AOTY 2023

A Moon Shaped Pool

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
Critic Score
Based on 49 reviews
2016 Ratings: #8 / 1002
Year End Rank: #5
User Score
2016 Ratings: #6
Liked by 1,467 people
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
XS Noize
“A Moon Shaped Pool” places itself among the top entrants in Radiohead’s illustrious discography. I have gone back and forth on the grade, but in the end it is deserves a rating as perfect as it is 10/10.
100
The Telegraph

The melodic sweetness and sometimes gentle ambience of Moon Shaped Pool may represent Radiohead at their least bloodthirsty and most accessible, but there are depths and riches here to suggest a work of total self-assurance.

100
DIY

Beyond anything, ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ feels like the beginning of a new chapter - the first time these five have merged their own idiosyncrasies without compromising or crossing wires.

100
Entertainment Weekly

By nature, Radiohead albums will always be somewhat epic, but this one is more consistently grandiose than any of the band’s releases since 2000’s masterpiece Kid A.

100
Pretty Much Amazing

A Moon Shaped Pool is the best album we could expect from a rock outfit already into its third decade of existence, and a superb work from the last important band left in the universe.

100
Louder Than War

There is plenty here for fans of the band that have followed them through their career and whilst many may still hold onto the albums they have made in the past as a sort of benchmark for what all other Radiohead albums should sound like, this is where the road has been leading all along.

100
No Ripcord

With A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead didn't reinvent the wheel, but instead crafted an emotionally resonant, musically unexpected and richly rewarding album.

95
The Line of Best Fit

A Moon Shaped Pool stems from such a vital and private place that its quiet cohesion yields some devastatingly beautiful results.

92
Paste

With A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead have resumed the greatest winning streak in modern popular music. Not by flaunting any new tricks—just by delivering their normal quota of catharsis.

91
Pitchfork

It’s a sound that Radiohead has spent the last decade honing, but the payoff here is deeper and more gratifying than it has been in a while. The added dimension comes from Yorke, who pumps fresh oxygen into these songs, many of which have existed in sketch-like forms for years.

91
Consequence of Sound

Only now does it seem like Radiohead, a group too big to break up, could call it quits after pouring everything into their music, ending with a record of personal exhaust examined through leisurely means.

90
Slant Magazine

While A Moon Shaped Pool offers little in the way of new sonic territory, its newly naked and incisive portrayal of emotional vulnerability remains a resoundingly major achievement.

90
Rolling Stone

If Radiohead have made the dehumanizing effects of technology their great theme, A Moon Shaped Pool is the first record in which, musically, they kick their way out of the machine, or at least make their cyborg soul more vestigial.

90
FLOOD Magazine

Never before have Radiohead made anxiety such a singular concern, or unease such an agonized-over art form, as they have on the brooding, stewing, contagious A Moon Shaped Pool.

90
Uncut

There's a lighter, more hopeful bent to the musical settings, which perfectly balance the more dissonant leanings of The King Of Limbs with a sumptuousness and gentleness they've rarely sought since OK Computer.

90
Crack Magazine

Radiohead are lost in their own wonderful world of sonics while things tumble around them, and this juxtaposition has made for a record that leaves A Moon Shaped Pool sat alongside some of their finest work.

90
The Young Folks

The best thing about A Moon Shaped Pool is how many times I’m going to listen to this album and discover new elements about every time I let my head dive deep into it. That’s the power of Radiohead: it’s not music to just listen to, it’s music to let wash over you.

90
American Songwriter

For a long time now, Radiohead has been achieving mesmerizing results by blazing the trail for synthetic sounds in rock and roll. But it’s the humanity, oh, the humanity, that makes A Moon Shaped Pool so moving.

90
The Sydney Morning Herald
In its piano eddies and low-lying pools of Yorke's voice, shorn of any jaggedness, it is gentle and human, moving and beautiful, without ever trying to be comforting. For that is not the Radiohead way.
90
Albumism

Repeated listens during the days and weeks to come will invariably reveal previously overlooked nuances and revelations layered deep within A Moon Shaped Pool’s exquisitely crafted songs.

90
The 405

When one wades into their first listens of A Moon Shaped Pool, they may feel as though they've entered this dreamy, somewhat surreal state of being as Radiohead's ninth studio album creates a powerful sensory experience across its 52-minute runtime. But make no mistake, the dreams conjured up by Radiohead on this record are not the type most would like to be having.

90
Under the Radar

Where the band's ninth studio album differs from its predecessor, The King of Limbs, is that it's entirely possible—no, recommended—to simply sit back and appreciate its sheer magisterial beauty.

90
SPIN
Radiohead — a quintet made up of the same five musicians through a long, accomplished career — truly feel like equals here, during what history may validate as one of the band’s finest hours.
90
PopMatters

Although it’s recognizably Radiohead, the album is quite different from anything they’ve ever done. It’s also breathtaking from start to finish, a triumphant return after the longest gap between studio albums in the band’s career.

90
musicOMH

This is as compelling and coherent a collection as they have ever made. It’s a record that you can delve deep into and really inhabit; everything’s in its right place.

84
Northern Transmissions

No doubt, A Moon Shaped Pool is still streaming jittery clicks and filtered synths our way, but there’s a more pronounced organic element to the record.

80
Clash

This is an emotionally brittle and dazzling collection that improves with each enthralling listen.

80
Record Collector

A Moon Shaped Pool represents a return to the ambition and perfectionism that has characterised their best work.

80
Spectrum Culture

A Moon Shaped Pool is not the best Radiohead album, but it is still striking in its intimacy and introspection. It’s a step forward and further evidence of just how thoroughly the band has mastered their craft.

80
Q Magazine

For the most part ... the excellence of what's here is less a matter of particular details than the way they combine to produce long stretches of real magic.

80
The Observer

Where 2011’s more granular and underrated The King of Limbs revelled in beats, A Moon Shaped Pool marks a frequent relaxation into more conventional songcraft – manna from heaven for a certain stripe of Radiohead fan.

80
The Needle Drop
Radiohead's new album is easy on the ears, but heavy on the heart.
80
Evening Standard
The most left-field stadium act in the world return with more extraordinary music.
80
The Independent
Drawing on the embattled, hopeful possibilities of early Seventies soul, rock and folk, its chamber-classical and folk instrumentation allows for pleasure as well as despair. This is a Radiohead album to make you feel, better.
80
God Is in the TV

The content within Radiohead‘s ninth album A Moon Shaped Pool is a balance of welcoming familiarity and measured surprise tactics.

80
Mojo
All told, another luxurious wallow in art and agitation.
80
The Guardian

You’d hesitate to call it more poppy – this is still an album on which standard verse-chorus structures are very much subject to subsidence, and on which the instruments buried deep in the mix frequently seem to be playing an entirely different song to those in the foreground – but it’s certainly sharper and more focused.

80
Exclaim!

A Moon Shaped Pool is a gorgeous, sweeping record whose best moments ... find Radiohead at their dazzling best, reflecting something of their past while stretching forward, too.

80
The Skinny

It’s the soundtrack to our most outlandish dreams, perhaps the exit music to the unmade film of our most romantic lives. If you're still to discover Radiohead, listen to this, for it's the perfect way in.

80
NME

Thom Yorke and co remain reluctant saviours of rock, and 'A Moon Shaped Pool' doesn’t so much grab you by the throat as creep into your house in the night and paint your walls an enigmatic shade of blue.

80
AllMusic
For the first time Radiohead feels comfortable in their own skin.
80
Drowned in Sound

It is a formidably layered, beautiful record that largely lacks big hooks or aggressive bite, and yet conspires to be endlessly satisfying on a micro level, a clutch of ballads that represent the band's most intricate musical trip.

78
Resident Advisor

It's hard to say whether the heartbreak gives Radiohead's music a fresh power, or whether the band happens to have found a new creative energy that amplifies the heartbreak.

75
A.V. Club

A Moon Shaped Pool is the sound of Radiohead trying to imbue personal attachment to a world that feels as though it’s lost such connections.

70
Sputnikmusic

A Moon Shaped Pool sees Thom Yorke gazing into his own reflection. It makes for one of Radiohead's most personal efforts, but also an elusive one. Yorke often loses himself to the point of losing others.

70
Tiny Mix Tapes

The attempts at transcendence in Radiohead’s past make this album full with potential for retroactive catharsis due to its normality and lack, a sort of vernacular normcore presentation that delivers strands of Radiohead’s past in a utilitarian and casual manner.

60
NOW Magazine
It’s not as though Radiohead need to hang onto crashing drum crescendos and unruly guitar solos (although there is a lovely one at the end of Identikit), but you wonder faintly if the band feels overburdened by the idea of aging gracefully.
60
Classic Rock

Sporadically great but decidedly patchy, A Moon Shaped Pool is not the sound of a great band dying, more a great band spreading themselves too thinly.

40
The Arts Desk
A Moon Shaped Pool may have two or three moments, I confess, but Radiohead are still the most critically overrated band since the Smiths.
BradTasteMusic
98

This album has slowly grown more and more with every listen. I love this project. I think it’s up their with the bands all time best. I bump this at least once a week

zachthesnack
93

Im

Freaking

Crying

In Class

ThePurpleIdiot
98

Before I start, I just wanna say sorry I haven’t been active too much recently. My mental health has decreased in stability lately, I have felt mentally destroyed honestly. I've felt incredibly depressed this entire month and it's hitting VERY hard right now. My mind is too stressed and unwell to write too often, and my mental state is just proceeding to worsen. I almost had a mental breakdown a couple days ago, the worst it’s been for a little while. School has just started ... read more

NR

Yet another astronomical album by Radiohead however a much more deppressing tone as if Radioheads music wasnt deppressing enough already neityerway i love how Johnny Greenwood got Radiohead togheter with an Orchestra because this album has been one of the most conematic and tense albums i've ever listened to in my life some of my favourite tracks are Ful stop which perfectly paints the anxious and stressful tone of Thom Yorke's life falling apart with those loud siren-like intrumentals, Glass ... read more

Aurting
95

Makes me cry if I play it and can't say anything else about it, go listen to it if you haven't

Rybo
88

Still kickin

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Added on: May 8, 2016