Radiohead: TKOL RMX 1234567

TKOL RMX 1234567
(TBD Records)

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I was as excited as anybody when, earlier in the year, Radiohead suddenly announced they would be releasing a new album within a matter of days. How could a band so hugely popular (who isn’t named Tool) manage to be so mysterious after all of these years? Somehow the British quintet still has a few surprises up their sleeves. Unfortunately, I felt the surprise this time around was that the spontaneous release, The King of Limbs, was actually a bit disappointing. It seemed more like a string of samples thrown together by the band with vocals added later on. It reminded me of when I would first play MTV’s Music Generator for my old PS 1. It was always awesome when you and another player managed to throw samples at each other that made a cohesive rhythm, but I knew then that anyone listening in the next room would be nowhere nearly as excited by this as I. And that’s my problem with The King of Limbs.  I love Radiohead, but that album just didn’t seem as interesting to me as it probably was for them to put together using their new musical toys.

Enter TKOL RMX 1234567, which is—you guessed it—a remix album of songs from The King of Limbs, by some of Radiohead’s favorite DJs/producers.  The songs were originally released as a series of 12” vinyl singles, EPs and as digital downloads from Radiohead’s website. Although remix albums can sometimes put a great spin on a song, they typically don’t come close to the quality of the original songs they are reworking. For me, this was the opposite with TKOL RMX 1234567. I actually found myself often enjoying this release more than Radiohead’s initial album. This collection is at times more lively than its source material and offers more of that otherworldly mystique that Radiohead so easily produced with their previous releases. And let’s face it, a lot of Radiohead’s output these days sounds like remixes for songs we’ve never actually heard, so TKOL RMX 1234567 will fit right into your playlist and could have easily passed for Radiohead’s next studio album in place of The King of Limbs (if not for the fact that several songs are repeated in different versions.)

Even some die-hard Radiohead fans won’t dig TKOL RMX 1234567 but if you’re fine with the direction Radiohead’s sound is taking these days or you didn’t like The King of Limbs and you’re just looking to get something good out of that album, it’s at least worth a listen or two.

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