Obviously one of the most highly anticipated albums this year, Radiohead's shortest and most electronic release ever, The King of Limbs, is already shaping up to be one of the most divisive releases in recent years. Many of the contributors here at People Who Stare At Rugs have a lot to say about it, so we figured: why not give everyone a voice who has one...to talk about this year's most talked about release by far? We couldn't think of a reason not to open the floor for questions and answers. We ask that our readers remember this is our first time, too. So lay back and let us do some work for you, like always.
I don’t understand why people seem to be upset with the fact this album is nothing like OK Computer or The Bends considering that Radiohead has not sounded like that in about 14 years. To me, this album seems like the next logical step in the band’s progression of their sound; combine all the 2000’s work of Radiohead, and you get The King of Limbs. Layering, stellar production, those evocative Thom Yorke vocals: all the things we have come to love Radiohead for in their 00’s work are all here and executed excellently. One remark that many people have been seeming to make is the lack of a real standout song, which is somewhat agreeable. However, this is compensated by the seamlessness of the album, flowing from one song to the next perfectly. Even the clear stylistic change from the first half to the second half is almost overlookable due to the smooth transition. While Radiohead claims this is a newspaper album there are no real “headlines” to speak off. Radiohead has become a band focused on details; be it the light guitar in the background of Give Up the Ghost, the subtle synth reverberations in Separator, that low buzz that persists in “Feral”. In the OK Computer days, there was a greater focus on melody, but now there is more of an emphasis on using instrumentation tastefully and trying to get a more cohesive result out of it, a more challenging songwriting process, and for the listeners, a much more satisfying listening experience. ---Vr00m
Once again Radiohead do something a bit unexpected with their new album. This album harkens back to the style of Kid A. Not so much in sound but in construction. Listening to this album the first thing you realize is that no one band member takes charge, everybody just contributes to the overall “feel” of the songs. The King of Limbs goes for a more specific sound than In Rainbows or even most of their other albums. Whereas on an album such as Amnesiac you’re never really quite sure what type of song you may encounter with every track this album sticks to the layered, looping approach throughout nearly every song. I wouldn’t call this one of the stronger releases overall from Radiohead but it shows that they’re willing to do whatever they want and never play it safe. For that I’m glad that they made an album like The King of Limbs. ---Paul
It's pretty much impossible to find a stand out track for me, but that's so far from a bad thing on this album. In fact, the way it all blends together reminds me of the cohesiveness they had working for them on Kid A, just without those highlight band-defining tracks. I like that they continue to introduce these underground electronic genres to the mainstream like they've done in the past, this time around it's got that new experimental garage/dubstep feel to it. You're going to love it if you love Radiohead, and even if you just dig electronic music, you're still going to dig it. If that's not your thing cuz you came for some more In Rainbows/Bends guitars, then you'll be pretty disappointed. Although, I'd be surprised if you didn't expect electronics out of Radiohead at this point in their career, so it should hardly detract from your experience of it. Instead, it will probably enhance it greatly. Guitar definitely takes a back seat on this one, but the rhythm section is some of the best work of their career imo, especially out of Colin. This continues the personal warmth of In Rainbows while furthering the electronic experimentation of albums like Hail to the Thief and Amnesiac. But most of all, it's entirely and only Radiohead's creation. ---deaconzonday
Y'know what makes me absolutely happy about this Radiohead release? It is its own album. I mean, you could argue that all Radiohead releases are their own album, but this one breaks away from a lot of their previous material. Sure, it's not as if they've never experimented with electronic music in the past, but I'm compelled to believe that this album sees Radiohead attain mastery over combining electronic sampling with rock music. The result of this is nothing short of breathtaking, and what you have is one of the most relaxing and evocative experiences of 2011. I've seen many people try to make comparisons between this album and previous efforts, and I'm very certain that in doing so, it has ruined the album for them. This is something I cannot fathom - why the FUCK would you listen to an album and then instantly compare it to another album, without even paying attention to what's happening in front of you? Absolutely retarded. Listen to this album with open ears and an open mind and you will be rewarded. ---UberKvltPancake
So if you couldn't tell already, we're loving it. Expect The King of Limbs to 'conclude' or something ridiculous in another month. For now, these 38 minutes should be a welcome grace to your ears.