Radiohead is playing with my emotions.
In 2009, always cryptic front man Thom Yorke nearly brought me to tears after mentioning that Radiohead probably wouldn’t release another full length album. Apparently, he just meant that they were focusing more on releasing shorter EPs.
This Valentine’s Day, it was announced that a new album, entitled “The King of Limbs” would be released the following Saturday. The news was suddenly all over the Internet; the anticipation was similar to that of when “In Rainbows” was released without any warning, in 2007, as a pay-what-you-want download from the band’s website.
Whenever Radiohead does finally decide to release something, it’s always a highly anticipated event. Although fans are often concerned whether each release will be as good as the last, the band has failed to disappoint. “The King of Limbs” is no different. Its short running time and slightly creepy artwork could leave room for speculation, but it holds its own with the rest of their catalog.
The overall feel is similar to “In Rainbows.” The laid-back, electronic vibe is something that fans should embrace, as the band has steadily been heading in that direction for some time now. And while musically the album sounds similar in instrumentation to its predecessor, the biggest change can be heard in the comparatively more simplistic lyrical approach. In fact, the majority of the songs on “The King of Limbs” have few words at all — if any. For example, “Bloom” contains only two lyrical brackets repeated throughout, and “Feral” is an entirely instrumental track.
That being said, “Morning Mr. Magpie” and “Give Up The Ghost” are some of the album’s strongest tracks. The first single, “Lotus Flower,” is also memorable. The beat is catchy and holds some of the better lyrics on the album, with Yorke crooning: “There’s an empty space inside my heart/ Where the wings take root/ So now I’ll set you free.”
Radiohead has been and always will be one of the best bands in contemporary music, whether they’re on a record label or not. The band’s success will continue if they keep releasing brief, chill EPs or thrashy, abstract punk-influenced albums like they did in the early ’90s.
I don’t believe they’ll ever fail to satisfy. And that can’t be said for every band in the world, especially one that has been playing for over twenty years.