As the first 10 years of the new millennium crept to a close, we embarked on a series called Decade. By no means a comprehensive list, our aim was to highlight works within the zeitgeist that had left an impact. (The original master list was near quadruple in length but alas, we ran out of time.) The series concluded the morning of New Year’s Eve 2009 with what we deemed our favorite album of the decade: Radiohead’s Kid A, released October 2, 2000.
Nearly 20 years later, the album scans just as vital and immediate (if not moreso) than it did upon its initial release. And while much has been said proselytizing 1997’s OK Computer as some sort of dystopian harbinger of the future, it’s Kid A that was existentially prescient. And present. And yet…
Despite the group earning our top Decade slot, after the release of In Rainbows the group had, until recently, become a bit of a personal afterthought. They had become “Radiohead,” more of a catchall identity totem or idea than the group of highly inventive, curious, boundary-pushing artists they are.
But over the past 12 months I’ve been both re-listening and re-absorbing. Not to mention playing catch up — digging heavily into output I had only paid scant attention to upon initial release. (See: Moon Shaped Pool.)
With that context, I leave you with this: a session the group cut in a basement around the release of In Rainbows. Watching it now, years later, I’m again struck by the preternatural chemistry and virtuosity of the collective whole. If this is your first viewing, I envy you, and if you’ve already seen this a half dozen times, well, you know what to do.