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Album Review: ANIMA by Thom Yorke

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Thom Yorke is a UK based singer and songwriter, and he is most commonly known as the frontman of Radiohead. ANIMA is Thom Yorke's third studio album and is also a short show on Netflix. While being a solo project and synth/electronic inspired, ANIMA still has a Radiohead-aesthetic sound to the album.

The first track is Traffic. As I mentioned in a previous post, some of these tracks, such as this opener, have been performed at live shows. While listening to the electronic background, Thom Yorke perfectly portrays traffic noises in the distance. The chorus of the track paints the inequality and corruptedness of rich people in the UK, especially in the wealthy areas of Kensington and Chelsea.

Last I Heard (...He Was Circling the Drain) opens up with an eerie electronic background. It gradually gets louder with Thom singing, "I woke up with a feeling I just could not take." After the opening chorus, the sound quickly dims back down. The song seems to be talking about dreams, moreso nightmares. The tracks takes a quick trip of waking up and trying to come back to reality after a nightmare.

The longest track off the album, Twist, comes in at seven minutes and three seconds. If you haven't heard any of Thom Yorke's music before, he is very poetic with his lyrics. However, that also means it can be hard to decipher the meaning of a song. This track could tie into the last track and refer to a dream that he is currently having. The track closes out with beautiful synth drones.

Dawn Chorus has a synth part this is repeated over and over throughout the song. Dawn chorus refers to the noises birds make in the early hours of the morning. The song goes back to the phrase of, "If you could do it all again." This could refer to the beginning of a new day and being able to start anew on a fresh slate every day.

I Am a Very Rude Person is the next track off the album. After listening to this ambient track several times, I feel like he has to be rude in order to achieve greatness or to create his art. This could be someone holding him down, so he has to cut them out of his life, or be rude to that person in order to achieve his goal.

The next track is Not the News. The track has several 'scooping' sounds which reminds me of an old Mario jump sound from the NES. The chorus mentions that he's not running, and that could be because of the broken glass he mentions as well. This could mean that he is stuck at where he's at in life, but he's trying to make the most of it.

The Axe is the second longest track on the album and is just shy of seven minutes. There is a droning electronic synth sound that fades in and out throughout the song. A lot of people can relate to this song since it relates to something that most of us use every single day, technology. Technology promises us so many things, however it ends up disappointing a lot of people, and it also leads to a technological addiction. The singer, or Thom Yorke, is talking to this piece of machinery at the very beginning, but wants to destroy it since it hasn't held up to the promises.

The next song is Impossible Knots, and the person is talking about being tied up in these impossible knots. It seems that even though they have these knots, they are ready to take on whatever is coming their way. Thom Yorke ends the track by repeating the phrase, "I'll be ready" at various tempos and rhythms.

Runwayaway is the final track and incorporates some guitar loops with a lo-fi type beat in the middle of the track. Runwayaway is one of Thom Yorke's most ambitious pieces of being an electronic artist. This is probably my favorite piece off the album and is a great way to end the piece, especially if he doesn't release another solo project in the near future. The track continually references knowing who your real friends are.

If you enjoyed the album, consider purchasing it digitally or on vinyl!

Overall Rating: 9/10
Favorite Tracks: Last I Heard (...He Was Circling the Drain), The Axe, Runwayaway

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