KID A | Capitol | 2000 | List price: $7.96 | Get it for less at Amazon
AMANDA PALMER PERFORMS THE POPULAR HITS OF RADIOHEAD ON HER MAGICAL UKULELE | 2010 | Order the album directly from Amanda

Radiohead’s 1997 album OK COMPUTER was, and still is, considered by many to be the strongest, most important album of the 1990s, and is in most critics’ top 10 of the 20th Century. So how exactly would this fiercely independent, contrarian group follow up such a masterwork? In typical Radiohead fashion – with another one: KID A.

KID A dropped in October of 2000 and nothing has been the same since. Those of us who had been listening to “˜Electronica’ regularly since the very late 1990s were still blown away by the programming skills exhibited on the more electronic tracks of the record, chief of which is “Idioteque.” Radiohead did nothing less than co-opt the feelings of isolationism, paranoia, fear of technology and “˜us against all of you’ mentality of OK COMPUTER as a whole and pack it successfully into a single track. It introduced IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) to the mainstream, and defiantly proclaimed that Radiohead were not going to do what everyone expected. Rather, everyone was going to have to open their minds to accommodate some new ideas, new sounds, and come along for the ride or be completely left behind in the new millennium.

Lots of artists have benefited from that very declaration. The new millennium brought with it a cross-pollination of genres that made the 80s look like the 50s. Lesser known sounds, such as World Music, Electronica, Folk, House and Industrial all found their way into mainstream music on a level previously unheard of. Crossover artists became the newest market darlings. Those who could marry Metal and Hip-Hop, for example, were temporarily anointed kings. Besides restructuring the look of the pop charts, another result of this new cultural open-mindedness was a re-awakened “˜Alternative’ scene. When the “˜strange’ had grown up and inherited the mantle of “˜mainstream,’ the next generation of “˜strange’ was just that much…stranger. Enter The Dresden Dolls, fronted by none other than Amanda Palmer, and their brand of Post-Punk Cabaret performance.

Boston’s The Dresden Dolls (Palmer & Brian Viglione) formed in 2000, enjoyed considerable success (huge cult following, opening for Nine Inch Nails in 2005), and went on an official hiatus in 2008. Amanda, who is known to have many fingers in many musical pies, is also well-known in online circles thanks to her brash and unrepentant blog entries (amandapalmer.net) and spirited tweets (@amandapalmer). She is currently engaged to British writer Neil Gaiman (SANDMAN, CORALINE, STARDUST, ANANSI BOYS), and has just released a Radiohead cover album, showcasing her talents on the ukulele.

Palmer’s earnest cover of “Idioteque” employs the aforementioned tiny stringed instrument made famous in Hawaii, her (considerable) piano prowess, some odd percussion, and her own backing vocals, both sung and spoken. The atmosphere of the recording (ranging from upbeat to creepy to dour in four short minutes) manages to keep a reverent parallel with Radiohead’s original while still making the track her own. And most importantly, does not become a “˜novelty’ record. Palmer’s respect for the original songs shows through on all of the covers on her (too short) album, but nowhere as respectfully as during “Idioteque.”

Amanda’s talent and chutzpah deserve a much bigger following than both have already earned her – it’s possible that this album will open up some more doors. If not, her DIY attitude and networking savvy will continue to buoy her creative output, which is nothing less than inspiring.

“Idioteque” – Radiohead/Paul Lansky

Who’s in bunker, who’s in bunker?
Women and children first
Women and children first
Women and children
I’ll laugh until my head comes off
I swallow till I burst
Until I burst
Until I

Who’s in bunker, who’s in bunker
I’ve seen too much
I haven’t seen enough
You haven’t seen enough
I’ll laugh until my head comes off
Women and children first
And children first
And children

Here I’m allowed, everything all of the time
Here I’m allowed, everything all of the time

Ice age coming, ice age coming
Let me hear both sides
Let me hear both sides
Let me hear both..

Ice age coming, ice age coming
Throw me in the fire
Throw me in the fire
Throw me in the

We’re not scaremongering
This is really happening, happening
We’re not scaremongering
This is really happening, happening

Mobiles working
Mobiles chirping
Take the money and run
Take the money and run
Take the money

Here I’m allowed, everything all of the time

To order KID A directly from Amazon for less, CLICK HERE.

To order AMANDA PALMER PERFORMS THE POPULAR HITS OF RADIOHEAD ON HER MAGICAL UKULELE, directly from Amanda,

“Idioteque” by Radiohead Rating: ★★★★★
“Idioteque” by Amanda Palmer Rating: ★★★★★

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  1. Deejah Figueroa on July 30, 2010

    Her version of Creep is a killer as well!

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention “Idioteque” - Radiohead vs. Amanda Palmer | Pop Culture World News -- Topsy.com 30 Jul, 2010

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by idigress, Michael Welch. Michael Welch said: Radiohead vs. #amandapalmer – That About Covers It vol 4 now live on #popcultureworldnews : http://popcultureworldnews.com/idioteque/ [...]

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