Radiohead: The King of Limbs

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Radiohead announced the relese of their eighth studio album on February 18, only four days after announcing it on their website and jolting its fanbase with excitement.

In contrast to the slick and easy boldness of 2007’s In Rainbows, The King of Limbs brings a raw sound to the listener. Just as the album artist Stanley Donwood describes the images on the cover as the “strange, multi-limbed creatures … of the forest,” the record’s eight tracks meld into a complex, mysterious beast that doesn’t reveal itself easily.  

The opening track, “Bloom,” could put you in a drugged trance, with an eerie piano loop and a distorted syncopated drum under Thom Yorke’s cryptic moaning. The compulsive beat-driving “Lotus Flower” has been the album’s most popular song, with a pre-released music video featuring Yorke dancing hysterically. A guidebook to his supposedly symbolic dance moves on Radiohead’s official website also shows the continuation of Radiohead’s cult following. In “Codex,” Yorke’s tragic lyrics on the innocence of nature sit on top of beautifully muffled piano.  The final track, “Separator,” likely gets its name from the enigmatic splitting and overlapping tracks of Yorke’s vocals surrounded by thick reverb.  

This introspective album pulsates with visceral energy rooted in an environmentally conscious message, blending the unearthly beauty of songs like “Sail to the Moon” with the edge of others like “15 Step” into a self-contained masterpiece that may be Radiohead’s most mature work yet.