Band leader Thom Yorke commented that the album simply reflected the music the band was mainly listening to at the time they were creating the album, though there is evident an obvious attempt to depart from the band’s previous ‘rock’ style. There are evident influences from synthesised bands such as Aphex Twin, Talking Heads and jazz artists such as Charles Mingus and Miles Davis. Some songs, particularly ‘How to Disappear’, contain heavy classical influences. ‘Motion Picture Soundtrack’ is a particular example of the band’s new direction, and experimenting with minimal sound yet varied instruments, as well as new and old styles. The album’s style is certainly a new direction from the band’s older albums, and it perhaps symbolises the band’s injection of personal influences into their musical style. Concepts Behind the Album Radiohead experimented with the music of Kid A, and its comparison to earlier albums shows a distinct move from their usual ‘alternative rock’ style to a more electronic music style (Gilbert). For this album, Radiohead experimented with a broader range of musical instruments; a rather different approach compared to their previous focus on the use of guitars. Radiohead incorporated the use of keyboards, brass and strings – a depiction of their classical music and jazz influences. The music contains less use of lyrics than previous albums, and the lyrics that the band does use are more conceptual and theoretical than the lyrics they had created before.
Many described Kid A as an evolution of the band: “their core sound had changed” (Koehler 193). Perhaps the success of Kid A is owed to its new sound; the inability to slot it into any one musical genre, as Kaye claims: “the album is a motley painting of many types of music, mixed and bended in playful and satirical ways, that cannot be boxed into any neat compartment (sic)” (241). Perhaps the most prominent feature of Kid A’s music style is Yorke’s adamant departure from rock; he claimed “I never wanted to be in a...rock group” (Lin 32). One can hear the band’s avoidance of producing yet another ‘alternative rock’ album, and the experimentation they undertook, although it is mainly synthesised and electronic, cannot be particularly classed as any single genre. It seems that the band achieved this goal very successfully. Tension Among the Band Led to this Album The problems faced by the band, particularly Thom Yorke leading up to and during the creation of the album are certainly not few and far between. There was not only tension in the band, but Yorke had begun to feel alienated from the fast paced life of the rest of the world, as well as feeling that his music had become mainstream and unimportant (‘Meeting People is Easy’). Yorke shunned media attention which had been created as a result of Radiohead’s success, and the exhausted band almost split up before the making of Kid A. The main problems facing the band as a whole, however, were due to the constant disagreements which arose between the members as to the musical style the album should be based on. The main tension was between Yorke’s desire to inject electronic music into the band’s style and the rest of the band’s desire to remain with the guitar ‘rock-pop-alternative’ style. As a result of the conglomerated problems, Yorke faced many difficulties while trying to write songs ...
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