#96, "Idioteque," Radiohead (2000)

I see that Radiohead's Kid A was released in October 2000. Yes, perfect. Life was really good. I was about to graduate from college and was applying to grad schools. The last major chapter of my mesoadulthood was winding down. 


I liked Radiohead a lot. I thought and still think OK Computer is a perfect album (maybe near-perfect. I still haven't budged on "Fitter Happier"). "Fake Plastic Trees" is one of the most sadly/sweetly romantic songs I've ever heard. So I was excited about Kid A. 


Pete bought it and listened before I had a chance. When asked what he thought of it, he said "It's really good. Dancier than you'd expect." I wondered aloud: "It's dancier AND it's better?" Pete was like "I know." It was a transitional time for us, where we were kind of moving away from a narrow punk rock focus for a variety of reasons but to that point (believe it or not) dance music was sort of forbidden. I struggle to explain this. I think the best way to try and do so is by example: at punk shows in the late 90s (after slam dancing went out of style but before it was ok to dance-dance), you were supposed to stand there staring at the band with your arms crossed, MAYBE nodding your head ever so slightly. Best not to show too much enthusiasm. Ugh, it was so oppressive. Giving into dance was very freeing. It was like it was ok to have fun.


Kid A in general and Idioteque in particular started to change all of that. I can't credit Radiohead on their own, but I credit Kid A-era Radiohead, Bob Mould's solo album Modulate, and Le Tigre's first few records for eventually leading me to prefer drum machines and synthesizers over drums and guitars. Electric Grandmother was born right before this era, an electronic solo project by necessity (since Pete had no band mates but still needed to write), but also by influence.