What exactly does the title of Radiohead’s album Kid A refer to?
One early theory on the album’s 2000 release was that the title was borrowed from “Kid A in Alphabet Land,” a collection of trading cards about French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, whose theories helped inspire postmodernism. Singer Thom Yorke quickly debunked that, but encouraged speculation that the title referred to the first genetically cloned child. “I’m sure somewhere it’s been done, even though it’s illegal now,” he said. Since the album was full of electronic treatments of Yorke’s voice, this inspired theorizing about the hidden architecture of the album being replicated DNA. The true inspiration was a bit more mundane, however: “Kid A” was a bit of studio technology: a software program of children’s voices that ended up not making the album’s final mix. If a different sequencer or synth setting had caught the group’s eye, their fourth album might have been called “Tenor Sax” or “Ocarina.”
(Excerpted from the 2006 book Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, published by Three Rivers Press, written by Gavin Edwards.)