• Record Label: Capitol
  • Release Date: Oct 3, 2000
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 24
  2. Negative: 1 out of 24
  1. 100
    Comparing this to other albums is like comparing an aquarium to blue construction paper.... It's the sound of a band, and its leader, losing faith in themselves, destroying themselves, and subsequently rebuilding a perfect entity. In other words, Radiohead hated being Radiohead, but ended up with the most ideal, natural Radiohead record yet.
  2. The Wire
    100
    The sonic scribbles of Kid A are far more stimulating than their regular grind.... Along with Primal Scream's Exterminator, Kid A is a vital work. Anyone remotely interested in contemporary music should listen to it at least once. [#201, p.59]
  3. Spin
    90
    Radiohead have completely immersed themselves in the studio-as-instrument--signal processing, radical stereo separation, and other antinaturalistic techniques. Even the precious Guitars--saturated with effects and gaseous with sustain--resemble natural phenomena rather than power chords or lead lines. Essentially, this is a post-rock record.... Kid A is not only Radiohead's bravest album but its best one as well. [Oct 2000, p.172]
  4. Not content to embrace familiar dance-music genres like trance (the way Madonna does when she's feeling experimental), the band delves into the most outré electronic music imaginable, from the amniotic soundscapes of Brian Eno to the industrial gristle of Coil. The result is Radiohead's best album...
  5. "Kid A" immerses listeners in an ocean of unparalleled musical depth. It is, without question, the first truly groundbreaking album of the 21st century.
  6. Largely abandoning any elements of rock music, the disc ebbs and flows like Aphex Twin, the hypnotic loops of distorted beats and hissing, humming synths bravely replacing the usual recipe of drums and guitar.... For all its flaws and intentionally alienating tactics, Kid A defies expectations and sets the bar ever higher for the would-be copycats, who could learn a thing or two about taking risks.
  7. Kid A may feel cold and ahuman at first, but stick with it for the full 50 minutes: Listen long enough, and a fragile, flickering glow becomes apparent amid the chill. It?s the sound of human warmth flooding into a formerly alien space -- of Radiohead finally going exactly where they wanted.
  8. As musically far away as it is from OK Computer, the record is actually a logical progression.
  9. On first listen, ''Kid A'' sounds like doggerel -- effects with beats, and off putting effects at that. Only after a dozen or so attentive listens does the album reveal itself as sublimely restless mood music. And even then, it remains elusive and aloof: Some songs are beautifully ambient, others are filler, and some are one and the same.
  10. An ardent and successful attempt by the British quintet to divorce and distance itself from its past and to reinvent both itself and our notions of pop music, using soundscapes rather than songs, and instrumental choices that are a far cry from the group's previous forays into its own brand of guitar rock.... odd, perplexing, and utterly fascinating...
  11. For an album that apparently grew out of the band trying to get away from melody, there's a lot of it here. They can't help themselves. They try to do a song with a robotic dance beat, load it up with bleak phrases like "laughing till my head comes off" and "take the money and run" and "this is really happening," call it "Idioteque" for chrissake, and what stands out are not the beat and not the phrases or the apparent concept of dance music being silly when horrible things are happening in the world, but the seven or eight different heartwrenching vocal lines and the amazing way they intertwine.
  12. Kid A is easily the most successful electronica album from a rock band -- so much so that it doesn't sound like the work of a rock band, even if it does sound like Radiohead.... Despite its admirable ambition -- ambition that is all the more impressive in 2000, the year when most bands simply stopped trying -- Kid A never is as visionary or stunning as OK Computer, nor does it really repay the intensive time it demands in order for it to sink in.
  13. It is a kind of virtual rock in which the roots have been cut away, and the formal language -- hook, riff, bridge -- has been warped, liquefied and, in some songs, thrown out altogether. If you're looking for instant joy and easy definition, you are swimming in the wrong soup.... Kid A is a work of deliberately inky, often irritating obsession.
  14. It's... really different. And oblique oblique oblique: short, unsettled, deliberately shorn of easy hooks and clear lyrics and comfortable arrangements. Also incredibly beautiful.
  15. A cryptic but brilliant record, radically stripped of Radiohead's supposed musical strengths and charged throughout with a feverish desire to subvert and, perhaps, alienate.
  16. 80
    With Kid A, Radiohead has made the ultimate 3 a.m. stoner-headphone album, one that marks an entirely logical progression from -- if not necessarily an improvement upon -- the techno-but-not-really O.K. Computer.... Occasionally, it feels less like a rock record and more like a museum piece, and as a work of art, it's laudable. As an actual, listener-friendly offering, it leaves something to be desired: It's precisely the sort of record a band makes when it has endless amounts of time and money, and has spent long periods of time being told what geniuses its members are.
  17. 80
    Yes, as with OK Computer, stark minimalism marks this effort, and the carefully plotted layers of instruments and machine-generated blips only add to the feeling of emotional emptiness. Seemingly stripped bare of all adornment, however, the new album beats with a loud, persistent, sometimes unsteady heartbeat.
  18. For all its feats of brinkmanship, the patently magnificent construct called 'Kid A' betrays a band playing one-handed just to prove they can, scared to commit itself emotionally.
  19. 70
    Yes, they tried something different, but they kept it accessible. Just as with the last album's guitar-rock-on-tranquilizers, if Kid A's mood music changes the world it will be precisely because it is mainstream, not because it is revolutionary.
  20. Q Magazine
    60
    In the time since OK Computer, Radiohead seem to have built up reservoirs of fresh bile and listened to a lot of Aphex Twin records.... Musically, the album's best features are its keening, lapwing guitars and a thin, atonal orchestral drizzle.... Kid A will still baffle and upset those who are disappointed that they don't do Creep anymore. [Nov. 2000, p.96]
  21. Select
    60
    Like its most obvious forebear, David Bowie's 'Low,' what's not present is as important as what's actually here. The main absentees, then, are choruses, coherent lyrics, crescendos, and guitars.... But, really, what do you want for sounding like Aphex Twin circa 1993? A medal? [Nov. 2000, p.108]
  22. 60
    Kid A is intriguing, eccentric, obviously a grower, but by Radiohead's standards it can't help but disappoint.
  23. Kid A represents the first time in Radiohead's short history where their desire to do something different has outrun their ability to give their experiments a personal imprint. The problem with the album isn't that it's introspective, or obscure, or even that it's derivative (alternately conjuring Eno, Aphex Twin, Pink Floyd and so forth), but rather that the striking group personality so well defined on the last two collections has seemed to evaporate.
  24. Resonance
    30
    A record that might've been amazing if the band had only bothered to write some actual songs. [#28, p. 62]
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 1030 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Feb 22, 2011
    10
    Upon first listen I can see why old school Radiohead fans won't like this album, I didn't either. After a few listens though the album grew onUpon first listen I can see why old school Radiohead fans won't like this album, I didn't either. After a few listens though the album grew on me. Radiohead took a leap of faith here by making an album totally opposite of their past masterpieces (The Bends & OK Computer). This transition kind of reminds me of Dylan going acoustic. His loyal folk fan base was horrified and didn't want anything to do with him after that. Thankfully artists make music for themselves and what that is and what the fans want may be two different things. If artists just stuck to their roots we they would never be able to grow intellectually and musically. Kid A is a fantastic album and is well worthy of all the praise it has and continues to receive and "Everything In It's Right Place" is one of the best songs of all time. Full Review »
  2. ChrisR.
    Oct 6, 2007
    0
    Ha ha! Just kidding! 10/10 If you don't get Radiohead you don't get music.
  3. Nov 16, 2011
    10
    When I first listened to this album, I thought it was entirely a pile of garbage. How could the greatest rock band in the world make such aWhen I first listened to this album, I thought it was entirely a pile of garbage. How could the greatest rock band in the world make such a horrendous processed electronic earwreck? A month later, I gave it another chance. Then I thought, "huh, this is alright. Wonder why I thought it was so bad." Then I listened to it for a third time. That's when my mind was blown. Radiohead had struck gold again. Only this time, they found diamond. This album is absolutely flawless, even if at first glance it's completely flawed. Just keep polishing the diamond, and only then will it sparkle. Full Review »