What's the best song from Radiohead's "KID A"?

Radiohead’s fourth album threw the music industry and music fans alike for a loop (no pun intended), debuting at #1 despite being one of the first major records to leak online before its release, and unveiling a dramatic stylistic shift on the part of the band. “Kid A” interspersed cold electronic beats and samples with atmospheric guitar and subdued live instrumentation in a way that hadn’t ever percolated to the mainstream - what “Nevermind” did for grunge, “Kid A” did for IDM. At the time, it was equally heralded and hated for being such a massive departure from Radiohead’s previous work, with critics bemoaning the lack of rock guitar in particular.

Ten years later, “Kid A” no longer feels as earth-shattering as it was upon release. Its innovations have become mainstream, and Radiohead themselves have moved on to new things, musically. All that’s left is the songs themselves, and ultimately that’s where “Kid A”'s true strength lies. Beneath all the furor about dance beats versus rock drums and synths versus guitars, there are ten tracks that rank among the best songs the band ever wrote. Radiohead are notoriously picky in the studio, endlessly re-rewriting and re-recording tracks, and ruthlessly cutting any song that doesn’t fit their standards. For “Kid A,” they famously recorded over 30 songs (many of which would ultimately end up on “Amnesiac”), and ultimately selected only ten for inclusion on the album.

Of those ten, which do you consider your favorite?

Ah, much easier to answer than the “OK Computer” one…

Idioteque, and it’s not even close. Not to say that it’s not a great album, it is, but everything they were trying to do came together on this track, even if Thom was trying to force it on Everything In It’s Right Place.

“Idioteque,” which is my second favorite Radiohead song. It only loses out to “Creep.”

I disagree that it’s “not even close.” IMO, “How to Disappear Completely” is the best song in Radiohead’s discography, and it’s so different from “Idioteque” (which is an undeniably great song) that I don’t even know how the latter could encompass what they were trying to do in “HTDC.”

I’d be curious to hear you expand on this point.

Anyone who is not voting for The National Anthem clearly isn’t playing the album at a high enough volume. That song groves so hard it makes you fall over. But it’s really all about the dissonant horn section breaking things down. It’s the song I still play when I need to change my mood and easily a top 10 song of all time for me. Just turn up the volume and get lost in the bass riff.

Idioteque is a close second, and the entire rest of the album a close third. Kid A was my first introduction to…the possibilities of mainstream music. I hated it the first time I heard it at a party, by the third time I had listened to it my mind had been blown.

I’m sure there’s one I rather like, but I’ve only listened to the album as a whole. To me, it is one large piece of music interspersed with pauses that introduce major changes in theme; I have never thought of the tracks as individual songs.

That goes back to an interview I read, about how EIIRP almost ‘broke up the band’. The song was where Thom threw down the gauntlet on the electronica stuff, and it just wasn’t coming out right. I guess the producer spent many hours with Thom on the arrangement, trying to make it work.

The results are really great, but I think Idioteque did it better.

HTDC is a great song, but feels like a left-over from The Bends. Not that this is a bad thing, that is my favorite Radiohead album, but Idioteque had the advantage of being the best track (IMO) and announcing the new sound, simultaneously.

Edit: fixed tag

Can anyone help me out with a Kid A mystery here? I got the album the day it came out, but on listening to it, I remember that I had already heard a different version of “Motion Picture Soundtrack” many, many times. It was basically the same vocals but without the cheesy harp sound effects. Was this song released before the album came out or did I dream this?

As for the poll, “Idioteque” is also number one for me, but the track “Kid A” is a close second and I notice it hasn’t gotten any votes yet. I love the distorted vocals.

ETA: Googling turns up an acoustic demo version of “Motion Picture Soundtrack.” I must have got it off the Internet sometime in '99 or '00. Although you miss the organ, I much prefer the song without the harps and choir sound f/x. Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-zr2JQAzHU

I’m still struggling to choose between The National Anthem and How to Disappear Completely. Optimistic is also a great, great song and I could vote for that. It took me a very long time to get Idioteque, and even if it’s not my favorite style, it’s a powerful piece of music.