Milo here.

More MMMs, you say? I’mma have to take a break soon…

Today, we’re looking at Optimistic, an album cut from Radiohead’s 2000 experimental-turning-point-smash Kid A. Check the video below:

On first listen, like many who weren’t exactly *into* the more experimental side of alt rock and were quite fond of Radiohead’s 90s sound, Kid A felt kinda alienating, kinda confusing to me — and I wasn’t a fan. However, as my appreciation for the genre and the band has grown, so it has for this record, with it’s desolate atmosphere and arctic soundscapes. However, it’s this track that stands out to me as my personal favourite on the album.
Sure, this is probably due to it’s core being that of an alt rock track, but what’s wrong with that? This thing could be very comfortable on OK Computer (my favourite Radiohead record (I know, I’m so edgy)), with it’s ethereal vocals over the undeniably Brit rock-esque guitar leads. That being said, there is that essence of experimentation, in the underlying gargling drones, tom-heavy drum patterns and repetitive, mantra-like vocal hooks. The instrumental negative-space is simply that, with the song sounding like it’s drifting in the ocean, its buoyant bassline keeping it afloat, surrounded by a vast nothingness — Thom’s trademark moans stretching far in the abyss.
However, as the song progresses, this negative space becomes increasingly filled with a subtle guitar line remeniscent of early Nine Inch Nails in a way. The closing minute of the song is pervaded by these massive fill-heavy drums, with the cymbals raining down on the band like a shower of sparks. Finally, the band kicks into this lo-fi-sounding, jazzy insturmental jam, evoking Protection-era Massive Attack, leading into the next song.

“The best you can is good enough.”


The Bends (1995) – Review (Reuben)

Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations


3 thoughts on “MMM: Optimistic – Radiohead

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