2000 release, the fourth album from the groundbreaking British Alt-Rock group. A commercial success worldwide, Kid A went platinum in its first week of release in the UK. Despite the lack of an official single or music video as publicity, Kid A became the first Radiohead release to debut at #1 in the United States. This success was credited variously to a unique marketing campaign, the early Internet leak of the album, and anticipation after the band's 1997 album, OK Computer.
Radiohead may well be the most courageous band in Britain. Their second album, The Bends, was a success both critically and commercially, and they followed it up with an album of epic prog-rock, OK Computer, that would have destined a lesser band to commercial failure and, eventually, obscurity. Instead, it was almost universally hailed as one of the finest albums ever recorded. So it should come as no great surprise that their fourth album, Kid A, is even more experimental, owing a debt to the studio-born soundscapes of Brian Eno, Aphex Twin and even later Talk Talk.
Kid A is an album that would not sound out of place on the Warp Records roster, as keyboards, sequencers and electronic effects take the place of guitars on most tracks (particularly unusual for a band that boasts three guitarists). In fact, this is an album that succeeds without rock's bombast, from the looping keyboards of album opener "Everything In It's Right Place" to the bouncing, bass-led "The National Anthem" to the album's hauntingly atmospheric highlight, "Idioteque". Meanwhile, more traditional Radiohead tracks like "How To Disappear Completely" and "Optimistic" offer a natural bridge between the electronic noodlings of Kid A and the (slightly) more mainstream-sounding OK Computer. Radiohead may well be the most innovative popular band since the Beatles; as such, Kid A represents the most successful evolution of a major British act since Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. --Robert Burrow