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Tracks from the Past: Radiohead

BY DI STAFF | DECEMBER 03, 2009 7:30 AM

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Radiohead
Kid A
Released Oct. 2, 2000

In my short life, I’ve lived through a few memorable events. I remember being in Mr. Rogers’ eighth-grade literature class when I found out about 9/11. And walking on the field in my first game playing varsity high-school football. And my bones vibrating at the first concert I attended (the Wallflowers at the Iowa State Fair).

But few of these moments (outside of not learning any grammar or punctuation) compare with the first time I heard Kid A, by Radiohead.

I was a sheltered child when it came to music. I blame this mostly on the place I lived (a small town in western Iowa). I knew about Radiohead but never gave the band much of a shot. I was too busy with my Lil’ Jon or Dave Matthews Band singles, but in my first year at the UI, Radiohead stole me away.

One day, my new roommate, Jack from Chicago, asked what I thought about Thom Yorke and how weird he was. I asked who that was, and he stared blankly at me, emphasizing my ignorance.

Later, I learned Yorke was the frontman for the English rock band Radiohead. To cure my sheltered life, I immersed myself in the group’s discography (this was about the time that In Rainbows released).

During my quest, the night that sticks out was the first time I heard the pulsing of “Everything in its Right Place,” the first track from Kid A. It was early December, and snow pelted the outer walls of Currier Hall. We sat in our oversized fourth-floor room and blasted Kid A.

I sat on my black futon for nearly an hour, just listening, immersed in the music. Yorke’s voice howled and strained itself over bouncing synthesizers and guitars in such tracks as “The National Anthem” and “Idioteque.”

After the album finished, I finally felt like I knew something about music. Exactly what, I wasn’t quite sure, but I deleted Lil’ Jon from my iTunes library.

— by Eric Sundermann


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