The British Band, Radiohead, has released its ninth 11-track album entitled “A Moon Shaped Pool”. This is their first since the last album known as The King of Limbs was released in 2011. Upon release, the record was available only on Tidal and Apple Music. However, a couple of singles could be found on Spotify. Official communication from Radiohead informed the public that they were doing all they could to get the rest of the album on the massive streaming service very soon.
There is a special edition of the new album which includes a number of bonus tracks, a piece of half-inch master tape and about 32 pages of artwork. The track list from the album contains the following songs:
- Burn the Witch
- Decks Dark
- Desert Island Disk
- Ful Stop
- Glass Eyes
- The Numbers
- Present Tense
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief
- True Love Waits
Burn the Witch is a rather old piece of music which acts as a getaway to the unfamiliar and darker waters within. The lyrics of Burn the Witch including “cheer at the gallows” and “avoid all eye contact” first appeared in 2003. However, Jonny Greenwood and his modernist string arrangement turns the orchestra into one giant pair of gnashing teeth.
Lead singer Thom Yorke, separated from his partner whom they had been with for 23 years last August and together they had two children. On Identikit, he brings out his emotions about this particular separation by saying “broken hearts make it rain”. However, this doesn’t make “A Moon Shaped Pool” a breakup album because separations do happen even in the harsh light of day.
Radiohead albums are the salt that contains nightmares and dreams and they have successfully managed to resist clarity in a healthy way. Their music is largely symbolic and irrespective of how you look at it, you can figure out something for yourself.
In Decks Dark, Yorke sings “there is a spacecraft blocking out the sky” and pulls out a scene from the Subterranean Homesick Blues a tribute to Bob Dylan song.
Glass Eyes is more of a hint to the longstanding morbid preoccupations of the band. The song is a flow of strings which penetrate straight into the heart. In a strikingly ordinary image, Yorke sings “hey it’s me, I just got off the train” and he picks up a phone and calls someone telling them he has just arrived. As the ballad draws to a close, he confesses “I feel this love turn cold”.
Throughout the entire album, Yorke’s enlightenment is constantly backed by a music pattern of expanse and abandon. At some point, the pianos sound like guitars and the guitars like pianos. The song The Numbers is inspired by the impending apocalypse thanks to climate change.
It can be said that Yorke has worked a great deal of fresh oxygen into these songs thus giving them a unique touch despite having existed in a sketch form for years. For instance, True Love Waits is quite an old song that has been doing rounds in various forms for more than two decades. The message these songs leave is profound and it feels like a geyser erupting from a scotched earth.