Radiohead ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ Album Review Roundup

May 12, 2016

Radiohead’s new album is ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ The band’s ninth studio album is being greeted with much fanfare and discussion. Find out what the critics are saying — you can see a roundup of reviews right here.


For the new album, there would already have been much anticipation. After all, the release of a Radiohead album is an occasion. Not just a release, but truly an event. Perhaps most memorably the band released their 2007 ‘In Rainbows’ album as a pay-what-you-wish download. But this time around, the arrival was quite literally a performance art in and of itself.

That’s to say the band had quite an unorthodox promotion even by their own standards. In this day in age as music artists strive to cut through the digital clutter, Radiohead achieved just that by literally erasing their presence online — deleting the content of their Web site and their social media profiles including Twitter and Facebook. Naturally, that drew hoards of attention and much speculation, if not even a bit of alarm.

But rather than the breakup of the band, it was instead preceding a new album. So for now, we could rest assured. Radiohead has been around for slightly more than three decades and intriguingly, one of the songs, ‘True Love Waits’ dates back to 1995. It’s not the only song that’s arguably vintage, there’s also ‘Burn the Witch” from the year 2000 as well as the comparatively recent “Present Tense” of 2008. Needless to say, this too adds to the mystique, to say nothing of the theorizing.

Not least, there’s a perceived backstory, as the album is characterized by some critics as something of a “breakup” album as some of it was recorded in the aftermath of Thom Yorke’s breakup from his longtime partner. And as such, it fits in with quite a number of recent albums, including Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ and Gwen Stefani’s ‘This Is What the Truth Feels Like.’

But as is often the case with Radiohead, much is up to interpretation and similarly we can add that much is in the perception of the listener. That’s certainly reflected in the reviews of the album which in and of themselves are fascinating. Here’s a roundup of what critics are saying.

“….Radiohead give us one of their most musically and emotionally arresting albums, full of flow-flying panic attacks and gorgeous orchestration…..” — Rolling Stone

“….There’s no sonic reinvention on A Moon Shaped Pool, nor is there a rally against a monolithic issue. Erasing their social media accounts wiped clean the slate. That much is clear: Radiohead’s commitment to concept ended. There are instances of those big ideas, of course, but they don’t shape the image as a whole. And yet, what the band offers on A Moon Shaped Pool is equally affecting: an acceptance of time’s power……” — Consequence of Sound

“….A Moon Shaped Pool already seems like Radiohead’s most human album. (No more android-voiced paeans to “getting on better with your associate employee contemporaries.”) It’s surely one of the band’s warmest collections, designed to win over audiences left puzzled by 2011’s cryptic, rhythm-driven King of Limbs and Thom Yorke’s Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, much as In Rainbows returned rock fans to the fold after some wilderness years….” –Newsweek

“….These are the elements of a clearinghouse but with Radiohead appearances are always deceiving. A Moon Shaped Pool doesn’t play like an ill-considered collection of leftovers, it unfurls with understated ease, each silvery song shimmering into the next. The pulse rarely quickens and the arrangements seldom agitate yet the album never quite feels monochromatic…..” –All Music

“….With their ninth studio album, Radiohead move beyond the existential angst that made them music’s preeminent doomsayers, pursuing a more personal—and eternal—form of enlightenment……” — Pitchfork

“….The real source of the album’s triumphs and frustrations is the production. In nearly every bar of music, Nigel Godrich (who has said he channeled his father’s death into the making of A Moon Shaped Pool) adds in panning and zipping sounds, or suddenly replaces one instrument with another, or manipulates reverb into new shapes. It’s not that the music’s crowded—the sound here is somehow roomier, airier than ever—but that so many elements are continually mutating in unusual ways. …..” — The Atlantic

Long awaited, yes, and finally here. You can see Radiohead’s ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ album cover and music videos below.

A photo posted by JieunCho (@jieunchoj) on

Pictures: PR Photos

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