Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. 100
    Like every other album, there are the trademarks we've all come to grow and love from the band and by the end of this, all of the most loving adjectives one could shower on an album will be spread all over The King of Limbs.
  2. Feb 18, 2011
    100
    A fans-pleasing eighth album from Britain's most consistently brilliant band.
  3. Feb 23, 2011
    90
    Right now I'm pretty content with digging The King of Limbs as I'd dig any new record: enjoying the personality that comes from the record itself and not the name behind it. And guess what? Radiohead makes good music. As if you had any doubt.
  4. Feb 22, 2011
    90
    Where In Rainbows was mellow but brisk - an album that felt on its way somewhere - these songs are eerie and insidious, creeping like shadows - and, often because of the haunting voice of Thom Yorke, the occasional chill.
  5. Feb 22, 2011
    90
    Still, swirling in there with Yorke's apocalyptic surrealisms and his band's tricky rhythms, there's a beating heart that feels almost animal. If The King of Limbs doesn't feel alive to you at first, give it some time to wake up.
  6. Feb 22, 2011
    90
    As with anything that's trying to do something bigger and better, lessons of that magnitude can take more time to sink in, definitely longer than the handful of hours we've had to absorb what The King of Limbs might be all about. In that sense, the jury is still out on The King of Limbs and that's because there's always something more to Radiohead.
  7. Almost two decades later, and they prove why everyone continues to keep tabs and standards for not only the band, but everyone around trying to live up to the influence.
  8. The material here is as strong as we've come to expect from this band, but its pleasures aren't nearly as surface-level as even Kid A's. The best way to judge The King of Limbs in the long run may simply be to hope someone spurs Radiohead on in this direction.
  9. Feb 22, 2011
    83
    As is Radiohead's custom, The King Of Limbs hasn't been designed for immediate comprehension or acceptance.
  10. Dec 14, 2011
    80
    There's just incredible depth to The King Of Limbs, and if you're impatient, you'll miss it.
  11. May 24, 2011
    80
    It's been a long time since Radiohead made records with an eye toward anything more than satisfying the band's own creative impulses, if it ever did. Those who are prepared to stick it out, though, may well find The King of Limbs worth the wait.
  12. May 16, 2011
    80
    Radiohead's ambitions are so modest that it's hard to tell whether this is just creative throat clearing or the quieter path they've settled for. If it's the latter, well, Radiohead sound calmer and more content than ever. [May 2011, p.106]
  13. May 3, 2011
    80
    "Feral," "Codex" and "Giving Up The Ghost" finally win me over. [Apr 2011, p.62]
  14. Apr 12, 2011
    80
    The King of Limbs passes like a breeze, and has you skipping back to the start as soon as the final track fades out. [May 2011, p.90]
  15. Mar 8, 2011
    80
    Though King Of Limbs may be the band's simplest and most inaccessible album to date, the tone and mood created by the chaotic start and smooth finish makes it an exciting work.
  16. Feb 28, 2011
    80
    Within Radiohead's oeuvre, TKOL most closely resembles Kid A and Amnesiac, the double-headed phoenix that rose out the ashes of the band's turn-of-the-century identity crisis. The only thing missing this time around is, well, the identity crisis.
  17. Feb 24, 2011
    80
    The brevity is a disappointment and the songs at times feel like B-sides of something more un-inked, but Radiohead are (and definitively always will be) musicians capable of emotion at the rawest base and somehow binding it to melody and lyric-forever haunting and influencing future generations too numerous to count or imagine.
  18. Feb 24, 2011
    80
    Listening to it, you're reminded that Radiohead are the only band of their size and status that seem driven by an impulse to twist their music into different shapes.
  19. Feb 24, 2011
    80
    For these guys, disappearing completely and disappearing into the groove are pretty much the same thing.
  20. 80
    The King of Limbs sounds like the bastard offspring of dubstep and Nico Muhly, the brilliant composer whose string and choral arrangements inhabit the open spaces between contemporary classical and art-rock.
  21. Feb 22, 2011
    80
    King Of Limbs is a subtle, muti-layered affair - surprisingly low-key in places, and it certainly won't win back any fans who checked out in the late '90s.
  22. 80
    Okay, so how do they still fare? With The King of Limbs, reasonably well.
  23. Feb 24, 2011
    79
    Radiohead's eighth record, The King of Limbs, represents a marked attempt to create a considered and cohesive unit of music that nonetheless sits somewhere outside of the spectrum of their previous full-length discography.
  24. Mar 1, 2011
    78
    The King of Limbs demands some deep immersion for comprehension, just as a traveler from a foreign land must lose himself in the culture to understand where they are.
  25. 75
    Maybe more context, and a little more heart, will make The King of Limbs feel less unreal.
  26. Mar 1, 2011
    70
    Masters of mood that they are, Radiohead digitally weave stuttering, glitchy loops of drums and guitars with real instruments, Thom Yorke's mournful moan and keening falsetto acting as a binding agent, creating an alluringly dour atmosphere.
  27. Feb 23, 2011
    70
    The truth is, however much or little you enjoy them, Radiohead are one of the few mainstream bands who try not to retrace their steps.
  28. The King Of Limbs, named after a famous oak in the Savernake forest near the studio where In Rainbows was made, is good but not great.
  29. Feb 18, 2011
    70
    No, The King of Limbs is not a world-beating album, and it was never meant to be; it's an album about Radiohead trying to iron out their own creases and fix their own flaws, and judged on those terms, it's another success.
  30. Feb 18, 2011
    70
    The King of Limbs finds Yorke and company preparing to forge a new path while taking a pensive look at what has gone before.
  31. Mar 8, 2011
    69
    Last time around, on 2007's In Rainbows, the music was just as interesting as all of the hoopla surrounding the album's impromptu, pay-what-you-will release. The King of Limbs cannot boast the same.
  32. Mar 3, 2011
    67
    Such moments of unnerving beauty make The King of Limbs, despite its complete lack of guitar-rock grandeur, worth revisiting time and again.
  33. Feb 25, 2011
    65
    Interestingly, the very qualities that make this a subpar Radiohead album are what make it their most experimental record yet. But this is also Radiohead elliptically circling back on themselves in dramatic form.
  34. Feb 23, 2011
    63
    The new Radiohead never resolves the friction between the physical freedom of dance music and the carefully constructed architecture of more insular, inward looking art-pop.
  35. May 16, 2011
    60
    They've delivered their biggest surprise to date. A record that falls short for its constituent parts. [May 2011, p.100]
  36. Mar 1, 2011
    60
    The King of Limbs is very much a rhythm-driven album; skittering, off-kilter beats underpin the majority of the songs on show.
  37. Feb 28, 2011
    60
    There are surely treasures to be found in The King of Limbs, as the listens pile up, so does the expectation for a short Jonny Greenwood ascending guitar phrase or a rapid click of the cymbals by Selway.
  38. 60
    The King of Limbs is Radiohead's Sky Blue Sky–a reliably enjoyable record that follows a heightened run of musical genius.
  39. 50
    The King of Limbs, a breezy exploration of the depths of subliminal glitch-folk, is this band's admission that the labyrinth of post–OK Computer zigs and zags they've led their audience through may never again lead to an arena-rock goldmine.
  40. Feb 24, 2011
    40
    If this were purely an experimental electronic album, we'd overlook the lack of hooks, but even as such it's not particularly impressive.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 507 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 196
  1. Feb 18, 2011
    10
    Radiohead, under the gun of expectation, have not disappointed with their eighth studio album "The King of Limbs." The title itself is provocative of something large, and even the album cover hints as well. The King of Limbs is very drum heavy, which is somewhat of a step away from their usual routine, but still manages to resonate the true Radiohead frequencies. One thing that sticks out is the evident direction with which Radiohead seems to be tending. This album leans toward a modern classical direction. This may be due to leader Thom Yorke's infatuation with dubstep and certain electronic music. On the other hand, the band still keeps its grounding, with Johnny Greenwood's haunting keyboards, and Colin's bass driving the beats of Phil Selway's lathered drum section. The King of Limbs is very beat heavy, with Thom using his voice to complement the aura surrounding the left and right that make up the production of Nigel Godrich. There is a different Radiohead in every one of the eight songs on The King of Limbs, with the majority of the tunes relating back to the second set of songs on In Rainbows. Lotus Flower, which has a brilliant video concurrently released today, is the awe-inspiring track to The King of Limbs. It contains hints of dubstep, but also plays fairly close to Idioteque. Thom Yorke's vocals on this album as a whole reach high and low, as expected from Radiohead nearly twenty years now. One prolific aspect of this album is the ability Yorke encompasses during his "sliding" of vocals. Yorke, now in his forties, still has the power he had back in 2000's Kid A, and continues to create new avenues to hone and elaborate his use of vocals. Radiohead never ceases to disappoint, and certainly do not do so here. The album is just under forty minutes in length, which is a true disappointment, but I hope the "Newspaper" edition that comes out will contain bonus songs or something of the sort. Radiohead's eighth album The King of Limbs is a knocker with power, force, and a soul to reckon with, the only inhibition the album may experience is its length-challenged state. But this may also be a strength. It may cause a desire for more! Keep the people guessing. They have been keeping the public guessing since way back in September, why stop now? I would also like to strike a chord with the lyric substance in the album. The album contains parts, in its minute state, with little lyrical substance, which, in my opinion, can be disappointing. I will say it now that, the length and lyrical shortcomings may cause a negative stir among the Radiohead fan base. But if you ask me, this album is In Rainbow's antagonist. It takes In Rainbows, and flips it on its side. A new world of music, but keeps the Radiohead vibrations resonating. This album is brilliant. It is no surprise nor expectation fulfilled. It is Radiohead without being typical or predictable. Full Review »
  2. Feb 19, 2011
    3
    How far can a great band fall? I must have listened to The Bends hundreds of times and OK Computer, thousands. Since those two strokes of brilliance, Radiohead has slowly descended into a melody-free, experimental, electronic haze that not only fails to rock but fails to amuse. I just looked at how many songs I've kept (did not delete) from their last five albums: 6,5,5,4,3,0). Most of those are tracks I rarely listen to. Well, Thom and company have just notched another zero. This album, like the last few is a lazy, soulless, electronic mess. Buzzes, clicks, digital bass lines and sparse clicks that don't amount to music. If you loved the band I once did, don't listen to this. Save your memories of better times. If you want to hear the mood Radiohead is going for done musically, Listen to PJ Harvey's new album, Let England Shake. I miss you, Radiohead. RIP. Full Review »
  3. Feb 23, 2011
    3
    To be quite frank, this album doesn't deserve the scores its getting. The only reason it's getting such high scores is because of the name the band has. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of the band. My favorite albums easily include OK Computer and The Bends. But honestly, this album is pretty much crap. The first seconds of Bloom was interesting and melodic, but that's where all the good stuff ended. The rest of the album is filled with hipster experimental electronica, and stupidly mumbled vocals such as "Good Morning Mr. Magpie, how are we today." There's no soul, no melody, no groove, no feeling or emotion. Someone hipster might say "you don't get the music man" but trust me: I do. This is easily Radiohead's worst album. If another band besides Radiohead came out with the same exact album, it would get much lower ratings, and thats the truth. Full Review »