Tulip Frenzy’s #1 Album of 2011: Radiohead’s “The King Of Limbs”

The King of Limbs may be the first record that ever sounded like it was made specifically to be played on an Apple device: sonically elegant, airtight, perfect.  When we realized how much “Morning Mr. Magpie” tracked “Shhh/Peaceful” from Miles Davis’ In A Silent Way — down to the Jack DeJohnette drum figures — with Thom Yorke’s beautiful voice taking the role of Davis’ trumpet — well, it’s pretty clear we’re dealing with a band of higher-order artistry.  Normally we would hold that against them, and in fact we have: we’ve been skeptical of Radiohead in part because while what they produced was impressive, it wasn’t real rock’n’roll.  The King of Limbs isn’t either, but it is a tight, melodic, beautiful album, significantly upbeat, with Jonny Greenwood’s compositional sophistication in greater service to efficient pop music than anything they’ve done in years.  So we cast all our resistance to Radiohead overboard and strapped in for the ride.  While fans of Fugazi and Blur, even U2, will on occasion locate the antecedent riff, this is a band that has largely created its own vocabulary.  If White Denim works in a hot Texas garage chewing on jimson weed, Radiohead seems to work in a Swiss lab, the kind of place that produced LSD almost by accident.  We don’t hold it against them that, in fact, their recording studios have reportedly been constructed from Drew Barrymore’s borrowed manse, for that’s the orbit in which they circle.  But we really are done resisting: they can record their next one in a Swiss bank, for all we care, so long as it sounds like this.

One Response to “Tulip Frenzy’s #1 Album of 2011: Radiohead’s “The King Of Limbs””

  1. […] 11. Radiohead – The King of Limbs. John Buckley over on Tulip Frenzy picked this as his number one album of the year, so go read what he has to say about it. […]

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