its "non-meaning", saying: "If you call [an album] something specific, it drives the record in a certain way."[49]

Artwork[edit]

A portion of the Kid A artwork, with the "red swimming pool" in its centre.

The Kid A artwork and packaging was created by Yorke with Stanley Donwood, who has worked with Radiohead on every album but their 1993 debut Pablo Honey. While working on the artwork, Yorke and Donwood became "obsessed" with the Worldwatch Institute website, which was full of "scary statistics about icecaps (sic) melting, and weather patterns changing"; this inspired them to use an image of a mountain range as the cover art.[50] Donwood said he saw the mountains as "landscapes of power ... some sort of cataclysmic power existing in landscape."[51]

The cover was also inspired by a photograph taken during the Kosovo War, which Donwood said "was of a square metre of snow and it was full of the detritus of war, all military stuff and fag stains. I was upset by it in a way war had never upset me before. It felt like it was happening in my street." Donwood painted on large canvases with knives and sticks, then photographed the paintings and manipulated them with Photoshop.[52]

The red swimming pool on the album spine and disc was inspired by the 1998 graphic novel Brought to Light by Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz, in which the number of people killed by state terrorism is measured in 50-gallon swimming pools filled with blood. Donwood said this image "haunted" him during the recording of the album, calling it "a symbol of looming danger and shattered expectations".[53]

Promotion and release[edit]

Anticipation for Kid A was high; Spin described it as "the most highly anticipated rock record since Nirvana's In Utero".[54] After the publicity for OK Computer had brought Yorke to breakdown,[55] Radiohead minimised their involvement in the album's marketing, conducting few interviews or photoshoots.[56] They were careful to present the album as a cohesive work rather than a series of separate tracks; rather than give record label executives copies to consider individually, they had them listen to the album in its entirety on a bus from Hollywood to Malibu.[57] Radiohead released no singles, though "Optimistic" and promotional copies of other tracks received radio play, and MTV2,[58] KROQ, and WXRK played the album in its entirety.[1] No advance copies of the album were circulated,[59] but it was played under controlled conditions for critics and fans;[60] according to the Observer, one critic called the album "a commercial suicide note".[4] Rob Gordon, vice president of marketing at Capitol Records, the American subsidiary of Radiohead's label EMI, praised the album but said promoting it would be a "business challenge".[61]

Everything in the industry at that point was like, 'The internet isn't important. It's not selling records' – everything for them had to translate to a sale. I knew the internet was [generating sales], but I couldn't prove it because every record had MTV and radio with it. [After Kid A was a success], nobody in the industry could believe it because there was no radio and there was no traditional music video. I knew at that point: this is the story of the internet. The internet has done this.
- Capitol executive Robin Sloan Bechtel, 2015[57]
Kid A's promotional campaign introduced the "Modified Bear" logo,[62][a] used for later albums' advertising and merchandise.

At the time, the use of the internet for music promotion was not widespread, and record labels were still reliant on MTV and radio.[57] Capitol launched an innovative marketing campaign, broadcasting "blips", short films set to Kid A's music, on music channels and distributing them online.[61] The "iBlip", a Java applet, could be embedded in fan sites and allowed users to pre-order and stream the album; it was used by over 1000 sites and the album was streamed more than 400,000 times.[57] The iBlip also included artwork, photos and links to pre-order the album on the online retailer Amazon. Capitol also streamed the album through Amazon, MTV.com and heavy.com, and for three days ran a promotional campaign with the peer-to-peer filesharing service Aimster, allowing users to swap iBlips and Radiohead-branded Aimster skins.[61]

In early 2000, Radiohead toured the Mediterranean, performing Kid A and Amnesiac songs for the first time.[67] By the time the album title was announced in mid-2000, fans were sharing concert bootlegs on the peer-to-peer service Napster. Colin Greenwood said: "We played in Barcelona and the next day the entire performance was up on Napster. Three weeks later when we got to play in Israel the audience knew the words to all the new songs and it was wonderful."[68] Kid A was leaked online and shared via Napster three weeks before release. Asked whether he believed Napster had damaged sales, Capitol president Ray Lott likened the situation to unfounded concern about home taping in the 1980s and said: "I'm trying to sell as many Radiohead albums as possible. If I worried about what Napster would do, I wouldn't sell as many albums."[61] Yorke said Napster "encourages enthusiasm for music in a way that the music industry has long forgotten to do."[69]

In late 2000, Radiohead toured Europe in a custom-built tent without corporate logos, playing mostly new songs.[70] They also performed three concerts in North American theatres, their first in nearly three years. The small venues sold out rapidly, attracting celebrities, and fans who camped overnight.[6] In October, the band performed on the American comedy show Saturday Night Live; the performance shocked some viewers expecting rock songs, with Jonny Greenwood playing electronic instruments, the house brass band improvising over "The National Anthem", and Yorke dancing erratically to "Idioteque".[71] In November 2001, Radiohead released a live EP, I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings, comprising recordings from the Kid A and Amnesiac tours.[71]

Kid A reached number one on Amazon's sales chart, with more than 10,000 pre-orders.[61] In the UK, the album sold 55,000 copies in its first day of release,[56] the biggest first-day sales of the year and more than every album in the rest of the top ten combined.[56] It debuted at number one in the charts in the UK,[56] US,[72] France, Ireland, New Zealand and Canada. It was the first US number one in three years for any British act, and Radiohead's first US top 20 album.[61][73] European sales slowed on 2 October 2000, the day of release, when 150,000 faulty CDs were recalled by EMI.[56]

Reception[edit]

Kid A surprised listeners who expected more of the rock music of Radiohead's earlier albums. Months before its release, Melody Maker wrote: "If there's one band that promises to return rock to us, it's Radiohead."[74] After it had been played for critics, the Guardian wrote: "The first time you hear Kid A ... you'll probably scratch your head and think, huh? What are they on about? For starters, why are the guitars only on three songs? What's with all the muted electronic hums, pulses and tones? And why is Thom Yorke's voice completely indistinguishable for most of the time?"[1]

Professional ratings
Contemporary reviews
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 80/100[75]
Review scores
Source Rating
The Austin Chronicle 4/5 stars[76]
Chicago Sun-Times 3.5/4 stars[77]
Entertainment Weekly B+[78]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[79]
Muzik 4/5 stars[80]
NME 7/10[81]
Pitchfork 10/10[28]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[82]
Spin 9/10[83]
The Village Voice A−[84]

Mojo wrote that "upon first listen, Kid A is just awful ... Too often it sounds like the fragments that they began the writing process with – a loop, a riff, a mumbled line of text, have been set in concrete and had other, lesser ideas piled on top."[85] In the New Yorker, novelist Nick Hornby criticised the obscured vocals and lack of guitar and wrote: "The album is morbid proof that this sort of self-indulgence results in a weird kind of anonymity rather that something distinctive and original."[86] Melody Maker critic Mark Beaumont called the album "tubby, ostentatious, self-congratulatory, look-ma-I-can-suck-my-own-cock whiny old rubbish ... Are Radiohead trying to push the experimental rock envelope, unaware that they're simply ploughing furrows dug by DJ Shadow and Brian Eno before them?"[87] The Guardian wrote that Kid A sounded "like a score composed for an experimental dance troupe" and that it "fails to sweep away preconceptions about Radiohead, pandering to the worst cliches about their relentless miserabilism".[79]

AllMusic gave the album a favourable review, but wrote that it "never is as visionary or stunning as OK Computer, nor does it really repay the intensive time it demands in order for it to sink in."[71] The NME also gave it a positive review, but described some songs as "meandering" and "anticlimactic", and concluded: "For all its feats of brinkmanship, the patently magnificent construct called Kid A betrays a band playing one-handed just to prove they can, scared to commit itself emotionally."[6]

In Rolling Stone, David Fricke called Kid A "a work of deliberately inky, often irritating obsession ... But this is pop, a music of ornery, glistening guile and honest ache, and it will feel good under your skin once you let it get there."[82] The Village Voice called the album "oblique oblique oblique ... Also incredibly beautiful."[17] Spin found it Radiohead's "best and bravest" album.[83] Billboard described it as "an ocean of unparalleled musical depth" and "the first truly groundbreaking album of the 21st century."[88] Robert Christgau wrote that Kid A is "an imaginative, imitative variation on a pop staple: sadness made pretty."[84] Pitchfork gave it a perfect score, calling it "cacophonous yet tranquil, experimental yet familiar, foreign yet womb-like, spacious yet visceral, textured yet vaporous, awakening yet dreamlike ... it's clear that Radiohead must be the greatest band alive, if not the best since you know who."[28]

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 80, which indicates "generally favourable reviews", based on 24 reviews.[75] Kid A was named one of the best albums of 2000 by publications including the Los Angeles Times, Spin, Melody Maker, Mojo, the NME, Pitchfork, Q, the Times, Uncut, and the Wire.[89] In 2001, Kid A received a Grammy Award nomination for Album of the Year and won the award for Best Alternative Album.[90][91]

Legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Retrospective reviews
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[38]
The A.V. Club A[92]
Pitchfork 10/10[93]
Q 5/5 stars[94]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[95]

In the years since its release, Kid A attracted critical acclaim. In 2005, Pitchfork wrote that Kid A had "challenged and confounded" Radiohead's audience, and that it "transformed into an intellectual symbol of sorts ... Owning it became 'getting it'; getting it became 'anointing it'."[96] In a 2011 Guardian article about his critical Melody Maker review, Beaumont wrote: "Kid A's status as a cultural cornerstone has proved me, if not wrong, then very much in the minority ... People whose opinions I trust claim it to be their favourite album ever."[97] Grantland credited Kid A for ushering the modern age of internet music streaming and promotion, writing: "For many music fans of a certain age and persuasion, Kid A was the first album experienced primarily via the internet – it's where you went to hear it, read the reviews, and argue about whether it was a masterpiece ... Listen early, form an opinion quickly, state it publicly, and move on to the next big record by the official release date. In that way, Kid A invented modern music culture as we know it."[57] In 2015, Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone wrote that "Nobody admits now they hated Kid A at the time, the same way folkies never admit they booed Dylan for going electric. Nobody wants to be the clod who didn't get it."[98]

In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked Kid A number 428 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[99] In Rolling Stone's updated 2012 version of the list, the magazine ranked Kid A number 67, the highest ranking for a 2000s album, writing that "Kid A remains the most groundbreaking rock album of the '00s".[100] In 2005, Pitchfork and Stylus Magazine named Kid A the best album of the previous five years, with Pitchfork calling it "the perfect record for its time: ominous, surreal, and impossibly millennial."[96][101] In 2006, Time named Kid A one of the 100 best albums of all time, calling it "the opposite of easy listening, and the weirdest album to ever sell a million copies, but it's also a testament to just how complicated pop music can be."[102] Rolling Stone,[103] Pitchfork[104] and the Times[105] ranked Kid A the greatest album of the decade; the Guardian ranked it second best, calling it "a jittery premonition of the troubled, disconnected, overloaded decade to come. The sound of today, in other words, a decade early."[106]

The album continued to divide critics. In 2014, Brice Ezell of PopMatters wrote that Kid A is "more fun to think and write about than it is to actually listen to" and "far less compelling representation of the band's talents than The Bends and OK Computer".[107] In 2016, Dorian Lysnkey wrote in the Guardian: "At times, Kid A is dull enough to make you fervently wish that they’d merged the highlights with the best bits of the similarly spotty Amnesiac. As for its alleged millennial anxiety, Yorke had given up on coherent lyrics so one can only guess at what he was worrying about."[108]

Accolades[edit]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Fact UK The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s[109] 2010 7
The Guardian UK Albums of the decade[106] 2009 2
Hot Press Ireland The 100 Best Albums Ever[110] 2006 47
Mojo UK The 100 Greatest Albums of Our Lifetime 1993–2006[111] 2006 7
NME UK The 100 Greatest British Albums Ever[112] 2006 65
NME UK The Top 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade[113] 2009 14
Pitchfork US Top 200 Albums of the 2000s[114] 2009 1
Platendraaier The Netherlands Top 30 Albums of the 2000s[115] 2015 7
Rolling Stone US The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time[116] 2012 67
The 100 Best Albums of the Decade[103] 2009 1
The 40 Greatest Stoner Albums[117] 2013 6
Spin US Top 100 Albums of the Last 20 Years[118] 2005 48
Stylus US The 50 Best Albums of 2000–2004[119] 2005 1
Time US The All-Time 100 Albums[120] 2006 *
The Times UK The 100 Best Pop Albums of the Noughties[105] 2009 1
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die US 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die[121] 2010 *

(*) designates unordered list

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Radiohead (Colin Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Jonny Greenwood, Philip Selway, Thom Yorke), except where noted.

No. Title Length
1. "Everything in Its Right Place" 4:11
2. "Kid A" 4:44
3. "The National Anthem" 5:51
4. "How to Disappear Completely" 5:56
5. "Treefingers" 3:42
6. "Optimistic" 5:15
7. "In Limbo" 3:31
8. "Idioteque" (Radiohead, Paul Lansky, Arthur Kreiger) 5:09
9. "Morning Bell" 4:35
10. "Motion Picture Soundtrack" (song ends at 3:17; includes an untitled hidden track from 4:17 until 5:12, followed by 1:44 of silence) 7:00
Total length: 49:56

Notes[edit]

  • "Idioteque" contains samples of "Mild und Leise" by Paul Lansky, and "Short Piece", by Arthur Kreiger.
  • On the digital version, "Motion Picture Soundtrack" and the untitled hidden track are separated. Also, the untitled hidden track isn't followed by silence, which is featured on the physical release.

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2000) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[124] 2
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[125] 5
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[126] 3
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[127] 4
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[128] 1
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[129] 4
French Albums (SNEP)[130] 1
Irish Albums (IRMA)[131] 1
Italian Albums (FIMI)[132] 3
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[133] 1
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[134] 3
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[135] 8
UK Albums (OCC)[136] 1
US Billboard 200[137] 1

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[138] Platinum 70,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[139] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[140] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The bear head logo is titled "Modified Bear",[62][63][64] but it is also known as "Despot Bear",[65] "Hunting Bear"[65] and "Blinky Bear".[65][66]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Zoric, Lauren (22 September 2000). "I think I'm meant to be dead ...". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2007. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Eccleston, Danny (October 2000). "(Radiohead article)". Q Magazine. Archived from the original on 11 March 2007. Retrieved 18 March 2007. 
  3. ^ Kot, Greg (2000). "Radiohead sends out new signals with 'Kid A'". Nigelgodrich.com. Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c d Smith, Andrew (1 October 2000). "Sound and fury". The Observer. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2007. 
  5. ^ Radiohead (interviews) (30 November 1998). Meeting People Is Easy. Seventh art releasing. Archived from the original on 14 March 2007. Retrieved 18 March 2007. 
  6. ^ a b c d "NME Christmas Double Issue". NME. 23 December 2000. Archived from the original on 11 March 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2007. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Reynolds, Simon (July 2001). "Walking on Thin Ice". The Wire. Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2007. 
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Further reading[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Mutations
Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album
2001
Succeeded by
Parachutes