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Old 09-15-2007, 03:28 PM   #1
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Amnesiac vs. Kid A: Song by song TO THE DEATH!

Alright, I know this thread seems like it's over 5 years old, but I listened to both albums back-to-back the other day and it's been on my mind since.

I've made it clear in numerous threads that I prefer Amesiac to its predecessor. I'm of the firm belief that had the albums been released in the opposite order, you wouldn't have as many people preferring Kid A. I think people, even subconsciously, may feel that Amnesiac is stuff that wasn't good enough for Kid A, or some kind of sessions B-sides, something that the alternate version of Morning Bell probably reinforced. People who followed the band around this time should know that's not the case, but whatever.

What I'm going to try here is a head to head comparison, attempting to keep the track orders intact, but switching where it seems necessary. Because Amnesiac has one extra song, I've removed Hunting Bears as it's the shortest song by far, and is an instrumental.

In each matchup, the Kid A song will be listed first.

1. Everything in Its Right Place vs. Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box

WINNER: Everything in Its Right Place

This one is one of the easier decisions to make. While Sardines is a very cool track, Everything is more powerful overall. It creates a lot of atmopshere, not only for Kid A, but for the "new phase" of Radiohead's career. Sardines gets the slight edge in the lyrics department (both songs have few words with strange declarations), but that's just not enough here.

2. Kid A vs. Pyramid Song

WINNER: Pyramid Song

Simply put, Pyramid is one of the band's finest moments. It's very evocative, relaying a haunting dream of the narrator that's no question among Yorke's best lyrics as well (though it only has one verse, repeated, plus a one line refrain). The music carries this off perfectly, adding the touch of the exotic with the strings that give the song its title, as well as an off kilter drumbeat that keeps the listener a bit on edge.

3. The National Anthem vs. Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors

WINNER: The National Anthem

A tough call here. I think the Amnesiac track is one of the cooler sounding things on the album, and while the hard-to-discern lyrics might seem non-sensical, the line about "But there are trapdoors that you can't get back from" speaks volumes. The National Anthem is a live favorite and a well-loved song on Kid A, which compares well here because both songs are among the "hardest" on their respective albums.

4. How to Disappear Completely vs. You and Whose Army

WINNER: You and Whose Army

This will likely be one of the more unpopular decisions, as I know Disappear is well loved, probably because it's one of the only links on Kid A to old Radiohead. It's admittedly pretty, but unfortunately it doesn't go anywhere for me, even at nearly 6 minutes. It's rather droning. At 3 minutes, the comparitively short You And Whose Army? covers much more territory. It begins with a lightly strummed guitar, and almost sounds like some 1940's crooner song. But just past the halfway point, the piano and drums come in and put this thing over the top. The lyrics seem political, and while they don't get into specfics, there's a challenge here to some entity, and it's a strong one. Yes, it could have been longer, but at least it doesn't overstay its welcome.

5. Treefingers vs. Like Spinning Plates

WINNER: Like Spinning Plates

Here's where I have to start shuffling things around to make better comparisons. Treefingers is an instrumental, and Like Spinning Plates has very few (most of the backwards). This one's a toss up; Treefingers doesn't really do much for me, and coming as soon as track 5 on the album doesn't help it much. If anything sounds like it could have been a b-side, it's this. Plates is a bit more substantial, and is served better by being on the denser side 2.

6. Optimistic vs. Knives Out

WINNER: Knives Out

One of the closer calls. These are both fairly conventional rock tracks, the Amnesiac song probably the most like old Radiohead on both albums. But that's not why it gets the edge here. I just think it's a great song, with beautiful work by all the instrumentalists.

7. In Limbo vs. Dollars and Cents

WINNER: Dollars and Cents

Here I shuffled again, as I felt the dreamier Amnesiac song was more comparible here than Morning Bell, which will compete with itself. In Limbo segues right from Optimistic seemingly without a break, so perhaps it's unfair to isolate it. But it does seem like too much of a transitional track that doesn't really go anywhere or do anything, and pretty much lives up to its title. Dollars and Cents takes the strings from Pyramid Song and applies them toward different ends. The lyrics are much more specific than anything else on the album, and help to make it come off as a much more political animal. The music is fairly laid back considering the message, and while it's not one of the better tracks on the album, it's more accomplished here.

8. Idioteque vs. I Might Be Wrong

WINNER: Idioteque

This is somewhat going against my own feelings, as I rather prefer the Amnesiac track here. But Idioteque is one of the best songs on Kid A, and has a deserved following among Radiohead fans. I do think this is close than much would think though. Both songs are pretty aggressive sonically, and the sound of IMBW can be traced almost exactly back to Brian Eno & David Byrne's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. It's got a great guitar part and cool percussion, but the song really climaxes when everything drops out for a moment and Yorke lets out this plaintive wail that's one of the best moments on the album. However, in the interest of objectivity I'll tip the hat to Kid A here.

9. Morning Bell vs. Morning Bell/Amnesiac

WINNER: Morning Bell/Amnesiac

Another opinion that I fear won't be very popular. I guess it's how you interpet the lyrics. The song seems to be about the dissolution of a marriage or significant relationship, with the talk about possessions and "cut the kids in half". The paranoid sound of the version on Kid A is well done with the drumbeat and the keyboards, but to me, the key is in the words "release me", and the version on Amnesiac sells that better. You have these angelic bells and have the sense of someone swimming up towards the light. This take seems to balance the sad with the salvation in a way that the original doesn't.

10. Motion Picture Soundtrack vs. Life in a Glass House

WINNER: Life in a Glass House

I don't think there should really be much of an argument here. MPS is beautifully orchestrated, but it's up against a pretty brillant creation by the band. Glasshouse comes out of nowhere as some kind of New Orleans funeral dirge, with a horn arrangement by Jonny Greenwood that one-ups the work on the other album's finale. For a pair of albums that saw Radiohead go off the deep end into a claustrophobic and abstract exploration of their sound, this song strangely brings things back around to an old-fashioned conclusion. The opening line "Once again I'm in trouble with my only friend" goes right back to Morning Bell, the lyric "packed in like frozen food and battery hens" references the beginning of the album, and the way Yorke sings "well I'd like to sit around and chat, only there's someone listening in" right as the song concludes seems to implicate the viewer, and makes the whole thing a bit of a meta experience.

FINAL SCORE: Amnesiac 7, Kid A 3

I know most will those numbers are out of whack, and I'd like to hear further discussion about the quality of the individual songs themselves, as opposed to the albums as a whole--I'll admit that Kid A probably flows better, but that wasn't the point of this comparison.
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Old 09-15-2007, 04:10 PM   #2
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1. Everything in Its Right Place vs. Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box

Winner: Packt Like Sardines I love it. I find it incredibly catchy.

2. Kid A vs. Pyramid Song

Winner: Tie. This one is just unfair.

3. The National Anthem vs. Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors

Winner: National Anthem. Not even close.

4. How to Disappear Completely vs. You and Whose Army

Winner: HTDC. You And Whose Army has a great climax, but HTDC is a classic.

5. Treefingers vs. Like Spinning Plates

Winner: Treefingers. I find it very relaxing, while I find the album version of LSP to be awful.

6. Optimistic vs. Knives Out

Winner: Optimistic. I really don't care for Knives Out, and Optimistic just plain rocks.

7. In Limbo vs. Dollars and Cents

Winner: In Limbo. It's one of my favorite Radiohead songs, while D&C just meanders.

8. Idioteque vs. I Might Be Wrong

Winner: I Might Be Wrong. Great guitar riff.

9. Morning Bell vs. Morning Bell/Amnesiac

Winner: Morning Bell (Kid A version). The Amnesiac version sounds rushed and unfinished.

10. Motion Picture Soundtrack vs. Life in a Glass House

Winner: Motion Picture Soundtrack. I don't really care for either of them, but I quite dislike LIAGH.

Kid A - 7
Amnesiac - 2
Tie - 1

Amnesiac would excel in competitions like this, because it is essentially a glorified b-sides collection. This means that it is basically just a collection of songs, both great and terrible, without cohering into anything greater. People accuse Zooropa of this, but that album has a great vibe, and the songs complement each other nicely. Kid A is much closer to being a complete album than Amnesiac will ever be.
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Old 09-15-2007, 04:28 PM   #3
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We've had this arguement before, LemonMelon.

Amnesiac is NOT NOT NOT NOT a b-sides collection.

1. Everything in Its Right Place vs. Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box

Everything In Its Right Place

2. Kid A vs. Pyramid Song

Pyramid Song

3. The National Anthem vs. Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors

The National Anthem

4. How to Disappear Completely vs. You and Whose Army

It's very close, but You And Whose Army

5. Treefingers vs. Like Spinning Plates

Like Spinning Plates

6. Optimistic vs. Knives Out

Knives Out

7. In Limbo vs. Dollars and Cents

In Limbo

8. Idioteque vs. I Might Be Wrong

I Might Be Wrong

9. Morning Bell vs. Morning Bell/Amnesiac

Morning Bell/Amnesiac

10. Motion Picture Soundtrack vs. Life in a Glass House

Life In A Glass House

Amnesiac: 7
Kid A: 3
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Old 09-15-2007, 05:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by LemonMelon

Amnesiac would excel in competitions like this, because it is essentially a glorified b-sides collection. This means that it is basically just a collection of songs, both great and terrible, without cohering into anything greater. People accuse Zooropa of this, but that album has a great vibe, and the songs complement each other nicely. Kid A is much closer to being a complete album than Amnesiac will ever be.
I've never heard anyone say that about Zooropa.

But Radiohead have admitted that a lot of Amnesiac is just left over from Kid A... I would agree with the b-sides argument.
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Old 09-15-2007, 05:38 PM   #5
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I'm not sure that a comparison by track number is entirely fair, seeing as how many of the tracks on Kid A are clearly paralleled by those on Amnesiac. For instance, I would suggest something more like this:

Everything in Its Right Place / Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box
Edge: EiIRP

Kid A / Pull Pulk Revolving Doors
Edge: Push

National Anthem / You & Whose Army
Edge: Anthem

How to Disappear Completely / Pyramid Song
Edge: Disappear

Tree Fingers / Hunting Bears
Edge: Push

Optimistic / I Might Be Wrong
Edge: I Might Be Wrong

In Limbo / Dollars & Cents
Edge: In Limbo

Idioteque / Like Spinning Plates
Edge: Push (this would be the toughest choice for me; Idioteque is infectious in its paranoia, while the piano version of Spinning Plates is absolutely stunning, and quite haunting)

Morning Bell / Amensiac-Morning Bell
Edge: Kid A's Morning Bell

Motion Picture Soundtrack / Life in a Glass House
Edge: MPS

Result: 6 for Kid A; 1 for Amnesiac; 3 draws

That leaves Knives Out as a sort of wild card, for which I see no immediate parallel on Kid A. If I were to compare the albums by track number, my results would be rather different. I wish that I had more time to elaborate on my selections; for now, however, let me say that I consider both albums quite brilliant.
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:33 PM   #6
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1. Everything in Its Right Place vs. Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box

Winner: Everything In Its Right Place

2. Kid A vs. Pyramid Song

Winner: Kid A

3. The National Anthem vs. Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors

Winner: The National Anthem

4. How to Disappear Completely vs. You and Whose Army

Winner: How to Disappear..and in the words of Thom Yorke -- "The most beautiful song they ever did"

5. Treefingers vs. Like Spinning Plates

Winner: Like Spinning Plates

6. Optimistic vs. Knives Out

Winner: Optimistic

7. In Limbo vs. Dollars and Cents

Winner: In Limbo

8. Idioteque vs. I Might Be Wrong

Winner: Idioteque

9. Morning Bell vs. Morning Bell/Amnesiac

Winner: Morning Bell

10. Motion Picture Soundtrack vs. Life in a Glass House

Winner: Motion Picture Soundtrack

Kid A: 9
Amnesiac: 1

Kid A is by far the better album

its more consistent and has better songs

How to Disappear > Amnesiac


Hunting bears...Pull/Pulk really brings Amnesiac down

B-Sides like Cuttooth and Fog ..or even worry would have made Amnesiac a better album.
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:39 PM   #7
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Re: Amnesiac vs. Kid A: Song by song TO THE DEATH!

Quote:
Originally posted by lazarus


5. Treefingers vs. Like Spinning Plates

WINNER: Like Spinning Plates

Here's where I have to start shuffling things around to make better comparisons. Treefingers is an instrumental, and Like Spinning Plates has very few (most of the backwards). This one's a toss up; Treefingers doesn't really do much for me, and coming as soon as track 5 on the album doesn't help it much. If anything sounds like it could have been a b-side, it's this. Plates is a bit more substantial, and is served better by being on the denser side 2.


9. Morning Bell vs. Morning Bell/Amnesiac

WINNER: Morning Bell/Amnesiac

Another opinion that I fear won't be very popular. I guess it's how you interpet the lyrics. The song seems to be about the dissolution of a marriage or significant relationship, with the talk about possessions and "cut the kids in half". The paranoid sound of the version on Kid A is well done with the drumbeat and the keyboards, but to me, the key is in the words "release me", and the version on Amnesiac sells that better. You have these angelic bells and have the sense of someone swimming up towards the light. This take seems to balance the sad with the salvation in a way that the original doesn't.

OK two things the Treefingers - Like Spinning Plates comparison is unfair IMO

A more fair match up would be Treefingers vs. Hunting Bears

And the Amnesiac version of Morning Bell is the original....... the Kid A version came on much later....not that it matters...
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by namkcuR
We've had this arguement before, LemonMelon.

Amnesiac is NOT NOT NOT NOT a b-sides collection.

I agree Amnesiac is not a B-Side collection

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Old 09-15-2007, 06:47 PM   #9
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Pulk/Pull is better than National Anthem
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:48 PM   #10
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How to Disappear Completely is better than anything on Amnesiac
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Old 09-15-2007, 07:14 PM   #11
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I don't like the song by song comparison so I'll just say that overall I like Kid A more as an album. But Amnesiac has got plenty of excellent material. Cuttooth instead of Morning Bell (ver.2) would have made it harder to choose between the 2 albums!
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Old 09-15-2007, 07:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zootlesque
I don't like the song by song comparison so I'll just say that overall I like Kid A more as an album. But Amnesiac has got plenty of excellent material. Cuttooth instead of Morning Bell (ver.2) would have made it harder to choose between the 2 albums!
or fog

or worrywort

or sounds of orgy

or trans atlantic drawl
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Old 09-15-2007, 07:17 PM   #13
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1. Everything in Its Right Place
2. Pyramid Song
3. The National Anthem
4. How to Disappear Completely
5. Like Spinning Plates
6. Knives Out
7. In Limbo
8. Idioteque
9. Morning Bell/Amnesiac
10. Life In A Glass House

Kid A: 5
Amnesiac:5
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Old 09-15-2007, 07:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by xaviMF22


or fog

or worrywort

or sounds of orgy

or trans atlantic drawl
Nah! To me Cuttooth is eons ahead of every other radiohead b-side!
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Old 09-15-2007, 07:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zootlesque


Nah! To me Cuttooth is eons ahead of every other radiohead b-side!



good song though

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