Radiohead is an extremely popular 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 spacey rock (OK Computer) and experimental electronic sounds (Kid A, Amnesiac, Hail to the Thief) before returning to a slightly more mainstream sound (In Rainbows). Their latest album, The King of Limbs, sees the band dabble in electronic experimentation once more, with a distinct dubstep influence in places. 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); in particular, 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 released a solo album in 2010 named Familial.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.In 2011, the band ambushed fans and industry followers again by announcing their album The King of Limbs less than a week prior to its actual release date. Then they once again surprised their fans by releasing it one day earlier. In other words: it's out, what are you waiting for?JackWhitehas confirmed that Radiohead had recorded some new material at his studio.Radiohead's artwork is quite weird. The website for the man responsible for most of that artwork, Stanley Donwood, is just as odd.Band members:
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".
"2+2=5" has "All Hail to The Thief, all hail to the thief, but I'm not").
"The Bends", quite obviously, drops the selfsame title of the album.
In the bridge of "Reckoner", the rising voices in the background are saying "In Rainbows". Once you realize this the song becomes absolutely hypnotizing.
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.
All Drummers Are Animals - Averted with Philip Selway, who is more subdued than would be expected. In fact, he's released a solo album that consists overwhelmingly of soft ballads that are quite light on percussion (and another is on the way).
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.
Thus culminating in the "01 And 10" playlist. Which, unsurprisingly, sounds even better if you set a 10 second crossfade on your player.
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 the Radiohead website's "maze" section; phrases that would appear in Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief appeared in the Kid Ahidden booklet; certain lines from Amnesiac showed up in the I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings case.
Aroused by Their Voice: Thom's singing on "Nude" and "The Amazing Sound of Orgy" purposely sounds quite... sensual.
The audience supplies the claps for "We Suck Young Blood," and does the stomp-clap thing for "15 Step."
"Street Spirit (Fade Out)" and "Myxomatosis."
"Subterranean Homesick Alien" became this at the Roseland Ballroom performance; it had stopped being performed live after the OK Computer tour, and while it was popular among fans, it didn't seem as though it would be played again. Then, out of the blue, it was.
Thom: They're all...
Audience: Uptight! Uptight!
Some fans have memorized the entire Piss Take Rap of "A Wolf at the Door" and chant along with it in concert.
Mass lie-downs, mimicking the "Just" video, have apparently been planned among fans for performances of the song
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.
"Creep," of course.
"Fake Plastic Trees."
Auto-Tune - In "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box." It's meant to sound as cold and robotic as possible.
For "Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors", Thom spoke the words and applied autotune with ridiculous pitch-shifting settings to create a disorienting effect.
"Kid A" qualifies for this too, though it's a slight subversion - it's actually Thom speaking into a vocoder and Jonny creating the melody with an ondes Martenot. Thom's voice is distorted almost to the point of incomprehension, allegedly in order to distance himself from the brutal and horrible subject matter.
Used to oddly beautiful effect in "Codex (Illum Sphere RMX)" and "Little by Little (Caribou RMX)."
A vocoder is used on the backing vocals of "Sit Down. Stand Up."
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 Bucher", 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.
"Well, yeah, I had a couple of flings at college with some guys. But my girlfriend knows about them, so itï¿½s all right. She doesnï¿½t like me hanging out with her gay friends in London too much, just in case I get tempted!"
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 pervade the rest of the album.
Body Horror - The video for "There There". It's quite excruciating to see Thom turned into a tree.
Book Ends - OK Computer begins and ends with a car crash: "The Tourist," which closes the album, describes the events leading up to it from the perspective of a bystander, and "Airbag," which opens it, describes the man driving the car's celebration after surviving the crash.
The music video for "Karma Police" begins and ends with a shot of the 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 haaallfff..."
It gets worse when you realise what the song is about (divorce).
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, 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.
"Round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round" in Morning Bell (Kid A version).
"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.
Brown Note - The music video for the Radiohead song "Just" begins with a man lying down in the middle of the street and refusing to budge. As people gather, they ask him (all the dialogue being in subtitles) why he's lying there, and after refusing over and over again, 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." and it's implied that he's actually saying it during the shot of Radiohead looking out the mirror.
Call Back - The lines "I don't know why I feel so tongue tied/don't know why I feel so skinned alive" were first used in "Cuttooth", a track that was supposed to be on Amnesiac but was held off for unknown reasons. They later show up in "Myxomatosis", which is about Executive Meddling.
The "no no no no no" Madness Mantra in "A Wolf at the Door" may be 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."
Common Time - An odd example; most of their songs are in 4/4 or 6/8 time, but the immensely complicated drum patterns (particularly on The King of Limbs) and very strange rhythms ("Videotape" and especially "Pyramid Song") make it difficult to tell this.
Concept Album - To many, OK Computer qualifies, although the band denies it.
Kid A and Amnesiac are suspect, too. The theorizing stems mostly from Thom's suggestion that the former could be about the first human clone, but he denies any intentional meaning. The two albums are clearly counterparts with similar themes (they were recorded at the same time) and it doesn't hurt the concept album theory that the genetically modified bear characters recurred throughout the "blips" of Kid A and Amnesiac, and a track on Amnesiac was named after them ("Hunting Bears").
Thom has also 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 undertones/overtones also make it a candidate.
The King of Limbs is named after an ancient tree near Oxford, and many of the song titles ("Bloom", "Morning Mr. Magpie", "Lotus Flower") indicate a strong nature theme.
There's a joke running around that any Radiohead album can be construed as a concept album by the fans, no matter the band's actual intentions.
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.
AnyoftheKid Ablips could qualify for this. They're either downright horrifying/disturbing or simply weird.
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.
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."
He also commented that he wasn't angry that the album was leaked, rather, he was angry about how it was leaked in an unfinished manner, much like with the Amnesiac leak as described earlier.
The band has not only approved but contributed audio masters to twodifferent fan filmed concert DVD, provided they not 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 Artist's 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.
Then came "Everything in its Right Place," deliberately designed to be the Establishing Character Moment of the post-OK Computer Radiohead (digitally altered vocals, weirdly danceable elements, and bizarre time signature, etc.).
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, which is also used to manipulate Thom's voice in "Everything In Its Right Place").
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" 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: "Codex" fades into "Give Up The Ghost".
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.
Follow the Leader - A whole crop of fresh-faced post-Britpop British alternative bands became popular after Radiohead released OK Computer and were at least somewhat indebted to the band sonically. Many of these bands later made a name for themselves, separated themselves from the "Radiohead clone" tag and proceeded to become some of the most popular and acclaimed British rock acts of the 2000's, including such bands as Muse, Coldplay, Travis, Snow Patrol and Stereophonics.
Foreshadowing - The melody of "Where I End and You Begin"'s climax appears earlier in the song as the bassline. It gives the impression of some kind of evil urge slowly breaking through the surface over the course of the track.
Four More Measures - In "Creep", Jonny Greenwood came in too early before the chorus (some sources say this was intentional and that he wanted to ruin the song). However, the rest of the band liked it and decided to Throw It In.
Genre-Busting - They don't stick with any particular sound, instead meandering around the spectrum from Grunge and alt-rock (Pablo Honey, The Bends) to a spacier sound (OK Computer) to electronica (Kid A, Amnesiac) to a mix of everything (Hail To The Thief) to themselves on Prozac (In Rainbows) to whatever The King Of Limbs can be classified as.
Genre Roulette - Many albums, especially Amnesiac. It's got electronica ("Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box", "Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors", "Like Spinning Plates"), rock ("I Might Be Wrong", "Knives Out"), 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"; arguably the Charles Mingus-influenced "Pyramid Song" also counts), and some things that don't quite fit into any genre.
The King Of Limbs is especially outstanding. Is it jazz? Folk? Electronic? Alternative? A mishmash of everything? The mind is boggled.
It's 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. Yet somehow it flows perfectly.
Strangely, an interview in late 2011 had Thom denying that TKOL was 'experimental music', and was a result of their learning and alleged 'stealing' of other artists' works.
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."
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.
Also, for the first half of "Like Spinning Plates". The lyrics were sung normally, then the recording was played backwards and the sounds were imitated by Thom to create a barely-recognizable version of the vocals. The chorus utilizes both normally sung lyrics and sung backwards-played forwards lyrics.
"Feral" counts as well.note The actual lyrics are "You are not mine/ And I am not yours/ And that's okay/Please don't judge me". How they got from that to the smeared vocals of the album version is anybody's guess.
There's milder example in "Climbing Up the Walls." Thom Yorke sang two vocal tracks for it, one perfectly comprehensible and high-quality, the other a slurred, distorted wail that bursts into a scream toward the end of the song. These two tracks are layered over each other, leading to the lyrics being extremely difficult to discern.
Instrumentals - "Treefingers", "Hunting Bears", and technically "Fitter Happier", since all the singing is actually done by a computer.
Their first instrumental, "Meeting In The Aisle", was a B-side to OK Computer.
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... but it's actually about how ignorance lets government corruption thrive.
"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 at least partially 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.
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 His clunky Doc Martens almost caused him to drown; he also almost grabbed onto a live wire in an attempt to pull himself out.
Last Note Nightmare - "Karma Police". As the rather mellow melody of the song fades out at the end, some very dissonant feedback fades in... which is in turn followed by a nice closing piano chord.
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." In fact, Thom Yorke has explicitly compared the album to a nightmare, with "A Wolf at the Door" signifying waking up and finding out that the real world has become worse than the nightmare (hence the themes of Adult Fear in the song).
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 is arguably this as well, and 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 and 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 not quite as emotionless as the studio version. Kid A applies as well for the same reason, though Thom's use in post-TKOL live performances of a vocoder to achieve the same effect on his voice as in the studio version counterbalances this somewhat.
Long Runner Line Up - Type 1. They've been together since either 1985 (when they formed On A Friday) or 1991 (when they signed to a label and changed their name to Radiohead)—whichever way you slice it, it's been well over twenty years.
Long Song, Short Scene - Some of their best songs were never even included on an album and relegated to b-sides. "Talk Show Host" is the most well-known of these songs, and pretty much all of the Amnesiac b-sides have become fan favorites.
The intensely popular but never officially released "Big Boots" is an even more tragic example than the b-sides listed above: the highest-quality version of it that features the completed lyrics is a badly-recorded clip from Meeting People is Easy, and is interrupted halfway through by an ugly beeping.
There is, however, a fairlylargenumber of live-recordings of this song (interestingly also showcasing the development of the song's lyrics and arrangement), the quality of which ranges from "so-so" to "fairly decent".
In a less depressing example, Thom Yorke has expressed regret at not releasing "Everything in its Right Place" as a single.
"Lift" ï¿½ a relatively uplifting, almost ridiculously radio- and stadium-friendly and "VERY 90s-sounding" rock song (see video) ï¿½ had been played on a number of gigs from 1995 to 1996, only to be dropped from the setlist soon after. However, a rearranged version of the song, has been played on a number of occasions in the early 2000s.
Averted with "Nude", which debuted ï¿½ alternately under the aformentioned, final title or "Big Ideas (don't get any)" ï¿½ as soon as 1998 and had been considered an example of Long Song, Short Scene for nearly a decade, until a re-arranged version was recorded for "In Rainbows" (see the "old version" here).
Long Title - "Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box." A lot of Hail to the Thief also qualifies, 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
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.
Lyrical Dissonance - Used in several of their songs, which only makes the tone even bleaker.
Case in point: "Let Down". Spacey backing, depressing lyrics. Same with "No Surprises".
"Knives Out" is a catchy little song about cannibalism.
Thom dislikes how "pretty" his singing voice sounds because it causes this seemingly regardless of what he sings about.
"I Will" is an acoustic song featuring soft vocals... about women and children being killed in bunkers.
"Cuttooth" is a beautiful, upbeat, shoegaze-y track with extremely dark lyrics:
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.
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" is a 1 and "Street Spirit" 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 what's arguably the most well-known and also most intricate example: "Paranoid Android" which starts out as a 1 or 2 gradually building up to a 3, then suddenly exploding into a 7 (well, maybe even 7.5), shrinking back to a 1 (or 0.5...) right after that, just to soar up to a 7 again.
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 peaceful, sad "Pyramid Song," which is then followed by the nightmarish "Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors," and so on.
Amnesiac unfortunately seems to have gotten a lukewarm reception among critics, perhaps for this reason. It's quite popular among fans, though, to the point of being considered an Ensemble Darkhorse.
Occurs within "My Iron Lung" between the quietly grim verses and distorted choruses.
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.
Die-hard fans of The Bends and OK Computer-era Radiohead think that Kid A ruined the band forever.
The King of Limbs for goodness' sake. It's hard to even categorize what kind of sound it really is.
Nice Hat - Thom dons one for the "Lotus Flower" video.
Ed as of late 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 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," (though this almost drops its title 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," etc.
Usually, however, the title does have something to do with the lyrics: "Idioteque" is a dance song about pollution and destroying the environment ('idiot' crossed with 'discotheque'), "Paranoid Android" partially parodies the overly mopey and depressing music that the band had been stereotyped as making (Marvin the Paranoid Android is a comically depressed robot), "Worrywort" refers to the person who the song is being sung to, "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box" refers to being forced to fit the mold and living a 'normal' life, etc.
Non-Mammal Mammaries - The fish in the "Paranoid Android" video. Strangely enough, that's the only humanoid feature that fish has, and isn't even noticeable at first...
Nothing Is Scarier - Nobody knows what the horrible thing that "Kid A" represented to Thom Yorke was.
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 in which Thom Yorke is submerged 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.
Recut - Thom wrote up a considerably shorter alternate tracklisting for Hail to the Thief. While it cuts out several widely-liked songs, it also flows a lot better as an album:
1. there there
2. the gloaming
3. sail to the moon
4. sit down. stand up
5. go to sleep
10. a wolf at the door
Recycled Lyrics - The lines "I don't know why I feel so tongue-tied/I don't know why I feel so skinned alive" is included in both "Cuttooth" and "Myxomytosis".
The phrase "staring up inside of me" is used in "Inside My Head" (a b-side to "Creep") and "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. Former: 3 times. Latter: 15. It's often called this by American alternative radio disk jockeys.
The same also applies to "Street Spirit (Fade Out)", often shortened to "Fade Out" for no reason.
"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."
"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.
"Motion Picture Soundtrack"'s harp parts are sampled from various old Disney movies.
Sanity Slippage Song - "Climbing Up the Walls". "Do not cry out or hit the alarm, we are friends 'til we die."
"Lock the kids up safe tonight, shut the eyes in the cupboard..."
Scenery Gorn - Parts of the Kid A artwork incorporate this to varying degrees, 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! - "Cuttooth." "I will leave my wallpaper life/and run away to the foreign legion/as the tanks roll into town."
Shout-Out - The title of "Subterranean Homesick Alien" to Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues".
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."
Shrinking Violet - Many consider Jonny Greenwood to be this. 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 doesnï¿½t like talking to cameras ï¿½ 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.
"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."
Single Stanza Song - Radiohead are quite good at using only a few lines to get their point across: "Like Spinning Plates," "Everything in its Right Place," "Kid A," "The National Anthem," "Sail to the Moon," "I Will," "How I Made My Millions," "Melatonin," "Permanent Daylight," "Harry Patch (In Memory Of)," "These Are My Twisted Words," "Codex," "Trans-Atlantic Drawl," and "Give Up the Ghost" all qualify.
"Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box" is an unusual example, as it only contains a single stanza of lyrics, but they are repeated in different orders and are distorted and altered throughout the song.
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 cut-outs from self-help books and instructions on how to make friends, and numerous sequiturs. The effect was described by David Cavanagh of Uncut as similar to being "lifestyle-coached by a lunatic".
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").
"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.
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 both the band and the 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."
It was originally called "Egyptian Song," which does in fact have something to do with the lyrics- it refers to an Egyptian philosophy of reincarnation and becoming one with everything.
Apparently the lyrics were inspired by artwork of the Egyptian underworld and Thom's fascination with 'time as a cyclical force'. Another relation to 'pyramids' might be the hovering "pyramid hotels" that are present in many of the Kid A/Amnesiac blips at the time.
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, and 4/4. "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 actually really in 4/4.
Witch Hunt: "Burn the Witch," a legendary unreleased track of which only a few chords have been heard.
Thom: This'll all sound much better when it's played by the orchestra.
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 - Nearly literal example: some of the lyrics on Kid A came from Thom picking random words and phrases out of a hat. The most Egregious example would probably be "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 / I might as well / Sleepy jack the fire drill / Round and round and round and round and round and round and round..."
This song isn't nearly as random as it appears, however, as it's about the dissolution of a marriage, and most of the imagery connects to this.
I slipped away/I slipped on a little white lie/We've got heads on sticks/We've got ventriloquists/Standing in the shadows at the end of my bed/The rats and the children follow me out of town, etc.,
Who's in a bunker?/Women and children first and the children first and the children/I laugh until my head comes off/Swallow 'till I burst/Who's in a bunker?/I have seen too much/You haven't seen enough/You haven't seen it/Laugh until my head comes off/Women and children first and the children first and the children/Here I'm alive/everything all of the time
And from "Cuttooth:"
I will lead a wallpaper life and run away to the foreign legion/as the tanks roll into town/a little bit of knowledge will destroy you/I build you up to tie you down/tie you to your feet and watch you burn in Hell/in Hell
Word Salad Title: "The Gloaming (Softly Open Our Mouths in the Cold)," "The Amazing Sounds of Orgy," "A Wolf at the Door (It Girl. Rag doll.)," "Cuttooth," OK Computer.