Radiohead:kid A

by Staff

Radiohead’s fourth album has finally arrived. For 50 sonorousminutes, Kid A paints a delightful surrealist landscape in which ThomYorke’s watery vocals beg us to drown with him in pessimistic bliss.

The opening track, “Everything in its Right Place,” is ironic inthat it’s difficult to put a finger on exactly where anything reallyis. Electric piano floats through Yorke’s melodic vocals whilespiraling through a track brushed with wheezing synthesizer andpersistent, mechanical spatterings.

“National Anthem” begins in a typical rock format, laterintroducing a reckless horn section whose performance recalls imagesof train-wrecks and sledge hammers.

Radiohead is a rock band: two guitarists, a drummer, a bassist;with lyrics and voice courtesy of Yorke. Its sound, though, isremarkably unconventional. Its two early works, 1993’s Pablo Honeyand 1995’s The Bends, were of the more traditional rock genre –power chords and straightforward structures of hook, riff and bridge.1997’s OK Computer was a transitional work from that early sound to acontemporary galactic rock that defies convention.

Kid A is a variation on that theme; a progression into thepronounced discomfort that characterized OK Computer’s more mellowexplorations. The album is not lacking a hard edge, though, as”Idioteque” and the radio single “Optimistic” punch through withwell-styled intensity.

Melancholy radioheads fear not. The band’s new album is chalk-fullof your favorite Radiohead themes such as disillusion and lack ofidentity, and Yorke’s vocals are wept at the listener in histrademark stream-of-consciousness prose. You’ll have to dig deeperthan usual to feel Yorke’s pain though. Kid A comes without printedlyrics.

A visit to www.radiohead.com provides an interactive experiencethat allows you a look at the band’s rather intricate psychosis; somelyrics are even scattered among the mixed media found on the Website.

Any Radiohead fan will tell you that the only bad thing about thealbum is it comes to an end, but fans can rest easy knowing that asecond record, begun concurrently with Kid A, is slated forcompletion and release next year.

Though the wait for an album is over, the abbreviated tourschedule leaves something to be desired. This year Radiohead willgive one U.S. show, scheduled for Oct. 20 at the Greek Theatre in LosAngeles. A world tour is in the works for early 2001.

Kid A is, all in all, a delightfully troublesome journey intoRadiohead’s terrifically disturbed world.

–Nathan Grigolla

JillScott

Who is Jill Scott?

Jill Scott’s debut album is a masterpiece in what has become aprominent style of performing — spoken word. If you listen to thelyrics, you will hear her answer the question she poses with heralbum title. You will hear her soul singing through the speakers intoyour ears. Mixing spoken word, hip-hop and R and B in songs like”Getting In the Way,” “A Long Walk” and “Slowly Surely,” Scott tellsof a love triangle, good love and the best love of all: complicatedlove. This is one of those albums you can pop into the player anddrive to. It’s also one that makes you ask yourself, “How does sheknow how to put exactly what I am feeling into words?” When youlisten to the album you will know she is a master of words comparableto Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu.

— Feather Ives

Shaggy

Hotshot

With his latest album, Hotshot, Shaggy has left his dancehall,Jamaican roots and created bland, pop-style reggae. Three songs standout on this album, which happen to be the only ones produced by megaproducers/song writers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis: “Lonely Lover,””Dance and Shout” and “Luv Me, Luv Me.” The Jam and Lewis producedsongs only hint at the raga-beat sounds that we are so accustomed tofrom Mr. Lova (Shaggy’s self-proclaimed nickname). Shaggy moves awayfrom his Jamaican/reggae roots, in which he gained so much success(Grammy for Reggae Album of the Year, Boombastic), in favor of a moreR and B style Reggae (undoubtedly influenced by Jam and Lewis).Although songs like “Hope” and “Angel” are uplifting and carry adecent beat, they lack the rough, drum-and-bass melodies created byhis older tunes “Boombastic” and “Oh Carolina.” Hotshot is a let-downfor Shaggy fans who are expecting reggae music. Because what they getinstead is radio candy.

–Farboud Damavandi

TheSea and Cake

Oui

After a three-year hiatus, Chicago foursome The Sea and Cakerelease their most accessible album to date. Unlike recent records bytheir post rock peers, Oui is much more of an enjoyable listen,offering up some of the Sea and Cake’s catchiest material. The 10songs on Oui, the band’s fifth proper full-length, float bypleasantly on waves of gentle marimba and jazzy guitar, constructingbreezy, yet compelling soundscapes. Sam Prekop’s vocals are much moreprominent on the new record as well, save for the instrumental “YouBeautiful Bastard.” While most bands in the post-rock genre havedivorced themselves from melodies, the Sea and Cake embrace them. Infact, if they aren’t too careful, someone may mistake them for a popband.

–Jeff Terich