The turn of the millennium was a big deal for Radiohead. In 2000, they released Kid A, the hotly-anticipated follow-up to their jaw-droppingly amazing third album OK Computer. Kid A represented a total reinvention for Radiohead, as it jettisoned guitars almost entirely in favor of moody electronic sounds and complicated keyboard arrangements. The band continued their run with 2001's Amnesiac, another batch of dark, robotic tunes. Though both of those albums were critically acclaimed and sold well, there was a bit of a backlash beginning to brew by the time their next record rolled around.
That could be why the buzz around Hail to the Thief — which came hit stores on this day in 2003 — was so great. There were rumblings that the band's sixth album was going to be a return to The Bends-era guitar rock. The first single even gave some credence to that buzz, as "There There" featured a delightfully jangly guitar groove and raw, organic drums.
Though Hail to the Thief (whose title may or may not be about George W. Bush) did have its share of guitar-based rock songs, it was hardly a throwback to simpler times. The band had simply figured out how to let both sides of itself coexist a bit better, which is why the moody electronics that provide the backdrop to "There There" blend seamlessly with the live instrumentation up front. Those happy marriages are all over Hail to the Thief, from the jittery "2 + 2 = 5" to the eerie "The Gloaming."
It also helped that the video for "There There" was truly awesome. Directed by Chris Hopewell (who has also handled clips for the Killers, Franz Ferdinand and Scissor Sisters), it basically acts as a trailer for Wes Anderson's "The Fantastic Mr. Fox."