Radiohead’s guitarist Jonny Greenwood recently announced that the band will be working on new material this coming September. Their last album, The King of Limbs, came out in 2011, and since completing that tour, members of the band have been pursuing other projects.
The band’s 1992 debut single “Creep,” which was unsuccessful at first, became an international sensation with the release of their album Pablo Honey. Since then, Radiohead has released multiple albums, such as The Bends and OK Computer. The band’s style of music took a dramatic change in 2000, with experimentation that incorporated new instruments and genres.
Radiohead has sold over 30 million albums worldwide, being praised by listeners and critics alike during both the 1990s and 2000s. They ranked No. 73 in Rolling Stone’s “The Greatest Artists of All Time” in 2005. Jonny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien were included in the magazine’s list of greatest guitarists while Thom Yorke was included in the list of greatest singers.
In anticipation of the band’s new album, we are counting down to the band’s top 10 songs.
Image courtesy of Jen Maler/INFevents.com
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10. “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”
This track, commonly referred to as simply “Street Spirit,” was released on Radiohead’s second album, The Bends. Guitarist Thom Yorke calls it one of their “saddest songs” and as “the dark tunnel without the light at the end.” And it does feel as if the song is in a tunnel with the steady guitar strums that make up for over half the song, though as far as tunnels go, this song is a pretty good one. Yorke has also said that Ben Okri’s 1991 novel The Famished Road was inspiration for the song, and that R.E.M was inspiration for the music.
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9. “No Surprises”
“No Surprises” is a song that evokes an array of emotions. Even with the gloomy tone the vocals take and the sadness of the video, there is something about the music that still manages to give out a ray of hope. The track charted at No. 4 in the United Kingdom and it ranked 107 on NME’s list of “150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years.”
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8. “Paranoid Android”
“Paranoid Android” is six minutes and thirty-eight seconds of dark humor divided in four different song sections. It was inspired by the Beatles’ “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The title of the song was taken from Marvin the Paranoid Android of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.
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A track that contains both quietness and power is “Reckoner.” It was off their album In Rainbow and it peaked at No. 74 in the UK singles chart.
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6. “There There”
Radiohead’s “Optimistic” was their most successful single until “There There” was released in 2003. It reached No. 1 in singles chart in Canada and No. 4 in the United Kingdom. In the United States it placed at No. 14 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart. It was even nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance.
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“”Creep” is probably Radiohead’s most famous song, so much so that even those who aren’t close followers of the band recognize it. Because it was so popular, it was requested at Radiohead shows so much to the point where the band’s other songs were given little to no interest, causing the band to grow a negative feelings toward the track. In 1998, the band removed “Creep” from their set lists and didn’t play it live again until 2001.
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4. “Fake Plastic Trees”
“Fake Plastic Trees not only takes a more acoustic approach but also a much deeper turn lyrically. It’s an attempt to reach out to someone in a world where everything has become jumbled in an artificial mess.
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As one of Radiohead’s most famous songs (even though it wasn’t released as a single), “Idioteque” has been played at almost every concert since its release. Rolling Stone ranked it at No. 56 in their “100 Best Songs of the 2000s.” It was also in Pitchfork Media’s Top 500 Songs of the 2000s.
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2. “Let Down”
“Let Down” is beautiful track both lyrically and musically. Jonny Greenwood stated that this song was about feeling distant from those thousands of people walking around you. Referring to what Andy Warhol said about enjoying his boredom, Greenwood said, “‘Let Down’ is about that. It’s the transit-zone feeling. You’re in a space, you are collecting all these impressions, but it all seems so vacant. You don’t have control over the earth anymore. You feel very distant from all these thousands of people that are also walking there.”
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1. “Karma Police”
“Karma Police” has often been referred to as the most enjoyable Radiohead song. It was a commercial success, charting at No. 8 in the US charts.