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The King of Limbs by Radiohead
03/04/11 at 10:09 PM by Kid Amnesiac
The beginning of the album starts off with “Bloom”. A very heavy bass and percussion, thanks to Colin and Phil, respectably, song that at its climax even brings in flutes. This is one of the strongest songs on the entire album, in my opinion, just as it needs to be. The already fast-pace ramps up as other instruments are added. The sound is reminiscent of Amnesiac immediately. Thom’s first lyrics “Open your mouth wide! A universe inside!” carries his voice so strongly. The percussion is persistent, along with the bass and the piano, from the beginning of the song is stagnant with it’s beat. Thom eventually serenades us with his haunting voice as the flute plays. The piano, percussion and bass are constantly reminding us they are the backbones of the song. This is one of the strongest songs on the entire album. Heavy instrumentation sounds ever so beautiful when the flutes ring through bringing us to the climax of the song.
A similar fast-paced beat ramps up in “Morning Mr. Magpie”. Thom’s opening vocals “You’ve got some nerve, coming hear. You stole my heart, give it back!” are striking and noticeably separate from the instruments. Thom’s vocal hymns are then displaced with the instruments. “You know you should, but you don’t” comes over and sets the beat once again. Thom’s soothing vocals turned instrumental bring us towards the end of the song. “Good morning, Mr. Magpie. How are we today?”
Instruments flood the beginning as the guitar plays in “Little By Little”. “The last one out of the box, the one who broke your spell,” is sung as we approach the chorus. The bass and percussion keep it afloat as the guitar plays tune. Thom comes in singing higher than the other songs right out of the gate. The melody is quick as Thom sings “Little by little” “I’m such a tease and you’re such a flirt”. The song ends and flows, as always, nicely into the next tune.
Phil Selway’s percussion keeps “Feral” really quick, as it has in the first four songs. Thom’s vocals are emotive and affecting. This is where the song sounds most like the Amnesiac recordings. Thom’s vocals are placed well and there is a more natural and organic feel to the song with the instruments. If there were such a thing as a “Treefingers” on this album, I would juxtapose“Feral” with it. As the shortest song on The King Of Limbs, it seems Radiohead wanted “Feral” to be a solid and quick-paced introduction to the album’s single“Lotus Flower”. The synth-heavy Radiohead is back after “Feral”. Right away, Thom’s vocals are beamed down from the heavens and a two-beat clap capitalizes. As The King of Limbs’ first single “Lotus Flower”, is a solid song and Thom’s vocal range is truly shown here. The chorus “There’s an empty space inside my heart where the weeds stay root, so now I set you free, I set you free” shows Thom’s ability to sing a solid tenor, as if we didn’t already know. Selway is steady on percussion with Colin pouring in the slight Kid A mechanical sound in the background. Thom’s vocals are really steady and strong. He has truly developed even more from In Rainbows . “…just to feed your face, ballooning head. Listen to your hear”, Thom sings as the song comes to a close.
Codex starts off with Thom voicing something and then being cut off as the piano moves us. Being my favorite song off the album, I can only say it is nothing short of beautiful. Thom hums begin to haunt us with poignant sound. The song takes a turn from a sad sound to a now hopeful sound when Thom starts to actually sing. The song reminds me of “Motion Picture Soundtrack”. “Sleight of hand, jump off the edge, into a clear lake, no one around” is sung in an uplifting sense. It feels as though this is the end of the album and they are making their exit. Like an ending to a night it goes quiet, then suddenly birds begin to chirp. I think this emulates Radiohead’s cunning musical brilliance. This is the most memorable moment for me on the album as the transition gave me “goose bumps”.
Starting us back up with the birds chirping as if there is new life back in The King Of Limbs. How clever. In the background of the song, Thom’s heard singing “Don’t haunt me, don’t hurt me” repeatedly as he also sings the first verse. The guitar chimes in steadily, as does the beating of a bongo, gluing together “Give Up The Ghost” beautifully. “I think I should give up the ghost, into your arms” is rung through the end of the song with Thom in the background singing “Don’t haunt me, don’t hurt me” steadily throughout the whole song. The song ends with it and the synth sound from Kid A, almost like a movie reel ending its play through. How many times can I call Radiohead clever? They are the most astute band I can think of. Every single aspect of their album is intelligently thought through.
I was expecting “Separator” to sound like something I was longing for, which was another “Jigsaw Falling Into Place” intense song. It wasn’t, but what I did find is Radiohead knew me better than I, myself did, because “Separator” was something I didn’t know I wanted. The sound starts up somewhat slowly with Thom’s vocals and a stable beat from the percussion and guitar. Thom’s vocals are redolent of The Bends sessions here. “I’m a fish now, out of water” confines the listener with Thom’s vocals. “If you think this over, you are wrong” rings through towards the middle of the song with the steady melody coming from the bass and percussion. “Wake me up, wake me now” brings us towards the end of the song and album. But wait, do you really think Radiohead would leave us with nothing to talk about? Fat chance. “If you think this is over, then you’re wrong” is sung in the middle of the song with Colin Greenwood’s bass strumming. This is the conspiracy theorist in me, but I think Radiohead is planning an Amnesiac/Kid A kind of release. I’m predicting they will release another album within the next year. Think about it: Separator is the name of the last song, separator to what? Radiohead is entirely too imaginative for it to mean nothing.
Radiohead is full of surprises. The band does it their way and that’s that. Don’t bother trying to understand why they do what they do, because you may hurt yourself trying to wrap your head around it. They announced on Monday, the 14th the album would be released Saturday, the 19th. And then, to top it all off, they release it a day early. Who does that?! There are no fillers on the The King Of Limbs . The entire album is composed of solid songs. That’s right, there are no intros, no outros to speak of. People are most definitely going to be complaining about this, but the fact of the matter it’s Radiohead and they are not about doing things indisposed. I feel like The King Of Limbs wasn’t rushed, but they have something they’re hiding for sure. I am not complaining about the album length, but I do (and let’s face it, always will) want more Radiohead. The fact that there are only 8 tracks can be disappointing to some, but when you realize the album is still over 40 minutes long you should no longer be disappointed. The King Of Limbs doesn’t leave the listener with an empty feeling, but it leaves the listener wanting more. Something like eating a really good dinner, having your favorite dessert and then wanting even more of your favorite dessert even though your belt is now tight and your shirt is nearly bursting at the seams. Radiohead is going to make heads turn with this album. That is for sure. People were definitely expecting a more organic sound coming off of In Rainbows. The album is something that I would say closely resembles the session between Ok Computer and Amnesiac. There are times when listening to the album that I could hear a slight Kid A sound, but it’s not as apparent as Amnesiac. I’m excited to see what Radiohead does with the“Separator” theory. I’m confident on another release later this year tying the albums together. The “Newspaper” album should reveal more on it and you know I ordered mine already!
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Enduring the hardships of a difficult co-worker.
03/04/11 at 10:08 PM by Kid Amnesiac
I was recently proposed a question regarding what I would do in a make-believe situation where I was presented with having an over-controlling, backstabbing employee that did not only what she was asked to accomplish, but as much as me, her boss in this situation. A lot of what Doris, does in this situation hit home for me as it is a lot of what an employee I manage at my work does. Doris displays behavior including: talking behind her boss’s back (keep in mind, I’m her boss) and taking control of the department by doing things her position is not solicited to do. This behavior and her seniority puts her on a pedestal with all of her co-workers, whom are people under me. I penned an essay regarding this make-believe situation and tied it to my real life turmoil. As Daemon of IGN would say, “Please to enjoy”:
I feel like this whole situation is somewhat of a déjà vu to me. At the moment, as I have said in the discussion and multiple other areas, I am working with an abortion of an employee. I am his boss and he does not treat me so. He does a lot of what Doris does. He acts as though he is your best friend to your face and then talks behind your back. The guy is a wonderful grunt, meaning he’ll do all the physical labor, no problem. This is helpful, but hardly worth it. Because of his fakeness, he really is an ugly person inside and out. The bottom line is he does not respect authority and views himself as “the only person who does anything” at the store. I know this because of my loyal customer base. The same people that he complains to I have known for close to four years. This employee is a bad person because he not only feels he is the only person working hard, bad mouths other employees to customers, but he also steals. My Kum and Go primarily consists of two shifts a week where more than one person is on the clock. That shift is the truck shift on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Through out working with him on these shifts, I have come across him stealing multiple times. This is a huge deficit to the store! And the audits are there to prove it! I couldn’t and didn’t want to believe my eyes the last time this occurred, so, I acted as though something had to be done in the bathrooms. When he caught on and went back there to check I took a video with my phone showing that the bag of beef jerky was in his “lunch bag”. I took it farther by quickly going through our recent receipts to make sure that it was 100% sure that this product was not purchased. Success! I sent my manager the video via text message. It was after 8pm, so she was asleep. But the next day she said that she reviewed the daily transactions and there was absolutely none sold that day! I thought I finally had quelled this abortion of an employee. Nope. She said this wasn’t substantial evidence. What is her problem? I have been with this location longer than her and I have worked with her for almost four years.
I couldn’t grasp her reasoning. At least until I decided that this was a bigger deal than she was making it out to be and bypassed her and went to her supervisor. I showed him the video and explained that he was a cancer to the store because of the way he talks about people behind their back and so fourth. He told me I was 100% correct and we needed to get rid of him. I was ecstatic! Then he explained where my manager was coming from and it sort of opened my eyes a bit. Employee turnover is very inefficient and costly. The fact that he is stealing (hopefully) minimal amounts of product a week is no where near the predicted cost of hiring somebody. Figuring in all the work that has to be done in training, putting them in the system, employee screw-ups and the risk the new employee brings to the store, a new employee can cost the company upwards of $2500. This is a huge cost! So, dealing with his moderate theft and poor workplace ethics are something that we are willing to deal with for now. Now he left me with another notion: I need to try and nudge my manager towards finding him a replacement. I am and have been for the most part, she agrees and has been looking over the last couple days.
This is closely related to the problem that “we” have with Doris. Although, there is one over-arching difference.: my terrible, controlling employee doesn’t have seniority or a strong work ethic, like Doris. I think that I would deal with what Doris is doing. But there is something that I would start to do and that is put all I have in the company by paying attention to what she is doing and how she is doing it. This way we have two minds in the department that can do “everything” and eventually I feel she would start to respect me more and we could join forces. Sure, I am sentenced to meetings all day, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t learn a thing or two here and there. And eventually, with my character displayed to Doris and burning passion for the company, I think she would take me under her wing.
I would most definitely not fire her. Everyone likes her and respects her. The only problem I have with her personality is that she feels that she can talk behind my back. That is not okay, but it is something that I would be okay with dealing with because of the asset she is to the company. If my employee did everything that she does, I would most definitely find it hard to fire him. But he doesn’t and never will be to that point. Once again, my situation is close to the Doris situation except for this main factor.
Back to my approach to this problem, I would start to bond and get to know the people I work with. People like a person that is extremely committed to the same effort as them and I think that if everyone starts to respect and like me that the word around the office would be that I actually a great guy. This will also help the development of my relationship with Doris.
The best thing here is to basically establish yourself as a person that is just as, if not more, committed to the company as Doris. She volunteers to do work that over and above her call of duty and that is exactly what I should be doing to gain the respect of others and her.
I turned to a couple sites to get some more information on this difficult situation. One site I visited was PeterVarhol.com. This site did a wonderful job essaying the way to go about the problem. I applied one of his points to the Doris situation and the Doris situation. PeterVarhol.com asked the question: “What specific behavior is causing the problem?” His answer to this is that we need to access the situation and generate a plan according to how bad the situation actually is. This is helpful and I feel it is exactly what my supervisor did to come to the answer he did with me. We have to weigh our options and decide whether or not this is a situation where we can cut ties with the employee. Obviously, Doris is a hassle; almost more of a hassle than good, to be exact. But in all actuality, she is far from a shortfall of the company. She has a lot to offer, along with her big mouth. My employee on the other hand is poor with his relations with customers, fellow employees and doesn’t know how to do the bookwork or work the register well. He is a deficit to the store and will be replaced in due time. The site also points out a lot of what I have tried to do to better my relationship with this employee. One thing he points out is that we need to talk with with the person. Yes, I agree, and I have. He pretty much nods and says he will change his work ethic and doesn’t. Another point is that I should talk to my manager, which I have. I feel like this is a great article that I really has a lot of ways to deal with a co-worker. Many of which I have already done and to no avail. When it comes to Doris, I am the manager of this department, so talking to my manager wouldn’t do a whole lot. I could and it would be a lot easier if I was close to the manager. I think that there are always exceptions when it comes to the requirements of a job and talking to my manager may actually get her promoted! This is something that would work out well, actually. Because the void she would feel if I told her to stop doing things out of her duty would no longer be something she would have to work about. And she would definitely respect me and look out for me in the future. There is no way that if someone is qualified for the job in every way except for their education that they would be turned away. I have personally seen it happen in the journalism industry. Now if they did have a problem with it, I would advise her tactfully to get that education because she really knows what she’s talking about. If done correctly, this may further our relationship.
I read what About.com had to say. They didn’t attack the situation anywhere near as well as the Peter Varhol site, but they did raise one point I haven’t explored. And that is “Look for a new job”. I feel as though it is a petty way to “solve” the problem, but she may be rooted too deeply in the company to fire or deal with, leaving with this as a last resort. The site also brought up the point of just dealing with it. I feel as though, through out her entire career at the company too many of her bosses were push-over’s. This is the origin of her behavior and how she manifested the need to be in control of the department. All of her previous employers were okay with letting it slide, why shouldn’t I? If an employee is willing to go above and beyond what they ask for and not ask for a promotion or raise, why should I consider that a problem? It’s a great thing for the company and instead of concentrating on ways to undermine her ways, I think my energy would be the most useful concentrating on working with her or just venturing into other aspects of the department that need tailoring.
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Last Updated: 03/04/11 (964 Views)
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