Tuesday, 22 September 2009

65: Radiohead - Idioteque

"We are not scaremongering, this is really happening"

Released just 10 months after the turn of the Millennium, 'Kid A' was probably the most divisive album of the decade, and 'Idioteque' was its signature motif. Off the back of the the 8 million selling 'OK Computer', Radiohead followed up with a record which was lauded by many as groundbreaking, yet hated by those who had grown to love Radiohead for their songs.

'Idioteque' couldn't have been much further away from the likes of 'Creep' and 'Karma Police' if it had been written as a duet for tuba and mandolin. Sampling an obscure piece of computer-generated electronica from 1973, with layered drum patterns and Thom Yorke's increasingly frantic lyrics about the impending apocalypse, 'Idioteque' sounded like nothing I'd ever heard before. I'd probably pinpoint the first time I heard that song as the moment at which my music tastes finally veered away from indie/Britpop and started to move in divergent directions, towards electronic dance, rap, pop and folk.

'Idioteque' was recently named as the 8th best song of the decade by Pitchfork, who noted that it became an instant fans' favourite, "inevitably eliciting greater screams when introduced in concert than any other song". It also drew much of the ire of those fans who felt betrayed by their beloved band. But for me, its bleepy electronic core is as stunning and visionary as anything Radiohead released before or since. Make your own mind up.

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