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This Isn't Happening

This Isn't Happening

Radiohead's "Kid A" and the Beginning of the 21st Century

The making and meaning of Radiohead’s groundbreaking, controversial, epoch-defining album, Kid A.

In 1999, as the end of an old century loomed, five musicians entered a recording studio in Paris without a deadline. Their band was widely recognized as the best and most forward-thinking in rock, a rarefied status granting them the time, money, and space to make a masterpiece. But Radiohead didn’t want to make another rock record. Instead, they set out to create the future.

For more than a year, they battled writer’s block, inter-band disagreements, and crippling self-doubt. In the end, however, they produced an album that was not only a complete departure from their prior guitar-based rock sound, it was the sound of a new era, and embodied widespread changes catalyzed by emerging technologies just beginning to take hold of the culture.

What they created was Kid A. At the time, Radiohead’s fourth album divided critics. Some called it an instant classic; others, including the U.K. music magazine Melody Maker, deemed it “tubby, ostentatious, self-congratulatory . . . whiny old rubbish.” But two decades later, Kid A sounds like nothing less than an overture for the chaos and confusion of the twenty-first century.

Acclaimed rock critic Steven Hyden digs deep into the songs, history, legacy, and mystique of Kid A, outlining the album’s pervasive influence and impact on culture, in time for its 20th anniversary. Deploying a mix of criticism, journalism, and personal memoir, Hyden skillfully revisits this enigmatic, alluring LP and investigates the many ways in which Kid A shaped and foreshadowed our world.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Biography & Autobiography / Composers & Musicians

On Sale: September 29th 2020

Price: $15.99 / $19.99 (CAD)

Page Count: 256

ISBN-13: 9780306845697

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

"This Isn't Happening not only is an excellent way to revisit Kid A but also a springboard for thinking about the shifting fortunes of rock music, the Internet, and the uneasy century we've been living in for the past 20 years."—Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend
"If there was ever an album that deserves a book-length exegesis, it's Kid A, and there's no one better than Steven Hyden to unpack its mythologies and prophecies, and the extraordinary way it appeared to set the stage for the century that followed. This Isn't Happening is a smart, riveting, and dynamic history of a watershed moment for both music and the world."—Amanda Petrusich, author of Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World's Rarest 78rpm Records
"Even if you've immersed yourself in Kid A thousands of times, Steven Hyden's passionately argued and kaleidoscopic This Isn't Happening will make you rethink and reimagine Radiohead's most audacious album and its place in cultural history--and history itself."—David Browne, author, Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: The Wild, Definitive Saga of Rock's Greatest Supergroup
"Radiohead, music, and culture all stood at a crossroads in the year 2000. With insight and grace, Steven Hyden explores the ways in which the Kid A album pointed toward a future that no one could fully imagine--and captured a moment that, two decades later, we're still trying to comprehend."—Alan Light, author of The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley and the Unlikely Ascent of "Hallelujah" and host of "Debatable" on SiriusXM
"This Isn't Happening is beyond a mere analysis of Kid A. It is a vast and contextual examination of the world, both inside and outside of Radiohead, leading up to and flowing away from the creation of Kid A and its impact on both the band and culture as a whole. Connecting the record to film, politics, current events, and the cultural morass that comprised the final moments of the '90s, Steven Hyden gleefully and with meticulous absurdity dissects, deconstructs, and decodes the first great artistic enigma of the new millennium."—Alex Ross Perry, writer/director of Her Smell, Listen Up Philip, and The Color Wheel
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