Hail To The Thief

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Hail To The Thief Image
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics What's this?

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8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 526 Ratings

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  • Summary: Not quite the return to the "rock" side of Radiohead as originally believed (although pretty close), the band's sixth album (produced again by Nigel Godrich) retains some of the experimental electronica elements of its predecessors Kid A and Amnesiac. Note that each of the tracks on theNot quite the return to the "rock" side of Radiohead as originally believed (although pretty close), the band's sixth album (produced again by Nigel Godrich) retains some of the experimental electronica elements of its predecessors Kid A and Amnesiac. Note that each of the tracks on the album has an alternate title, as does the album itself (aka 'The Gloaming'). Expand

Top Track

There There
In pitch dark I go walking in your landscape Broken branches Trip me as I speak Just 'cause you feel it Doesn't mean it's there Just 'cause you feel... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Alternative Press
    100
    There's something for everyone here. [Jul 2003, p.120]
  2. For its moments of gravity and excellence, Hail to the Thief is an arrow pointing toward the clearly darker, more frenetic territory the band have up to now only poked at curiously.
  3. An incredible album from a band that continues to redefine its boundaries.
  4. Despite the fact that it seems more like a bunch of songs on a disc than a singular body, its impact is substantial.
  5. This is truly an album that will stay with you once you’ve let it work its way in.
  6. While it’s unrealistic to expect another Kid A-like transformation, by pulling all those familiar elements together, Hail to the Thief sounds, well, a little familiar. [Note: Score listed is an average of two separate reviews: a 68 and a 90.]
  7. The new songs have attitude, but they sound like outtakes from 2000's classic Kid A and 2001's lesser Amnesiac.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 4 out of 142
  1. Jan 2, 2013
    10
    It would appear that many of the lukewarm or negative reviews of Hail to the Thief have more to do with the density of this album [rather thanIt would appear that many of the lukewarm or negative reviews of Hail to the Thief have more to do with the density of this album [rather than any sub-standard songwriting on Radiohead's part]. Compared with the sparser textures of Kid A and [to a lesser extent] Amnesiac, which made these records more accessible despite the music's experimental nature, Hail to the Thief is thick with sound and heavily layered. Not only does this mean that more plays are needed to get to grips with, and appreciate, the power of the songs and their many subtleties, but also that listening to Hail to the Thief is exhausting - a result of the dense texture combined with a sense of melancholy and heaviness that saturates the 14 tracks. The fact that O'Brien and Greenwood have picked up their guitars again as well as the band continuing to use electronic sounds means that Hail to the Thief can be likened to Radiohead around the time of The Bends/Ok Computer playing at the same time as Radiohead circa Kid A. Given this, it is no wonder there is a lot going on, sonically.
    As ever, Radiohead are breaking a lot of new ground here, as is especially apparent in tracks like A Wolf at the Door [musically pretty verses with a Yorke's drunken stream-of consciousness overlaid, and a simple, catchy, and highly effective 'The Bends'-like chorus], and the dance-like Backdrifts [with the chord progression that sounds like it should go with a piano ballad, but rhythmic elements and electronic pips that belong on the dancefloor]. However, there are plenty of nods to previous albums in Hail to Thief; Johnny Greenwood's shimmering octave-up guitar effects on Sail to the Moon are reminiscent of Subterranean Homesick Alien, and his playing on Go To Sleep could easily belong on The Bends.
    Hail to the Thief also has its share of Radiohead's signature melancholic beauty, in the piano and glockenspiel opening of Sit Down. Stand Up[before it is shattered by a storm of electronic and vocal raindrops], the soaring slowness of Sail to the Moon, and pure vocal harmonies in I Will [surely Radiohead are masters of making anger something so beautiful]. The Upshot: All these factors combine to make an album that's success is due to the right mix of original sonic experimentation and elements from their previous albums. Of all their studio albums, Hail to the Thief is likely the most difficult to digest and comprehend, but to do so is certainly worth it. Persevere in getting to know the songs intimately, and be rewarded with the emotional power and musicianship of Radiohead at their very best.
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  2. yuanfen2046
    May 29, 2006
    10
    one of my fav Radiohead album after OK Computer
  3. jackc
    Jun 1, 2003
    10
    incredibly amazing
  4. Aug 20, 2010
    10
    Besides being in my humble opinion a phenomonal record and also in my opinion being tied for third (with The Bends) in Radiohead's discographyBesides being in my humble opinion a phenomonal record and also in my opinion being tied for third (with The Bends) in Radiohead's discography (behind OK Computer and Kid A), Radiohead diversifies themselves and shows all the Creep lovers and Kid A fanatics that we can all just get along and make a record that has it all. From heavy rock (2+2=5, Myxomytosis), to jazz (Sail to the Moon, We Suck Young Blood), to electronic (Sit Down Stand Up, Backdrifts, The Gloaming), to rock funk (Where I End and You Begin, A Punch Up at a Wedding), to Beatles/Rolling Stones-clad rock tunes (Go to Sleep, There There, A Wolf at the Door), to heart felt ballads (I Will, Scatterbrain.) It may be noticed that I have named every song on the album in that list, yet this only furthers my point that this is a record that somehow combines several very different genres to create a very well synced album. Not only that, but lyrically, Radiohead almost undoubtedly writes out their most politically vocal set of songs that exemplifies thier Orwellian and anti-Big Brother views in a way that is while very open, but is also not completely in your face and gives you an opportunaty to enjoy the music while not having to focus in politically. In this album Radiohead in a raw manner redefines their sound (again) and in the process creates a very memorable record. Expand
  5. MaxM
    Jun 21, 2007
    9
    This music is different and it sucks that Radiohead is my favorite band because I can't find any music that is similar to it only better.
  6. Apr 13, 2012
    8
    Not quite up with their best work and probably 3 tracks too long but still a great album with some moments of absolute brilliance. After theNot quite up with their best work and probably 3 tracks too long but still a great album with some moments of absolute brilliance. After the excitement that came with it's predecessors, this was slightly anti climatic. There is something about the album that just gives it a gloomier than normal feel.It was great to hear Johnny Greenwood's guitar strongly involved for the majority of the album after it's bitpart on Kid A and Amnesiac. 2+2=5, There There and Myxamatosis were the highlights for me. Expand
  7. lewisc
    Apr 24, 2006
    0
    shit

See all 142 User Reviews