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Music / Radiohead

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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."
— "Subterranean Homesick Alien"

Radiohead is an Alternative Rock group from England, often regarded among the most consistently acclaimed and influential bands in the world since the 1990s.

They formed in 1985 as an Elvis Costello-influenced new wave band called On a Friday, this being the only day of the week the band members were allowed to rehearse at the private school they all met at. After signing to EMI, they changed their name to Radiohead (taken from the name of a Talking Heads song) and blended in with the alt-rock scene of the early '90s. Eventually, the style of their early albums (Pablo Honey, The Bends) would give way to more ambitious sounds that incorporated echoey, operatic rock (OK Computer) and experimental electronica (Kid A, Amnesiac) before eventually finding something of a happy medium (Hail to the Thief and beyond). Long story short, every album is a New Sound Album.

The band is known for their anti-establishment lyrics and, since Kid A, rejecting many 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 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.

The members have also put out solo work. Singer/principal songwriter/frontman Thom Yorke has released three albums and additionally did scoring work for Suspiria (2018). Guitarist Jonny Greenwood, the only classically trained musician of the group, has found considerable independent success as a film composer, most notably serving as the associated composer of Paul Thomas Anderson from There Will Be Blood onward. Drummer Philip Selway began pursuing a career as a singer-songwriter in 2010, whilst guitarist Ed O'Brien released his solo debut as EOB in 2020.

The members are additionally affiliated with separate bands. Thom was part of a group called Atoms for Peace that was active between 2009 and 2013 (reuniting briefly in 2018), working alongside people such as Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and frequent Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich. He also formed another group called The Smile with Jonny and jazz drummer Tom Skinner in 2021.

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

Aside from the collective band's social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook), all of the members (Thom, Jonny, Philip, Colin, Ed) have Twitter accounts, with varying degrees of updates. In addition, Thom and Ed have individual Instagram accounts.

Radiohead were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2019.

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 regarded as 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 pseudonyms such as "Dr. Tchock."


Studio Albums:

You can now vote for your favourite Radiohead album by heading over to the Best Album crowner. You can also vote for your Radiohead track through the Best Song 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")
  • COM LAG (2plus2isfive) (2004; consists mostly of Hail to the Thief B-sides)

Other tidbits:

  • "Pop Is Dead" (1993 non-album single)
  • Meeting People is Easy (1998 rockumentary)
  • I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings (2001 Live Album)
  • In Rainbows: Disk 2 (2007; bonus disc included with the special edition of In Rainbows; tropes for it are featured on the main album's page)
  • Radiohead: The Best Of (2008 Greatest Hits Album made without the band's permission; the only one they've received)
  • TKOL RMX 1234567 (2011 Remix Album)
  • MiniDiscs [Hacked] (2019 compilation of OK Computer outtakes, released officially after a leaker tried to hold them for ransom)

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.
  • Affectionate Parody: "Permanent Daylight" is commonly believed to be a parody of Sonic Youth.
  • After the End: The "Pyramid Song" video.
  • Album Title Drop:
    • 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.
    • "2 + 2 = 5" has "All hail to the thief, all hail to the thief, but I'm not."
      • In a lesser sense, "The Gloaming" is also this. 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" drops the same title of the album in its chorus.
    • If you listen carefully, in the bridge of "Reckoner," you can hear soft voices in the background singing "in rainbows."
    • "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 before In Rainbows. A 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 represent 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)."
  • Boxed Set: After Radiohead acrimoniously parted ways with Parlophone Records and Capitol Records during the interim between Hail to the Thief and In Rainbows, the labels retaliated by putting out an eponymous box set to compete with the special edition of In Rainbows, much to the band's anger. The set contains all six studio albums that Radiohead released while under Parlophone & Capitol, plus the Live Album I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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 the emotionally charged, beautiful-sounding "Motion Picture Soundtrack" and a hidden track that seems to represent 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 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 locations 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.
    • A similar thing is done with the "Lift" video, which has an elevator that transports to places uncharacteristic of the ones preceding them, including a White Void Room, a room where the elevator is part of the ceiling, and another elevator.
  • Body Horror:
    • The video for "There There." It's quite excruciating to see Thom turned into a tree.
    • The video for "Like Spinning Plates", which centers around a strange machine with a complex number of parts and functions that is ultimately revealed to have a pair of horrifically conjoined babies being ripped apart.
  • Book Ends:
    • 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.
    • "A Punchup at a Wedding" begins and ends with sections where Thom sings "no" repeatedly.
  • 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.
    • These lines from "Myxomatosis":
      They were cheering and waving
      Cheering and waving
      Twitching and salivating like with myxomatosis
  • 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.
    • The music video for "Lift" serves as this after the other two singles taken from the 2017 reissue of OK Computer. All of them are Surreal Music Videos, but instead of being distressing or melancholic, it's lighthearted, borderline comical, and full of nostalgic Mythology Gags.
  • 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.)
  • The Bus Came Back: Chieftain Mews, a character played by Nigel Godrich in the Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of All Time DVD released in 2004, came back in a couple of videos the band made on their TikTok account.
  • Call-and-Response Song: "Give Up the Ghost" is a weird form of this in a sense.
  • Call-Back:
    • The Rapid-Fire "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:
  • Celebrity Is Overrated: "Life in a Glasshouse" portrays life in the very public eye as not dissimilar to a domestic prison.
  • Cloudcuckooland: Namedropped in "Like Spinning Plates."
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The chorus of "Black Swan" on The Eraser (in absence of a solo page) repeatedly states "this/that/you are fucked up, fucked up."
  • 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 Book Ends (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.
  • 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 Crows: The "There There" video has Thom steal an enchanted coat and some boot-like Sprint Shoes, awakening some crows who chase and peck at him. After Thom's ultimate punishment for the theft turns him into a tree, the crows victoriously perch on his branches.
  • Creepy Monotone: "Fitter Happier." It's also a Machine Monotone.
  • Custody Battle: "Morning Bell" from Kid A is about divorce, with a suggested solution being "cut the kids in half". The line itself is likely a reference to 1 Kings 3:16-28, which is about the custody of a child, but not in the context of divorce.
  • Darker and Edgier: The lyrical and sonic content of The Bends was generally much darker and sadder than those of Pablo Honey. From Kid A onwards, the band ventured into even more bleak territory.
  • Dark Reprise:
    • "Bloom (Mark Pritchard RMX)" for "Bloom" and "Separator (Anstam RMX Part II)" for "Separator (Anstam RMX)."
    • A stranger case; "Hunting Bears" comes off like this for "I Might Be Wrong" on Amnesiac since the two are very similar but don't follow each other on the album. See Siamese Twin Songs below for more.
  • 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. However, the last line on the album proposes a solution (although, with given context, it sounds more futile and desperate than calming).
    Immerse your soul in love.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil:
    • 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.
    • 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."
  • Digital Piracy Is Okay:
    • 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 note , but they later indicated that they would 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 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.
    • The band has not only approved but contributed audio masters to two different fan-filmed concert DVDs, provided they are not to be sold for profit.
    • Guitarist Ed O'Brien is 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.
    • Following the leak of over 16 hours of OK Computer-era material, the band decided to respond by making all the material legally acquirable for a short time on their Bandcamp, with all proceeds going to an environmentalist group.
  • 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, already a very emotional album, closes with "Street Spirit (Fade Out)," an extremely depressing track that laments the futility of life as a whole.
  • 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.
    • "Bullet Proof... I Wish I Was" alludes to this with the line "lead, fill the hole in me".
    • Referred to only implicitly in "Codex" (with the lyrics talking about jumping off a cliff and drowning in the waters below), but to equally eerie effect.
  • Dubstep: The King of Limbs has shades of the James Blake / Burial variety.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The band is well-known for debuting early versions of songs years or even decades before they receive official releases, with "True Love Waits" arguably being the most famous example, debuting live in 1995 before finally being recorded and rearranged on A Moon Shaped Pool.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Pablo Honey is probably the weirdest Radiohead album in that it's not weird at all; likewise for Drill, the EP before it.
  • Easter Egg:
    • OK Computer has a mock-advertisement hidden on the inside of the case, on the inside of the right spine.
    • Early pressings of Kid A had an extra booklet of art and text hidden under the CD tray; these pressing typically featured a black tray instead of the clear ones later pressings used, so as to better hide the fact that the booklet was there.
  • 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.
    • Used extensively on Hail to the Thief, such as with Thom's vocals in "The Gloaming" and "Scatterbrain."
    • 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. This same technique is used in "Bloom", although not as extensively.
  • Either/Or Title: Every song on Hail to the Thief. Even the album itself has an alternate title: The Gloaming.
  • Elevator Buttons Mash: In the "Lift" music video, Thom is riding an elevator when a little girl comes in and pushes all of the buttons. As a result, he stops on every floor and interacts with a bunch of strange characters (some of which come from previous Radiohead videos).
  • 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.
    • "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 beeps at the end of "Airbag" set the tempo for "Paranoid Android," and the sirens at the end of "Karma Police" trail off into "Fitter Happier." 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;" "Optimistic" has a split-second overlap with "In Limbo;" and 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • "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.
    • 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."
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 downward-swooping 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: "True Love Waits" has overtones of grieving in the way that it is 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, and currently to Italian actress Dajana Roncione.
  • 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.
    • Thom and Jonny, to the point where they've got a frightening amount of slash written about them.
  • 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 streaming services 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: Cannibalism is a somewhat recurring idea in their songs. Thom has even admitted that he has a "cannibal thing."
    • The end of "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:
    • The bridge of "Creep" ends with several ("She runs, run, run, RUUUUUUUUUUN!"), but it gets even more impressive with one very memorable live performance.
    • Also from Pablo Honey: Thom hits a high B and Bb in "You", and also holds a high A at the end of "Stop Whispering".
    • Sometimes achieved artificially during the intro to live versions of "Everything in Its Right Place" in which Jonny loops and manipulates Thom's voice.
    • Thom has a lot of them in "Bloom".
  • 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."
      • The most likely interpretation, via translating the Japanese lyric book that came with that version of TKOL, is "i'm not yours / you're not mine / it's all fine / please don't judge". 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 this 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 song about someone who suffers from emotional weakness over the big and small things in life 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", "2 + 2 = 5" and live performances of "Idioteque."
    • The band's early performances in particular 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 chanting voices.
  • 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.
  • Lonely Piano Piece:
    • The OK Computer B-side "How I Made My Millions".
    • A Moon Shaped Pool's piano rearrangement of "True Love Waits".
    • "Codex" also has a very isolated sound to it, although brass does accompany it later on.
  • Long-Runner Line-up: The band has never changed members ever since they changed the name to Radiohead in 1991 - or even further back, once Jonny joined On a Friday a few years after the band's formation. At most, Clive Deamer was added as a touring drummer alongside Phil Selway.
  • Looped Lyrics: "Everything in Its Right Place," "Kid A," "The National Anthem," and the outro of "Where I End and You Begin."
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: The "There There" music video entangles Thom's stolen boots in vines during his attempted escape from the forest, slipping them off of his feet. When he tries to continue running, his bare feet take root instead...
  • 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 discography, 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").
  • Mad Eye: Thom had 5 surgeries as a child to correct a paralysed left eye, and the last one was botched and left him with a drooping eyelid.
  • 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.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • 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 and disturbing song based around insanity and paranoia.
      • Additionally, the creepy dystopian interlude "Fitter Happier" is followed by "Electioneering", the most straightforward hard rock song on the album.
    • 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.
    • 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 band has a penchant for making even the most uninteresting lyrics sound absolutely incredible.
    • 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.
    • "Everything in Its Right Place" manages to designate a segment of the song where the only sung lyric is "Yesterday I woke up sucking on a lemon", and it still sounds fantastic.
    • The climax of "You and Whose Army?" centers around two lines ("We ride tonight" and "Ghost horses") and is still flooring.
  • 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 gone 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 (although Jonny, curiously, has come to think of it as underrated).
  • Mythology Gag: The video for "Lift" is chock-full of these as the different experiences Thom makes during his elevator ridenote .
  • New Sound Album: Kid A takes the cake, but really, every album is a New Sound Album. They don't so much depart from the formula as just not have one.
  • 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" note , "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box," "Cuttooth," "Talk Show Host," "The Amazing Sounds of Orgy," "Codex," "Worrywort," "Motion Picture Soundtrack," "Exit 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.
  • No Title: The Hidden Track that concludes Kid A, officially. It's simply named "Untitled" on streaming services.
  • 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 an 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 then gets much weirder.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune:
    • "Kid A," which has one of the band's 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.
  • 1-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.
    • The "Man of War" video plays with this in that the sequence of events are choreographed to be a singular long take, but it regularly alternates between two different versions of itself, one taking place during the daytime and another at night, with elements exclusive to each eventually bleeding into one another.
  • Our Minotaurs Are Different: The Crying Minotaur, the super-deformed logo and mascot for the Amnesiac era. Considerably scarier depictions of bulls also factor into Amnesiac-era artwork.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In-Universe examples.
    • Invoked heavily throughout "Climbing Up the Walls", as its narrator is strongly implied to be a personification of paranoia, fear, and anxiety.
      Either way you turn,
      I'll be there.
      Open up your skull,
      I'll be there.
    • "Life in a Glasshouse" invokes this from the Celebrity Is Overrated angle, stating how confining vast amounts of fame can be for celebrities by means of privacy-breaching paparazzi, constant media scrutiny, and the self-imprisonment that comes with constantly keeping up a nice and clean image.
      Well, of course I'd like to sit around and chat,
      But someone's listening in.
  • Patter Song: "A Wolf at the Door" is a Darker and Edgier take.
  • 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.
  • Phrase Salad Lyrics: It's not so much the word choice as it is the connection between two unrelated statements that throws the listener for a loop.
    • 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 outright word salad with the nonsensical phrase "sleepy jack the fire drill."
  • 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:
  • Portmanteau: Idiot + discotheque = "Idioteque."
  • Post-Rock: Kid A and Amnesiac dabble in this genre.
  • 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; it's almost played for horror - see Real Life Writes the Plot below for an explanation.
  • 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 Life Writes the Plot:
    • Rumor has it that "Pearly*" was inspired by a Japanese girl who prostituted herself in order to get Radiohead tickets, much to Thom's horror.
    • Hail to the Thief followed both 9/11 and the birth of Thom's son and has very, very heavy political overtones. For specific song examples, "I Will" was inspired by a news scene of a bunker full of women and kids being bombed during the first Gulf War; "Sail to the Moon" was reportedly written in five minutes for Thom's son.
    • In addition, "A Punchup at a Wedding" was inspired by Thom getting extremely upset after reading a very negative and caustic review of an Oxford show that was intended to be a homecoming concert (this seems to have been at least partially because the review bashed the band's fan base as well).
  • 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", which appears in Meeting People is Easy and on Hail to the Thief as an acoustic guitar song, was attempted as an electronic song for the Kid A sessions that was subsequently 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.
    • For the BBC series Blue Planet II, "Bloom" was rearranged into an orchestral song (with the assistance of Hans Zimmer) titled "(Ocean) Bloom".
  • "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 (which omits "Backdrifts", "We Suck Young Blood", "I Will", and "A Punchup at a Wedding").
    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.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Played with in the case of the Greenwood brothers. Personality-wise, Colin is the red, known for being chatty, energetic, and excitable. The shy, soft-spoken, and self-deprecating, Jonny, on the other hand, is the blue. On stage, the roles are flipped. Colin becomes the blue, keeping close to Phil's drum kit to focus on the groove, whereas Jonny becomes the red, and thrashes his guitar dramatically, with his limbs and hair flailing around.
    • Also works in terms of comparing the guitar styles of Jonny and Ed. Jonny's punchy, aggressive, and almost percussive guitar style is the red, while Ed's subtle, textured, and ethereal guitar sounds would be classified as blue.
  • Remix Album: TKOL RMX 1234567 is a compilation of remixes from The King of Limbs—with many of them remixed by the same musicians who inspired the style of the original album.
  • Rock-Star Song: Satirized on "Anyone Can Play Guitar", which mocks the "rock star" image and mythos; particular ire is given towards the lingering influence of The Doors and the constant pressure for rock musicians to draw from frontman Jim Morrison.
  • 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 by 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 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 band's name is a reference to the Talking Heads song "Radio Head", from the album True Stories.
    • "Anyone Can Play Guitar" has Thom sarcastically proclaiming that he wants to be Jim Morrison.
      "FAT. UGLY. DEAD."
    • The title of "Subterranean Homesick Alien" to Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues."
    • "Paranoid Android" to Marvin the Paranoid Android.
    • "Banana Co." to One Hundred Years of Solitude.
    • "Optimistic" briefly references Animal Farm.
    • They have a song titled "2 + 2 = 5".
    • The Bends was 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 (1973) that'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).
    • Their fan club, W.A.S.T.E., is a reference to Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49. It stands for "We Await Silent Tristero's Empire"; Tristero (or Trystero; it's spelt both ways at different places in the novel) is one of two rival mail companies in what may be an ancient conspiracy, an elaborate hoax played on the novel's narrator by her ex-boyfriend, a hallucination of the novel's narrator, something else entirely, or all of the above (because it's Pynchon and he loves nothing more than a good Mind Screw).
    • The pool of blood in the interior artwork for Kid A is a reference to the comic Shadowplay by Alan Moore, in which Olympic swimming pools full of blood are used as visual shorthand for the number of victims of CIA atrocities; one pool equals 20,000 people dead.
    • Upon the death of Bob Einstein, Jonny revealed that he uses "Marty Funkhouser" as a fake name in order to check into hotels.
  • Shrinking Violet: Jonny Greenwood, by his own admission. His brother even said (years ago) that he dislikes interviews because he thinks he comes across as an idiot. From 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, and 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," is essentially a continuation of "Videotape", recycling some of its ambient elements.
  • 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.
  • Singer Name Drop: "Lift" has one.
    "We've been trying to reach you, Thom."
  • Single Stanza Song: Radiohead are quite good at using only a few lines to get their point across.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: One of the most cynical mainstream bands, with a relentlessly grim and gloomy view on life and an obsession with alienation, depression and loneliness. (barring, perhaps, the appropriately titled "Optimistic," "Desert Island Disk," and the entirety of The King of Limbs).
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Thom has come to view the band's behavior during the Pablo Honey era as this, being at a time when the success of "Creep" made them feel like they were on top of the world despite the fact that A: they had only one hit single by that point, and B: it was their debut single, with plenty of room to trip up immediately after. Particular mention goes to Thom's attempts to play himself up as a British Kurt Cobain and the infamous MTV Beach House 1993 performance, both of which factor into the Pablo Honey era's Old Shame status for the band and for Thom especially. Thom went on to describe himself during that point as "unbearable," stating that "as soon as you get any success you disappear up your own arse."
  • Solo Side Project: All members except Colin have released solo work during the band's time together.
    • Thom's got three albums (The Eraser, Tomorrow's Modern Boxes, Anima) under his belt alongside an EP (Spitting Feathers), as well as remixes of other artists, a contribution to the Twilight soundtrack, and a soundtrack all of his own (Suspiria (2018)).
    • Jonny has done work with the BBC as a composer in residence, and has done the soundtracks 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).
    • Ed became the latest member to embark on a solo career with his album Earth.
  • Something Something Leonard Bernstein: Thom's singing is often a hypnagogic mumble, but when the slurring is hard enough, only a few words can be understood. Particularly bad cases are "Myxomatosis", "Pyramid Song", and live performances of "2+2=5".
  • 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." Even a plug for the band's official website is followed by a suggestion that the listener "take a nice walk in the sunshine instead".
  • Springtime for Hitler:
  • Stepford Smiler: The subject of "Life in a Glasshouse," implying great suffering in the privacy-lax and prison-esque celebrity lifestyle beneath the nice-looking surface.
    She is putting on a smile
    Living in a glasshouse.
  • 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.")
    • "Down is the New Up" opens with Thom distantly exclaiming "Uh!" before the song begins.
    • At the beginning of "Polyethylene (Parts 1 & 2)," someone says "go" before the song starts.
  • The ending of "India Rubber" incorporates the sounds of the band talking and goofing around between takes, as layered over the verse music - the most distinctive bit is a short clip of Jonny laughing, which is looped to unnerving effect.
  • Subdued Section:
    • "Morning Bell" has a brief one where all of the instruments die out except for the drums and keyboard while Thom sings.
    • "You and Whose Army?" starts with one, consisting solely of Thom singing over a wall of harmonizing Thoms, and then picks up the pace later on.
  • 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 drenched in reverb and played in reverse, so the reverb is heard first as it builds 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 (1973). 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" is a scathing one towards pop music as a whole, describing it as constantly running on fumes and portraying the lifestyle of its artists as ostentatious and self-destructive. The song additionally alludes to the urban legend that Michael Jackson's radical change in appearance at the time was the result of plastic surgery, joking about a pop star who got "so many facelifts, his face flew off."
    • "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". Talking Heads frontman David Byrne expressed bemusement at this during his inauguration of the band at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019, noting how he'd always dismissed that piece as a "Tex-Mex ditty."
    • In turn, Rian Johnson named Knives Out after the Amnesiac song. The movie and the song aren't related; he just thought "Knives Out" sounded like a great name for a whodunit.
  • 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 described by Thom as the angriest thing he's ever written (on an album full of angry songs!), 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 
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: The music video for "Lift" puts a surreal, impressive spin on this simple idea. Not only does said awkward moment extend for four minutes, but it involves a slightly troubled Thom sharing an elevator (or lift) with a variety of increasingly odd peoplenote  that are transported by the elevator to increasingly odd locations uncharacteristic of the last. The video ends with the elevator opening to show the interior of another elevator, where another Thom is standing inside with their back to the camera. Thom (and the camera) enter the other elevator, only for it to be revealed that neither person standing there are actually Thom. The camera then turns around to show the real Thom, who is still standing in the first elevator as the door closes.
  • Uncommon Time: A lot.
    • Pablo Honey: "You" has three measures of 6/8 followed by one measure of 5/4.
    • OK Computer:
      • "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.
    • Kid A:
      • "Everything in Its Right Place" is in 10/4.
      • "Idioteque" is some bizarre hybrid of 7/8, 6/8, 4/4, and 10/8.
      • "Morning Bell" is in 5/4.
    • Hail to the Thief:
      • "2 + 2 = 5"'s intro is in 7/8.
      • "Go to Sleep" alternates between 4/4 and 6/8.
      • Depending on 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.
    • In Rainbows: "15 Step" is in 5/4.
    • The King of Limbs: Some of "Codex" shifts between 5/4 and 4/4.
    • A Moon Shaped Pool: "Desert Island Disk" is in 7/4.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Vapor Trail: In the "Karma Police" video, this is how the man being chased by the car gets the best of it.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: 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."
  • 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 Title:
    • OK Computer.
    • All the Hail to the Thief tracks, especially with their alternate titles in parentheses.
  • You Are Worth Hell: The Twist Ending of "Fake Plastic Trees". Most of the song is a dirge on the melancholic inauthenticity of modern life, calling out the life of a plastic surgeon, the town he lives in, and even the "love" the narrator shares with a girl as being superficially pleasing, but ultimately hopelessly artificial and exhausting. However, with the song's final lines, the narrator strongly implies that he ultimately still craves true love and intimacy from the "fake" girl in question, and is willing to make sacrifices to "be who [she] wanted" just to be with her, strongly implying that one way or another, he too will become "fake" just for a chance at happiness.
  • 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."


Video Example(s):


Just...behind the black

In the music video for Radiohead's song "Just", a man lies down on the pavement. Another man walks down the otherwise empty street with the camera zoomed in enough that the body on the ground cannot be seen. Naturally, the second man doesn't notice and trips over the "invisible" lying person.

How well does it match the trope?

3.67 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / BehindTheBlack

Media sources: