Thursday, October 6, 2011

Album Review: Radiohead - TKOL RMX 1234567

Upon discovering Radiohead had dropped their newest album a day early, I proceeded to immediately download it. Granted, it was announced a mere week before then, but the anticipation was already too much to handle. Sure I was late to my first class, but I had The King of Limbs on my mp3 player, and ready to listen. Less than forty minutes later, anticipation faded and disappointment set in. I was sure what I had just heard wasn't Radiohead, but a tamer, more forgettable band. A band who'd let vapidity replace creativity. A band that wasn't the one I had grown to admire.

Although seven month's time made me reflect more kindly on Radiohead's most divisive album to date, I still couldn't help but feel like something was missing, something bold and daring, something more like the band I had fallen for when I was a teenager. That something is TKOL RMX 1234567.

To be fair, TKOL RMX 1234567 isn't exactly a Radiohead album per se, but a remix featuring a bevy of guest musicians who contributed in making The King of Limbs something decidedly different. Yes, remix albums usually fall into one of two things: a quick cash in or a band desperately trying to keep its name out there. This album thankfully doesn't fall into either of those camps, as the band has been fully aware from the start that The King of Limbs lends itself to multiple interpretations. Thus, to the band, a remix album seemed natural, and was in their minds from early on. This sentiment really goes a long way into displaying that the album is an actual creative effort, rather than a shallow cash-in.

TKOL RMX 1234567 succeeds on many levels, and manages to be more exciting than the original was. It's much, much more dynamic and exciting, offering up a more diverse batch of songs than was displayed on The King of Limbs. That isn't to say every song has been improved, as with many remix albums, there are a few duds that hinder the quality of the overall package. Regardless, even at its worst, TKOL RMX 1234567 promises to surprise even the most jaded of Radiohead fans.

Yet if you haven't enjoyed the more experimental, electronic side of Radiohead, then chances are you won't be enjoying this remix album. After all, it's certifiably, 100% electronica through and through. House, dubstep, and ambient are all on full display here, with almost every track coming off as "dancey." Thom Yorke has stated himself that the album was influenced by music in the club scene, and it's easy to believe. This remix is fun, unpredictable, choatic, and unrestrained, making for one of the most exhilarating Radiohead releases to date.

TKOL RMX 1234567 is the album I wanted The King of Limbs to be, but didn't know it at the time. It's a much more inspired work, and one that sees a perfect meshing of multiple creative influences. Added to that, the album is absolutely massive. Spanning two discs and 29 songs, TKOL RMX 1234567 is sure to keep you busy for a long, long time. This isn't OK Computer. Chances are we won't be getting another one of those ever again. But the band is comfortable with this new direction, as their creative integrity is surely pointing them along this path. So sit back and enjoy Radiohead going to places we never imagined they'd ever go, it's well worth it.


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