Principally recorded at Ocean Way, Hollywood, California.
HAIL TO THE THIEF won the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album and for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. “There There” was nominated for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.
Not since the Beatles has a group managed to combine mass popularity and cutting-edge aesthetic triumphs so consistently as Radiohead, who by the time of HAIL TO THE THIEF had been on a roll since 1997's OK COMPUTER (as great as THE BENDS was, it didn't garner the band mainstream attention). While KID A and AMNESIAC had been outre, boundary-pushing attempts to expand the pop-rock palette even beyond the ambitious OK COMPUTER, HAIL TO THE THIEF incorporates the avant-garde techniques developed in that journey, applying them to more formal song structures. In this way, we get the best of both worlds on what just might be Radiohead's best album yet.
Though this isn't a return to the straight-ahead pop structures of THE BENDS, the guitar does make a welcome return here. There are plenty of glitchy electronics and atmospheric keyboards, etc., but they're integrated with traditional “rock” instrumentation" in a completely organic way. Though they remain art-rockers to the end, with Thom Yorke expressing carefully wrought angst both personal and political, Radiohead injects some blood into things as well. The occasional hard-grooving funk rhythm and crazed rock guitar riff keeps even the airiest sentiments well anchored, making HAIL TO THE THIEF as well balanced as it is progressive.