Release Date: 4th June 2001 [UK], 5th June 2001 [US], 27th May 2001 [Japan]
Label: Capitol/EMI Records
Producers: Radiohead and Nigel Godrich.
Recorded: No idea, mate.
Known Formats: CD, Minidisc, Cassette, Vinyl
Peak Chart Position: #1 [UK], #2 [US]
Having disappeared for 3 years, the band had a set of 26 songs that they wanted to release. Deciding to split them up
and release two separate albums, Kid A was released in October 2000 with 10 of the tracks. 8 months
later Amnesiac was released with 11 tracks and singles to come with it. The band didn't release any singles or make any videos
for the last album, but this time things would be different. Yes, this means we get b-sides :) Sounding more like a mix
of mainstream rock and electronica, Amnesiac was more suited to the mainstream. Yet it is still not by any means a regular record.
Following the end of the OK Computer tour, Radiohead were exhausted by the amount of media exposure that they
had attracted. They decided to take a break, and were not heard of for 3 years. At the end of this period, when the band came together
again and decided it was time to put an album out, they found that they had something like 26 completed songs that they wanted to release
and at first, discussed the idea of a double album. This idea was soon scrapped, and the band set about arranging the songs into
two sets that sounded well together.
Kid A formed itself quite easily, and used up 10 of the tracks the band had wanted to release. 8 months later, Amnesiac
had taken shape and was released. With 11 tracks, and singles with b-sides to be released. The sound is one similar to Kid A,
yet the entire feel of the album is something different. It comes from somewhere different altogether. Featuring some electronic tracks such as
Like Spinning Plates and some more guitar driven tracks like Knives Out. It's a more mainstream record than the previous one. But only just.
Released in the UK on June 4th 2001, it shot straight in at #1. A day later was the American release, and it entered the Billboard charts at #2. Critics
on the whole, received it much better than the previous album, which was attacked for being different. Maybe it was simply, as Thom had said, that
it needed time to be understood. And that everyone forming an opinion after only a few listens had the wrong end of the stick.
If you listen to Kid A after Amnesiac, it makes more sense.
Radiohead went on a full world tour for Amnesiac, touring America, Canada, Japan and Europe, as they hadn't for Kid A. However, they only played two shows in the UK. One for a selective Jools Holland audience to be televised on BBC, and
the other a massive homecoming gig at Oxford, supported by Beck, Supergrass, Sigor Ross and many more. At the last minute, they changed their minds about a track and played Creep for the first time in years. All in all, I'd say
Radiohead are enjoying music again, and that's great to hear.
"We basically did a thing of recording, getting all this material together and wanting to release it, and as soon as we decided to split it into two, it just became a lot easier, really. We could put together 40 minutes of music, which is how long we wanted it to be." - Jonny
"'Kid A' is like a message recorded on your answer phone, whilst 'Amnesiac' is a good, direct conversation with someone, a more present example and representation of the music that we've been recording over the past 18 months." - Colin
"The more we looked at [the songs that became Amnesiac] the more they stuck together. It's pretty diverse, and a completely different album from Kid A... A balance of the more obscure textural stuff, like 'Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors,' and songs with verses and choruses." - Ed
After you learn to appreciate the electronic soundscapes of Kid A, and you've opened your musical mind a little, Amnesiac comes in seeming
like there's nothing different about it. Yet it is different. Recorded in the same sessions as the last album, at least half of the songs on this one
are still electronic. There are some guitar driven tracks, and the music on the whole is more conventional. Or is it? Maybe we're just quicker to appreciate
this different style of music, now that Kid A has crept into our heads. Maybe Amnesiac isn't conventional at all, but now that we're used to
the shock of how the previous album sounded, this one is easier to take.
Either way, Amnesiac is a great album. It draws influences from both Kid A and OK Computer. It's still mainly an electronic record
but there are hints of the old guitar sound. A lot of the live and unreleased songs the band had been touring with ended up on this album.
Overall, I think it's a better album than Kid A. As great as it was, Kid A had no emotion with it. Amnesiac does. It's hard to describe, because
they're both similar sounding records yet you can hear that they're coming from a completely different place. The sound is similar, yet its meaning is far from the same. Amnesiac is more
of an emotional record, and it's up there with the best albums of all time.