Just about week ago, the enigmatic Thom Yorke semi-quietly announced that his newest solo album ANIMA would release on Thursday June 27. And true to his word, it certainly did. The album is full of everything we’ve come to expect from a solo Thom Yorke album. It’s icy cold, with cavernous electronic textures and beats amid the usual bleakly dystopian lyrics. There’s a fair amount of really nice rhythm as well, but it’s all coated in layers of, well, sadness. If the less conventional song structure and overall tone of 2014’s Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes worked for you, ANIMA will definitely please. If you, like many, found that album difficult to parse, you very well might run into those same feelings here. But, granted this should all be taken with a little grain of salt considering the album has been out one day, and I haven’t truly begun to wrap my head around everything going on. It’s a dense listen for sure, but I believe it will reward in due time.
If you’re having a bit of trouble totally jiving with the album, you might be in luck. Right alongside the album release, Yorke dropped a “one-reeler” short film thing also titled ANIMA over on Netflix and it’s pretty quickly satisfying. The film sees the musician teamed back up with the masterful director Paul Thomas Anderson for what is essentially an extended music video. The film takes up about 12 minutes and features 3 tracks from the LP (and they’re arguably the best ones). There’s some surreal choreography from Damien Jalet as well as eerie yet effective on-screen chemistry between Yorke and his partner, actress Dajana Roncione. It’s a beautiful piece of work, and easily one that could work as the guiding point to get you into the full album.
So, although all of this went down yesterday, here’s your reminder of some stuff to do this weekend. Take the little time out of your day to watch the ANIMA short film on Netflix. Then come right back here and stream the full album of ANIMA down below. It’s not the Summery vibes you’re probably wanting right now, but it’s still worth diving into.
Physical editions of ANIMA will be out July 19. Pre-order it here.