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Radiohead's Kid A (33 1/3) Paperback – November 25, 2010


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Frequently Bought Together

Radiohead's Kid A (33 1/3) + Radiohead's OK Computer (Thirty Three and a Third series) + Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (33 1/3)
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Product Details

  • Series: 33 1/3 (Book 76)
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 1 edition (November 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826423434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826423436
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 4.7 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A growing Alexandria of rock criticism - Los Angeles Times, 2008 Ideal for the rock geek who thinks liner notes just aren't enough - Rolling Stone One of the coolest publishing imprints on the planet - Bookslut"

About the Author

Marvin Lin started, and is editor-in-chief, of the acclaimedonline music magazine Tiny Mix Tapes. He lives in Minneapolis.

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Customer Reviews

Basically no discussion of the music.
Larry D. Harvey
It was just the author showing off how smart he thinks he is while barely relating his musings to the album.
Nick
The following excerpt from the Introduction of the book sums up the tone and content of the book.
John B

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By John Wraith on February 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book has some bright spots, but it is too often a pseudo-academic tract where the author tries to bring in a bunch of disparate art and musical movements and tie it in with arcane music and scientific theory. Greil Marcus seems to be the clear antecedent (he even brings in Dada, Marcus's focus in the wonderful Lipstick Traces). Lin obsesses over how music fits into the time-space continuum and how Kid A works in time. Interesting fodder for interesting theories, no doubt, but not exactly specific to this record, so he gets sort of all over the place in discussing that as well as the critical reception to Kid A, its origins, etc. I personally would find the latter stuff much more interesting for a book-length treatise, and it's in these standard music-crit discussions that Lin's book is at its best. Some of the more academic stuff is also good but it's much more hit or miss.

Lin as a writer is solid, although he's got a puzzling habit of putting far too many words in quotation marks, which gives the prose a snarky, ironic tone that I find a bit distasteful. While I don't believe this was his intent, any editor worth his salt should have given all the quotation marks the heave-hoe without a second thought (they're in nearly every paragraph around "normal" words that don't "need" to be set "apart" to show that they're part of the "mainstream" music discourse and might break down under "scrutiny").

In summary, not bad if you're a big fan of the record, but too often it seems like a term paper written by a first-year graduate student who's desperate to show off how much theory he's soaked up and how many diverse works he can apply all of it to. You know that guy. He's the one who brings Foucault into a discussion about the Super Bowl -- those of us who want to talk about football kind of just nod and slowly back away.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nick on March 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
I'm an educated person (BA, MBA, JD) but I spent the entire book lost. After finishing I wondered why I bothered. I learned nothing about the album. It was just the author showing off how smart he thinks he is while barely relating his musings to the album. Save your money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ike on May 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mr Lin clearly has some fascinating ideas about music, enough ideas to fill a book. He has written that book. Unfortunately, it seems that the only way he could get that book published was to shoehorn it into a completely different book. I'm glad that "kid a" could be his starting point for such interesting lines of thought, but that doesn't justify pretending that this book is actually about "kid a". It mostly isn't. The book has, at best, a tangential relationship with the music it purports to be its subject.

If you want a graduate level treatise on music's relationship with time and time's relationship with capitalism, this is your book. If you want information about the writing and recording of the radiohead album "kid a", keep looking.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John B on May 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
If you're interested in learning about the development of this album, this book is not for you. The following excerpt from the Introduction of the book sums up the tone and content of the book. If you're interested in what you read, dive in. But it was a complete bore to me and not at all what I was hoping for when I bought a book about this album. I wish I had been able to read the intro before buying the book.

From Lin's Introduction: "Needless to say, I won't be recounting my favorite Kid A moments or uncovering how each track was made. And I certainly won't be flying to Oxford to get the 'real' story behind the album or the band ('Hey Thom, what do you think about Kid A's relationship with time??'). While the album's aesthetics are the foundation upon which the book will proceed, I'll situate Kid A in contexts that extend beyond the sounds themselves. I'm especially interested in roping us - the audience, the fans, the listeners - into the discussion, to reinvigorate music listening as a site of socio-political importance, to see if we can learn more about ourselves through our shifting tastes, through the mythologies we perpetuate about the album, and particularly through our perceptions of it."
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jen Shanning on March 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
I was skeptical when I read the Amazon synopsis above, but it made this book, #76 in the 33 1/3 series, all the more surprising. The description doesn't do justice to the book's actual content (and I'm guessing it's scaring away potential readers), but the author, Marvin Lin, has managed to convince me that Kid A's significance rivals even that of OK Computer, an album I had previously thought was untouchable. What's amazing about this book is that it balances the personal and the political, the accessible and inaccessible, the 'conceptual' and the 'perceptual' (using his words). It's not a journalistic retread -- read Wikipedia and biographies for that sterile stuff -- but a thoughtful, meaningful discussion/dissection on Kid A's role in both society and in our listening experiences.

The book's boldness challenges in the most joyful way. From what he calls 'transcendence' and the idea of time to personal taste and 'commodification', Lin not only discusses the importance of our listening habits, but he considers the act of music listening implicitly political. But I should be clear that these concepts are NOT the focal points of the book. With the exception of the Kid Agency chapter (which is more about media and mp3s than Kid A specifically), they all relate in meaningful, sometimes dramatic ways to Kid A. Through these concepts, he talks about the identity crisis in the studio, the polarized critical chatter, the significance of the artwork (I learned a lot about the band here -- had no idea global warming had anything to do with Kid A), the way we 'perceive' the album and its music, and the album's marketing and promotion, all while debunking the myths that Radiohead were trying to scare off their fans or even that the album was 'groundbreaking' at all.
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