The King of Limbs

  • Record Label: XL
  • Release Date: Mar 29, 2011
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 544 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 39 out of 544

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  1. Feb 21, 2011
    5
    I honestly can't believe what I'm hearing here. This album is so strange! How far can you take minimalism before you're listening to empty space. Radiohead are know for bombastic and complicated cerebral climactic music. In Rainbows was toned down, and had quite a few "slow" songs, but they were at least interesting. It wasn't my favorite, but I was willing to accept that this is just aI honestly can't believe what I'm hearing here. This album is so strange! How far can you take minimalism before you're listening to empty space. Radiohead are know for bombastic and complicated cerebral climactic music. In Rainbows was toned down, and had quite a few "slow" songs, but they were at least interesting. It wasn't my favorite, but I was willing to accept that this is just a direction the band wanted to explore. With this album, I fear they've gotten completely lost on their exploration. This feels like a soundtrack to a video montage. What the hell is this album? I'm a DIE HARD fan, as my username would suggest. I've listened to this album over an over looking for the brilliance that I've come to expect. It's not there guys. At least not as far as I'm concerned. Expand
  2. May 14, 2011
    5
    Been a fan for over 15 years now, my favorite albums are Kid A, Hail to the Thief, and I loved The Eraser.
    I had to give this album some points because I love Yorke's voice no matter what music is under it, also there were a few good songs, however, the good songs from this album would be the mediocre songs on any other album in my opinion. For the most part, to me, the album is pretty
    Been a fan for over 15 years now, my favorite albums are Kid A, Hail to the Thief, and I loved The Eraser.
    I had to give this album some points because I love Yorke's voice no matter what music is under it, also there were a few good songs, however, the good songs from this album would be the mediocre songs on any other album in my opinion. For the most part, to me, the album is pretty bland... too minimalistic, slow, not much in the way of melodies, and personally I like Radiohead to rock out every once in a while on their albums. I'm a die-hard fan like anyone else, but I have no problem admitting when a worshipped band's new album isn't up to par, even when that bands name is Radiohead, due to Thom Yorke and a few of the songs this album is just barely "ok".
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  3. Feb 22, 2011
    5
    this album is what being old probably feels like. it's so void of any signs of vitality, that it literally drained all energy out of me. endless loops with little to no variation, Yorke's dispassionate singing, lack of melody, harmony, and lyrics that develop and tell a story. that's not to say that the album doesn't have any positive sides to it. there are some beautiful moments withthis album is what being old probably feels like. it's so void of any signs of vitality, that it literally drained all energy out of me. endless loops with little to no variation, Yorke's dispassionate singing, lack of melody, harmony, and lyrics that develop and tell a story. that's not to say that the album doesn't have any positive sides to it. there are some beautiful moments with horns and strings and what not, but again, it's such cold dispassionate beauty void of any powerful human emotion. plus, it only takes one listen to anything from OK Computer to Hail to the Thief to demonstrate why the King of Limbs doesn't stand a chance in comparison. but it's not a bad album. it's just a disappointing radiohead album. Expand
  4. Feb 20, 2011
    5
    This album may require a few listens to appreciate, but the fact that it may be an acquired taste does not excuse the lack of effort put into this album. It is beautiful at times but it lacks emotion, rhythm, lyrical significance, and is almost completely devoid of any hooks or medley whatsoever. Don't get me wrong, I love alternative rock and I love Kid A and all other Radiohead albums. IThis album may require a few listens to appreciate, but the fact that it may be an acquired taste does not excuse the lack of effort put into this album. It is beautiful at times but it lacks emotion, rhythm, lyrical significance, and is almost completely devoid of any hooks or medley whatsoever. Don't get me wrong, I love alternative rock and I love Kid A and all other Radiohead albums. I also understand that Radiohead isn't a band that focuses on medley, pop, and hooks. However, there is not a song on here that compels me to listen to it more than a few times.
    I think that rabid Radiohead fans will accept any thing that Yorke comes up with no matter what it sounds like. Being weird for the sake of being weird does not make a good album. It sounds like a fat recluse could have created the majority of this album on his PC in his mom's basement.
    Now that every rabid Radiohead fan hates me I will say this...there are good parts to this album and it is by no means a bad or terrible album. It just needs a little more effort and some more guitar.
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  5. Feb 22, 2011
    5
    I'm sorry, Radiohead has had more time to come up with more than 8 semi-ambient and climax-less tracks wrapped up in a pretentious (therefore meaningless) package. Where's "The tourist"? Where's "Pyramid Song?" Usually with difficult-to-listen-to-Radiohead albums, there's something that invites me to come in. Not this time. It was just two years ago when In Rainbows opened up with thatI'm sorry, Radiohead has had more time to come up with more than 8 semi-ambient and climax-less tracks wrapped up in a pretentious (therefore meaningless) package. Where's "The tourist"? Where's "Pyramid Song?" Usually with difficult-to-listen-to-Radiohead albums, there's something that invites me to come in. Not this time. It was just two years ago when In Rainbows opened up with that crazy beat in 5, and this is a melange of songs in 4 that pass by without being remembered, even on second and third listens. I tried, guys. I just feel sorry for those who're going to pay fifty bucks for the newspaper. Expand
  6. Feb 26, 2011
    4
    On first listen I quite enjoyed this album. However, it really doesn't hold up well on repeated listens. What i shocking for me that there is really only one track- Codex - that induces or even attempts to induce a strong EMOTIONAL response from the listener. This from the band that gave as the emotional tour de forces of OK Computer, The Bends, and even Kid A/In Rainbows.

    I give it
    On first listen I quite enjoyed this album. However, it really doesn't hold up well on repeated listens. What i shocking for me that there is really only one track- Codex - that induces or even attempts to induce a strong EMOTIONAL response from the listener. This from the band that gave as the emotional tour de forces of OK Computer, The Bends, and even Kid A/In Rainbows.

    I give it four stars as I can appreciate the technical elements of the music. And there are some interesting sounds and rhythmic structures going on in some of the songs. But art such as this, that elicits purely an intellectual response, is not really art at all. I like the Radiohead that writes music that makes you feel alive with anger, sadness or even hope. This doesn't need to "safe" music. No surprises, Paranoid Android, Lucky etc, were not safe, unoriginal songs. But they were great songs. Nothing on here compares.
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  7. Feb 19, 2011
    5
    This album can be summarised very simply: Thom Yorke decides he's Kieran Hebden, turns the cutoff up to full on every instrument so that its impossible to hear anything except a vague harmony, and spits angry, half-baked lyrics into the left channel of your earphones. I can barely even hear where the rest of the band come in; this seems essentially to be The Eraser part 2, so if youThis album can be summarised very simply: Thom Yorke decides he's Kieran Hebden, turns the cutoff up to full on every instrument so that its impossible to hear anything except a vague harmony, and spits angry, half-baked lyrics into the left channel of your earphones. I can barely even hear where the rest of the band come in; this seems essentially to be The Eraser part 2, so if you enjoyed that, then maybe you'll be delighted with this. Bloom is a good song, as is Give Up the Ghost, but unfortunately the texture of the album as a whole is repetitive and suffocating, and one gets the impression that it has not been as carefully produced as their other albums. Considering meticulous production and careful texturing has always been a key strength to the radiohead sound, this is a problem. This sounds almost like a bootleg of a radiohead album stolen from the studio months before the actual release date. If only that were the case. Expand
  8. Feb 21, 2011
    6
    Radiohead lost themselves somewhere back around OK Computer. What we've had in their last 4 albums or so is a completely different and lesser band. I really enjoyed a lot their work on Kid A, Amnesiac, etc. In Rainbows took some listening to get used to and eventually I enjoyed it as I'm sure will be the case here. The problem for me is that they keep getting better and better at a styleRadiohead lost themselves somewhere back around OK Computer. What we've had in their last 4 albums or so is a completely different and lesser band. I really enjoyed a lot their work on Kid A, Amnesiac, etc. In Rainbows took some listening to get used to and eventually I enjoyed it as I'm sure will be the case here. The problem for me is that they keep getting better and better at a style of music I don't much care for. It's too slow, quiet, navel-gazing and minimal. Do they even still have guitars? I like the album as it is, Little by Little is quite good, Bloom has its fun parts, but overall this isn't what I want from them. I rate this a 6 because they've done this album very well (for the style), but it isn't higher because while it is well put together, it is not what I actually want from them. I want some guts, some oomph, some power. What they continue to give us is anemic and tired. Expand
  9. Oct 3, 2011
    4
    I cannot write this review without using the word â
  10. Feb 18, 2011
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. It doesn't sound like a Radiohead album it sounds more like Thom Yorke as soloist, the result is boring, predictable, their weakest album since Pablo Honey Expand
  11. Feb 19, 2011
    5
    It's like Radiohead, but with none of the catchy parts.
  12. Feb 24, 2011
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A solid effort, which is weird coming from Radiohead. I'm used to being blown away by this band, and this time it didn't happen. At first, I hated this album. The I've listened to it more, gave it a chance and now I just like it. Lotus Flower is a fantastic song, and so is Morning Mr. Magpie. This isn't a rock album by any means of the word, it's an electronica album, and you can have to accept it, and in my opinion that's what keeps it from becoming a great album. It doesn't seem like a complete effort from the whole album. Seems like it should be York's second solo album. They have 3 great guitarists and there's hardly any guitar used in it. The computerized drumming is just repulsive, and so is some of the other electronic effects used on the album. I wishing for something different, but instead I got this; a so-so album from one of the best bands in the last two decades. Expand
  13. Feb 22, 2011
    6
    I'm not actually a Radiohead big fan, but I like them as much as enough to be impressed by a new great album. First of all "The King of Limbs" isn't another OK Computer or In Rainbows (my favorites), but it's obviously Radiohead's. I don't know why but I feel most of the tracks are the same somehow. Something like all tracks of Thom Yorke's The Eraser. They are all rhythmic and mostlyI'm not actually a Radiohead big fan, but I like them as much as enough to be impressed by a new great album. First of all "The King of Limbs" isn't another OK Computer or In Rainbows (my favorites), but it's obviously Radiohead's. I don't know why but I feel most of the tracks are the same somehow. Something like all tracks of Thom Yorke's The Eraser. They are all rhythmic and mostly based on Drum (which I don't like). By the way beside that The King of Limbs couldn't stone me as predecessors albums, but I'm glad that at least there is a new album, which purports me "Radiohead is still alive". Expand
  14. Jun 6, 2011
    4
    there seems to be 2 opposing sides to this album. 1. "like the bends, this is crap"
    2."i think other people dont understand art, this is genius"
    im here to represent side three i like ALL radiohead albums. i get the strange ones well enough amnesiac is probably my favourite one!!! its jawdropping after that being said.. this is quite a poor effort.. u cant compare this one seriously to any
    there seems to be 2 opposing sides to this album. 1. "like the bends, this is crap"
    2."i think other people dont understand art, this is genius"
    im here to represent side three
    i like ALL radiohead albums. i get the strange ones well enough
    amnesiac is probably my favourite one!!! its jawdropping
    after that being said.. this is quite a poor effort.. u cant compare this one seriously to any radiohead album and say this is better! excluding pablo honey of course...
    but its probably the same level as pablo honey.. albeit being utterly different
    its dull, too minimalist. uneventfull. and half of the songs are not new at all!
    it sounds like radiohead are at the end of their creativity... im sorry. but its true
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  15. Oct 6, 2011
    6
    After countless sessions of listening to The King of Limbs in the past few months, I came to the conclusion of this being one of Radiohead's weakest albums.

    In order of brilliance:

    1. Kid A / Amnesiac
    2. Hail to the Thief
    3. OK Computer
    4. In Rainbows
    5. The Bends
    6. The King of Limbs
    7. Pablo Honey
  16. Mar 21, 2011
    6
    Unfortunately, "The King Of Limbs" leaves one wondering where the level of developmental inspiration got lost. Thom Yorke and company have enough positive credit in the bank to get away with this half hearted effort, which in forthcoming years will be acquainted alongside "Pablo Honey" in the list of top Radiohead long players. http://hackskeptic.com
  17. Apr 5, 2011
    4
    Radiohead keeps moving farther and farther away from mainstream music, but in my opinion they went a little too far this time. Its hard to find a chorus never mind something you can hum along to. In fact its hard to determine when they are even mumbling about because the instruments are too loud. As a causul fan The King of Limbs is a disappointment.
  18. Mar 31, 2011
    6
    A little disappointing. Short - only 37 minutes. The "skipping record" drum track is wearing a little thin. This album does not rock. Hoping it grows on me like most of the other albums did.
  19. Apr 8, 2011
    4
    I'm still waiting for a Radiohead album I can listen to in it's entirety without getting bored. King of Limbs is not that album. I can appreciate that the band wants to be non-commercial and experimental, but that doesn't really translate into easy listening.
    The first few songs are tolerable, listenable, but with the exception of Lotus Flower none of it really moves me
  20. Apr 10, 2011
    6
    I expected more from Radiohead after the brilliant In Rainbows. This new album is a return to the sheer weirdness of Kid A and Amnesiac. It has interesting moments and their wish to experiment is laudable but the album sounds too cold and distant.
  21. Apr 11, 2011
    6
    When I get asked ''what is your favorite band?'',I immediately think Radiohead! I make it a day event when Radiohead releases something new (not really but I get very excited)... So this new album (sigh)... It's not that good. It feels like an EP, as if the band was trying to go somewhere but hasn't gotten there yet. This album is a sort of report of the progress, the direction and currentWhen I get asked ''what is your favorite band?'',I immediately think Radiohead! I make it a day event when Radiohead releases something new (not really but I get very excited)... So this new album (sigh)... It's not that good. It feels like an EP, as if the band was trying to go somewhere but hasn't gotten there yet. This album is a sort of report of the progress, the direction and current location that the band is taking. Its a transition album I think. I didn't like it that much... sadly but I am very happy that this is the direction the band is taking, and If my hopes are right.... The next album is going to be great. This experiment just didn't cut it. Expand
  22. Jun 27, 2011
    6
    Well... this album is hard to review... it isn't a masterpiece and takes a few listens to grasp the idea of it. I wasn't sure what to think of this album before it came out, but after listening to it, I am very underwhelmed. It is quite disappointing. There isn't that much to listen to on this 8 track album. No attention grabbers, no surprises, no "wow" effect. The few songs that are goodWell... this album is hard to review... it isn't a masterpiece and takes a few listens to grasp the idea of it. I wasn't sure what to think of this album before it came out, but after listening to it, I am very underwhelmed. It is quite disappointing. There isn't that much to listen to on this 8 track album. No attention grabbers, no surprises, no "wow" effect. The few songs that are good are "Morning Mr. Magpie", "Lotus Flower", and "Codex". If you are a die-hard Radiohead fan, sure, take a listen and enjoy. If Radiohead is a whole new concept to you, start off with "OK Computer" or "Kid A" and slowly make it to this album. Expand
  23. Jun 23, 2011
    6
    meh, pretty much sums it up. There are a few bright spots on this album but mostly it just bleeds into one big digital sample. I mean its radiohead, and I am a fan, so I am pleased. Just not that much. This ranks up there with Thom's solo album. Definitely not their best work.
  24. Sep 29, 2012
    5
    Asides from Codex and Separator, the rest of the album is tedious. The repetitive rythms guide you nowhere. I know how many albums are growers. Kid A took me probably 4 listens, and after that, every song blowed me away. This album, however, didn't get me the same feeling.
  25. Sep 20, 2012
    6
    Good album, but it's not their best: "Lotus Flower" is great, but many of the other songs get boring after some listenings. I hope in a better album next time!
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. Dec 14, 2011
    80
    There's just incredible depth to The King Of Limbs, and if you're impatient, you'll miss it.
  2. 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.
  3. 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]