To those who know, they know. If you ask a Radiohead fan to describe Kid A you’ll probably get a different response every time. Serene, transcendent, manic, discordant, and well, just about every other word that attempts to describe the ineffable. Pretty broad and abstract I know. However, they’ll also probably agree on one thing, the album materialised in their life during some significant emotional shift – thus the frustration trying to articulate the immense impression it left on them, the words just don’t do it justice. For me, I was in my early twenties, and found myself studying on a foreign exchange semester in Toronto, Canada. Typical bumbling Brit drawing weird eyes every time I spoke, doubly weird when they heard my dodgy Brummie lilt. Needless to say, I lost myself literally in that city, walking mile upon mile of ‘blocks’, jaywalking into near certain death but also figuratively too, How To Disappear Completely, an existential balm if ever there was one. I formed many great memories over those few months but none resonate with me today as much as drifting through the concrete thatch of Toronto in mid-winter, smiling blissfully unaware as commuter’s and vehicles beeped and barked around me.
I wonder who will have found this album, and specifically that song, during the bizarre conditions that face the world today. ‘Disappearing completely’ may as well be a public service announcement. For me, it’s power was the juxtaposition, the ethereal metropolis; now it finds a new home, in the bedrooms locked down, in the quarantine of society where nothing is in it’s right place.