Basement Featured Album of the Week: Radiohead's Kid A

Oct 7, 2020

Credit Radiohead

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its release, this week’s Featured Album on the Basement is
Radiohead’s Kid A.

There’s not much to say about Kid A that hasn’t already been said. For a band first pegged as
one-hit wonders following the success of 1992’s “Creep”, then the saviors of guitar-heavy rock
music with their second record The Bends, Radiohead had (and still have) a knack for re-
inventing themselves, and keeping listeners on their toes. After the release of 1997’s OK
Computer and their 1997-1998 tour, Radiohead sought change, and nearly abandoned rock
music altogether.

Taking influence from the output of Warp Records (see: Aphex Twin, Autechre, Boards of
Canada), and influential German group Can, Radiohead adopted a new mode of songwriting
and made use of new technology. The music that ended up on Kid A (and its successor
Amnesiac, produced in the same sessions as Kid A) makes use of synthesizers, samplers, and
drum machines, as well as strings and the Ondes Martenot, diminishing the role of the guitar.
The album proved Radiohead to be adept songwriters, not limited to the alternative rock they
had been known for in the 90s. Kid A ditched all the preconceived notions of rock music and
brought something new to the table; a deconstruction of the music of the time, which still
manages to sound new twenty years later.
- Rhys Finnegan, Basement Music Director