I Might Be Wrong, but Here’s My Top 10 Songs by Radiohead
My first time seeing Radiohead live, Jonny Greenwood messed up on “Idioteque”, and as a result, Thom Yorke simply said, “Fuck it,” and left the stage, ending the band’s set before the encore. The second time I attended a Radiohead performance was this past summer at Madison Square Garden, their first North American show in over four years, and it was nothing short of amazing. My friends don’t like or even know of Radiohead, and my parents try to convince me that “Creep” is their masterpiece (“Creep” is not on this list), but one thing is clear; they are truly one-of-a-kind, no one sounds like them and no one will ever sound like them. They will only continue to influence more musicians. Narrowing their diverse catalog down to ten songs is no easy task, but here it goes…
- “Where I End and You Begin” - Hail to the Thief
I liked Hail to the Thief. The opener, “2+2=5”, is as good of an opener as any other on a Radiohead album, and “There, There,” in my opinion, is one of the most unique songs in the group’s catalog. “Where I End and You Begin” is just weird enough to be my favorite on Hail. The opening notes just give me the chills.
- “Lucky” - OK Computer
Definitely underrated. Every song on OK Computer is great, but this song definitely deserves more praise. Too bad they don’t perform it on their current tour.
- “How to Disappear Completely” - Kid A
One of the more powerful songs from Kid A, Yorke’s lyrics and haunting instrumentals will worsen your mood after the first listen. If you want to prove to anyone that Radiohead is awesome, this is not the song to support your argument.
- “Just” - The Bends
This song simply rocks. I love the soft-to-loud dynamics from verse to chorus, and the guitar playing is exceptional throughout. Chances are you won’t see them play this one live for a long time.
- “Reckoner” - In Rainbows
I love Yorke’s voice in this fan favorite. Everyone joins in on this one, but no one can reach the high notes, so, in other words, no one can reach any note. Anyway, “Reckoner” is nothing short of beautiful.
- “No Surprises” - OK Computer
They busted this one out at the performance I attended this summer. “Bring down the government/They don’t, they don’t speak for us,” set the sold-out crowd into a frenzy.
- “True Love Waits” - A Moon Shaped Pool
Before A Moon Shaped Pool was released, every hardcore fan dreamed of a studio version of the live recording of this track in Oslo. That dream became a reality, and while it is nothing more than Yorke’s voice and the piano in front of him, it truly is a perfect closer.
- “Pyramid Song” - Amnesiac
I’ve been playing the drums for almost six years, and to this day I cannot think of a more difficult song to nail down the drums to than this one. The orchestral arrangement in the outro is flawless. You should definitely listen to this song in silence.
- “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” - The Bends
“Immerse your soul in love.” Take me away.
- “Paranoid Android” - OK Computer
This may seem like an obvious choice, but this song encompasses everything Radiohead does well. I have a CD of OK Computer that I keep in my car, and I am not ashamed of trying and failing to reach Yorke’s high notes, playing air-guitar over Greenwood’s solos, or playing drums on the steering wheel while I’m blasting this gem, even when there’s someone in the passenger seat.
Honorable Mentions: “Airbag”; “Let Down”; “Everything In Its Right Place”; “Optimistic”; “There, There”; “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi”; “Burn the Witch”.