Liveblogging Radiohead’s “King of Limbs”

11:05 AM Pacific Standard Time. The author is one happy man. Radiohead pushed forward their album’s release date, and NPR streamed it live! I listened, and then I bought it. $9.99 on kingoflimbs.com if you’re interested.

11:07 AM. The first song was entitled “Bloom,” I believe. It was mostly instrumental, with a jazzy piano under-layer and some jazzy bass. Rating: 7.0 out of 10.

11:10 AM. The second song is better. Peaceful, cheerful for a Radiohead song. Great vocals from Thom. Listening to the wind-down now. Ghostly background vocals…oh, it wasn’t the wind-down. It’s back. Looped drums and another interesting, Euro bass-line. Delish. That was “Morning Mr. Magpie.” 8.0.

11:12 AM. Missed a lot of the third song. Dad needed a phone number. That was “Little by Little,” probably the weakest song so far.

11:16 AM. Now on to “Feral.” So far KoL is a more melodic Kid A/Amnesiac rather than The Bends/In Rainbows. Quieter than Hail to the Thief or OK Computer, but I’ve got my hopes up. Feral is another high-six. Maybe  6.8.

11:20 AM. Track 5 is “Lotus Flower.” There’s a video for this out now. This is a more In Rainbows song and I love it. Long, deep, and melodic. 8.5.

11:28 AM. On to “Codex.” They’ve got a piano on a phaser. Interesting. Thom is moaning in the background. This is another more-melodic Amnesiac-style song. Good. Reminds me of one my best musical experiences, a long drive in August through the endless pine woods of northern Wisconsin, over through the UP, and down into pristine northern Michigan, just as my brother and I were getting into our Radiohead kick. Other highlights of the trip were “Hljomalind” by Sigur Ros and “Lazy Eye” by the Silversun Pickups. Codex: 7.5

11:32 AM. “Give Up the Ghost” started off with acoustic guitar. The second-to-last track is winding things down. I had a Fleet Foxes vibe at the beginning. This is a VERY low-key album. Wow, except for that little vocal hook on the tail end of this song. That just bumped it up at least a point in my book. 7.8.

11:40 AM. Already we’re at the last track of this 40-minute album. Will it go out with a bang? Doesn’t sound like it. Really sweet little guitar riff, possibly the most cheerful thing I’ve ever heard in a Radiohead song. There is a ghostly U2 vibe. And we’re done. Last track, 8.2 to my ears, 9.0 to my heart. Lame, I know, but there it is. Full album verdict? That will come later.

11:44 AM. NPR’s commentators are saying that the newer albums are moving away from the guitar as the showcase instrument. That is definitely true with King of Limbs. The bass and particularly the dupstep-like drum lines were integral to these eight songs. I could complain that it wasn’t long enough, but King of Limbs shows, first of all, that Radiohead is still on top of the game.

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