6

Idioteque

Radiohead

Kid A (2000)

I’ll confess that a lot of the bands that major music publications salivate over just don’t excite me — but one notable exception is Radiohead. Much was made of their shift toward knob-twiddling electronics on “Kid A,” particularly in light of their much-lauded, rock-oriented “OK Computer” (maybe that album title was subconsciously prepping us for their future?). However I think it’s become clear in the years since that their stylistic explorations are not frivolous — it’s all in service of creating great music, regardless of the instruments involved. “Idioteque” was as far to the dance side of things as they let themselves go, but I’m glad they went there. The song, like much of “Kid A,” uses lo-fi to its great advantage, the beat at times sounding more like an accidentally dropped microphone than an actual drum loop. The lyrics are vaguely apocalyptic, but sometimes a song doesn’t so much tell a story as it does set a mood. I found “Idioteque” mesmerizing on my very first listen, and nearly ten years later that feeling has not changed one bit. (Note that, at this point in the countdown, any song in the top 6 could have ended up being my #1 — choosing one was incredibly difficult.)

Also check out: “Harrowdown Hill” from Thom Yorke’s solo effort