Jill Seale

Pronged Farming Implement Reviews: The King of Limbs

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Even better than witnessing the stillborn birth of a child while simultaneously having the opportunity to see her play in the afterlife… In 3-D!

[I wasn’t sure I was prepared to review this album, being that any known human language could only cheapen the majesty that is Radiohead; however, after reading Pitchfork’s masterfully written review of one of their earlier albums, I feel emboldened to try my hand at expressing the inexpressible.]

I’ve never seen a baby giraffe being born. Sure I’ve seen videos, but I’ve never been close enough to feel the warmth from that loving mother giraffe’s vagina; Never practically tasted the birthing fluid as a perfect and innocent giraffe crosses the starting line into this glorious thing we call life. I have, however, heard Radiohead’s The King of Limbs, and I have to say that, all things considered, I feel I’ve come out better in the long run.

Most reviews would start at the end of the album, realizing Radiohead’s penchant for rewarding those who understand the hidden code of listening to all of their albums in reverse order to hear the secret messages, but few people know that, since their code is based upon the Fibonacci sequence, this album should be listened to by all right-thinking people in its ACTUAL ORDER. Completely nonsensical, I realize, but I will actually be reviewing this album in its actual order. Please try and maintain your composure.

I prepared to listen to Radiohead’s latest Magnum Opus in the usual way: dissolving LSD tabs in oven cleaner and using the mixture to wash down my 2-pound cheeseburger topped with Pop Rocks and Comet powder. After spinning around in circles for half an hour, foaming at the mouth, I was finally ready to listen to the album. I’m not sure whether I actually managed to play the album, but when I opened my eyes next, the half-eagle/half-Native American who stood over me told me that I had.


From far across the desert I could hear distant piano. I could feel my heart pounding, and I knew that it was from the immense anticipation, because by that time I had already gone into cardiogenic shock. The Eagleman opened his beak and out flew a murder of crows. Instead of cawing, they began to circle, and from their collective tiny lungs came the sublime voice I had come to love. “Open your mouth wide,” they said, “The universe will sigh.” And so it did. “Bloom” had begun. The repetition of the drum loop felt like an angel of mercy, repeatedly stomping my skull into the earth with her immaculate Doc Martens. I loved her the more for every blow.


Suddenly the ground gave way underneath me and I felt myself falling hard and fast. I landed with a jolt into a giant courtroom, inhabited by a crowd of creatures I assume had once been human. They were far from that now:  grotesque caricatures of human and beast. The judge, a massive worm-man, screamed from his bench/parapet, “You’ve got some nerve coming here!” At this the beast people began to jeer. I looked out into the crowd to see them all ravenously devouring greasy hunks of unidentifiable meat and having violent sex with one another. I tried to run, but my legs had turned into snakes. My shocked expression sent the multitudes into riotous laughter, and I could see that it had caused several of them to begin choking on the gelatinous fat oozing from their meal.

“You stole it all,” continued the judge. “Give it back!” I tried to explain that I hadn’t stolen anything, but every word out of my mouth prompted new jeers and vicious mockery from the crowd. The judge continued to berate me, but I couldn’t understand him anymore. The entire scene had melted into a tornado of hate and sex and derision when suddenly all went calm and pure white. “Morning Mr. Magpie’s” bridge had kicked in. I could hear Thom Yorke’s voice guiding me far away from that awful courtroom and into a blinding light.


Suddenly I was in a familiar setting. My bedroom alarm was sounding and I realized it was time to get ready for work the clock radio blared Radiohead’s “Little by Little.” I reached to turn it off, but the song continued to play. I payed it no mind. What a terrible nightmare I’d had. I got dressed as quick as I could and rushed out the door. My morning commute went much smoother than usual. I suspect that it was because everyone on the train was dead. Some of them held their morning papers in front of their face, eyes lolled upwards with a blank expression on their face. I noticed nothing strange about this. I got into my office and stepped over the splayed corpses of my co-workers. I got to my desk and began to check my email.  I settled into my humdrum job, typing the work “KILL” over and over again, when I heard the distant sound of tribal, one might even say “Feral” drums. At the sound, my coworkers sprang up like marionettes and began to engulf me. I slipped into darkness once again.


As the drums faded out, I found them replaced by the high pitched beat of a heart monitor. Apparently, my neighbors heard me thrashing furiously about my studio apartment and phoned the paramedics. As I began to regain consciousness in that hospital bed I realized that I had not heard the whole album. My eyes glazed over as the rage took hold. I screamed unintelligible curses at the doctors and nurses around me and violently ripped the tubes from my arms.

It was only after I was sedated and strapped tightly to the bed that I saw His face shining above me. Thom Yorke smiled, and all my anger subsided. I knew all was right with the cosmos.

10 out of 10

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