Hail To The Thief

by Radiohead

(2003) Capitol

Personnel Thom Yorke: vocals, guitar, most lyrics, Jonny Greenwood: guitar, analogue systems, Colin Greenwood: bass, string synth, sampler. Ed O'Brien: Guitar, effects, backup vocals. Phil Selway: Drums, Percussion.
Description Radioheads' sixth album competes to OK Computers greatness, with Kid A and Amnesiacs oddness.
Posted By Jason Henderson (5681)
Directory Recordings: Rock/Pop
Rate/Review This Resource
Overall Rating: 5.0 (of 5)
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Member Reviews


On 1/10/2008, Michael Laurance (4040) posted:
Overall Rating:
This disc flows so well! It's just a good Saturday night chillin' cd. No, most people won't be into it, but that's what makes it good!
On 6/20/2003, Chuck Howard (650) posted:
Overall Rating:
Just like all their other albums, this one is completely different than the last. It doesn't sound like anything they've done before. You'll hear hints of The Bends and hints of what they were doing on Amnesiac and Kid A, but all in all this is a brand new sound. Almost progressive believe it ot not.

The funny thing about Radiohead is that each album has such a distinct sound that it throws you of the first few times you listen to it. For instance, Kid A was OK Computer's follow up and sounded so far removed from OK Computer that it was hard to get into at first. With OK Computer being one of my all time favorite albums, I was expecting too much from them on their release of Kid A. Almost hoping it would sound like OK Computer. Expecting it to. After a few weeks, Kid A became my favorite Radiohead album. The same thing happened with their release of Hail to the Thief. When I first put it in I had no idea what they were trying to do. Now that I've had a couple of weeks to emerse myself in the recording, I can't stop listening to it.

TRACKLISTING:

1) 2+2=5 - This song is a great way to open the album. It has that old school Radiohead feel to it. Straight up rock n' roll. Toward the end when the song picks up, Thom's voice almost sounds like Jack White's. You can tell they've been listening to some garage.

2) Sit Down. Stand Up. - I have a feeling this might end up becoming their next single after 'There, There'. So easy on the ears. Listen for the massive crecendo at the end of the song where they repeat "Raindrops" over and over again. Goosebump material.

3) Sail to the Moon - sounds similar to "The Pyramid Song". Incredible vocal line set to a beautiful piano part played to an odd time signature. A great compostion of harmony.

4) Backdrifts - typical Radiohead, but still very cool. Starts off with a droning, warble type moog synth sound; similar to 'Like Spinning Plates' with a drumbeat similar to 'Idiotech'.

5) Go To Sleep - Great song. Acoustic guitar with a great vocal line set to an odd time signature. Similar style as "Follow Me Around". I can hear hints of The Bends in this song. Especially toward they end when it breaks down into a straight up rock 'n roll groove.

6) Where I End and You Begin - This is by far my favorite track on the album. One of those I can't stop listening to. It starts off with a moog pad laying down the chord structure of the song for one phrase until the drums and bass kick in. Choice bassline. Very melodic and natural sounding. The vocal line just, like every other vocal line, is great. The highlight of the song is the part toward the end when what I think is a guitar being played with an ebow (you never know with Radiohead, it could be some rare ancient instrument) comes swooping in over the bassline and Thom's vocals.

7) We Suck Young Blood - The saddest track on the cd (what Radiohead album would be complete without one of these). It's got that feel of a song you'd hear a jazz band play in a bar at closing time in 1925 in front of one patron drinking whiskey; drowning their sorrows. Beautiful song.

8) The Gloaming - Return to Amnesiac and Kid A. I love this track. It's starts off with a deep (really, really deep) synth bass loop and a pad or two. It's joined a few bars later by a jungle type drum sample. It continues to layer throughout the rest of the song. Thom Yorkes vocal line is contangeous in this song. It ends with just the bass loop playing. Great song.

9) There, There - This was the first song I heard off the cd and is why I became so excited about the release. It's their first single and their most accessible song on the album. Something that could've also sounded great on The Bends.

10) I Will - Another sad track. Clean acoustic guitar chords layed underneath Thom harmonizing two vocal tracks. This song is pretty haunting. Especially when you know the lyrics. This is one of my favorites on the album as well.

11) Punch Up at a Wedding - I never thought I'd hear Radiohead create a song with a bluesy feel, but here it is. It starts off with a bluesy drum line with a really nice blues bassline layed over top of them. The bassline sounds like it might be a sample. I don't think Colin plays it over and over again. It almost sounds like a line that he played one day while they were rehearing and they happened to record it. The piano work is excellent in this song. Almost sounds like old "Elton John". Almost sounds like something Phish would've written around the 'Farmhouse' era. I'm not entirely psyced about the vocal line, but I'm sure it'll grow on me.

12) Myxomatosis - This is probably the strangest most progressive track Radiohead has ever done. It's guarenteed that you will never hear this song on the radio except for maybe at 3:00 AM on PBR or some college radio station. It starts off with ridiculously distorted bass line played along to a drum beat with sporadic snare and bass drum placement. Each snare hit is hit with an open hi hat. I still can't figure out the time signature. It's played in 8's though. That's all I can tell. Sounds like something King Crimson or Yes would've donw back in the 70's. This one is still growing on me, but I like it.

13) Scatterbrain - Starts off with a nice arpeggiated clean guitar progression that descends through four different chords. The drum beat is standard with the bassline following the chord progression. This is also one of their more accessible songs. Might become a single. Thom's voice is great in this song.

14) A Wolf at the Door - This is a great way to end the album. One of my favorite tracks off the recording. It doesn't really sound like a Radiohead song. For some reason, I don't think it's Thom singing the verses. It almost sounds like Beck, even though I know it's not him. It might be Ed singing. I'm not sure. The vocal line has almost a hip hop type feel to it. This is probably the most unradiohead song I've heard them do.

I can already tell this album is going to become one of my all time favorite albums. There's not a bad song on the album. I can't wait to hear them do this stuff live.
On 6/18/2003, Jason Henderson (5681) posted:
Overall Rating:
Most of this album the first time you listen to it you probably will think its so odd you wont be able to enjoy it. But it really is a good compilation of songs. There are about four or five songs that just grab your ears the first time you hear them, (of course, as with all radiohead albums), the others will come in time. This album doesn't have the emotion that OK Computer had, but it has the complexity and the numerous lyrical subjects. From political views to dreams to who knows what. The album goes from dark to light (Something not found lately on their albums), confusion to simple. This is a great album and shouldn't be overlooked. Radiohead actually use distortion once again, yet they have techno sounds popping in and out and pianos. The album is about moving onto a new period of hope and unknown, something that many can relate to. The album perfectly examples that, down to the artwork. Hail To The Thief does not dissapoint.