Ahh, the complex question that is what’s your favourite album…
Radiohead – Idioteque
I’ve touched on my relationship with Radiohead already in the list, and promised I’d get onto it properly later. They’re a band who made me, as far as my attitude to music is concerned: the walk I took climbing to Cannock’s highest point while listening to The Bends followed by OK Computer is a good summation of certain parts of my approach to music in general, for all its quirks.
Kid A‘s the one, though. The story of Radiohead’s metamorphosis from mopey guitarband to mopey sound-manipulators is what cemented my love for them, and started a teenaged me looking for similar patterns in other bands, valuing ‘change’ and ‘growth’ above all in a discography.
This is probably best summed up in Idioteque, which is why I picked it. Everything done for a reason, here.
It just sounds … alien. The lyrics don’t make much sense, except giving the sound something to weave round, and the odd nuclei of sense helping better evoke the mood. It’s dance music (listen to this in a dark room and marvel at those limbs as they involuntarily jerk, commanded by the song) but it’s not dance music. Not for colourful dance floors but for darkened living rooms. Not dancing to attract mates, but twitching because you can’t help it.
The song is an ode to the human body as a failing clockwork machine, slowly winding down. What makes it work where Radiohead v1.0 might’ve seemed adolescent and miserable is that v2.0 make it so your body is a conspirator, nodding along to the song with every jerk and twitch as you dance yourself down to the knees.
Checking last.fm for my most-listened-to albums according to their scrobblings provided a baffling picture of my ‘favourite albums’, Kid A being distantly beaten out as my favourite Radiohead album by OK Computer, apparently my second most listened-to album. In fact, Kid A comes in at a pathetic 76th, somewhere behind The Ramones’ Ramones and a Manic Street Preachers greatest hits collection. Last.fm’s weird, and I probably need to write about it at some point…