Oh Happy Day... at least for the scores of Radiohead fans out there. Not only is it Friday, but the beloved rock band has released The King of Limbs, its latest album, online a day earlier than expected. Also notable: While fans were encouraged to pay whatever they wished for the band's last effort, 2007's In Rainbows, this time, an MP3 costs a firm $9. Is it worth it? Even more than usual, it depends whom you ask. (Watch a video for the album's first single, "Lotus Flowers")
Yawn: There are few surprises in this "disappointing" release, says Tim Jonze in The Guardian. The band's early albums like The Bends, OK Computer, and Kid A "carved out a radical new direction," and the last album, In Rainbows, was probably their best. While Radiohead is an innovative band with an "unusual" business model, I get the "nagging feeling that The King of Limbs is more like business as usual."
"Radiohead – The King of Limbs: First review
Well, it's certainly not a major work: "At least at first... Limbs doesn't knock you over," says Amos Barshad at New York. But perhaps that's intentional. The 37-minute album has just eight tracks, and its "relative skimpiness" and release model suggest "the band might be cool with this being taken as a relatively less ambitious part of the discography." Still, there's plenty to like on this "indubitably, Radiohead-y" album.
"Leaked: Radiohead stays succinct with King of Limbs"
Actually, it's full of surprises: The band goes in some surprising new directions on this one, and I like it, says Lucy Jones in The Telegraph. Gone is the angst and "existential anxiety" of previous releases. A less electronic, dance-y sound is pervaded with a "laidback, chilled ambience." All this makes for a veritable "treasure" of an album that puts the "band's ability to write beguilingly beautiful songs first and... the grit and testosterone on the backseat."
"The King of Limbs: Is this Radiohead's most feminine album?"
Another great album from an amazing band: The album may be short, but the "music is richly textured and complex," says Jim Fusilli in The Wall Street Journal. From the first listen, this album impresses with "moments of brilliance" and an easy "blend of traditional rock and contemporary electronic sounds." The band continues to demonstrate that they're simply the best, and this new album drives home that fact that Radiohead is making "the most interesting and satisfying rock recordings since the Beatles."
"Radiohead's The King of Limbs strikes beautiful balance"