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The semi-official Radiohead thread...

post #1 of 96
Thread Starter 
Aside from Pablo Honey, which still has 2 amazing tracks(although one is/was overplayed as fuck), they've really yet to slip up.

OK Computer is widely considered the "classic" album from them, and rightfully so, it's fantastic. All the same, I prefer Kid A. What a great disc. I recently revisited Amnesiac, which at first listen felt like Kid A b-sides to me(and yes I know they were recorded as separate records at the same time). Maybe it's just my mood right now, but the Kid A/Amnesiac combo is once again blowing my mind.

I'm so sorry it took me years and years to get into these guys. I loved "Creep" like everyone else when I first heard it, but their other singles left me cold(back when I was a radio/MTV guy). Even "Paranoid Android", arguably their best/most interesting song. Then years later OK Computer was given to me, and I went back and discovered the greatness of The Bends(when they aren't doing their U2 thing, the disc still has some of their best songs. "Street Spirit" is still my favorite track), and have been a huge fan ever since.

Some will say they're overrated, and in a way I agree, but really, fuck them.

Favorite songs? Albums? New news? Reason(s) why you hate them? Bring it.

There have been several threads dedicated to the band's albums, but I figured we could have a catch-all. If a thread already exists, please post a link and call me a fucktard.
post #2 of 96
I'm a relatively new fan. Was always aware of them, but only recently got into their music. The Bends is my favorite album and i can't wait to see them live. I think they are coming to town in march.
post #3 of 96
1. Everything in its Right Place
2. Street Spirit
3. Exit Music
4. Paranoid Android
5. Pyramid Song
6. How to Disappear Completely
7. There There
8. Subterranean Homesick Alien
9. Planet Telex
10. The National Anthem

(Figured I'd just throw it out there to give us something to argue about.)
post #4 of 96
I haven't listened to Radiohead in a really long time. It just doesn't feel personal enough to me. That was worst on In Rainbow, but going back through their catalogue, apart from my appreciation of some very awesome production, I just feel completely disconnected from it.
post #5 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Kimbell View Post
1. Everything in its Right Place
2. Street Spirit
3. Exit Music
4. Paranoid Android
5. Pyramid Song
6. How to Disappear Completely
7. There There
8. Subterranean Homesick Alien
9. Planet Telex
10. The National Anthem

(Figured I'd just throw it out there to give us something to argue about.)
I'd probably put There There above Paranoid Android and I'd nix The National Anthem for Just, but those are pretty much my favourite Radiohead songs. Although I can only actually listen to three of them outside of the context of their respective albums.
post #6 of 96
Huh. Never liked Planet Telex. That and Sulk are my least favorite tracks on The Bends.
post #7 of 96
Thread Starter 
"There There" has a fantastic build-up. Great song.
post #8 of 96
Funny, I've always loved everything on Pablo Honey. Kid-A has always been the toughest for me to get into, mainly because I'm a real sucker for Melody. I wouldn't go as far as calling it a misstep, just my personal non-favorite, though I understand I may be in a bit of a minority on this.
post #9 of 96
1. There There
2. True Love Waits
3. No Surprises
4. Exit Music
5. Karma Police
6. The National Anthem
7. Where I End and You Begin
8. Everything In It's Right Place
9. Street Spirit
10. The Gloaming
post #10 of 96
1. Climbing Up The Walls
2. Street Spirit
3. Exit Music For A Film
4. No Surprises
5. Fake Plastic Trees
6. Jigsaw Falling Into Place
7. Paranoid Android
8. My Iron Lung
9. Let Down
10. You And Whose Army?
post #11 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Clark View Post
1. Climbing Up The Walls
2. Street Spirit
3. Exit Music For A Film
4. No Surprises
5. Fake Plastic Trees
6. Jigsaw Falling Into Place
7. Paranoid Android
8. My Iron Lung
9. Let Down
10. You And Whose Army?
Oh shit, I forgot Let Down. I'd probably put that above Exit Music, knocking the guilty pleasure Gloaming out of my top ten.
post #12 of 96
Thread Starter 
Fuck me for not knowing titles of a lot of the songs, I'll chime back later after a bit of "research"(aka looking at the disc art or going to rateyourmusic).
post #13 of 96
While this is up, I'm wondering what the Chewer consensus is on Yorke's solo album. I wasn't too hot on it for the longest time, and for some reason, this past summer, the whole thing clicked. If I even think about Harrowdown Hill, it's stuck in my head for the rest of the day.
post #14 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tati View Post
I think they are coming to town in march.
I will be there too.
I like Justin Clark's list, It could be just for his #1...They blow my mind when I saw their latest broadcast just weeks ago.
post #15 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Clark View Post
While this is up, I'm wondering what the Chewer consensus is on Yorke's solo album. I wasn't too hot on it for the longest time, and for some reason, this past summer, the whole thing clicked. If I even think about Harrowdown Hill, it's stuck in my head for the rest of the day.
I dig a lot of the sounds and stuff, especially on the weirder "Click Divided", but most of the actual songwriting is lacking.
post #16 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Ripoll View Post
I haven't listened to Radiohead in a really long time. It just doesn't feel personal enough to me. That was worst on In Rainbow, but going back through their catalogue, apart from my appreciation of some very awesome production, I just feel completely disconnected from it.
That's always been my biggest problem. I completely admire them and their skill, but there's always been an emotional distance between myself and the music that prevents me from truly loving them.
post #17 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Boom View Post
That's always been my biggest problem. I completely admire them and their skill, but there's always been an emotional distance between myself and the music that prevents me from truly loving them.
That distance didn't appear for me until after OK Computer. I could understand a little emotional disconnect on Kid A and Amnesiac, but My God Man, "Let Down" alone has more emotional resonance than half the albums out there, much less single songs.
post #18 of 96
They're no doubt emotional, and Let Down in particular is a very good example of this, but it's not "personal". There's rarely anything about their music that feels intimate. That's not really on the terms they work on, they're all about epic soundscapes, which they manage brilliantly (the fact that they're amazing SONGWRITERS helps even their least accessible stuff like Kid A and Amnesiac resonate) but some people (like myself) prefer intimacy in their music.

EDIT: Though I have no doubt that, if they wanted, they could achieve that kind of stripped down intimacy. Just listening to True Love Waits or the acoustic version of There There verifies that much.
post #19 of 96
I've always heard the intimacy though, the closesness. Exit Music for a Film, the whole beginning, feels like Yorke is speaking directly to the listener one on one. I can definitely agree to disagree though.
post #20 of 96
I'll concede Exit Music, that's definitely an intimate song (even when the choir kicks in). And they have others (like Fake Plastic Trees and Creep) But songs like that are few and far between, and not the first thing I think of when I think about Radiohead.

Does MTV still do Unplugged? If so, I'd love to see Radiohead unplugged. They're such great songwriters, I think a lot of their music could resonate on a different level with stripped down arrangements.
post #21 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Clark View Post
While this is up, I'm wondering what the Chewer consensus is on Yorke's solo album. I wasn't too hot on it for the longest time, and for some reason, this past summer, the whole thing clicked. If I even think about Harrowdown Hill, it's stuck in my head for the rest of the day.
I wasn't particularly fond of the Eraser until I saw Yorke perform the majority of the songs live, seen them actually performed made me really, really, appreciate some of the songs that had got lost under the glitchiness.

A perfect example can be found here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0tKFt7_6Aw

There There is a fantastic little piece of pop music and it's one of the few Radiohead songs which works better divorced from the album. Then again I'm not a particular fan of Hail To The Thief (starts strong, meanders for about five tracks and then starts to pull itself together with the three hit combo of There There, Punchup at a Wedding and Myxamatosis).

Also got to throw some love towards No Surprises, that video still kind of freaks me out when I see it.
post #22 of 96
Fake Plastic Trees is about as intimate a track as anything in their discography. The heartbreak is all over that song. When Thom breaks down crying near the end, that's pretty much my cue to join him.
post #23 of 96
But when I hear it, I always am reminded of its appearance in Clueless.
post #24 of 96
I have this bad habit of forgetting things about Clueless. I can't even count how many times I've said "Brittany Murphy's in this? Whaddya know?"

But I digress.
post #25 of 96
1. "A Reminder"
2. "Street Spirit (Fade Out)"
3. "4 Minute Warning"
4. "Jigsaw Falling into Place"
5. "Paranoid Android"
6. "Down Is the New Up"
7. "Optimistic"
8. "You and Whose Army?"
9. "Karma Police"
10. "Knives Out"
post #26 of 96
1. Paranoid Android
2. Wolf at the Door
3. The National Anthem
4. Exit Music (For A Film)
5. 2 + 2 = 5
6. Bones
7. Lucky
8. Pyramid Song
9. Just
10. Nude
post #27 of 96
Yeah, I don't know man, I think if you're having trouble finding intimacy in 90% of the lyrics Thom Yorke writes, you're missing a lot. There's obviously the social commentary tracks out there as well, but other than that, I always thought personal intimacy was his trademark.
post #28 of 96
True Love Waits
Airbag
Just
There, There
Palo Alto
You and Whose Army?
Street Spirit
No Surprises
Lucky
Nice Dream
post #29 of 96
It's not in the lyrics, it's in the production. Granted, I've been listening to mostly lo-fi folk music lately, so when I say intimate, I mean INTIMATE, but the layered production often keeps me at arms length. And yes, the lyrics are definitely emotional, but they're often abstract, symbolically driven, and cryptic.

Also, when I say I prefer music to be more intimate, I mean just that. It's purely a matter of personal preference. I'm certainly not saying that it's a "flaw" of their music, or that what they've achieved is somehow diminished by it, it's just why I personally haven't listened to a lot of their music in a while.
post #30 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Ripoll View Post
It's not in the lyrics, it's in the production. Granted, I've been listening to mostly lo-fi folk music lately, so when I say intimate, I mean INTIMATE, but the layered production often keeps me at arms length. And yes, the lyrics are definitely emotional, but they're often abstract, symbolically driven, and cryptic.

Also, when I say I prefer music to be more intimate, I mean just that. It's purely a matter of personal preference. I'm certainly not saying that it's a "flaw" of their music, or that what they've achieved is somehow diminished by it, it's just why I personally haven't listened to a lot of their music in a while.
I kind of agree with Patrick and this is the reason Yorke didn't show up as one of my favorite lyricists in that other thread. Don't get me wrong, I think he's great, but ever since The Bends he's been moving away from straightforward songwriting and lyrics and has strove for strange, symbolic, isolating, lyrics that are meant to create a cold, removed, distant mood. There more of an another instrument then used to communicate meaning...I get the feeling he doesn't give a shit what you make of the song. Chances are you're probably wrong. Most of the time, anyway. I don't think this is a bad thing and it doesn't prevent me from listening to them (as it does Patrick) but I get where he's coming from.

Then again, I think In Rainbows has some of their most grounded, personal, intimate lyrics in years. For Radiohead, that is...take that for what it's worth.
post #31 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parker View Post
Then again, I think In Rainbows has some of their most grounded, personal, intimate lyrics for years. For Radiohead, that is...take that for what it's worth.
I've heard that before, but part of my problem with In Rainbows is how he delivers the lyrics. He stretches the syllables out so much, it's as if he has no real interest in the meanings of the words he's saying. It's not like Exit Music or Fake Plastic Trees, which are much more direct in their delivery.
post #32 of 96
I'm not going to say you're wrong Patrick, because obviously it's a matter of interpretation. I think they just hit you a lot differently than they hit me.
post #33 of 96
Top ten, no order:

Everything in its Right Place
Pyramid Song (the high point of Amnesiac, and maybe that whole two-album period)
Street Spirit
Bullet Proof
Punchup at a Wedding
Exit Music
Paranoid Android
Lucky
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
House of Cards

Regarding Patrick's complaints, I remember reading a post OK Computer interview with Yorke (Rolling Stone, maybe?) where he admitted to getting really freaked out by how emotionally direct the songs on The Bends had been. I think the songwriting on all of the subsequent albums has had a distance that I can see some people not connecting with.
post #34 of 96
Radiohead's my favorite band. I can't rank the songs though, just like I probably couldn't rank Beatles' songs (digression: probably favor "A Day in the Life." Which is like saying you'd like to have dinner with Jesus and Einstein I guess). I think James' list is close to what I'd say though.

And what an amazing collection of B-sides. You can always tell a band's longevity by their B-sides, true story.
post #35 of 96
Radiohead's definitely one of my "top-shelf" bands. Basically meaning, they're tied with a few others for my favorite bands.

The only album I don't love all the way through is Pablo Honey. Other than that, I pretty much love every song of theirs, though some standouts that spring to mind right this second are:
Planet Telex
There There
Talk Show Host
Climbing Up The Walls
The Gloaming
Backdrifts
Where I End And You Begin
Paperbag Writer
Last Flowers
Go Slowly
All I Need

And they're one of the top 3 live acts I've ever seen. Just amazing in every way, from their sound, the little flourishes and differences from the albums, to the visuals.

I caught them in Atlanta at the Hi-Fi Buys Ampitheatre and also at Lollapalooza this year. I highly recommend going if you have the opportunity.

A friend recently linked me to this site, which has a shitload of Radiohead bootlegs (really nice soundbards, most of them). They also have a lot of other bands too. Be sure to click "older posts" to cycle through all of them:

http://theultimatebootlegexperience....abel/Radiohead
post #36 of 96
Oh by the way, this is awesome.

I prefer this version to Neil Young's since Young sings his at a pitch that only dogs can hear.
post #37 of 96
This thread spurred me to go back and re-listen to Radiohead's albums. The main thing I noticed is that I love Hail to the Thief. Sure, the album is too long and We Suck Young Blood is weirdly boring, but other than that I've got no complaints. Maybe the most 'fun' Radiohead album to listen to, for me.

I'm still meh on In Rainbows, even though every individual song on it is pretty good.

As for my list, I'd probably lose Subterranean and How to Disappear and replace them with 2+2=5 and Dollars and Cents.
post #38 of 96
I've come at Radiohead somewhat haphazardly, and so haven't really listened to entire albums, but I'm surprised at how little love In Rainbows gets. Reckoner, All I Need, and 15 Step are all great tracks, and stuff like Nude and House of Cards aren't bad either.

And no love for I Might Be Wrong or Idioteque either? You people confuse me sometimes.
post #39 of 96
I like Idioteque; it's pretty (and quite fun to sing along to on the highway). But it seems like it's trying to be scary, and the song fails at that.

Actually, that's a problem I have with several Radiohead songs - I just don't share Thom's apocalyptic preoccupations and fears. Some songs like Kid A and Idioteque just come off as weird instead of the terrifying that he apparently intended.
post #40 of 96
I never thought Idioteque was supposed to be striking much more terror into the listener than, say, Bad Moon Rising, but that's just me.
post #41 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Ripoll View Post
they're all about epic soundscapes
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Ripoll View Post
It's not in the lyrics, it's in the production. [the lyrics] are often abstract, symbolically driven, and cryptic.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parker View Post
...and has striven for strange, symbolic, isolating, lyrics that are meant to create a cold, removed, distant mood. They're more of an another instrument then used to communicate meaning.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Ripoll View Post
I've heard that before, but part of my problem with In Rainbows is how he delivers the lyrics. He stretches the syllables out so much, it's as if he has no real interest in the meanings of the words he's saying.
These are all the things I like about Radiohead.

I've come at them haphazardly and late too. I really didn't give them much of a listen until Amnesiac. The guitar driven stuff like The Bends doesn't really do as much for me as the more experimental songs.

But then, I'm much more of a soundscapes/production guy than a lyrics guy.* Lyrics take literally dozens of listens to make much of an impression on me; I get too lost in the music. So here's my top 10 (#1 is the only fixed position, the rest fluctuate regularly):

1. Ideoteque (I Might Be Wrong version)
2. The National Anthem
3. Sit Down, Stand Up
4. 15 Step
5. There There
6. Videotape
7. Like Spinning Plates
8. Jigsaw Falling Into Place
9. Everything in its Right Place
10. (tie)Weird Fishes/Arpeggi / All I Need

Yeah, In Rainbows is my favorite Radiohead album so far. I'm nuts.

*There are obvious exceptions to the 'production first, lyrics second' preferences I have. Tom Waits for example. Otherwise I wouldn't have the username that I do.
post #42 of 96
Nice list Eyeball... just can't believe Reckoner didn't make the list.
post #43 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post
I never thought Idioteque was supposed to be striking much more terror into the listener than, say, Bad Moon Rising, but that's just me.
Yeah, I take it as more "ominous" than outright scary. "Scary" is what Marilyn Manson tries to do.

But I never took "Everything In It's Right Place" or "Kid A" as having been designed to scare, either. I find both of them pretty comforting, musically, which is probably an intentional ambiguity.

They're not the kind of band that saves the minor chords for the sad songs and the major chords for the happy songs. Particularly since OK Computer, Radiohead has been withholding big lyric-driven emotional payoffs and letting their listeners figure things out for themselves. Hail to the Thief is probably their most dynamic late period album, and, even on that, they're stingy with traditional choruses and reluctant to commit to easy-to-pinpoint emotional moods.

I still think In Rainbows could have benefited from a slightly different track order and the integration of some of the bonus CD songs into the main album. But the whole thing seems to be improving with age. I like it more now than I did when I first heard it.
post #44 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveB View Post

I still think In Rainbows could have benefited from a slightly different track order and the integration of some of the bonus CD songs into the main album. But the whole thing seems to be improving with age. I like it more now than I did when I first heard it.
I remember reading somewhere that Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich really wanted "Videotape" to be the first track but were shouted down by the rest of the band.

I'm not so sure of that idea myself--I could see the beginning of the song opening an album, but the end doesn't seem appropriate for a first track at all--but it's interesting to consider how dramatically it affects the mood of the album.
post #45 of 96
Radiohead is one of my top 2 bands. I have to think about a top 10 list though. I've never personally felt a disconnect between the band and myself at all. Yorke's lyrics combined with his voice have just always found a way of hitting the right nerve with me no matter how cold the music got. As for The Eraser it took a while but I definitely fell in love with it over the summer driving around in my car.
post #46 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveB View Post
Yeah, I take it as more "ominous" than outright scary. "Scary" is what Marilyn Manson tries to do.
Fair enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveB View Post
But I never took "Everything In It's Right Place" or "Kid A" as having been designed to scare, either. I find both of them pretty comforting, musically, which is probably an intentional ambiguity.
I agree that they both sound similar, but I still think of these two songs as quite opposite. The lyrical content, for one thing, but also how the song treats its words - "Everything in Its Right Place" doesn't obscure them the way "Kid A" obviously does. Instead of an intentional contradiction, I always took it as Thom thinking "Kid A"'s lines were just too terrible to exist in an unfiltered form (I probably read that in an interview somewhere.)
post #47 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Kimbell View Post
Instead of an intentional contradiction, I always took it as Thom thinking "Kid A"'s lines were just too terrible to exist in an unfiltered form (I probably read that in an interview somewhere.)
Intentional ambiguity, not contradiction. I wasn't making a judgment about the relationship of the two songs, but to the lyrical subject matter of each song as it relates to the music in each. In both cases, there are aspects of the lyrics and/or music that are reassuring and some that are disconcerting.

For instance, in "EIRP," the warm tone of the keys and the repetition of the melody and the title phrase are somewhat comforting, but the 10/4 time signature and the lines that call that title phrase into question ("Yesterday, I woke up sucking a lemon," etc.) prevent any thoroughly reassuring reading. The cumulative effect is rich with potential meaning, but ambiguous.

It works similarly in "Kid A," with the "terrible" lines masked and the chief rhythmic pattern choppy, but upbeat and even danceable. Even with the occasional drops in rhythm and introduction of ominous dissonant chords, it's curiously warm in sound for a song with the key lyric, "We got heads on sticks."
post #48 of 96
He didn't think the lines were terrible. The writing and the vocals were a response to how The Bends and OK Computer were received -- when the band was touted as the next big arena band, and when Yorke was questioned not as a songwriter, but often as the narrator of the work. I think "Kid A" was actually always used as the main example of this shift -- the vocals were distorted in such a way to indicate that these are the words of -- for lack of a better word -- characters, not necessarily the creator himself.
post #49 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyarz View Post
He didn't think the lines were terrible. The writing and the vocals were a response to how The Bends and OK Computer were received -- when the band was touted as the next big arena band, and when Yorke was questioned not as a songwriter, but often as the narrator of the work. I think "Kid A" was actually always used as the main example of this shift -- the vocals were distorted in such a way to indicate that these are the words of -- for lack of a better word -- characters, not necessarily the creator himself.
For the record, I took James' use of the word "terrible" to mean "terrifying" or "harsh," not "poor in quality."

I've never given much thought to the idea that the distortion was there to put distance between the notion of autobiographical and non-autobiographical lyric-writing. I guess I can see it, but it seems like a clumsy way to establish the idea, since it trains listeners to assume that the more distorted the vocal, the less "Thom" there is in it, and I don't think that's the case. I suspect that Yorke is very infrequently the "narrator" in his songs, masked vocals or not.

Plus, I think he'd been doing this all along, whether his interviewers were sharp enough to catch it or not - one would have to be a pretty lazy listener to interpret the narration of "Karma Police" as coming directly from Thom Yorke.
post #50 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveB View Post
For the record, I took James' use of the word "terrible" to mean "terrifying" or "harsh," not "poor in quality."
Yep.
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