Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool – Album Review

So the day I was waiting for since 2011 finally arrived, after a 5 year long wait I finally got my hands on or rather downloaded digitally, Radiohead’s new album “A Moon Shaped Pool”. It’s been a long 5 years without a Radiohead album and the world went on but something was always missing, yes it was missing another masterpiece by the band from Oxford-shire. This is the 9th studio album from the group formerly known as ‘The Talking Heads’ but they were never much of talking heads, but rather were the track from their demo tape Radiohead. Damn! I am so happy! I can’t believe it’s out and I’m listening to it right now as I type this after hearing it about three times today. I had posted a facebook status a few weeks ago which basically said this ->

radiohead excitement

So as you can see people getting married left, right and centre or getting engaged and popping up on my news feed made absolutely no damn difference to me. The expected reaction should have been contemplating about when my turn would come and feel bad or whatever but fuck that! Honestly I really don’t want to get married in a hurry or find my soul mate I’m a happy lone wolf, Mr.solo dolo but anyway I digress I was clearly fucking kicked about this album for like a year!! Ever since the band formed their company Dawn Chorus LLP specifically for this album’s sales and their producer Nigel Godrich posted a picture of the band recording, apart from Johnny Greenwood saying “A lot of material has been recorded” in October! I was super fucking kicked. Later they released their song ‘Spectre’ which was intended to be used for the James Bond movie but didn’t make the cut! It was ok, I didn’t like it that much and was dying to hear something off LP 9.

Anyway about 3 weeks ago something weird happened, Radiohead’s social media accounts which I was following and checking every single day went blank! Poof ! They erased every damn post on it, I immidiately knew something was up.

Later news got out of the band sending a weird picture to all their fans with a note saying “Sing a song of six-pence that goes, Burn the witch, We know where you live” the picture is the same one I posted in my facebook post above. I had no clue what the fuck it was, seriously who does shit like that!? But I knew the album was coming soon!

So after teasing fans worldwide on instagram with snippets they finally released their first single “Burn The Witch” and I flipped ! Later it was followed up by “Daydreaming” and I was in dreamland.

So now I’ll get straight to the review because I’ve made you read this much nonsense 😛

  1. Burn The Witch

    The song’s intro starts with violent violins or something (I’m not sure what instruments those are but they are violins most probably) and then the beat drops with Philip Selway introducing the band after their 5 year hibernation! Soon after that Thom begins; His voice introduces the new album with such a dark, classic line “Stay in the shadows”, he sings “Cheer at the gallows” trying to make the listeners paint a picture of a medieval time where a witch is going to be burned, I mean which other era would you cheer at the gallows? ” This is a round up ” he sings on, I sat there picturing the townsmen rounding up all the witches. He sings on “This is a low flying panic attack ” almost as if to signify how a woman accused of being a witch would feel a attack of sudden panic. “Sing-song the jukebox that goes” he sings with such an fervent catchy tune that it almost makes you want to join in! Then in his typical falsetto voice (which I am a fanatic about) sings “Burn the witch/ We know where you live”  Immediately after I heard that I went ‘Oh so that was what the picture sent to fans was about!” The bloody chorus! Genius!. The music plays on which is as pumped as Radiohead get(that pump with a lull) and and in the middle you can hear your typical movie score sounds. The instruments are definitely from an orchestra which sound eclectic and inspiring. A full blooded attack on fans after their long absence from the scene – The song ends with the same violent violins which leave you wanting more. All in all a kick ass track to start the album!

    Rating – 8/10

  2. Daydreaming
    A stark contrast to “Burn the witch”, “Daydreaming” is the “Codex” of this album. The piano intro is progressive and melancholic. Radiohead have always had this thing with melancholic lullabies and “Daydreaming” is certainly one of their slower songs straight out of the top draw. “Dreamers, they never learn” sings Thom, which is such a strong statement of dire despair for all of us who are dreamers.
    The video almost inception like, shows Thom wandering through a number of sceneries from a laundry to somebody’s living room to a bloody snow filled mountain. The music has shades of “Codex” but is unique with the progressive piano throughout and the orchestra coming in at just the right moments! While Colin’s bass guitar is loud and resounding all through the song. “It’s too late, the damage is done” sings Thom which is such a typical Radiohead lyric going back to the words “Everything and everyone is broken” on Planet Telex or “The emptiest of feelings” on Let Down. The track is a melancholic marvel and work of art, in fact I liked it so much I played it on repeat the night it came out and fell asleep to it. A quintessential Radiohead lullaby with an eerie haunting vibe. All in all a classic slow Radiohead song. As ‘The Telegraph’ put it ‘ a somnabulant stumble through half-waking dreamscapes where sounds and images collide but never quite come into focus.’
    Really what a description!

    Rating – 8/10

  3. Decks Dark
    The drum pad begins and Philip kicks in perhaps my favourite track of the album Thom’s piano begins the intro and he sings the chorus in the beginning which is such a killer thing to do. I love the lyrics so much I had to share the whole thing,

    “And in your life, there comes a darkness( I love this line!)
    This spacecraft blocking out the sky (Continuing the space narrative of the album’s theme)
    And there’s nowhere to hide
    You run to look back and you call on your knees
    But it’s the loudest sound you’ve ever heard
    Now we’re trapped we’re dark cast people
    We are helpless to resist
    In your darkest hour”

    Bloody hell what lyrics! Every line is so epic! As soon as the chorus ends the drums kick in along with the piano reminiscent of the chorus kicking in on”You and who’s army”that along with the haunting background score. The strumming is magnificent throughout and I have to say the bass line on this track is absolutely sick! Really just listen to it ! I can’t decide whether “Bloom” has a better bass line or this one but we’ll go with this one. Colin Greenwood is a very under-rated musician and Flea of RHCP might grab all the headlines as the best bass player in the world but Colin is right up there as well. All in all a mind-blowing song.
    The instrumental in the later part of the song is fantastic! Johnny finally comes in with a few a guitar riffs which are teasing and proclaiming his arrival. I love the theme of this album and specifically this track with Thom sining the Outro going
    “We will never know
    We will never know
    So dark
    So dark
    So dark
    So dark”

    Love it!

    Rating 10/10

  4. Desert Island Disk

    I have to say I had heard this song when Thom performed at ‘The Pathway To Paris’ concert for climate change awareness. And I was mind blown! So anyway I wasn’t so excited about hearing this particular song on the album. Anyway if you have seen that live performance you would remember Thom saying “This is Johnny’s bit” so I was waiting patiently for it. And then when I heard the whole track I was happy to finally hear the official finished product. Johnny, Thom and Ed really team up to kill this bloody song. I love the guitar work on this song it’s so intricate and so melodic. Completely astounding acoustic guitar work!  One thing about this song in particular, what bloody amazeballs lyrics!!
    “Now as I go upon my way
    So let me go upon my way
    Born of a light
    Born of a light

    The wind rushing round my open heart
    An open ravine
    In my spirit white
    Totally alive
    In my spirit light

    Through an open doorway
    Across a street
    To another life
    And catching my reflection in a window
    Switching on a light,
    The one I didn’t know
    Totally alive
    Totally released”

    I had to post almost the whole song’s lyrics except the chorus because they are so bloody good ! “Yeah you know what I mean” as Thom sings on the chorus!

    Rating – 9/10

  5. Ful Stop
    If you thought “The National Anthem” was Radiohead’s anthem wait until you hear “Ful Stop”! The intro builds up slowly with a sick bass line with Colin going hard on the bass guitar and Philip’s drum slowly, hautingly building up speed and it made my heart race faster when I heard it for the first time as Thom sings on” You really messed up everything” well they certainly didn’t mess anything with the music on this one! The drumming on this one is in layers and so progressively built up that it sounds fucking amazing! Then when Johnny and Ed join in with their guitars I was like “Holy bloody hell!” seriously, what a gaudy monstrous beast of a track!  Johnny and Ed also progressively layer their guitar work to weave your mind in knots. This mind blowing track is finally where all the band members flex their musical muscles on the album. That’s the truth and the hard fact. “To be trapped in your full stop, The truth will mess you up!” sings Thom! A head-nodding, foot tapping brilliant masterpiece from the grand masters of Alternative rock – Radiohead.  Absolutely loved this track. Turn it on and crank the volume up !!

    Rating 10/10

  6. Glass Eyes
    This song is another enchanting lullaby but wait just listen to the lyrics they will literally make you cry.
    “Hey it’s me
    I just got off the train
    A frightening place
    Their faces are concrete grey
    And I’m wondering, should I turn around?
    Buy another ticket
    Panic is coming on strong
    So cold, from the inside out
    No great job, no message coming in
    And you’re so small
    Glassy eyed light of day
    Glassy eyed light of day

    The path trails off
    And heads down a mountain
    Through the dry bush, I don’t know where it leads
    I don’t really care
    And the path trails off
    And heads down a mountain
    Through the dry bush, I don’t know where it leads
    I don’t really care

    I feel this often, go
    I feel this often, go”

    Just take a second to read that again. Wow ! Really they so perfectly describe the dreary monotony of everyday life and travelling to our destinations actually going nowhere and feeling empty within. That’s exactly how I bloody feel !  Every single day! Radiohead capture the dreary, numbing, banal trials of everyday life so perfectly in all their music it just makes me wonder, ‘How do they come up with this stuff?’ what perfect lyrics!  “I don’t know where it leads, I don’t really care,I feel this often, go, I feel this often, go” Perfect.

     

    Another beautiful piano melody in the background playing throughout makes this short track another teary eyed anthem for the everyday commute. I’m going to listen to this when I’m travelling and look around and soak everything in and it’ll probably leave me smiling at the beauty of this song and the sadness in the world as I enjoy it alone in my mind.

    Rating – 8/10

  7. Identikit

    The beat kicks in with Philip drumming a beat similar to “Down is the new up”, it sounded rather familiar or a variant, like on In Rainbows with either Thom, Ed or Johnny giving a sick intro to the song. I had seen a video of this song before it got out because they’ve been teasing this song for a while now and I didn’t like it when I saw the video on Youtube but on this album it sounds mad!

    “Sweet-faced ones with nothing left inside
    That we all can love
    That we all can love
    That we all can love

    When I see you messing me around
    I don’t want to know
    I don’t want to know
    I don’t want to know

    Broken hearts make it rain

    Pieces of the wreck of mankind
    That you can’t create”

    This song reminded me of one of my ex-girlfriends in particular and I had to sing along with the chorus “I don’t want to know” which I really don’t want to about her because I hated it when it messed me up all those long years. But I don’t really give a fuck now. She’s just a memory. It’s done. Anyway that aside wait for Johnny’s guitar solo on this song, it’s at the end and is one epic guitar solo of gigantic proportions!
    Nice track.

    Rating – 8/10

  8. The Numbers

    Again another one played by Thom at ‘Pathway to Paris’ but youtube called it ‘Silent Spring’ for some reason. So when I heard this one I wasn’t too excited but it’s an amazing song nonetheless. A powerful song with a political theme and the people having a power of their own and taking it back from the corrupt system… One day at a time.

    “It holds us like a phantom
    The touch is like a breeze
    It shines its understanding
    See the moon smiling

    Open on all channels
    Ready to receive
    And we’re not at the mercy
    Of your shimmerers or spells
    Your shimmerers or spells
    Mmmhm

    We are of the earth
    To her we do return
    The future is inside us
    It’s not somewhere else
    It’s not somewhere else
    It’s not somewhere else


    (One day at a time)
    One day at a time


    We call upon the people
    People have this power
    The numbers don’t decide
    Your system is a lie
    The river running dry
    The wings of a butterfly
    And you may pour us away like soup
    Like we’re pretty broken flowers
    We’ll take back what is ours
    Take back what is ours


    One day at a time”

    Really liked this one especially the lyrics when Thom performed it, but on the album sounds even better with the whole band playing it! Beautiful.

    Rating – 9/10

  9. The Present Tense

    Yet another one I had heard before with that video of Thom performing this song on an acoustic guitar at Glastonbury. So again I had literally heard this a million times before it came out on the album. This song has been in the works for years with that Glastonbury video happening in 2009 so you can imagine.”This dance, is a like a weapon, of self defense” “Keep it light and keep it moving” But I absolutely love this song! “As my world comes crashing down, I’ll be dancing, freaking out!”  I love that line so much! I can relate to it so much. Especially being an ex-acid tripper and somebody who loves to freak out and dance. Ending with “All this love will be in vain” which is so true for me and most of us, “And you have lost, And you have lost”. Which was the case with her and it’s a line for her as well. A really killer song, really.

    Rating – 9/10

  10. Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief

    What the hell is this song title really, what the hell is that? I just felt so tired typing it out. But the song is great, a fantastic song. I’m so glad Radiohead work so well together and this song is another tight track. With all of them contributing magnificently. I love Thom’s writing man! I try to write like him, I really do but he’s just godlike! beyond godlike
    “All the holes at once are coming alive, set free
    Out of sight and out of mind, lonely
    And they pray

    The ones you light your fires to keep away
    Crawling out upon, expending
    And all you have to do is say yeah

    All the birds stay up in the trees
    All the fish swim down too deep
    And they pray
    Honey, come to me before it’s too late

    The ones you light your fires to keep away
    Is crawling out upon, expelling
    And all you have to do is say yeah”

    This one is for my girl as well , “Honey come to be before it’s too late, And all you have to do is say yeah” Haha perfect.

    Rating – 9/10

  11. True Love Waits
    This song ! Finally on an album, I have heard this song again millions of times and had dedicated it to my ex-girl who I loved very much. I love this song so much and this rendition of it is so majestic. It really is. Thom decided he would play the piano like on “Last flowers” instead of the acoustic guitar which he did on the live versions. They lyrics are beautiful, so beautiful, really I loved this song madly. But this version is even better. “I’ll drown my beliefs, To have your babies, Your tiny hands, your crazy kitten smile, Just don’t leave”

    Rating – 9/10

    This album is one modern marvel from the best band of the last two decades. And you’ll love it more and more every time you hear it. I’m so happy right now. Just too happy !

    Just pour a drink and sit back and relax while Radiohead take you through a journey on their space craft to ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’.

    Comparing it to their other albums, I feel it’s right up there with In Rainbows, Amnesiac, The King of Limbs and Kid A. It could be one of the best but that’s  just probably now because it’s so new. Anyway I feel In Rainbows is their best, but this would definitely come a close second. Radiohead are my favourite band from the last two decades better than Nirava, Alice In Chains etc from 90s bands. But fuck that seriously, what a fucking album!

    Love it!

    Cheers to all you ! 😀

 

 

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