Music / Radiohead
I'm a reasonable man, get off my case. note 

"High up above, aliens hover
making home movies for the folks back home
of all these weird creatures
who lock up their spirits
drill holes in themselves
and live for their secrets."
Radiohead, "Subterranean Homesick Alien"

Radiohead is an Alternative Rock group from England. Before they were Radiohead, they were called On a Friday, this being the only day of the week they were allowed to rehearse at school. Originally your usual type of alt-rock band, the sound on their early albums (Pablo Honey, The Bends) gave way to more ambitious albums that incorporated echoey, operatic rock (OK Computer) and experimental electronic sounds (Kid A, Amnesiac) before finding something of a happy medium (Hail to the Thief and beyond). Long story short, every album is a New Sound Album.

The members have also put out solo albums (which have gone on to have less success than the main band's work). Singer, principal songwriter, and frontman Thom Yorke has two albums, the first of the two receiving a Grammy Award nomination, as well as being part of another band called Atoms for Peace, working alongside people such as Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and frequent Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich. Guitarist Jonny Greenwood has found success outside the band scoring films such as Bodysong and There Will Be Blood. He also composed the score for the film adaptation of Norwegian Wood, in addition to We Need to Talk About Kevin. In 2012, he scored another Paul Thomas Anderson film, The Master, to great acclaim. Drummer Philip Selway began pursuing a career as a singer-songwriter in 2010, with two albums already under his belt.

The band is known for its anti establishment lyrics and, since Kid A, rejecting much of the standard promotion forms of the industry. Most notably, the band opted to promote Kid A (which was highly anticipated after the success of OK Computer) with a series of one-minute long viral videos featuring snippets of each song from the album. Furthermore, the group opted to allow fans to name their own price for the right to download their album In Rainbows online off of their website.

On Christmas Day 2015, Radiohead released "Spectre," which was written for the James Bond film of the same name, but ultimately rejected.

On May 1, 2016, the band erased their entire web presence; their website gradually lost opacity until it became completely white, and the band's accounts on social media were "whited out", as was Thom's Twitter account. (Jonny has his profile and cover photos replaced with pure white, similar to Thom's, but still has most of his tweets intact; Ed, Philip, and Colin didn't white out at all.) Two days later, they released the music video for the first single of their upcoming album, the legendary and previously unreleased "Burn the Witch". On May 6, they released the second single, "Daydreaming." On the band's Twitter, they mentioned how the album would be "released digitally on May 8th." True to their word, Radiohead's ninth album, A Moon Shaped Pool, was released for digital download on the eighth of May.

Radiohead's artwork is quite weird. The website for the man responsible for most of that artwork, Stanley Donwood, is just as odd.

All of the band members (Thom, Jonny, Philip, Colin, Ed) have Twitter accounts.

Band members:

  • Thom Yorke: Vocals, guitar, keyboards, "laptop"
  • Jonny Greenwood: Guitar, keyboards, ondes Martenot, "laptop"
  • Colin Greenwood: Bass
  • Ed O'Brien: Guitar, backing vocals
  • Phil Selway: Drums

Non-members who have had a major impact on Radiohead's sound and image:

  • Nigel Godrich: Producer of every album since OK Computer and has been involved with the band since he was hired as a mixing engineer for The Bends. Considered to be so important to the band's sound that he is considered to be the sixth member, similar to how George Martin was one of the numerous people given the title of "The Fifth Beatle."

  • Stanley Donwood: Artist responsible for every Radiohead related piece of artwork (album covers, liner notes, posters) since the 1994 My Iron Lung EP. Yorke often collaborates with Donwood, usually under the pseudonym "Dr. Tchock."


Studio Albums:

You can now vote for your favourite Radiohead album by heading over to the Best Album crowner.


  • Drill (1992)
  • Itch (1994)
  • My Iron Lung (1994, doubles as the single for "My Iron Lung")
  • Running from Demons (1997, doubles as the Japanese release of their single "No Surprises")
  • Airbag / How Am I Driving? (1997, doubles as the single for "Airbag")
  • I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings (2001)
  • COM LAG (2plus2isfive) (2004)
  • TKOL RMX 1234567 (2011)

This is what you get when you trope with us:

  • 2 + Torture = 5: The title of "2 + 2 = 5," which is a direct reference to Nineteen Eighty-Four.
  • Adorkable: Thom Yorke has shown some shades of this.
  • Adult Fear: Hail to the Thief as a whole was motivated by this — it directly followed both 9/11 and the birth of Thom Yorke's son. Clear-cut examples from the album include "A Wolf at the Door" and "I Will."
  • Affectionate Parody: "Permanent Daylight" is commonly believed to be a parody of Sonic Youth.
  • After the End: The "Pyramid Song" video.
  • Album Title Drop:
    • "2 + 2 = 5" has "All Hail to the Thief, all hail to the thief, but I'm not."
      • HTTT was actually slated to be released under the title of The Gloaming, but the band found the title to be "too prog rock" and instead picked a line from "2 + 2 = 5." The original title was relegated to an Either/Or Title for the album.
    • "The Bends," quite obviously, drops the same title of the album.
    • If you listen carefully, in the bridge of "Reckoner," you can hear soft voices in the background chanting "In Rainbows."
    • A barely audible one for Pablo Honey appears in the song "How Do You?" — the album was named after part of a Prank Call by the comedy group The Jerky Boys, and the relevant quote ("Pablo, honey? Please come to Florida!") appears as Spoken Word in Music near the end of the song.
    • Near the start of "Everything in Its Right Place," you can hear a distortion of Thom's voice saying "Kid A" twice. It sounds the same played backwards too.
    • "A Moon Shaped Pool" can be heard in the backing vocals for "Identikit."
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Averted with Philip Selway, who is more subdued in style and personality than this trope suggests. His drumming focuses much less on manic energy and hard-hitting solos than it does on rhythm and texture. In fact, he's released two solo albums consisting of soft ballads that are quite light on percussion.
  • And I Must Scream: The video for "There There" ends with a screaming Thom getting turned into a tree. The face sticks.
  • Animated Music Video: "Paranoid Android," "Pyramid Song," "Go to Sleep," "There There" (partially), "Burn the Witch" (claymation), and a lot of ''Kid A'''s "blips."
  • Arc Number: 10 for In Rainbows: A ten letter title, ten tracks, tens prominent in the album art and in promotional material, and was announced ten days before release. All of this indicates a link to OK Computer, released ten years to the day before In Rainbows. Popular theory is that the two albums are companion pieces, released ten years apart. This culminated in the "01 and 10" playlist.
    • 15 also seems to be a minor one, appearing in several songs such as "15 Step," "Climbing Up the Walls," and "Just."
  • Arc Words: Interestingly enough, the lyrics for most tracks on Kid A, Amnesiac, and Hail to the Thief became this. Lyrics from all three albums appeared cryptically (and usually slightly altered) in the Radiohead website's "maze" section; phrases that would appear in Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief appeared in the Kid A hidden booklet; certain lines from Amnesiac showed up in the I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings case.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence:
    • The ending of Kid A; the final track, "Motion Picture Soundtrack", has an angelic atmosphere (what with the harps and such) and bows out on the line "I will see you in the next life". Additionally, the Hidden Track that plays after this is considered to portray that "next life".
    • The ending of the "Pyramid Song" music video, after the protagonist, apparently the sole survivor of an Earth-wrecking flood, commits suicide to rejoin his family.
  • Audience Participation Song:
    • Everybody sings along to the second verse of "Idioteque."
    • The audience supplies the claps for "We Suck Young Blood."
    • The audience regularly sings the "for a minute there, I lost myself" section of "Karma Police" just as loud, if not louder, than Thom does. Here's an example from Glastonbury in 2003.
    • "Creep," of course.
    • "Weird Fishes."
  • Auto-Tune:
    • In "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box."
    • For "Pulk / Pull Revolving Doors," Thom spoke the words and applied autotune with ridiculous pitch shifting settings.
    • Used in "Codex (Illum Sphere RMX)" and "Little by Little (Caribou RMX)."
  • B-Side:
    • The My Iron Lung EP consists of outtakes from Pablo Honey.
    • Airbag / How Am I Driving? has B-sides from OK Computer.
    • The semi-bootleg CD set Towering Above the Rest contains every B-side they made before In Rainbows, along with live performances, remixes, soundtrack contributions, collaborations, covers, side projects, and combinations thereof.
    • Continuing the trend, the band released a 12" single of "Supercollider" and "The Butcher," two King of Limbs B-sides, for Record Store Day 2011.
    • Quite a few ("Talk Show Host," "Cuttooth," "The Amazing Sounds of Orgy") are more popular with the fans than some of the songs released on the albums.
  • Bald of Awesome: Philip Selway.
    • Clive Deamer of Portishead, who combines forces with Phil to create a drumming duo for the The King of Limbs songs live. Fans joke about Radiohead cloning their bald drummer.
  • Band of Relatives: Jonny and Colin are brothers.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The Modified Bear logo for Kid A.
    • The backstory ups the dread: they are "genetically modified" teddy bears bent on killing everybody.
  • Big "YES!": The children's choir shouting "YEAH!" on "15 Step."
  • Bishōnen: Jonny Greenwood (especially in his younger years...)
  • Bittersweet Ending: Quite a few of the albums end on a bittersweet note:
    • OK Computer ends with the one-two Tear Jerker punch of "Lucky" and "The Tourist,'' which provide a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel and resolve the tension and fear that pervades the rest of the album.
    • Kid A ends with "Motion Picture Soundtrack" and a hidden track that seems to represents Heaven or "the next life."
    • The final song on In Rainbows is "Videotape," which, despite being a heartbreakingly sad song, ends with the lyrics: "Today has been the most perfect day I've ever seen."
    • A Moon Shaped Pool closes with longtime fan-favorite "True Love Waits" note . This [1] review from Rolling Stone notes:
    One can only guess at how this love song of gentleness and intimacy reads two decades later, but the effect is like stumbling upon an old love letter years after a relationship has grown cold. Where there was once a hint of redemption in its devastating refrain, "Just don't leave" now sounds like the longest (and saddest) goodbye.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The "Daydreaming" video, which has Thom walking through doors that lead him to different locations entirely that are uncharacteristic of the doors that led him there. Examples include him leaving a dark hallway and entering a forest, and him going out of another dark corridor and onto a beach.
  • Body Horror: The video for "There There." It's quite excruciating to see Thom turned into a tree.
  • Bookends: OK Computer might begin and end with a car crash. "The Tourist," which closes the album, contains references to high-speed travel, and the chorus consists of "hey, man/idiot, slow down"; "Airbag," the opener, describes relief at surviving a car crash.
    • The music video for "Karma Police" begins and ends with a shot of the empty back seat of a 1976 Chrysler New Yorker.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
    • "Molasses" surreptitiously slips in mentions of genocide and starving waitresses throughout the otherwise harmless sounding lyrics.
    • "Morning Bell" is also a great example, as the lyrics sound completely harmless, then all of a sudden: "Cut the kids in half..." Another case of fridge brilliance, since the song is actually about divorce.
  • Breather Episode: "Treefingers" has this role on Kid A, serving as an ambient interlude sandwiched between a depressing ballad that concludes the first half of the album and a straight up hard-rocker that kicks off the second half.
  • British Teeth: Thom. He even says he was nicknamed "Jack-o-Lantern" in high school due to missing nine teeth.
  • Broken Record:
    • "And the rain drops, and the rain drops, and the rain drops, and the rain drops, and the rain drops, and the rain drops" ad infinitum. ("Sit Down. Stand Up")
    • "[Wo]-men first and the children, -men first and the children, -men first, -men first and the children" in "Idioteque."
    • "Everything in Its Right Place." All of it.
    • "I'm a reasonable man, get off my case, get off my case, get off my case" from "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box."
    • "You have not been paying attention, paying attention, paying attention" from "2 + 2 = 5."
    • "Phew! For a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself" in "Karma Police".
    • A lot of the lyrics in "The Gloaming" are repeated.
  • Brown Note:
    • The music video for "Just" begins with a man lying down in the middle of the street and refusing to budge. As people gather, they ask him silently—the video is subtitled—why he's lying there. After repeatedly refusing to answer, he finally caves in. The camera zooms in on his mouth as he's speaking, but with the subtitles suddenly removed, the audience has no idea what he's saying. The final scene of the video is of all the people around him lying on the ground in the same posture, his words presumably having had the exact same effect on them as on him.
      • The closeup has him repeating: "God help me, I'll tell you." It's implied that he's actually saying it as the band leans out the window behind which they've been performing to see what's up. (They, of course, are not affected.)
  • Call Back:
    • The "no no no no no" Madness Mantra in "A Wolf at the Door" may be a callback to "A Punch Up at a Wedding."
    • "Life in a Glasshouse," the final track on Amnesiac, contains the line: "packed like frozen food and battery hens." This creates a nice sort of symmetry — the first track is "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box."
  • Careful with That Axe:
    • Thom's rather unsettling distorted shriek at the end of "Climbing Up the Walls."
    • From "2 + 2 = 5":
    • Thom's yell at the beginning of "Cuttooth."
    • Thom belts out another one toward the end of "Bodysnatchers."
    • In this memorable live performance of "Anyone Can Play Guitar," at the second verse Thom takes the "anywhere" in the "and I don't see no confusion anywhere" line and screams it, before just violently screaming at the camera. The zooms on his face don't help.
  • Cloudcuckooland: Namedropped in "Like Spinning Plates."
  • Common Time: Most of their songs, including the oddly-swung "Pyramid Song." Try counting the beats. However, there are a lot that avert this, too; see Uncommon Time below.
  • Concept Album: Of the "central theme" variety as opposed to the "story arc" variety, though they often take pains to make sure their album tracklist has an emotional flow, if not a narrative one.note  The band doesn't like the term and actively rejects comparisons to Progressive Rock, but the fandom uses it anyway. The current verdicts are as follows:
    • The Bends doesn't fit as neatly into an emotional arc as later albums, but there are definite undertones of body-related anxiety and physical problems.
    • OK Computer is often designated as such, due to its overarching themes of paranoia and alienation, along with heavily futuristic and Science Fiction-tinged imagery. The opening and closing tracks can also be read as Bookends (see above entry), strengthening the argument.
    • Kid A and Amnesiac. Hoo boy.
      • The theorizing stems mostly from Thom's suggestion that the former could be about the first human clone, but he denies any intentional narrative.
      • The two albums are clearly counterparts with similar themes (they were recorded at the same time). It doesn't hurt the theory that the genetically modified bear characters recurred throughout the "blips" for Kid A and Amnesiac, and a track on Amnesiac was named after them ("Hunting Bears").
      • Thom has said that "something traumatic" happened during Kid A and that Amnesiac is "trying to piece together what has happened."
      • Both albums feature artwork of forest fires; for Kid A it's in the distance, while Amnesiac's perspective is from within the forest.
    • Hail to the Thief's political overtones certainly invite speculation, as well as the use of cryptic subtitles and numerous references in interviews to the rise of the far right in Western politics.
    • The King of Limbs is named after an ancient tree near Oxford, and many of the song lyrics and titles ("Bloom," "Morning Mr. Magpie," "Lotus Flower") make references to the natural world.
    • More contentious is A Moon Shaped Pool. Some fans listen to it in light of Thom's divorce and interpret it as a breakup album in the vein of Björk's Vulnicura. Others are less eager to view it as such, citing that the divorce in question was amicable. And we'll leave it at that for now.
  • Country Matters: Thom reserved this for a heckler at a live performance, where he merely told them off by saying: "Shut up, you cunt."
  • Cover Version: Quite a few rare and appropriately eclectic ones, including Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better," Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy," Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl," and The Smiths' "The Headmaster Ritual."
    • Radiohead themselves were covered by Diego Luna in the film The Book of Life. Despite the film taking place in 1920, sensitive guitarist Manolo uses "Creep" as his "I Want" Song, albeit In the Style of... Mexican norteno or cojunto music.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: Thom has been known to sing an eerie, slowed down version of the chorus of R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World as We Know It" as an intro to "Everything in Its Right Place." He does not sound fine.
  • Creator Cameo: The band appears in animated form in the "Paranoid Android" video.
  • Creepy Monotone:
  • Dark Reprise: "Bloom (Mark Pritchard RMX)" for "Bloom" and "Separator (Anstam RMX Part II)" for "Separator (Anstam RMX)."
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: "Thinking About You."
    • "Nude" heavily alludes to this ("You paint yourself white/And fill up with noise"). The video supports this by way of feather ejaculate. No, really.
  • Deliberately Monochrome:
    • The videos for "Street Spirit (Fade Out)," "Jigsaw Falling Into Place," and "Lotus Flower."
    • The cover art for A Moon Shaped Pool and "These Are My Twisted Words" is black, gray, and white.
  • Deranged Animation: The "Paranoid Android" video! It was made by the creator of Robin.
  • Deus Angst Machina: The Bends is an album that goes on and on about the emptiness, pain and futility of life, though the last line on the album proposes a solution.
    Immerse your soul in love...
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil:
    • Counterexample. Their 2000 album, Kid A was available for streaming from their website before its official release, and their 2007 album In Rainbows was released for sale on a "pay what you want" system, but they've since indicated that they will not pursue it further.
    • Their 2001 album Amnesiac was leaked before its release, which angered the band; however, they were only upset because they hadn't set the final mix yet.
    • When bootlegs of early live performances of Kid A songs made their way to the internet, the members of the band were both surprised and pleased when fans at concerts already knew the words to these new songs that had only been played once or twice previous. Colin Greenwood told a BBC reporter:
    "We played in Barcelona and the next day the entire performance was up on Napster. Three weeks later when we got to play in Israel the audience knew the words to all the new songs and it was wonderful."
    • Radiohead also forced their American label, Capitol Records, to back down from lawsuit threats against fansites that posted Radiohead lyrics.
    • An unmastered version of Hail to the Thief was leaked onto the internet. Nigel Godrich was a bit disappointed because the release was far from finished. But Jonny Greenwood:
    "Shame it's not a package with the artwork and all, but there you go. I feel bemused, though, not annoyed. I'm glad people like it, most of all. It's a little earlier than we'd expected, but there it is."
    • The band has not only approved but contributed audio masters to two different fan filmed concert DVD's, provided they are not to be sold for profit.
    • Guitarist Ed O'Brien dislikes the band's stance on it. He's the only member of the band involved in the Featured Artists Coalition, an anti-piracy group. However, he also notes that he is tolerant of the "passive" pirates who really only download music to listen to it. He's really mostly against the shadier bunches who try to make money off of artists.
  • Dissonant Serenity: "I Will," which has Thom singing in his trademark "pretty voice" about the horrible effects of war on children.
  • Downer Ending: The Bends closes with "Street Spirit (Fade Out)," an extremely depressing closer to a notably moody album.
  • Driven to Suicide: The character in the video for "Pyramid Song." He does ascend to a higher plane of existence, though.
    • "No Surprises" is (maybe) about this.
  • Dubstep: The King of Limbs has shades of the James Blake / Burial variety.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Pablo Honey is probably the weirdest Radiohead album in that it's not weird at all.
  • Easter Egg:
    • OK Computer has text hidden on the inside of the case.
    • Early pressings of Kid A had an extra booklet of art and text hidden under the CD tray.
  • Echoing Acoustics:
    • Thanks to Nigel Godrich, OK Computer is really spacey sounding.
    • "Talk Show Host," a B-side to "Street Spirit (Fade Out)," another song produced by Nigel Godrich.
    • The King of Limbs has its instrumentation and Thom's vocals given an echo for a more conjunctive atmosphere where all of the soundscapes just sort of melt into one another.
      • There's a different sort used in "Separator," where Thom's vocal track is duplicated and the two tracks play with a slight delay between both.
    • Used extensively on Hail to the Thief, such as with Thom's vocals in "The Gloaming" and "Scatterbrain."
  • Either/Or Title: Every song on Hail to the Thief. The album itself has an alternate title: The Gloaming.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Described in "Decks Dark," with what might be a Shout-Out to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
    Then into our life there comes the darkness
    There's a spacecraft blocking out the sky
    And there's nowhere to hide
    You run to the back and you cover your ears
    It's the loudest sound you've ever heard
    And all we trapped rag doll cloth people
    We are helpless to resist
  • Epic Rocking: "Supercollider" is Radiohead's longest completed studio song, clocking in at 7:02.
    • Also "These Are My Twisted Words," "Paranoid Android," "The National Anthem," "How to Disappear Completely," and "Daydreaming".
    • The original version of the B-side "Cuttooth" was evidently much longer than the final cut (by how much, nobody knows).
    • The original demo of "There There", released as a studio B-side of "2 + 2 = 5", runs for 7:45.
    • "Everything in Its Right Place" also frequently extends well beyond its normal running time when performed live; the version included on I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings runs for 7:42, and there are longer ones. A performance on a particularly well regarded 2000 bootleg of the band in Berlin stretches almost to ten minutes (although some of that is applause from the audience, who really loved the song).
  • Establishing Character Moment: "Fake Plastic Trees" was this for the band as a whole. The themes of decay, alienation, and pollution, the falsetto vocals, the operatic tear jerkiness, and the accompanying Surreal Music Video would all become part of the band's Signature Style in the years to come.
    • Then came "Everything in Its Right Place," deliberately designed to be the Establishing Character Moment of the post-OK Computer Radiohead (manipulated vocals, emphasis on rhythm over melody, uncommon time signatures, etc.).
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Thom Yorke. This is ironic, since he doesn't scream sex symbol... But even straight men lust after him.
    • There's a term for it: Thomosexual.
    • Same could be said for Jonny Greenwood, who would probably be considered more of a "sex symbol" than Thom.
  • Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: The lyric booklet for Hail to the Thief gives up on trying to understand what's said toward the end of "2 + 2 = 5" and just says:
  • Everyone Went to School Together: They met at Abingdon School in Oxfordshire when they were teenagers.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: Jonny Greenwood has wielded an FM radio and an analog TV during live performances of "The National Anthem." He typically samples those sounds in tandem with a Korg Kaoss Pad.
  • Executive Meddling: In-universe; the basis of "Myxomatosis:"
    It got edited, fucked up
    Strangled, beaten up
    Used as a photo in Time Magazine
  • Face Cam: The "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" music video, which features footage taken from cameras mounted on helmets that each band member is wearing as they play.
  • Fading into the Next Song:
    • From OK Computer: The sirens at the end of "Karma Police" trail off into "Fitter Happier," and the beeps at the end of "Airbag" set the tempo for "Paranoid Android." There's also a split second where the end of "Exit Music (For a Film)" and the beginning of "Let Down" overlap.
    • From Kid A: The phasing synth sound at the end of "Kid A" continues into the very beginning of "The National Anthem;" the chirping noises at the end of "Idioteque" lead into "Morning Bell."
    • All of the tracks on I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings fade into each other, since it's a live album.
    • From COM LAG: The cheering in "2 + 2 = 5 (Live at Earls Court, London, 26/11/03)" fades into the amp fuzz at the beginning of "Remyxomatosis."
    • From The King of Limbs: A sample of birdsong allows "Codex" to fade into "Give Up the Ghost."
    • From A Moon Shaped Pool: "Decks Dark" directly transitions into "Desert Island Disk", and "Tinker Tailor..." just barely fades into "True Love Waits."
  • Fake Loud: An odd example. "Climbing Up the Walls" consists of two of Thom's vocal tracks layered over each other. The one that's mixed lower is clipped and distorted in this manner, but it's actually much quieter than the Thom's other vocal track, which is more clean and melodic.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: "I Might Be Wrong" fades out toward the middle, but returns with a quiet instrumental section.
  • Fan Vid: Lots, most notably the ones made for the official Aniboom video contest.
    • Some fan-made music videos ("Idioteque" "A Wolf at the Door," and "2 + 2 = 5" most notably) are so popular that the fans consider them to be the actual video for the song. It helps that of those three songs, only two ever had any official video made, and both were performance videos.
  • Feathered Fiend: The "There There" video climaxes as crows chase and peck at Thom, who has stolen an enchanted coat and some Sprint Shoes that they were guarding. The birds lose Thom once the shoes grant him Super Speed, but they catch up to him. He accidentally loses the shoes, then gets turned into a tree, allowing the crows to victoriously perch on his branches.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The band claim that either the first or last song on each album hints at the sound of the next album.
    • The melody of "Where I End and You Begin"'s climax appears earlier in the song as the bassline.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Thom is choleric, Ed is sanguine, Jonny is melancholic, Colin and Phil are phlegmatic.
  • Gainax Ending: Their music videos tend to have these, reasonably.
    • "Street Spirit" ends with Thom jumping up into the air in slow-motion — and never coming back down, but just hovering in midair.
    • "Just" ends with the man lying on the sidewalk finally telling everyone why he's lying there — we never do clearly see what he said, but apparently it impelled everyone to lie down on the ground with him.
    • "Karma Police" has a man being chased by a car with Thom sitting in the backseat. Once the man finds out that the car has a gas leak, he takes out a match and lights up the gas trail. The car starts backing away, but eventually gets consumed in flames shortly afterwards. The camera turns to look back to the backseat — and Thom isn't there.
    • "There There" has a particularly disturbing one. Remember, kids, don't put on golden clothes that you find in the woods, or else you'll turn into a tree.
  • Genre-Busting: They don't stick with any particular sound, instead meandering around the spectrum.
    • They started out with straightforward Alternative Rock on Pablo Honey and The Bends.
    • Working with Nigel Godrich, they then moved to a more stadium-friendly sound on OK Computer...
    • ...followed by avant-garde influenced electronica and jazz on Kid A and Amnesiac, having tired of melody (at least, Thom did) and needing to do something radically different from their earlier work.
    • They then decided on a dark, heavy-hitting mix of everything they'd done so far on Hail to the Thief.
    • They lightened their sound considerably on In Rainbows while still retaining their weirdness...
    • ...and, in turn, retained that warmth while adding more beats and brass on The King of Limbs.
    • Their discography currently culminates in a bleak, twinkling, string-driven sound on A Moon Shaped Pool.
  • Genre Roulette: A staple of theirs, considering their unconventional Genre-Busting:
    • Amnesiac. It's got electronica ("Packt Like Sardines in a Crushed Tin Box," "Pulk / Pull Revolving Doors," "Like Spinning Plates"), rock ("I Might Be Wrong," "Knives Out"), and jazz, ranging from modern styles like the piano driven "You and Whose Army?" and the Cool Jazz-y "Dollars and Cents" to a New Orleans style dirge in "Life in a Glasshouse;" the Charles Mingus influenced "Pyramid Song" also counts.
    • The King of Limbs is probably the only album in existence that contains a dubstep song, a dance song, a piano ballad, a folk song, and a rock song, one right after the other.
    • Hail to the Thief has a fairly eclectic blend of styles as well. It even includes some Hip-Hop elements, particularly noticeable in the drums and semi spoken choruses of "Myxomatosis" and the near-rap "A Wolf at the Door." There are also some relatively straightforward rock songs, like "2 + 2 = 5" and "There There."
    • A Moon Shaped Pool has, in addition to a mix of string-driven rock and electronica, a folk song with Spanish-influenced guitar and a bossa nova song.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • The video for "Paranoid Android" has frontal nudity in it and gay leathermen, although it is animated. Nevertheless, the unedited version was only played on MTV post watershed. Interestingly, the band expressed confusion on how the censors were quick to act on the scene containing nudity but had no problem with another scene in which a man accidentally dismembers himself.
    • Pablo Honey has no Parental Advisory sticker on it, despite being widely distributed AND bearing an incredibly famous and explicit lead single.
  • Ghibli Hills: The peaceful "Codex" sounds like this trope. See also the lyrics.
  • Gratuitous Panning:
    • "Four Minute Warning" has the guitars panned to one side and the drums to the other, with the vocals in the middle.
    • The guitar during the first section of "2 + 2 = 5" is panned entirely to one side.
    • "MK 1" consists of ambient piano panned to the left side and a wall of harmonizing Thoms panned to the right side.
    • "Give Up the Ghost" has a distorted wall of Thoms singing "in your arms" in the lower right side.
    • "The Gloaming" begins with a strange electronic noise that begins in the right channel before gradually shifting to the center.
    • "Separator" has random loops of Thom's voice fading in and out panned into the channels.
    • "Electioneering": the guitar is heavily panned over to the right.
    • "Present Tense" has delayed voices repeating Thom's lyrics panned into the right.
    • "Scatterbrain" has its guitar panned to the right.
  • Greasy Spoon: In the American version of the "High and Dry" video.
  • Greatest Hits Album: The band actually refused to release one, but upon their departure from Parlophone Records, Radiohead: The Best Of was released without their cooperation. As AllMusic put it: "a best-of Radiohead compilation is similar to a DVD containing somewhat thoughtfully picked scenes from films made by a specific director."
  • Grief Song:
    • "Street Spirit (Fade Out)," which Thom claims is about "staring the fucking devil right in the eyes, and knowing, no matter what the hell you do, he'll get the last laugh."
    • "True Love Waits" has overtones of grieving as it's presented on A Moon Shaped Pool, though in previous live performances it came across as a relatively straightforward love song.
  • Happily Married: Thom to Rachel Owen for 23 "highly creative and happy years" before separating in 2015 on amicable terms.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: The quietly furious "Nude" is directed at one of these.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Arguably, Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich.
    • Thom and Stanley, as well.
    Thom: I met [Stanley] first day at art college and he had a better hat and suit on than me. That pissed me off. So I figured I'd either end up really not liking this person at all, or working with him for the rest of my life.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Referenced in "Bangers + Mash:"
    If you stare into the dark / the dark will stare back / back into your SOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUL.
  • Hidden Track: Kid A has one at the very end, nested within the 7-minute "Motion Picture Soundtrack", seeming to represent the "next life" referenced in the song's final line. The band has stated that the song and hidden track aren't supposed to be isolated (such as how Spotify did).
  • I Have Many Names: Thom goes by a variety of stage names when collaborating with Stanley Donwood on the artwork and packaging. These names include Zachariah Wildwood, Dr. Tchock, Tchocky, and The White Chocolate Farm.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Thom Yorke has admitted that he has a "cannibal thing."
    • "Where I End and You Begin:"
    I will eat you all alive and I will eat you all alive...
    • "Knives Out" also has cannibalistic imagery ("he's bloated and frozen / still, there's no point letting it go to waste").
  • Incredibly Long Note:
    • One very memorable live performance of "Creep."
    • Sometimes achieved artificially during the intro to live versions of "Everything in Its Right Place" in which Jonny loops and manipulates Thom's voice.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics:
    • "Kid A" invoked this. Thom sang into a vocoder, heavily distorting his voice and obscuring the lyrics.
    • Also, for the first half of "Like Spinning Plates." The lyrics were sung and recorded normally; the recording was played backwards and Thom mimicked the sounds on that recording, which was then *also* played backwards to uncanny effect. The chorus utilizes both a standard recording and a sung backwards-played forwards recording.
    • "Feral."note 
    • The ending of "Daydreaming", which has distorted, backmasked voices chanting something unintelligible. Fans have reportedly confirmed that Thom is sing-muttering "half of my life."
  • Instrumentals:
    • "Treefingers" and "Hunting Bears," which also serve as interludes.
    • Their first instrumental, "Meeting in the Aisle," was a B-side to OK Computer.
    • "Little by Little (Shed RMX)."
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: "The Amazing Sounds of Orgy." Yeah.
  • Intercourse with You:
    • "The Amazing Sounds of Orgy" sounds like this, from the title to the moaning vocals to the "UH-ah" when the drums come in. It's actually about government corruption.
    • "Pearly*" is a very dark example. Thom described it as "a dirty song for people who use sex for dirty things."
  • "I Want" Song:
    • "The Bends," though according to the band it's tongue in cheek.
    "I wanna live, breathe... I wanna be part of the human race."
    • "Dollars and Cents" is a cross between an "I Want" Song and a Villain Song, with Thom alternating between the roles of a corrupt cynic and an idealist.
    • "Bullet Proof... I Wish I Was" is an incredibly bleak and sad song about someone who suffers from emotional weakness over the big and small things in life ("limb by limb, tooth by tooth") and wants nothing more than to be stronger.
  • Kids Rock:
    • "The Amazing Sounds of Orgy" features distorted samples of a children's choir doing vocal exercises.
    • The Matrix Music School children's choir also provides the "YEAH!" on "15 Step."
  • Killer Teddy Bear: The modified bears.
  • Large Ham: Despite the subtlety and darkness of most Radiohead songs, Thom enjoys indulging himself in hamminess occasionally, particularly in "Bangers + Mash" and live performances of "Idioteque."
    • "2 + 2 = 5" is quite hammy as well.
    • In a rather less Rule of Fun based example, early performances tended to be rather over the top. One time Thom started randomly screaming and then jumped in a pool. note 
  • Last Note Nightmare:
    • "Karma Police," which concludes with high-pitched guitar feedback (which then peters out into a low-pitched buzz and a couple of piano chords).
    • "Climbing Up the Walls." Not just Thom's horrifying Metal Scream, but the last 25 seconds of ominous noises and sounds.
    • Every song on Kid A has one of these, save "Treefingers" and "Motion Picture Soundtrack."
    • Hail to the Thief as an album has this, ending with the creepy "A Wolf at the Door." note 
    • Inverted with "Bullet Proof... I Wish I Was," which starts with about 13 seconds of creepy noises.
    • The beautiful ballad "Daydreaming" ends with sinister, distorted, backmasked voices chanting something.
  • Lighter and Softer: In Rainbows. Played with in that while some songs are no less angsty than those on previous albums, the overall sound is lighter, especially on "Reckoner."
    • The King of Limbs was deliberately done this way. Ed O'Brien has described it as retaining some of the "warmth" of In Rainbows, and in 2012 remarked that from OK Computer all the way through to Hail to the Thief the band had been in a dark place. Though that gave them a lot of creativity, it killed them as human beings and wore them down very quickly.
    • Live versions of "Everything in Its Right Place" are much less morbid and emotionless than the studio version. "Kid A" applies as well for the same reason, though Thom's use of a vocoder in post-The King of Limbs live performances to achieve the same effect on his voice as in the studio version counterbalances this somewhat.
  • Limited Lyrics Song:
    • "Pyramid Song" has one verse that is later repeated.
    • "The National Anthem" is almost six minutes long but only consists of these lyrics:
    Everyone, everyone around here
    Everyone is so near/has got the fear
    It's holding on
    It's holding on
    • "Everything in Its Right Place" has five lines repeated throughout:
    In its right place
    Yesterday I woke up sucking on a lemon
    There are two colors in my head
    What is that you tried to say?
  • List Song:
    • "Fitter Happier" comes across as a demented checklist ("at a better pace / slower and more calculated / no chance of escape").
    • "Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors" has an autotuned Thom listing different types of doors.
  • A Load of Bull: The Crying Minotaur, the super-deformed logo and mascot for the Amnesiac era. Considerably scarier depictions of bulls also factor into Amnesiac-era artwork.
  • Long Runner Line Up: Type 1. note 
  • Long Title:
    • "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box."
    • A lot of Hail to the Thief songs, since each song has a main title and a secondary one in parenthesis. "Where I End and You Begin (The Sky is Falling In)," "The Gloaming (Softly Open Our Mouths in the Cold)," "A Punchup at a Wedding (No No No No No No No No)," and "Sail to the Moon (Brush the Cobwebs out of the Sky)" are particularly notable examples.
    • "Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief." Fans just call it "Tinker Tailor."
  • Looped Lyrics: "Everything in Its Right Place," "Kid A," "The National Anthem," the outro of "Where I End and You Begin."
  • Loudness War: Every post OK Computer album is a victim. OK Computer brickwalls in the louder parts. The Bends is mastered loud by 1995 standards, but is quiet by today's. (Note that some of the albums are horribly clipped and others are not. Amnesiac, Hail to the Thief, and A Moon Shaped Pool audibly clip almost constantly, while OK Computer, Kid A, and I Might Be Wrong might as well not have any clipping at all. In Rainbows and The King of Limbs are somewhere in the middle: some tracks are badly clipped, while others seem to have been compressed without any distortion). A rare exception in the band's discography is the "Supercollider"/"The Butcher" single, which doesn't seem to have had any dynamic range compression applied whatsoever; the songs are respectively DR11 and DR10 and sound great. Of course, the band went right back to this trope with their subsequent "The Daily Mail"/"Staircase" single.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Common throughout Radiohead's disography, here of the "pretty music, harsh lyrics" variety. note 
    • "No Surprises" is the go-to example here. The music is soft, gentle, nursery rhyme material; the lyrics are replete with images suggesting alienation and pollution, not to mention lines about jobs that slowly kill you and carbon monoxide poisoning.
    • "Knives Out" is a catchy little song about cannibalism.
    • "I Will" is an acoustic song featuring soft vocals about women and children being bombed in bunkers. Yorke has also described it as the angriest song he's ever written.
    • "Cuttooth" is a beautiful, upbeat, shoegaze-y track with lines like "I build you up to pull you down / tie you to your feet and watch you drown / a little bit of knowledge will destroy you."
    • The first part of "The Daily Mail" sounds like a lullaby, despite lyrics about corruption and scathing attacks on the newspaper of the title. Then this trope is kicked to the curb with the second part, which is essentially a Roaring Rampage of Revenge in musical form.
    • If you get past the Ominous Music Box Tune vibe, "Kid A" has a very beautiful, sweet instrumental. It just so happens to have dark and cryptic lyrics that are fed through a vocoder.
    • "15 Step" is a very warm and upbeat song about a failed love that uses metaphors connected to hanging, with instances such as the line revolving around the Title Drop ("15 steps, then a sheer drop").
  • Madness Mantra:
    • "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box:"
    I'm a reasonable man, get off my case, get off my case, get off my case
    I'm a reasonable man, get off, get off, get off my case.
    • "Where I End and You Begin:"
    I will eat you all alive, and I will eat you all alive, and I will eat you all alive, and I will eat you all alive,
    And there'll be no more lies, and there'll be no more lies, and there'll be no more lies, and there'll be no more lies.
    • "Idioteque" probably qualifies.
    • "Kid A" (the song, not the album) consists, for the most part, of Thom muttering: "standing in the shadows at the end of my bed" over and over through a vocoder.
    • The last thirty or so seconds of "Morning Bell" feature Thom mumbling: "walking, walking, I'm walking, walking, walking."
    • "Everything in Its Right Place" uses it to very offsetting and nigh-ironic effect.
  • Metal Scream: Thom delivers a heavily distorted one at the very end of "Climbing Up the Walls."
    • There's a less obvious one at the end of "Paranoid Android." It's fed through a guitar amp (or something along those lines) and is nearly buried beneath the concluding riffs.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: For Amnesiac. It's taken to an extreme with the deluxe edition, which is the red book pictured on the cover; the title is printed on the spine.
  • Misogyny Song: Inverted by "Nude" and "Pearly*," which mock and criticize sexism.
  • Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: Usually ranging from 5 to 7, though there are exceptions ("Worrywort" and most of The King of Limbs clock in at a 1. "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" is arguably a 9 based on the sheer bleakness of its intended message).
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: From 1 to 6, depending on the album, though usually averaging a 3. Unusual examples include:
    • "Trans Atlantic Drawl" (a 7 that becomes a 1 halfway through)...
    • "2 + 2 = 5" (which transitions from 3 to 6 to 5 over the course of the song), and...
    • "Paranoid Android," which starts out as a 2, builds up to a 3, then suddenly explodes into a 6 or 7. It shrinks back to a 1 right after that, only to soar up to a 7 again for the last 45 seconds.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Amnesiac, due to the various genres utilized and the overall atmosphere of fear and confusion, has a lot of this. The paranoid, jittery "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box" is followed by the smoother, sadder "Pyramid Song," which is then followed by the nightmarish "Pulk / Pull Revolving Doors," and so on.
    • Occurs within "My Iron Lung" between the quietly grim verses and distorted choruses.
    • On OK Computer: "No Surprises," a calm and emotional song led by a xylophone, is put right after "Climbing Up the Walls," an extremely harsh song based around insanity and paranoia.
    • On A Moon Shaped Pool, the upbeat opening track, "Burn the Witch," is followed immediately by the slower, softer "Daydreaming." The ultra-smooth "Desert Island Disk" is followed by the dark and panicky "Ful Stop," which is then followed by the much slower and more melancholy "Glass Eyes."
  • Motor Mouth: Thom in "A Wolf at the Door."
  • The Movie: Meeting People Is Easy, a critically acclaimed rockumentary that follows the life of Radiohead as they embark on their OK Computer tour across the world, mixing live performances with clips of the band members doing interviews, radio station intros, and group photos.
    • A lesser known and rarer one is The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of All Time, which mostly compiled fan made music videos for Hail to the Thief-era tracks, as well as odd, slightly surreal low-quality clips of Radiohead doing mock interviews and playing unreleased material.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • The lyrics of "Pearly*". As an example:
    How'd you get your teeth so pearly?
    Vanilla milkshakes from Hard Rock Cafes.
    • The climax of "Exit Music (for a Film)" is probably the most awesome way someone could imagine the phrase: "Now we are one in everlasting peace" being sung. (To be fair, the line is actually about the two protagonists being Together in Death).
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • A lot of the band members have remarked that Hail to the Thief in particular was an album they wish they could have went back to; Thom, Ed, and Colin all seem to agree that the album was filled with too many songs and not edited well enough, which was in part a result of their more spontaneous recording process.
    • Pablo Honey seems to go without saying by both the band and the fanbase (although Jonny, curiously, has come to think of it as slightly underrated in recent years).
    • Diehard fans of The Bends and OK Computer-era Radiohead think that Kid A ruined the band forever.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Frequently, with Kid A and The King of Limbs probably being the most obvious examples.
  • New Sound Album: Kid A, Amnesiac, In Rainbows, and A Moon Shaped Pool.
  • Nice Hat: Thom dons one for the "Lotus Flower" video.
    • Ed seems to be donning a similar hat in their live performances.
  • Nipple and Dimed: The video for "Paranoid Android" featured cartoon nipples which had to be covered up for the US release. The band seemed confused that the censors balked at the cartoon nudity, but had no trouble at all with the scene in which a man accidentally cuts his own limbs off.
  • Non-Appearing Title: So many. "Idioteque," "Paranoid Android" (almost though, if you listen to the robotic backing vocals), "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box," "Cuttooth," "Talk Show Host," "The Amazing Sounds of Orgy," "Codex," "Worrywort," "Motion Picture Soundtrack," "Exist Music (For A Film)," etc. That's not to say that the titles have nothing to do with the lyrics or music; the association is just a little roundabout (or a lot...).
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: The fish in the "Paranoid Android" video. Strangely enough, that's the only humanoid feature that fish has.
  • No Peripheral Vision: Textbook example in the video for "Just," where a character accidentally stumbles upon another character lying on the ground directly in front of him.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • Nobody knows what the horrible thing that "Kid A" represented to Thom Yorke was.
    • Or why the man was laying down in the music video for "Just."
  • Obligatory Bondage Song:
    • A case could be made for the first verse of "Sulk:"
    You just sit there and sulk, sit there and bawl
    You are so pretty when you're on your knees
    Disinfected, eager to please.
    • "Pearly*" is a clearer and probably more unsettling instance of this trope, especially with the final lines that are either "Darling, use me" or "Darling hurts me".
  • Obsession Song:
    • "All I Need:"
    "I am the next act / waiting in the wings / I am an animal / trapped in your hot car / I am all the days / that you choose to ignore."
    • Also "Climbing Up the Walls," which is about a Implacable Man stalking his victim... Or something.
    • "Where I End and You Begin" starts off as a basic (for this band) love song with some dark themes of disconnection. It gets worse.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune:
    • "Kid A," which has one of the band's (relatively speaking) softest instrumentals. Of course, the lyrics are cryptic and a little horrifying upon further reflection.
    • "No Surprises" also qualifies, even though it uses a xylophone. The lyrics describe depression, overwork, pollution, among other things.
  • One-Dimensional Thinking: The man being chased by the car in the "Karma Police" video. And later the car itself.
  • One-Liner: Thom often delivers them as a way to introduce songs live. Given the band's sense of humor, they are often very strange.
  • The Oner: The "No Surprises" video. The continuous 57 seconds during which Thom Yorke is underwater was done by speeding up the track Thom is miming to as his face becomes totally submerged, then editing the footage to slow it down for the full minute. The making of this video is featured in Meeting People is Easy, which shows Thom's frustrations with being unable to do the shot correctly for several takes.
  • Only Sane Man: Ed and Phil are the only ones who stand still during live performances. Meanwhile, Thom is dancing around the stage and going absolutely nuts, Jonny gets down on his knees and beats the hell out of his guitar every time he rips a sick guitar solo while his hair flies all over the place as if it has a mind of its own, and Colin repetitively pigeon necks while stepping around in circles like he's playing Dance Dance Revolution.
  • Patter Song: "A Wolf at the Door" is a Darker and Edgier take.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Jonny Greenwood's signature look.
  • Perishing Alt Rock Voice: Thom tends to this.
  • Perma-Stubble: Thom had this for a while, although it's become a fully grown beard since In Rainbows.
  • Piss-Take Rap:
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • The famous, strategically-placed "you're so fucking special" in "Creep."
    • The line "dance you fucker" in "A Wolf at the Door."
    • "Thinking About You:" "[...] 'cause I'm playing with myself [...] "
    • "Myxomatosis" also applies ("It got edited, fucked up").
    • A couple occur in "Talk Show Host:" "If you want me / fuckin' well come and find me" and a bit later "Fucking come on and break the door down."
    • The single swear on OK Computer is in "Fitter Happier" ("that's driven into / frozen winter shit").
  • Pop-Star Composer: Jonny Greenwood, who has scored Bodysong, There Will Be Blood, Norwegian Wood, We Need to Talk About Kevin, and most recently The Master. He's also collaborated with avant-garde Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The choruses of "Myxomatosis."
  • Race Fetish: The girl in "Pearly*" has a "sweet tooth for white boys." It's not played for titillation.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!":
    • "A Punchup at a Wedding (No No No No No No No No)". The song begins, furthermore, with Thom singing 42 consecutive "no"'s.
    • After the chorus of "A Wolf at the Door," there's a section that has Thom doing nothing but this.
  • Real Person Fic: A small but vocal community on atease is notorious for this. They're called cheesecakers for an infamous slash fic involving Thom Yorke, Michael Stipe, and (you guessed it) cheesecake, and have a website dedicated to archiving slash fics (there is little Radiohead fanfic out there that isn't slash in some way, shape, or form).
  • Rearrange the Song:
    • "Morning Bell" is re-arranged on Amnesiac as, appropriately, "Morning Bell / Amnesiac", with more emphasis on atmospherics than rhythm.
    • The B-side "Fog" was re-arranged live on piano and titled "Fog (Again)."
    • "I Will" is an acoustic rearrangement of an electronic song that was reversed and turned into "Like Spinning Plates".
    • "True Love Waits," formerly an acoustic song only played live, was rearranged for piano on A Moon Shaped Pool.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • "Nude" is one directed at He Man Woman Haters.
    • "A Punchup at a Wedding" is one directed at a critic who wrote a particularly scathing review of the band's homecoming show.
    • "Just" is one towards a Small Name, Big Ego friend of Thom's.
  • Recurring Riff: On Amnesiac, "Hunting Bears" reprises elements of "I Might Be Wrong."
  • Recut: Thom wrote up a considerably shorter alternate tracklisting for Hail to the Thief.
    1. There There
    2. The Gloaming
    3. Sail to the Moon
    4. Sit Down. Stand Up.
    5. Go to Sleep
    6. Where I End and You Begin
    7. Scatterbrain
    8. 2 + 2 = 5
    9. Myxomatosis
    10. A Wolf at the Door
    • Their original track numbers are 9, 8, 3, 2, 5, 6, 13, 1, 12, 14.
  • Recycled Lyrics:
    • The lines "I don't know why I feel so tongue tied / I don't know why I feel so skinned alive" are included in both "Cuttooth" and "Myxomatosis." Additionally, "Cuttooth" was a track that was supposed to be on Amnesiac but was held off for unknown reasons.
    • The phrase "staring up inside of me" is used in "Inside My Head" (a B-side to "Creep") and later used in "Bullet Proof... I Wish I Was."
    • A very early, rare demo called "Ed's Scary Song" (which is just Thom and Ed goofing off with an organ and chanting lyrics) contains the seeds of several later songs. The lyric "I live a wallpaper life of playing guitar in a band" would be altered and used in "Cuttooth," and "Standing in the shadows at the end of the bed" would be used in "Kid A." There are also several lines that point ahead to "Everything in Its Right Place:"
    He was a good man
    And he said he was the best
    Even when life spat in his face
    He put everything back in its right place.
  • Refrain from Assuming:
    • "Just" is sometimes appended with "(You Do It to Yourself)" for this reason. The title appears in the song 3 times. The refrain appears 15 times.
    • The same also applies to "Street Spirit (Fade Out)."
    • "Creep" often appears on filesharing sites as "So Fucking Special" after its best known lyric.
    • Both "Myxomatosis" and "Cuttooth" have been mislabeled as "Tongue Tied."
    • "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box" is probably out there on hundreds of filesharing websites mislabeled as "Reasonable Man."
  • Rockstar Song: "Anyone Can Play Guitar."
  • Rockumentary: Meeting People is Easy, which focuses on the OK Computer era and the band's gradual burnout during their world tour. It tends toward the artsy side.
  • Room Full of Crazy: The artwork, especially from OK Computer to Hail to the Thief.
    • The hidden booklet that came with early pressings of Kid A deserves special mention.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Thom has terrible typing skills. Sometimes this makes things weirder; sometimes, as in Thom and Nigel's 2013 Reddit AMA, it makes things funnier.
    • This was apparently how "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box" got its name. It fit the song so nobody bothered to change it.
  • Sampling:
    • "Idioteque" samples "Mild und Leise" by Paul Lansky and "Short Piece" by Arthur Krieger. The Lansky sample was so vital to the song that the band sent him a letter telling him they'd sampled him for the track and wanted to make sure it was okay with him.
      • The song's bizarre beat and the background chirps were reportedly created from playing a ton of records all at the same time (creating white noise) and feeding them through a drum machine.
    • "Kinetic" samples the drums from "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down" by Miles Davis.
    • "Dollars and Cents" samples an Alice Coltrane song for the bass.
    • There's a very well hidden sample in "The Amazing Sounds of Orgy." The recurring downward melody appears to be played by a keyboard or distorted string instruments — but if you speed the song up, it's revealed to be a loop of a choir doing vocal exercises.
    • "Give Up the Ghost" and "Codex" feature sampled bird noises, which serve to transition from the former to the latter.
  • Sanity Slippage Song: "Climbing Up the Walls."
  • Scenery Gorn: Parts of the Kid A artwork, the blips especially. Stick figures bleed to death in the snow, their corpses are tossed into pools of blood, distant fires rage across frigid mountainous landscapes, and there is a strong general implication that the world is falling to pieces.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The narrator in "Cuttooth" proclaims:
    I will leave my wallpaper life
    and run away to the foreign legion
    as the tanks roll into town."
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Thom does this on a lot of songs.
  • Sensory Abuse: In "Just," at one point the guitar gets so high in pitch that at its most intense, it's an earsplitting screech (achieved by Jonny using his Whammy effects pedal to shift the pitch of the note a full two octaves higher than normal).
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title of "Subterranean Homesick Alien" to Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues."
    • Marvin the Paranoid Android.
    • The entirety of "Banana Co." to One Hundred Years of Solitude.
    • "Optimistic" has a line that references Animal Farm.
    • 2 + 2 = 5.
    • The Bends is dedicated to the then-recently deceased Bill Hicks.
    • "The Amazing Sounds of Orgy" references Al Green's "So Glad You're Mine."
    • Thom mentions the TARDIS in "Up on the Ladder."
    • Kid A's Working Title was No Logo after a seminal anti-globalisation text by Naomi Klein. The band refused to allow any advertising on the tour for the album.
    • The ending of the video for "Burn the Witch" is a big, long homage to The Wicker Man. It's also animated in the style of Camberwick Green.
    • "Exit Music (for a Film)" is inspired by Romeo and Juliet, stemming from an idea Thom got while watching the 1968 adaptation as a teenager (what would've happened if the two ran away the morning after they consummated their marriage), and was specifically written for use in the 1996 adaptation (in which it was literally exit music played in the credits).
  • Shrinking Violet: Jonny Greenwood, by his own admission. His brother even said (years ago) that he dislikes interviews because he thought he came across as an idiot. In a New York Times article:
    "He doesn't like talking to cameras throughout the session at Alvernia, a representative of the studio kept trying to pull him away to tape a five minute Q and A for a video press kit, and he did everything he could to get out of it, short of faking a nosebleed."
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: The "manipulator" character in "Dollars and Cents" overpowers the voice of the "free man" during the chorus.
    "Why don't you quiet down?"
  • Siamese Twin Songs:
    • "The Tourist" and "Airbag" from OK Computer. They tell a coherent story together, but are placed in reverse order, with "The Tourist" at the end of the album and "Airbag" at the beginning.
    • "Fitter Happier" is basically an extended spoken word outro to "Karma Police."
    • A very strange version of this trope would be "Hunting Bears" / "I Might Be Wrong." They flow perfectly into each other, are in the same key, have the same tempo, harmonize perfectly when played on top of each other... But they don't follow each other on Amnesiac. Instead, "Hunting Bears" serves as more of a Dark Reprise of "I Might Be Wrong," or an intro to "Like Spinning Plates."
    • The first track on Disc 2 of In Rainbows, "MK 1," feels like a continuation of "Videotape," the concluding track on Disc 1, with very similar sounds in the same key.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: In "Dollars and Cents," Thom plays the roles of a corrupted cynic and an idealist, and eventually the cynic overpowers the idealist.
  • Single Stanza Song: Radiohead are quite good at using only a few lines to get their point across.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Truth be told, they're probably one of the most cynical mainstream bands in existence (barring, perhaps, the appropriately titled "Optimistic" and the entirety of The King of Limbs).
  • Solo Side Project: Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, and Phil Selway have all released solo work during the band's time together.
    • Thom's got the electronic The Eraser, the Spitting Feathers EP, and Tomorrow's Modern Boxes under his belt, as well as remixes of other artists and a contribution to the Twilight soundtrack.
    • Jonny has done work with the BBC as a composer in residence, and has done the soundtrack for Norwegian Wood, There Will Be Blood, Bodysong, and We Need to Talk About Kevin.
    • Phil has released two albums (Familial and Weatherhouse) and an EP (Running Blind).
  • Something Completely Different: Kid A and Amnesiac. (See note on New Sound Album above)
  • Song Style Shift:
    • Most famously, the multi sectioned "Paranoid Android."
    • Halfway through "Sit Down. Stand Up," the slow burning mood piece transforms into an insanely fast Aphex Twin like composition with Thom's layered voice chanting about raindrops.
    • Also in "The National Anthem," where the brass suddenly enters and it becomes a free jazz jam. The outro of "Optimistic" takes a similarly jazzy turn.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Thom manages to achieve this effect with himself in "The Amazing Sounds of Orgy," which has two vocal tracks: one is a typical falsetto, but the other is substantially deeper.
  • Spoken Word in Music:
    • "Fitter Happier" has a computer doing the vocals.
      • There's also a repeated sample from a movie in the background, along with some other unsettling noises.
    • Also "Pulk / Pull Revolving Doors" (See entry under Auto-Tune).
  • Spoof Aesop: The liner notes of OK Computer are filled with tongue-in-cheek cutouts from self-help books and instructions on how to make friends. The effect was described by David Cavanagh of Uncut as similar to being "lifestyle coached by a lunatic."
  • Springtime for Hitler:
  • Stop and Go: "Just."
  • Studio Chatter:
    • At the beginning of "2 + 2 = 5:"
    Jonny: We're on.
    Thom: That's a nice way to start, Jonny.
    • Heavily reverbed studio chatter can be heard in the background of "Where I End and You Begin," most notably Thom repeating: "Check... Check."
    • "Climbing Up the Walls" contains clips of what is apparently studio chatter pitch shifted and buried among the insect noises and violins. The song must be slowed down before it can even be noticed at all, and even then it's hard to make out what is being said (it seems to be "We're playing... Ready?" though it also sounds rather like "Amazing... Amazing.")
  • Subdued Section: "Morning Bell" has a brief one where all of the instruments die out except for the drums and keyboard while Thom sings.
  • Subliminal Seduction:
    • "Exit Music (for a Film)" includes reversed samples of children playing.
    • The intro to "Everything in Its Right Place" features a distorted voice saying "Kid A." It says the same thing when you play it backwards.
    • "Codex" begins with a single sung note by Thom played in reverse, so the Echoing Acoustics are heard first as they build up before the snippet of Thom's voice comes in.
    • "Daydreaming" has a reversed and slowed down sample of Thom's voice at the end of the track, to Lynchian effect.
    • "The Numbers" ends with a reversed recording of people shaking shakers and laughing underneath the concluding notes.
  • Subverted Kids Show: The video for "Burn The Witch" openly emulates the cheery, pastoral classic British children's show Camberwick Green while also heavily drawing from The Wicker Man. The combination was subversive enough, and the emulation strong enough, to earn the band a lawsuit.
  • Surreal Music Video: The band absolutely loves this trope, as shown in the videos for "Karma Police," "Knives Out," "There There," and "Just," among many others.
  • Take That:
    • The "kicking screaming Gucci little piggy" line in "Paranoid Android" was directed at an obnoxious, wealthy, coke-addled woman who threw a tantrum in a bar Thom Yorke was in after someone spilled wine on her Gucci outfit.
    • "Electioneering" is a rant against politicians who will say or do anything to get elected.
    • "The Amazing Sounds of Orgy" is one against corrupt bankers. Sort of.
    • "Trans Atlantic Drawl" seems to be one against tabloids.
    • Hard Rock Cafe and Time Magazine get one in "Pearly*" ("Vanilla milkshakes from Hard Rock Cafes") and "Myxomatosis" ("It got used as a photo in Time Magazine"), respectively.
    • "Pop Is Dead," natch.
    • "The Daily Mail" at guess who.
  • Take That, Critics!: "A Punch Up at a Wedding (No No No No No No No No)" is about a critic who wrote an extremely negative review of the band's Oxford show and tore into the band and audience. Thom admits he shouldn't have let it get to him:
    I mean, one of the biggest days in my life. Obviously for all of us. And this... Whoever this person was, just tore it to shreds. And they just tore the audience to shreds [...] This person managed to totally and utterly ruin that day for me forever. And it really shouldn't have done, and I should be bighead enough to just ignore it. And there was a lesson there, which I have I learned now. But I just didn't understand why someone, just because they had access to a keyboard and a typewriter, could just totally write off an event, that meant an awful lot to an awful lot of people. And there'd been just no answering back, no nothing, that was it, the end of the story.
  • Tears of Joy: Thom Yorke said he "blubbed his eyes out" after hearing the final mix of "There There."
  • Titled After the Song: They're named after the Talking Heads song "Radio Head."
  • Title Only Chorus: "(Nice Dream)."
  • Title Track: "Kid A" and "The Bends."
    • Subverted with "Palo Alto", which was originally called "OK Computer".
    • "Airbag," "No Surprises," and "My Iron Lung" are this for their respective EPs.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • "I Will," an anti-war song (focusing on its effects on children) described by Thom as the angriest song he's ever written, is sung quite softly, uses a single guitar, and has no percussion.
    • "Nude" is a "Reason You Suck" Speech towards He Man Woman Haters that doubles as one of the band's most beautiful songs.
  • Transflormation: This is Thom's punishment for stealing enchanted clothing from the woods in the music video for "There There."
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: "Sulk" ascends from G to A for its guitar solo and final chorus.
    • Inverted in "Cuttooth;" after Thom's opening scream, his vocals shift down a step and remain there for the rest of the song.
  • True Companions: Two decades on, the band has never had a member change. Ed said it best:
    "...Even if we disbanded tomorrow, I would still consider them to be my brothers."
  • The Something Song: "Pyramid Song." It's got nothing to do with pyramids. note 
  • Uncommon Time: A lot. "Everything in Its Right Place" is in 10/4, "Morning Bell" is in 5/4, "15 Step" is in 5/4, "2 + 2 = 5"'s intro is in 7/8, "Go to Sleep" alternates between 4/4 and 6/8, and "Idioteque" is some bizarre hybrid of 7/8, 6/8, 4/4, and 10/8. "Paranoid Android" has some bars (near and during the chorus) in 7/4 (actually alternating three bars of 7/8 with one of 8/8), "Let Down" has a guitar part in 5/4 and the rest of the instruments in 4/4, "The Tourist" alternates between 9/8 and 10/8, and "You" has three measures of 6/8 followed by one measure of 5/4.
    • Notably averted with "Pyramid Song," which can be written in common time; it just has a very unusual rhythm.
    • Also averted by "Myxomatosis," which sounds like it's in uncommon time due to the irregular cymbal hits and unusual synth pattern, but it's really in 4/4.
    • They do this on their b-sides, too. "The Trickster" has one bit in the chorus that skips a bunch of beats, making it something like two bars of 4/4 followed by a bar of 3/4 followed by four bars of 4/4. "Permanent Daylight" switches between 4/4 and 3/4 (or 6/4) frequently (the exact pattern is two bars of 4/4 followed by three of 6/4 or six of 3/4). "India Rubber" has several segments with two bars of 4/4 followed by two of 3/4. "Polyethylene" has a ton of time signature changes, including bits alternating 9/8 and 4/4, bits alternating 10/4 and 4/4, bits alternating 4/4 and 3/4, and so on. "I Am Citizen Insane" is in 10/4. "4 Minute Warning" switches between 6/4, 4/4, and 5/4. "These Are My Twisted Words" is in 5/4 with drums playing a polyrhythm of 4/4. "The Daily Mail" has one segment with one measures of 2/4 followed by two measures of 4/4.
    • Depending how you count it, "Sail to the Moon" has as many as 30 or 40 time signature changes, though it's such a subdued song that you might not notice. It's easily Radiohead's most extreme deployment of this trope. Take a look.
    • Some of "Codex" shifts between 5/4 and 4/4.
    • "Desert Island Disk" is in 7/4.
  • Villain Song: A good portion of "Dollars and Cents:"
    We are the dollars and cents
    and the pounds and pence
    and the mark and yen, and yeah,
    why don't you quiet down?
    we're gonna crack your little skulls
    we're gonna crack your little souls.
  • Vocal Evolution: Compare Thom's singing in 1993 to his singing in 2011.
  • Waxing Lyrical: To promote The King of Limbs's retail release, Stanley Donwood and Thom went out and distributed copies of a newspaper called The Universal Sigh, a lyric taken from the album's intro track "Bloom."
  • What Could Have Been: In-Universe; "Exit Music (for a Film)" was inspired by an idea that a 13-year-old Thom got while watching the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli adaptation of Romeo and Juliet that he cried his eyes out over: What would've happened if Romeo and Juliet had escaped the morning after they consummated their marriage?
  • Witch Hunt: "Burn the Witch".
  • Word Salad Horror: Dead Children Playing (a book of Stanley Donwood's art) has it in spades.
    • Thom's quite good at producing it as well.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Mostly downplayed. A better name would be "phrase salad lyrics," since it's not so much the word choice as it is the connection between two unrelated statements that throws the listener for a loop. note  See "Morning Bell:"
    Where'd you park the car?
    Where'd you park the car?
    Clothes are on the lawn with the furniture
    And I might as well
    • Of course, right after that, it's played straight with the nonsensical phrase "sleepy jack the fire drill."
  • Word Salad Title:
    • OK Computer.
    • All the Hail to the Thief tracks, especially with their alternate titles in parentheses.
  • X Meets Y: As a whole, they can be most easily described as Jeff Buckley and The Smiths crossed with either Aphex Twin or The Pixies.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" talks about how life is futile and how we will all die in the end anyway. The song proposes that the only way to get through a life like this is to "immerse your soul in love."
  • Zeroes and Ones: A working title for OK Computer.