The British alternative/experimental rock band RADIOHEAD is one of the most important bands of our generation. Critically heralded with a rabid fan base, this band has been raised on a pedestal in the eyes of many for putting together groundbreaking albums that push the barriers of rock and roll, each album in their different ways. It has been said that famous music site Pitchfork just bases their reviews on how close to RADIOHEAD the album sounds like. In the wake of the release of Amok, the debut album of RADIOHEAD lead singer Thom Yorke's supergroup ATOMS FOR PEACE, let's go back and see my top 10 RADIOHEAD songs to see what the fuss is about.
RADIOHEAD has released eight studio albums during their impressive career: Pablo Honey (1993), The Bends (1995), OK Computer (1997), Kid A (2000), Amnesiac (2001), Hail to the Thief (2003), In Rainbows (2007), and The King of Limbs (2011).
10. "There There" - album: Hail to the Thief (LISTEN)
"Just 'cause you feel it doesn't mean it's there"
The pounding toms brings a sense of urgency that combine perfectly with the haunting combination of the high pitch guitar riff and Thom Yorke's voice.
9. "2 + 2 = 5" - album: Hail to the Thief (LISTEN)
"January has April shows, and two and two always makes a five"
This song just has the sound of despair written all over it especially the way Thom's voice is harmonized. The song wonderfully builds attention for the first two minutes until it explodes into straight chanting, which works for a song that refers to the dystopian book 1984.
8. "The National Anthem" - album: Kid A (LISTEN)
"Everyone is so near - it's holding on"
I love this bass line riff! The drums added to it just shape this repetitive line so much that it's impressive to hear how it could sound so different based on the type of symbol supporting it. Add to that almost random electronic noises and brass, as well as Thom's vocals which just sounds like just another layer to pad the bass line, instead of take over the song like in the typical track.
7. "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" - album: In Rainbows (LISTEN)
"The walls abandon shape, you've got a Cheshire cat grin"
The monotone vocals over this racing drum beat creates such a dance vibe that makes you want to move even though it has such a sinister vibe to it.
6. "High And Dry" - album: The Bends (LISTEN)
"Don't leave me high, don't leave me dry"
This song has the perfect chorus. It's so compelling that it's hard to remember this song is about a stunt motorcycle jumper (like Evel Knievel).
5. "Karma Police" - album: OK Computer (LISTEN)
"For a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself"
Another minor key, creepy sounding song from RADIOHEAD? Of, course! And no doubt you've heard this one on the radio several times before. My favourite part is the way the song breaks down in the end into electronica dissonance - sounding like the end of the world is coming through your speakers.
4. "Fake Plastic Trees" - album: The Bends (LISTEN)
"He used to do surgery, for girls in the eighties. But gravity always wins."
The simple but lyrically perplexing song is a fan favourite but rarely does the band play it live anymore. It's also a really fun song to sing along to.
3. "Nude" - album: In Rainbows (LISTEN)
"Don't get any big ideas - they're not gonna happen"
This is really one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. The band supposedly wrote this song during their time working on The Bends in 1995 and they just sat on this song until it fit the album. Luckily it finally found a home on 2007's In Rainbows.
2. "Idioteque" - album: Kid A (LISTEN)
"Who's in bunker, who's in bunker? Women and children first... I'll laugh until my head comes off"
When ever I hear this song I think of one word: cavernous. I don't know why, but I feel like I'm in a cave whenever I hear this! Besides that, when I first heard this song it was nothing like I've ever heard before that mixed rock and electronica so much, I thought it was pure genius.
They also put on a hell of a show when they perform this live.
1. "Paranoid Android" - album: OK Computer (LISTEN)
"When I am king, you will be first against the wall. With your opinion which is of no consequence at all"
People call this song the Bohemian Rhapsody of the nineties because it is a complex song that can be separated into three parts with all parts being pure gold (like Bohemian Rhapsody). This song goes through many mood swings that toss your emotions asunder, a drags you through this intense ride with RADIOHEAD at the helm.
Like I said earlier, many people like RADIOHEAD and here's the proof: a series of covers of some of RADIOHEAD's songs. These include FRANK OCEAN, GNARLS BARKLEY, WEEZER, DEADMAU5, JOHN MAYER, and VAMPIRE WEEKEND.