Hail to the Thief

Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
Hail to the Thief Music Poster Image
Parents recommend
Intense songs for teens to ponder; not for kids.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 9 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Several references to violent behavior might make parents a bit queasy.


The violent themes here, such as "smacks you in the head, knifes you in the neck, kicks you in the teeth" and "Steal all my children if I don't pay the ransom" could be scary for younger kids.


Sexual references are disguised as self-indulgent poetry.


The ever-popular "f" word appears several times.


No obvious commercialism.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

"You had to piss on our parade, You had to shred our big day, You had to ruin it for all concerned, in a drunken punchup at a wedding."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that musically this CD should appeal to sophisticated teenagers who long for something other than standard pop music. There's sex and violence, disguised as self-indulgent poetry.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bytheemeraldgolem/ August 1, 2015


The best if you are bored of pop!
Parent of a 4-year-old Written byasdasfasd February 1, 2013

Amazing album with deep lyrics

Needs to be heard by everyone, anyways how is this bad you sh-theads screw this site kids in other countries are in wars and scary sh-t idiots you guys are wuss...
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008


This is a wonderful and beautiful album. and it saddens me that not many people really appreciate Radiohead.
Teen, 17 years old Written byBeatlemaniac March 26, 2021

Great album with heavy politics and themes

Hail to the Thief is an amazing album. Not many typical "depressed Radiohead" songs on this one, but the themes are more violent and vulgar on this re... Continue reading

What's the story?

On HAIL TO THE THIEF, Radiohead offers intense, complex musical arrangements and obtuse, poetic lyrics to express the uncertainty and powerlessness many of us feel in our post-9/11 world. The music's sweeping emotions carry the listener from melancholy to hope and back again, and require more than a few listens to appreciate. The violence in many of the lyrics may be scary for younger children and unsettling to parents, but politically conscious teenagers will argue that they have a point -- and they might well be right.

Is it any good?

More eloquent and metaphorical than Radiohead's "The Bends" (and far less rock & roll), there's a lot here for the searcher and the self-absorbed. The main attraction though is the music: dramatic, confusing, interplaying melody and cold electronic sound, it's anything but boring.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the emotional issues explored in the songs, including the impact of 9/11 on the country and the world. The intensity of the lyrics is bound to spark discussion.

Music details

  • Artist: Radiohead
  • Release date: July 8, 2003
  • Label: Capitol
  • Genre: Alternative Rock
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: July 20, 2015

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