Radiohead The King Of Limbs

It’s out a day early, so grab your download and start talking about it. I’ve only gotten in half a listen (that is, scanned through all eight tracks while writing this), but right now what’s grabbing me the most are “Little By Little” and “Lotus Flower.” The latter also got a surprise video today, a simple black and white clip with some not-so-simple Thom Yorke contortions and dancing. Check out the video, the tracklist, and discuss below:

The King Of Limbs tracklist:
01 “Bloom”
02 “Morning Mr Magpie”
03 “Little By Little”
04 “Feral”
05 “Lotus Flower”
06 “Codex”
07 “Give Up The Ghost”
08 “Separator”

Comments (309)
  1. Feel free to discuss this as well:

  2. Great Album. Already on my third listen. It’s Radiohead, so it will take a few dozen more to fully digest, but I’m lovin the new vibe. Very subtle.

    • Agree. The music they listen to on their playlists on their blog really show in this album. Digging the Brazilian samba-eque “Fearl” song.

  3. Feral = organic post-dubstep
    whatever the fuck that means, it’s yours NME, you can keep it

  4. Feral is my early standout. The rise and fall of the percussion and the bass just creates a feeling of anxiety and claustrophobia in me. Amazing stuff.

    Codex is another favourite. The 808 and piano effects are stunning.

    Also, I cannot remember these guys having such (for lack of a better term) funky beats in some of their tracks (save for 15 Step).

    • that´s probably the most astonishing thing about the album, the sick, sleek, contagious funkiness of it all: Bloom alone makes me wanna dance like crazy, like Thom in the Lotus Flower video. I don´t know what Phil did with his drums/how they mutated his drumming in the studio, and what got into Colin´s bass playing this time around. But, damn, is this creature groovy!

    • Claustrophobic is EXACTLY how I’d describe Feral. Reminds me of The Gloaming in that regard

      • I agree, without a doubt my favorite aspect of the album (after 1 and 1/2 listens) is the beats.
        Honestly though, I thought the bass was a bit weak though. More guitar would have been cool too, but not a deal breaker.

  5. Highlights:
    “Give Up the Ghost”

    “Morning Mr. Magpie”

  6. I like Little By Little the most so far.

  7. After one listen: love it!

    And i really like Feral too.

  8. After one listen: love it!

    And i realli like Feral too.

  9. Really, you guys are gushing over Feral? I feel like yr just doing it in a “OMG, THIS IS SO COMPLEX” way, instead of like actually caring about songwriting. I’m digging Seperator most so far, Mr Magpie and Lotus Flower ain’t bad either.

  10. For as pleasant as listening to that video was, it sure was fucking painful to watch.

  11. Its a lot to take in, all by surprise, on a Friday morn… The press photo makes sense now… It feels as if it was recorded in some lost forest. I can really say I like or don’t like anything so soon in the game, but I am digesting this well, but I do love new things.

  12. King of Limbs > In Rainbows

    As far as Feral goes, it’s pretttttttttty awesome. I know it’s not the most complex in terms of song writing but it’s really well layered and just badass.

    • It sounds more like a funky mashup of Kid A and Amnesiac, to me.

    • Apples and oranges, dude.

      Comparing the two is like comparing The Bends to Kid A or OK Computer to Amnesiac. Different monsters. They’re Radiohead fans who like the more classic pop/rock song structure that The Bends, OK Computer and In Rainbows had and they’re fans who like the more scattered / controlled chaos song structure with electronic bleeps, dub bass, spare guitar notes and chords, skittering funky beats juxtaposed with vocals that somehow form melodies. I personally like both while others are divided, but comparing the two different styles is not fair to either. They’re different on purpose. There, did I sound like a snob or what?

  13. I listen to Bloom. Didn’t know what to make of it. Listened to it again loved it. That’s Radiohead for you. Took me forever to come around to Like Spinning Plates but one day it just clicked.

  14. I am really digging Separator! What a great song to end the album on. I can imagine the discussions that go on about what goes where.

  15. My impression while I’m at my fourth listing:
    The album shows its influences from what is going on in the electronic music scenes (i.e. Flying Lotus, Four Tet, Autechre, Mount Kimbie, …).
    In the same way this album stands for itself and will be influencing brilliant music to come.

  16. I’ll be perfectly honest, I haven’t listened to it yet so I can’t say much but I’m reading it and I feel like there’s a piece missing. It’s only 8 tracks and 2 of them that I’ve already heard Thom Yorke Play live at his Atoms for Peace Concerts. This means only 6 songs are completely fresh. It’s been 3+ years since In Rainbows so I feel they’re could be more they’re giving us. Don’t get me wrong, they are my favorite band of all time and I am so excited to listen to the album but even my favorite band all time I’m going to nitpick with. It seems like people on this site like it so far so I’m assuming once I listen I’ll change my mind and I usually trust the Stereogum commenters because often they turn out to be right. I just hope Lotus Flower and Give Up the Ghost sound better in the Radiohead studio.

    • It is only 8 tracks, but it’s all most like, any more would be too much.
      At second listen it is bound together really tight. Well rooted (pun intended).
      So far…very easy to listen too.

    • This album is 37:29 long, so it’s also the shortest Radiohead LP. For comparison:

      Pablo Honey – 42:11
      The Bends – 48:37
      OK Computer – 53:27
      Kid A – 49:57
      Amnesiac – 43:55
      Hail To The Thief – 56:35
      In Rainbows – 42:43

      • Hail To The Thief is the longest and, in my opinion, the weakest.

        • hail to the thief and amnesiac are my favorites!!! how dare you! pablo honey was to poppy, the bends and ok computer were good and solid rock, kid a and in rainbows are emotional masterpieces, and in rainbows created wonderful soundscapes, with the exception of 15 step which is the most f@%@$ annoying song they’ve written. the king of limbs is one of the biggest disappointments in music since dylan plugged in. theres simply no substance in the king of limbs. its all plucking/drum machine nonsense. little by little is the only good track. and codex could have been good but there are hardly any vocals. these are my twisted words seemed to be a wonderful preview of what radiohead had in store for us next, but this is quite the letdown. its simply too dull, too short, and too electro. theres no You and Whose Army? moments. i could almost cry. i spent 6x as much money as there are songs on this album. if anything, this is their weakest album.

          • Oh, right. Because Dylan plugging in was a disappointment.

          • If only every artist could make such an enormous “mistake” as Dylan plugging in … then go on to produce one of rock’s seminal albums, “Blonde on Blonde.”

            No, “Kid A” was more like Dylan plugging in. I don’t know what I’d call this one, probably just a good album.

          • Have you heard Give Up The Ghost or Separator? The guitar lines are reminiscent of Faust Arp and House of Cards at the very least. And don’t even get me started on how Separator is quite possibly the happiest I have ever heard Radiohead.

            I will give you the fact that the album’s percussion sounds like 15 Step on crack (which I like), but if you have ever wished that production, space, and rhythm could create a beautiful album, then you have found it (see also, Darkstar, James Blake).

          • Good points.

            I also wonder how this site’s (and other blogs) objectivity is compromised by the rabid Radiohead fans that bring page visits.

        • really…where you end and i begin…2+2=5…wolf at the door. come on man all the albums are fantastic in there own right. i know we live live in a country where everyone is entitled to there opinion, however i disagree with yours; hail to the thief is incredible…i really feel people ate into the shit that was written about that album. they fantastic musician making unbelievable music, this we can all agree upon…can we please focus on that and not compare it to any other of the works

    • Don’t let the 8 tracks fool you, you can tell they put so much work into it. It’s perfectly layered.

    • Good Morning Mr. Magpie is also a Radiohead oldie, from the Gagging Order acoustic stuff.

    • well, radiohead has always played songs live well before they got onto the album. it really means nothing. besides lotus flower kills and is different than the atoms for peace version he performed in chicago on the sunday night. definitely more filled out, not just acoustic strumming.

    • Because commenting on records you haven’t listened to is a productive use of everyones time…

    • Now to reply to my own comment now that Ive listened to it. I love it. Even though it hasn’t grown on me yet, I can already tell I’m going to like it more than Hail To Thief. Now in terms of other albums, I think the most overrated album they’ve put out is the bends. Truthfully, how is it so much different from Pablo Honey? The only difference is that they were a little bit older and more talented at their instruments. But Pablo honey has just as many standouts (thinking about you, stop whispering, anyone can play guitar, creep) as the bends does. The only thing that confuses me about their new album is how it will play out live. Generally radiohead starts out their show with new stuff and then plays old stuff later on. On in rainbows, 15 step, all I need and reckoner were good openers. House of cards was a good closer. Nude, weird fishes, jigsaw falling into place and bodysnatchers were good songs to throw into the middle. This album doesn’t have any exciting songs I see them opening with. How I personally think they should do it is get promoting king of limbs over with by playing it start to finish in the beginning and then let the classics do the work the rest of the night (there there, idioteque, everything in it’s right place, paranoid android, lucky, karma police, no surprises). The only chance I somewhat see is for codex to be the next pyramid song because they are similar. Now to be positive, it’s the best drumming I have ever heard Phil do. Other than in live versions of optimistic, I’ve never heard such fast pace sophisticated drumming and this is coming from a drummer.

  17. Give Up The Ghost is amazing.

  18. I think it’s incredible. I love it. Separator is my favorite track so far. Also, might want to update the post with the official art:

  19. I’m in heaven right now. On my first listen. Lotus Flower and Little By Little are obvious standouts. But i have a feeling…just like every other Radiohead album ever made…that the standouts will change over time. What an amazing way to spend a Friday.

  20. Little by Little is amazing. Jesus, I am only three songs in and just the sheer intricacies in the instrumentals are astounding. I am definitely understanding why its called King of Limbs.

  21. the website is so flooded i can’t complete my purchase.

  22. woozefa  |   Posted on Feb 18th, 2011 +23

    i haven’t listened yet either, but it is clearly the best album every released.

  23. I’m liking the video. That was a pretty risky move to go for it in that manner. He never would have done that in the past. I think it was pulled off effectively, though. Not sure how I feel about this whole sexual vibe that’s entering their music in the past two albums, but it definitely adds another dimension to their music that wasn’t there before.

  24. After a few listens – it’s the Radiohead album I’ve been looking forward to. I would not say yet whether I like it more or less than In Rainbows, but I like it a lot.

  25. I love the sparse hand claps in Lotus Flower. It’s the little things like that that RH badasss.

  26. Two listens in, and I’m loving it all. Codex is fantastic and stands out for me at this point.

  27. I’m really digging this new album. A lot of people are saying that it’s not really groundbreaking, but I disagree. If you read their “Dead Space Air” blog, you can really pick out all the world music influence all over this album. Feral sounds almost like a Brazilian samba song, its amazing. I love how the band’s musical taste is so diverse, and it really shows in the album.

    • Sorry, blog is called Dead air space, haha my bad.

      • I love how people can say it’s “it’s not really groundbreaking” when iIT JUST CAME OUT?! People are so pretentious to suggest they can fully understand something so soon. Even if it did suck, give it time to suck.

        • Agree. Radiohead isn’t a band that can be “judged” on a first listen. I’m sure if that’s the way I approached their albums, I wouldn’t be a fan at all.

          I also feel like people shouldn’t compare it to their other stuff. I know people like to categorize everything, but why can’t we just enjoy it for what it is?

          • Isn’t that partly why you visit a music blog?

          • Theres really no reason why Radiohead should deserve preferential treatment over any other music out there. If this album sucked having Radiohead on the cover wouldn’t make it any better. It doesn’t suck though!

          • Yeah, no point giving it preferential treatment but I smell poser backlash on the wind. It takes me weeks to figure out if I even like a lot of records, months even, no point immediately staking a postion. Still, first listen was a pleasant experience.

  28. Is this the followup to Kid A/Amnesiac in the way that In Rainbows was OK Computer’s “followup”? I’m having trouble getting into it on first listen, which is a great sign I think…

  29. I’ve been waiting all week to hear this, and my headphones broke this morning…..

  30. Bloom is the stand out

    Also am I the only one who can’t seem to find Colin Greenwood anywhere. By that I mean no Nude bass lines here. Plenty of Phil Selway though.

  31. Anyone else experiencing time travel while listening to this? It goes by SO fast. It’s baffling. but incredible.

  32. Can Radiohead do No wrong? No they can’t the development of this band the progression of their talent. Been a fan since I was snot nose pimple face teen and Pablo Honey.
    I have said in the past that Radiohead will in the long run be compare to only one other band and that is the Beatles for their amazing core of music and the growth of the collective talent.
    Radiohead is the New Beatles you can argue the many reasons this statement may seem overly stated but it can not be denied that no other existing band has developed with such great consistancy and has had a Global impact in the same manner.

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Global impact? First, the Beatles have sold close to 500 million albums. Behind them in the rock categroy are Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd at around 200 million. Radiohead doesn’t even begin to have the impact of the Beatles, let alone Zeppelin and Floyd. That’s a ridiculous statement on your part.

      • And that’s a ridiculous statement on your part. Back when Zep and Floyd were goin around there was no such thing as MP3′s or sharing of media. It was all recorded to tangible pieces of media that needed to be purchased and therefor have all of the sales counted. How many people do you think have pirated versions of Radiohead albums. Although I am a fan of all of the before mentioned groups you must consider the fact that Radiohead ranks among them.

  33. The album is pretty awesome. Come to expect that from Radiohead at this point tho. Lotus Flower is definitely a standout from the first listen. I’m sure the others will grow over time like most of their songs do.
    Early Review:

  34. If pitchfork gave Waka Flocka 8.0 what does this album deserve?

  35. I feel like the second half is a lot stronger than the first.

  36. Pitchfork will roll out a new rating system with the release of this album.

    The King of Limbs-9.5674

  37. It feels like a really ornate jam session. Don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing yet as I’m only at Feral, but I’m cautiously optimistic about how much i like this thing!

  38. I have to give it a few more listens, although a good album, I’m not really really loving it as much as the rest of the comments here.

    I agree with David that the second half is stronger than the first, and i see the influences from bands Thom mentioned earlier.

    The album is probably their most consistent album from track to track, but at the same time no songs really stand out to me right now.

    I’m from the Pablo honey days, so I’m not entirely sure I prefer the more traditional radiohead because of that. I absolutely loved in Rainbows. I guess I just miss the 3 lead guitar type of tracks ;)

    I wish they added a couple of tracks to the My Iron Lung EP, and made that into an official album. It showed what radiohead could do to rock music back in 1994. The EP still sounds fresh to me when I listen to it today.

  39. Sounds great! Definitely different from In Rainbows…it actually sounds a bit more like Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief to me. It is strange and amazing.

  40. has there ever been a more important voice for a band than thom yorke?

  41. The King of Limbs? Never heard of him.

  42. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • One of the dumbest comments I’ve ever heard on the internet. And the internet is pretty dumb.

      (keep in mind that’s aimed at your comment about it just being a version of James Blake. If you can’t get into it, thats just a matter of taste).

    • i guess i can understand what you are trying to say, many of the songs do have a dub-steppy sort of rhythm to them. Thom is a huge burial fan…

      however its like comparing apples and oranges to me…..
      blake and radiohead both have their own distinct voices.

      This album is definitely a Radiohead album.

  43. Some commenters on are postulating that perhaps there is going to be another album released in the near future (maybe tomorrow as originally planned?). Thoughts?

  44. I can vividly remember the In Rainbows hoopla and all of the late night internet insta-reviews, so I’m going to hold off on my criticisms for now. That incident taught me that my first impressions in a crazy shit storm of hype and never ending live blogs cannot really be trusted.

  45. He played “Give Up The Ghost” at coachella last year with just a guitar and a looper I think. It was pretty sick.

    Also, the last track fucking hits home. Best one.

  46. i thought it was great, very messy, and glitchy. mr. pagpie is a winner

    Pablo Honey: 3/7
    The Bends: 6/7
    OK Computer: 7/7
    Kid A: 6/7
    Amnesiac: 4/7
    Hail To The Thief: 5/7
    In Rainbows: 6/7
    The King Of Limbs: 5/7

  47. Just incredible…Seriously people. Phil Selway is sick too!

    3 times through and the songs continue to get better.

    Cannot wait to sample it later on within some AKG’s.

  48. As stated by some reviewers before, I think the second half is stronger than the first half. After my first listen, the only track that really hit me in the face and stuck out to me, much like Airbag did when I first listened to OK Computer, was Separator. For me, it’s the most accessible track, that you can immediately start banging your head to. Honestly, much of the album reminds me of the more obscure tracks from Kid A, Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief (tracks that come to mind include Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors, Motion Picture Soundtrack, Like Spinning Plates, The Gloaming, Backdrifts, Hunting Bears, etc.), which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m not saying that they directly sound the same as those (in fact, they are quite different, though some of the same instrumentation is used), but rather that their obscurity and complexity (the album is incredibly layered) make for an album that, like past Radiohead albums, you’ll have to listen to many times to decide if you really like it or not.

    I’d say my favorite tracks so far are Lotus Flower and Separator. Feral is something else…it’ll take a few more listens for me to correctly digest. Same goes with Little By Little.

  49. So many rumors…”Yeah there are a lot of clues about a part 2. The concept of the “newspaper album” itself. The fact that they did not release the “album” saturday. The last song is called SEPARATOR and we can hear “If you think it’s over, then you’re wrong”. And the orders from the site are being marked TKOL1.”

    • I’m not so sure. Don’t get me wrong, 8 tracks is pretty short, and they did release an In Rainbows bonus disc. But I’m pretty sure this is the meat of the album. Releasing another 8 tracks would be crazy. It would be awesome, sure, but that would make for one big ass album overall.

  50. Very trippy stuff. I think these gentlemen are high? When listening on the bus this morning I felt like I was flying through a strange, magical forest in an outerspace kaleidoscope.

    Reminds me a bit of when I first heard Kid A, and I was like ‘I’m not sure what I am hearing, but it is weird and I like it.’ Lots of lush depth to these tracks. I like the way they build and then kind of spiral out of control.

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