Best Albums of 2011: #12

Radiohead - The King of Limbs

Everyone knows that Radiohead is one of those bands that will always be constantly redefining themselves and challenging their listeners. Because of that, when people hear a new Radiohead album, they expect something new. Something definitive. Something that will challenge the idea of being a rock band in an "in-your-face" kind of way. And for the past 10 years, that is exactly what Radiohead has done whether it wasOK Computer or Kid A or In Rainbows.

However, King of Limbs presents the band in a new way -- it reintroduces the band as one that can be subtle. So subtle that the band might do something like announce the album for one day and then just release the album the day before in a seemingly inconsequential way. They might release a "newspaper" edition -- a transitory medium that is here one day and forgotten the next. They might have tracks that give the band room to explore and perhaps even jam a bit. Tracks like "Bloom" and "Lotus Flower" feature textures that are mind-blowingly dense, yet at the same time they always feel somewhat effortless. The more I listened to this album throughout the year, the more I realized that Radiohead knew exactly what they were doing with this album and in many ways have surprised fans and critics again, but in a way we never would have expected.

Best Tracks: "Bloom", "Lotus Flower"

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