“Immerse your soul in love.”
I’ve enjoyed Radiohead’s music for a long time, though I’m probably not as knowledgeable about the band as a lot of their other, more die-hard fans. The UK group rose to prominence in the 90’s, fronted by singer-songwriter, guitarist, and pianist Thom Yorke, who’s attracted much ire from the celebrity community for his alleged rudeness. (Ronan Keating once stated that, if he had to choose any celebrity, he’d throw Yorke off a mountain.)
Despite the drama, there’s no doubt that Radiohead is a talented band and have put out some great albums over the years. I love their music for its unique sound, which the band doesn’t hesitate to experiment with. In no particular order, here are top 10 (favorite) Radiohead songs.
1. Street Spirit (Fade Out)
Featured on Radiohead’s second studio album, The Bends, it’s an incredibly depressing song. Thom Yorke describes it as “the dark tunnel without the light at the end” – an apt description, in my opinion. Slow and strange, the black-and-white music video captures the dream-like quality of the song perfectly.
2. Paranoid Android
From their third studio album, OK Computer, the music video for “Paranoid Android” – both absurd and kind of hilarious – is animated. Musically, I love the way the song is structured. The different tempos and chord changes is what makes this song stand out.
3. Karma Police
The song is about, you guessed it, karma. The saying “what goes around comes around” is demonstrated in the music video above. Again, the chord progression is one of the reasons this song stands out to me so much, but I also love the emotion behind the lyrics and Yorke’s vocals. I die (in Rachel Zoe’s voice) every time I hear, “For a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself…”
4. High and Dry
The music video – the American version – takes place at a diner and features a wide assortment of characters. Yorke apparently hates this song, but I think it’s awesome, which is why I’ve decided to include it on this list, of course. In my opinion, the song is about learning how to cope and find yourself again after you’re left “high and dry” by someone you trusted.
Fans describe the song as apocalyptic. It’s a strange, creepy song, for sure.
6. Fake Plastic Trees
I recently heard this song again on the British show My Mad Fat Diary, during a very important, emotional scene in episode 2, where main character Rae, who’s struggling with self-esteem and body image issues, imagines herself transforming into an entirely different girl. The song is absolutely beautiful, and to me, represents exactly what that scene in My Mad Fat Diary depicted – a girl who undervalues herself because of a society that puts more value on the artificial, unimportant qualities of a person.
7. Everything In Its Right Place
I absolutely love the intro for this song. As a whole, I love the trance-like feel to the song. Yorke’s vocals are perfect.
8. No Surprises
This is an incredibly soothing song for me. The music video features a close-up of York singing with his head in an astronaut’s helmet.
9. Climbing Up The Walls
This song is quite haunting, with some violent undertones. But I think it’s a beautiful song, nonetheless.
Ah, Radiohead’s most famous song. Over 39 million views on YouTube. I wasn’t about to leave this one out, now, was I? Thom Yorke reportedly hates this song and refuses to play it at their concerts. Ironic that it’s their most recognizable song, then. Admittedly, I’ve listened to this song so many times, that I now refuse to listen to it unless it’s the cover done by Damien Rice or Scala & Kolacny Brothers; the latter’s version actually appeared in the trailer for The Social Network. Avoid the terrible Glee version. When I first heard that one, I wanted to throw myself out a window.