Radiohead: Top 12 Non-Album Tracks 3-1

3. “Cuttooth” from the KNIVES OUT singles: Bearing one of the most strangely enticing song titles in the band’s catalog, this one comes straight from the depths of the KID A sessions. It’s a piece of shimmering, propulsive Krautrock that shows Radiohead pretty much mastering the genre overnight. While it’s all for the best that they moved on, and although “Cuttooth” bears the sunny glow that reasonably excluded it from KID A or AMNESIAC, it’s nevertheless one of the coolest things the band has ever recorded. With “Cuttooth”, Radiohead joined the ranks of artists like Springsteen and Pavement, where the myth of lost tracks began to rival the myth of the albums.
2. “Pearly*” from the PARANOID ANDROID singles: Although ultimately it doesn’t feel right at this point to question the band’s judgment on the tracklisting for OK COMPUTER, it still makes me scratch my head that this one was left off that album in favor of “Electioneering.” Featuring similar subject matter and a similar sonic trajectory, “Pearly*” is far more exotic and otherworldly, once again featuring some marvelous instrumentation from both the guitar and the drum sections. “Pearly*” is the “Maquiladora” of OK COMPUTER. Seriously, couldn’t they have made room for just one more?
1. “Talk Show Host (Nellee Hooper mix)” from the ROMEO AND JULIET soundtrack: Some might argue with the fact that I chose a cinematic cut-up of “Talk Show Host” as the band’s number one non-album track, but Nellee Hooper’s remix just gets it right. Go back and listen to the version from the STREET SPIRIT single and see for yourself. The bass and drums are just a little too aggressive, a little too direct. But Hooper expertly brings trip-hop subtleties to bear on the song’s bare bones, exposing the emotional heart of the song, and fleshing out a cinematic and musical masterpiece in the process. Don’t settle for the original in this case; Hooper’s remix is the real deal.

Radiohead_knivesout3. “Cuttooth” from the KNIVES OUT singles: Bearing one of the most strangely enticing song titles in the band’s catalog, this one comes straight from the depths of the KID A sessions. It’s a piece of shimmering, propulsive Krautrock that shows Radiohead pretty much mastering the genre overnight. While it’s all for the best that they moved on, and although “Cuttooth” bears the sunny glow that reasonably excluded it from KID A or AMNESIAC, it’s nevertheless one of the coolest things the band has ever recorded. With “Cuttooth”, Radiohead joined the ranks of artists like Springsteen and Pavement, where the myth of lost tracks began to rival the myth of the albums.

Paranoid_Android_CD12. “Pearly*” from the PARANOID ANDROID singles: Although ultimately it doesn’t feel right at this point to question the band’s judgment on the tracklisting for OK COMPUTER, it still makes me scratch my head that this one was left off that album in favor of “Electioneering.” Featuring similar subject matter and a similar sonic trajectory, “Pearly*” is far more exotic and otherworldly, once again featuring some marvelous instrumentation from both the guitar and the drum sections. “Pearly*” is the “Maquiladora” of OK COMPUTER. Seriously, couldn’t they have made room for just one more?

Romeo_+_Juliet_Soundtrack_Vol._11. “Talk Show Host (Nellee Hooper mix)” from the ROMEO AND JULIET soundtrack: Some might argue with the fact that I chose a cinematic cut-up of “Talk Show Host” as the band’s number one non-album track, but Nellee Hooper’s remix just gets it right. Go back and listen to the version from the STREET SPIRIT single and see for yourself. The bass and drums are just a little too aggressive, a little too direct. But Hooper expertly brings trip-hop subtleties to bear on the song’s bare bones, exposing the emotional heart of the song, and fleshing out a cinematic and musical masterpiece in the process. Don’t settle for the original in this case; Hooper’s remix is the real deal.

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Radiohead: Top 12 Non-Album Tracks 6-4

6. “Four Minute Warning” from IN RAINBOWS CD2: I think this track may have been the one Ed referred to as “Bombers” during the KID A sessions. Can’t be sure, but nevertheless, it’s one of the best songs the band has recorded period. It might have closed out IN RAINBOWS just as easily as “Videotape”, the white-noise fade-in evoking a cinematic landscape of bravenewworld devastation. Coming from the same subconscious goldmine that gave us “Pyramid Song”, the lyrics and music working together to evoke a similar slow-motion waking dream. Proof positive that Radiohead needs to record an album of piano-based ballads.
5. “Maquiladora” from HIGH AND DRY SINGLES:  Taking second place only to “Just” as the most in-your-face brit rock track in the band’s repertoire, “Maquiladora” is another b-side that “might have been a hit” for the band during THE BENDS era. With Jonny G.’s incendiary lead and the explosive refrain “Oh – BAY – BAH – BURN!!!!!”, this is the sort of track that the band should still be rolling out as an encore every once in a while. Also priceless – the clean cut breakdown (aka the pretty part) between the episodes of thundering heaviness. Simply brilliant all around.
4. “A Reminder” from PARANOID ANDROID SINGLES: Once considered as the lead-off single for OK COMPUTER, this one didn’t make it onto the album proper, but still stands as one of the strongest examples of the band’s aesthetic at that time. Slowly building around a locomotive drive, it’s an obtuse little love song, evocative of a train trek across the sub-continent of Europe in the prime of one’s youth (this is helped by the actual sounds of a Czech rail station opening the song). Like Richard Linklater’s BEFORE SUNRISE, the song’s narrative revolves around two people, the speaker and the addressee. Highly personal and minimally detailed, it nevertheless expresses a deep romanticism that the band hasn’t quite achieved since.

Radiohead_Nude6. “Four Minute Warning” from the NUDE singles: I think this track may have been the one Ed referred to as “Bombers” during the KID A sessions. Can’t be sure, but nevertheless, it’s one of the best songs the band has recorded period. It might have closed out IN RAINBOWS just as easily as “Videotape”, the white-noise fade-in evoking a cinematic landscape of bravenewworld devastation. Coming from the same subconscious goldmine that gave us “Pyramid Song”, the lyrics and music work together to evoke a similar slow-motion waking dream. Proof positive that Radiohead needs to record an album of piano-based ballads.

High_and_Dry_Planet_Telex_CD15. “Maquiladora” from the HIGH AND DRY singles:  Taking second place only to “Just” as the most in-your-face brit rock track in the band’s repertoire, “Maquiladora” is another b-side that “might have been a hit” for the band during THE BENDS era. With Jonny G.’s incendiary lead and the explosive refrain “Oh – BAY – BAH – BURN!!!!!”, this is the sort of track that the band should still be rolling out as an encore every once in a while. Also priceless – the clean cut breakdown (aka the pretty part) between the episodes of thundering heaviness. Simply brilliant all around.

Paranoid_Android_CD14. “A Reminder” from the PARANOID ANDROID singles: Once considered as the lead-off single for OK COMPUTER, this one didn’t make it onto the album proper, but still stands as one of the strongest examples of the band’s aesthetic at that time. Slowly building around a locomotive drive, it’s an obtuse little love song, evocative of a train trek across the sub-continent of Europe in the prime of one’s youth (this is helped by the actual sounds of a Czech rail station opening the song). Vaguely recalling Richard Linklater’s film BEFORE SUNRISE, the song’s narrative revolves around the hopes and fears of two young people intimately connected for a moment in time. Highly personal and minimally detailed, it nevertheless expresses a deep romanticism that the band hasn’t quite achieved since.

Radiohead: Top 12 Non-Album Tracks, 9-7

9. “Lull” from KARMA POLICE SINGLES: You could argue that some of Radiohead’s best b-sides might have replaced tracks on some of their albums. “Lull” isn’t really like that. Recorded during the OK COMPUTER-era, its closest kin is the far superior “Let Down.” No, the charm of “Lull” lies precisely in its qualities as a throw-away. Unlike other b-sides of the era, it features appregio guitar progressions rather than Jonny’s inflammatory work and a wonderfully upbeat melody. “Lull” is all musical efficiency, as if written by Radiohead for a songwriting workshop. So there you go – the “Lull” referred to is a case of writer’s block. If only every band’s creative lull sounded this good.
8. “Kinetic” from PYRAMID SONG SINGLES: Mentioned early and often in Ed O’Brien’s journals during the KID A sessions, the glacial pace of “Kinetic” speaks volumes on Radiohead’s new approach to making music. How many bands would name a song “Kinetic” and leave it in first gear? What’s really great about this track though is how it reveals the creative process that led to the first great album of the new millenium. No guitars. No backbeats. Just go to your dark place, kids. All in all, an aural feast.
7. “How Can You Be Sure?” from FAKE PLASTIC TREES SINGLES: HCYBS must have been a strong contender for inclusion on THE BENDS. It features one of the grandest pop melodies in the band’s catalog, and comes close to the acoustic glory of “Fake Plastic Trees” and “(nice dream).” The ?female? vocals that accompany Thom are a rather nice touch, the sort of thing the band might explore again if they ever do find their happy place. File this one under “might have been a hit.”

KarmaPolice9. “Lull” from KARMA POLICE SINGLES: You could argue that some of Radiohead’s best b-sides might have replaced tracks on some of their albums. “Lull” isn’t really like that. Recorded during the OK COMPUTER-era, its closest kin is the far superior “Let Down.” No, the charm of “Lull” lies precisely in its qualities as a throw-away. Unlike other b-sides of the era, it features appregio guitar progressions rather than Jonny’s inflammatory work and a wonderfully upbeat melody. “Lull” is all musical efficiency, as if written by Radiohead for a songwriting workshop. So there you go – the “Lull” referred to is a case of writer’s block. If only every band’s creative lull sounded this good.

Radiohead_pyramidsong8. “Kinetic” from PYRAMID SONG SINGLES: Mentioned early and often in Ed O’Brien’s journals during the KID A sessions, the glacial pace of “Kinetic” speaks volumes on Radiohead’s new approach to making music. How many bands would name a song “Kinetic” and leave it in first gear? What’s really great about this track though is how it reveals the creative process that led to the first great album of the new millenium. No guitars. No backbeats. Just go to your dark place, kids. All in all, an aural feast.

Fakeplastictrees1

7. “How Can You Be Sure?” from FAKE PLASTIC TREES SINGLES: HCYBS must have been a strong contender for inclusion on THE BENDS. It features one of the grandest pop melodies in the band’s catalog, and comes close to the acoustic glory of “Fake Plastic Trees” and “(nice dream).” The ?female? vocals that accompany Thom are a rather nice touch, the sort of thing the band might explore again if they ever do find their happy place. File this one under “might have been a hit.”

Radiohead: Top 12 Non-Album Tracks, 12-10

12. “Palo Alto” from AIRBAG/HOW AM I DRIVING? EP: Originally titled “OK Computer”, this track might have birthed the creative concepts behind the homonymous album. Encapsulating many of the same themes, it immediately evokes the false pleasantries of THE TRUMAN SHOW as Yorke greets the listener “I’m OK/How are you/Thanks for asking/Thanks for asking.” Still, underneath it all is Yorke’s old nemesis, the omnipresent fridge buzz. “In the city of the future/It is difficult to concentrate.” It also shines as one of the most chipper mid-tempo rockers in the band’s repertoire, effecting a Beatles-esque glee through Jonny’s noodly leads. Simultaneously a chunky guitar fest and an effects-laden dreamscape, it evokes the best of The Bends AND OK Computer in one little track. Muy bueno.
11. “Last Flowers” from IN RAINBOWS CD2: A mysterious tune that’s been floating around since the days of OK Computer, it didn’t see the light of day for nearly ten years. Through all the changes for the band, this comes across as one of their most sober and lovely little tracks, and proves that when you strip away all the bells and whistles, what you have is a great band of musicians in the most timeless sense. Featuring some of Yorke’s most emotionally potent lyrics (“You can offer me scape…if you take me there you’ll get relief”), its arguably his most disarming performance since another great b-side, “How I Made My Millions.” It can be easy to forget that so many of us fell for Radiohead because of their weepier stuff – “Fake Plastic Trees,” “High and Dry” – but this lost beauty brings it all back home.
10. “Fog” from KNIVES OUT SINGLES: Introducted to the world via concert in 2001 as a “silly little song,” this lullabye about humans as sewer gators is quite simply one of the most obtuse and artful tracks by any band ever, a whimsical ode to lost innocence. Although it seems to come across as a throwaway, it features one of the best melodies in the band’s catalog, and works itself into a great jam at the end, featuring everything but the kitchen sink. Bonus points here for the stark visuals drawn by the music, proving once again that Radiohead is great because they think in like, I don’t know, five or six dimensions.

Airbag12. “Palo Alto” from AIRBAG/HOW AM I DRIVING? EP: Originally titled “OK Computer”, this track might have birthed the creative concepts behind the homonymous album. Encapsulating many of the same themes, it immediately evokes the false pleasantries of THE TRUMAN SHOW as Yorke greets the listener “I’m OK/How are you/Thanks for asking/Thanks for asking.” Still, underneath it all is Yorke’s old nemesis, the omnipresent fridge buzz. “In the city of the future/It is difficult to concentrate.” It also shines as one of the most chipper mid-tempo rockers in the band’s repertoire, effecting a Beatles-esque glee through Jonny’s noodly leads. Simultaneously a chunky guitar fest and an effects-laden dreamscape, it evokes the best of The Bends AND OK Computer in one little track. Muy bueno.

17563562-17563565-slarge11. “Last Flowers” from IN RAINBOWS CD2: A mysterious tune that’s been floating around since the OK COMPUTER-era, it didn’t see the light of day for nearly ten years. Through all the changes for the band, this comes across as one of their most sober and lovely little tracks, and proves that when you strip away all the bells and whistles, what you have is a great band of musicians in the most timeless sense. Featuring some of Yorke’s most emotionally potent lyrics (“You can offer me escape…if you take me there you’ll get relief”), its arguably his most disarming performance since another great b-side, “How I Made My Millions.” It can be easy to forget that so many of us fell for Radiohead because of their weepier stuff – “Fake Plastic Trees,” “High and Dry” – but this lost beauty brings it all back home.

Radiohead_knivesout10. “Fog” from KNIVES OUT SINGLES: Introducted to the world via concert in 2001 as a “silly little song,” this lullabye about humans as sewer gators is quite simply one of the most obtuse and artful tracks by any band ever, a whimsical ode to lost innocence. Although it seems to come across as a throwaway, it features one of the best melodies in the band’s catalog, and works itself into a great jam at the end, featuring everything but the kitchen sink. Bonus points here for the stark visuals drawn by the music, proving once again that Radiohead is great because they think in like, I don’t know, five or six dimensions.

Radiohead: Top 12 Non-Album Tracks

One of the things that makes Radiohead such a fantastic band is their propensity for greatness in the realm of non-album tracks. They frequently kick out the jamz with the extracurriculars, and for the casual fan looking to dive further into the Radiohead sound, there is a veritable smorgasbord of great back tracks.
Over the next four days, I’ll explain my choices, but I don’t see any reason not to go ahead and post my top twelve. Of course, there’s quite a few it was hard to leave off, and I’m a bit amazed myself that nothing from the MY IRON LUNG EP made it onto the list. Still, that’s the kind of quality we’re talking about here.
12. Palo Alto
11. Last Flowers
10. Fog
9. Lull
8. Kinetic
7. How Can You Be Sure?
6. Four Minute Warning
5. Maquiladora
4. A Reminder
3. Cuttooth
2. Pearly*
1. Talk Show Host (Nellee Hooper mix)
Have I unjustly smited your personal faves? What’s in your top 12, o argumentative Head-head?

quasar_radiohead3One of the things that makes Radiohead such a fantastic band is their propensity for greatness in the realm of non-album tracks. They frequently kick out the jamz with the extracurriculars, and for the casual fan looking to dive further into the Radiohead sound, there is a veritable smorgasbord of great back tracks.

Over the next four days, I’ll explain my choices, but I don’t see any reason not to go ahead and post my top twelve. Of course, there’s quite a few it was hard to leave off, and I’m a bit amazed myself that nothing from the MY IRON LUNG EP made it onto the list. Still, that’s the kind of quality we’re talking about here.

12. Palo Alto
11. Last Flowers
10. Fog
9. Lull
8. Kinetic
7. How Can You Be Sure?
6. Four Minute Warning
5. Maquiladora
4. A Reminder
3. Cuttooth
2. Pearly*
1. Talk Show Host (Nellee Hooper mix)

Have I unjustly smited your personal faves? What’s in your top 12, o argumentative Head-head?

Radiohead: In Rainbows (2007)

Radiohead
In Rainbows; 2007
Self-Released
My Rating: 100/100
The Bible tells us that the rainbow is the sign of God’s promise to never smite the earth with a world-wide flood again, a sign of perpetual joy and a hopeful tomorrow to all of mankind. With this, Radiohead became the type of band that one needs to thank God for in their prayers every night. While there aren’t many signs of outright optimism in Radiohead’s music, this is the record where the Oxford five re-discovered the joy of making music, something they may not have had since before “Creep.” When I speak of joy, I’m not referring to sunny feelings and corny sing-a-longs NECESSARILY (gotta give a shout out to the Wilco boyz here); it’s more like a freedom of creativity, being unshackled from the past, hopeful about what tomorrow may bring. For this reason, IN RAINBOWS is a joyful and HIGHLY ENJOYABLE record. The band sounds at ease with the songs, which gives them an extra dimension (warmth?) that HAIL TO THIEF lacked, and it’s really delightful to hear what they did with old tracks “Nude” and “Reckoner.” “15 Step” is the band’s most energizing opener since “Airbag” (all due respect to “Everything In Its Right Place”, which is more transporting than energizing), and with “Videotape”, the band comes close to channeling the same dark muse that haunted “Street Spirit.” Elsewhere, “All I Need” and “House of Cards” are big highlights, and the album as a whole has that seamless flow that is crucial to a perfect record. United in concept, monumental in consequence (there’s plenty to read about this elsewhere), holding together like a classic record should, IN RAINBOWS is the type of album that makes it great to be alive. (Weird, huh?)
Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consequence (5/5)
Consistency (5/5)
Tracks:
1. 15 Step (5/5)
2. Bodysnatchers (5/5)
3. Nude (5/5)
4. Arpeggi (Weird Fishes) (5/5)
5. All I Need (5/5)
6. Faust Arp (5/5)
7. Reckoner (5/5)
8. House of Cards (5/5)
9. Jigsaw Falling into Place (5/5)
10. Videotape (5/5)

In_Rainbows_Official_CoverRadiohead
In Rainbows; 2007
Self-Released

My Rating: 100/100

The Bible tells us that the rainbow is the sign of God’s promise to never smite the earth with a world-wide flood again, a sign of perpetual joy and a hopeful tomorrow to all of mankind. With this, Radiohead became the type of band that one needs to thank God for in their prayers every night. While there aren’t many signs of outright optimism in Radiohead’s music, this is the record where the Oxford five re-discovered the joy of making music, something they may not have had since before “Creep.” When I speak of joy, I’m not referring to sunny feelings and corny sing-a-longs NECESSARILY (gotta give a shout out to the Wilco boyz here); it’s more like a freedom of creativity, being unshackled from the past, hopeful about what tomorrow may bring. For this reason, IN RAINBOWS is a joyful and HIGHLY ENJOYABLE record. The band sounds at ease with the songs, which gives them an extra dimension (warmth?) that HAIL TO THIEF lacked, and it’s really delightful to hear what they did with old tracks “Nude” and “Reckoner.” “15 Step” is the band’s most energizing opener since “Airbag” (all due respect to “Everything In Its Right Place”, which is more transporting than energizing), and with “Videotape”, the band comes close to channeling the same dark muse that haunted “Street Spirit.” Elsewhere, “All I Need” and “House of Cards” are big highlights, and the album as a whole has that seamless flow that is crucial to a perfect record. United in concept, monumental in consequence (there’s plenty to read about this elsewhere), holding together like a classic record should, IN RAINBOWS is the type of album that makes it great to be alive. (Weird, huh?)

Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consequence (5/5)
Consistency (5/5)

Tracks:

1. 15 Step (5/5)
2. Bodysnatchers (5/5)
3. Nude (5/5)
4. Arpeggi (Weird Fishes) (5/5)
5. All I Need (5/5)
6. Faust Arp (5/5)
7. Reckoner (5/5)
8. House of Cards (5/5)
9. Jigsaw Falling into Place (5/5)
10. Videotape (5/5)

Radiohead: Hail to the Thief (2003)

Radiohead
Hail to the Thief; 2003
Capitol Records
My Rating: 58/100
It’s hard to complain about a Radiohead record of any kind. After all, this is one of only a few bands in recent memory to score a string of three near-perfect albums (THE BENDS, OKC, KID A). Given the rousing success of IN RAINBOWS, Radiohead has pretty much cemented their status as the grand champions of left-field pop music. And while there are quite a few great tracks on THIEF, the record suffers from being a little TOO conventional and overly glum (yes, Radiohead can be overly glum). It all begins with the title. In my book, Radiohead’s brilliance lies precisely in their indirect manner of expression. I’m used to a band that skirts the fringes of our present reality, mining the subconscious dread and paranoia fear that haunt us all. I’d much rather leave the political rants to the Rage Against the Machines and Sean Penns of the world. Still, themes aside, THIEF might be a five star record if the production weren’t so LA. I know the band says they were going for a LIVE feels with these songs, but much of THE BENDS was recorded live, and sounded more raw than this. Overall, I still rather enjoy this record, because, once again, it’s Radiohead. But I’d only just place this above PABLO HONEY in ranking the albums.
Cohesion (4/5)
Consistency (3/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Tracks:
1. 2+2=5 (5/5)
2. Sit Down, Stand Up (5/5)
3. Sail to the Moon (4/5)
4. Backdrifts (4/5)
5. Go to Sleep (3/5)
6. Where I End and You Begin (3/5)
7. We Suck Young Blood (2.5/5)
8. The Gloaming (3.5/5)
9. There There (5/5)
10. I Will (3/5)
11. A Punchup at a Wedding (5/5)
12. Myxomatosis (3/5)
13. Scatterbrain (4/5)
14. A Wolf at the Door (4/5)

Radiohead.hailtothetheif.albumartRadiohead
Hail to the Thief; 2003
Capitol Records

My Rating: 58/100

It’s hard to complain about a Radiohead record of any kind. After all, this is one of only a few bands in recent memory to score a string of three near-perfect albums (THE BENDS, OKC, KID A). Given the rousing success of IN RAINBOWS, Radiohead has pretty much cemented their status as the grand champions of left-field pop music. And while there are quite a few great tracks on THIEF, the record suffers from being a little TOO conventional and overly glum (yes, Radiohead can be overly glum). It all begins with the title. In my book, Radiohead’s brilliance lies precisely in their indirect manner of expression. I’m used to a band that skirts the fringes of our present reality, mining the subconscious dread and paranoia fear that haunt us all. I’d much rather leave the political rants to the Rage Against the Machines and Sean Penns of the world. Still, themes aside, THIEF might be a five star record if the production weren’t so LA. I know the band says they were going for a LIVE feels with these songs, but much of THE BENDS was recorded live, and sounded more raw than this. Overall, I still rather enjoy this record, because, once again, it’s Radiohead. But I’d only just place this above PABLO HONEY in ranking the albums.

Cohesion (4/5)
Consistency (3/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consequence (4/5)

Tracks:

1. 2+2=5 (5/5)
2. Sit Down, Stand Up (5/5)
3. Sail to the Moon (4/5)
4. Backdrifts (4/5)
5. Go to Sleep (3/5)
6. Where I End and You Begin (3/5)
7. We Suck Young Blood (2.5/5)
8. The Gloaming (3.5/5)
9. There There (5/5)
10. I Will (3/5)
11. A Punchup at a Wedding (5/5)
12. Myxomatosis (3/5)
13. Scatterbrain (4/5)
14. A Wolf at the Door (4/5)

Radiohead: Amnesiac (2001)

Radiohead
Amnesiac; 2001
Capitol Records
My Rating: 61/100
Radiohead’s own ZOOROPA…
Here we have Radiohead’s own ZOOROPA, wherein the band has already changed the game and convinced millions that they will, in fact, love the left turn that the band has taken. So where to next? More of the same with a few twists. And while AMNESIAC is not a bad record,it’s not a great one either. I’ll dispense with my gripes first. “Amnesiac/Morning Bell” is unnecessary. The b-sides associated with the album prove that the band had plenty more tricks up its sleeve, and “Fog” or even “Follow Me Around,” might have fit nicely in its place. Also, “Hunting Bears” feels like a throwaway, experimental to a pretentious extreme. Lastly, the production on some tracks is a bit too muffled, although I suppose this was somewhat intentional, given the extreme claustrophobia that forms the thematic center of this record. So now that I’ve got that out of my system, let’s talk about what’s good and even great. Good: the straightforward “Knives Out”, the darkly hilarious “Packt”, the twisted Dixieland jazz on “Life in a Glass House.” Great: the lucid dreamscapes of “Pyramid Song” (a definite career highlight), the hardcore electronica of “Pulk”, the avant-psalm “Like Spinning Plates.” Although AMNESIAC isn’t Radiohead’s best album by any means, it nonetheless makes for a fantastic experience every once in a while. Recommended for any and all fans of experimental sounds, and, for that matter, Radiohead.
Cohesion (4.5/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (3/5)

Radiohead.amnesiac.albumartRadiohead
Amnesiac; 2001
Capitol Records

My Rating: 61/100

Radiohead’s own ZOOROPA…

Here we have Radiohead’s own ZOOROPA, wherein the band has already changed the game and convinced millions that they will, in fact, love the left turn that the band has taken. So where to next? More of the same with a few twists. And while AMNESIAC is not a bad record, it’s not a great one either. I’ll dispense with my gripes first. “Amnesiac/Morning Bell” is unnecessary. The b-sides associated with the album prove that the band had plenty more tricks up its sleeve, and “Fog” or even the as-yet-unreleased “Follow Me Around,” might have fit nicely in its place.  Also, “Hunting Bears” feels like a throwaway, experimental to a pretentious extreme. Lastly, the production on some tracks is a bit too muffled, although I suppose this was somewhat intentional, given the extreme claustrophobia that forms the thematic center of this record. So now that I’ve got that out of my system, let’s talk about what’s good and even great. Good: the straightforward “Knives Out”, the darkly hilarious “Packt”, the twisted Dixieland jazz on “Life in a Glass House.” Great: the lucid dreamscapes of “Pyramid Song” (a definite career highlight), the hardcore electronica of “Pulk”, the avant-psalm “Like Spinning Plates.” Although AMNESIAC isn’t Radiohead’s best album by any means, it nonetheless makes for a fantastic experience every once in a while. Recommended for any and all fans of experimental sounds, and, for that matter, Radiohead.

Cohesion (4.5/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (3/5)

Tracks:


1. Packt like sardines in a crushed tin box (4/5)
2. Pyramid Song (5/5)
3. Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors (5/5)
4. You and Whose Army (3.5/5)
5. I Might Be Wrong (4/5)
6. Knives Out (4/5)
7. Amnesiac/Morning Bell (2.5/5)
8. Dollars & Cents (4/5)
9. Hunting Bears (2/5)
10. Like Spinning Plates (5/5)
11. Life in a Glass House (4/5)

Radiohead: Pablo Honey Collector’s Edition Disc 2 (2009)

Radiohead
Pablo Honey Collector’s Edition Disc 2; 2009
Capitol Records
My Rating: 51/100
Disc 2 of the PABLO HONEY Collector’s Edition contains all of the requisite
b-sides that a fan would expect. Conspicuously absent from a completist’s
perspective though are the band’s earliest demos, particularly the ON A
FRIDAY demo and the MANIC HEDGEHOG demo. Still, it’s fun to hear the band’s
earliest tracks, particularly cornballers like “Pop Is Dead.” Just makes you
scratch your head even more that this is Radiohead. Highlights are “Stupid
Car”, the punked up version of “Thinking About You”, “Million Dollar
Question,” the gorgeous US version of “Stop Whispering” (sounds like
something from the Cranberries’ debut), and the live version of “Nothing
Touches Me.” I probably wouldn’t bother buying this reissue, but the 4’s and
the 5’s are worth buying the mp3’s for fans.
Completion: 6/10
Compilation: 8/10
TRACKS:
1. Prove Yourself [demo] (3/5)
2. Stupid Car [demo] (4/5)
3. You [demo] (3/5)
4. Thinking About You [demo] (4/5)
5. Inside My Head (4/5)
6. Million Dollar Question (4/5)
7. Yes I Am (4/5)
8. Blow Out [remix] (3/5)
9. Inside My Head [live] (3.5/5)
10. Creep [acoustic] (3.5/5)
11. Vegetable [live] (3.5/5)
12. Killer Cars [acoustic – live] (3/5)
13. Faithless the Wonder Boy (3/5)
14. Coke Babies (4/5)
15. Pop Is Dead (3/5)
16. Banana Co [acoustic] (4/5)
17. Ripcord [live] (3/5)
18. Stop Whispering [US version] (5/5)
19. Prove Yourself [BBC Radio 1 Evening Session] (3/5)
20. Creep [BBC Radio 1 Evening session] (4/5)
21. I Can’t [BBC Radio 1 Evening session] (3/5)
22. Nothing Touches Me [BBC Radio 1 Evening session] (5/5)

Radiohead.pablohoney.albumartRadiohead
Pablo Honey Collector’s Edition Disc 2; 2009
Capitol Records

My Rating: 51/100

Disc 2 of the PABLO HONEY Collector’s Edition contains all of the requisite b-sides that a fan would expect. Conspicuously absent from a completist’s perspective though are the band’s earliest demos, particularly the ON A FRIDAY demo and the MANIC HEDGEHOG demo. Still, it’s fun to hear the band’s earliest tracks, particularly cornballers like “Pop Is Dead.” Just makes you scratch your head even more that this is Radiohead. Highlights are “Stupid Car”, the punked up version of “Thinking About You”, “Million Dollar Question,” the gorgeous US version of “Stop Whispering” (sounds like something from the Cranberries’ debut), and the live version of “Nothing Touches Me.” I probably wouldn’t bother buying this reissue, but the 4’s and the 5’s are worth buying the mp3’s for fans.

Completion: 6/10
Compilation: 8/10

Tracks:

1. Prove Yourself [demo] (3/5)
2. Stupid Car [demo] (4/5)
3. You [demo] (3/5)
4. Thinking About You [demo] (4/5)
5. Inside My Head (4/5)
6. Million Dollar Question (4/5)
7. Yes I Am (4/5)
8. Blow Out [remix] (3/5)
9. Inside My Head [live] (3.5/5)
10. Creep [acoustic] (3.5/5)
11. Vegetable [live] (3.5/5)
12. Killer Cars [acoustic – live] (3/5)
13. Faithless the Wonder Boy (3/5)
14. Coke Babies (4/5)
15. Pop Is Dead (3/5)
16. Banana Co [acoustic] (4/5)
17. Ripcord [live] (3/5)
18. Stop Whispering [US version] (5/5)
19. Prove Yourself [BBC Radio 1 Evening Session] (3/5)
20. Creep [BBC Radio 1 Evening session] (4/5)
21. I Can’t [BBC Radio 1 Evening session] (3/5)
22. Nothing Touches Me [BBC Radio 1 Evening session] (5/5)

Radiohead: OK Computer Collector’s Edition Disc 2 (2009)

Radiohead
OK Computer Collector’s Edition Disc 2; 2009
Capitol Records
My Rating: 71/100
By now we realize that Radiohead is never stretched for high quality material. With this collection of b-sides, Radiohead proved themselves to be a fanboys dream. The three P’s – “Pearly,” “Polyethylene”, and “Palo Alto” – are fabulous cross-eyed rock songs, while “A Reminder” is one of the most gorgeous songs the band has ever recorded. The band showcases a penchant for the hushed on “Melatonin” and “How I Made My Millions,” and “Lull” is just a brilliant little throwaway. Still, what this disc shows more than anything is that Radiohead was experiencing the kind of once-in-a-lifetime inspiration that most bands never experience. My only gripe with the collection over all is that it covers previously released material. Surely there’s something lost in the vaults from the OKC sessions that could stand the light of day? “Big Boots?” “Lift?” “Follow Me Around?” “I Promise?”
PS The live tracks are pretty great as well.
PPS The ZERO 7 remix is worth it, the FILA BRAZILA remix is dull.
TRACKS
1. Polyethylene (Parts 1 & 2) (5/5)
2. Pearly (5/5)
3. A Reminder (5/5)
4. Melatonin (4/5)
5. Meeting in the Aisle (5/5)
6. Lull (5/5)
7. Climbing Up the Walls [Zero 7 mix] (5/5)
8. Climbing Up the Walls [Fila Brazila mix] (3/5)
9. Palo Alto (5/5)
10. How I Made My Millions (5/5)
11. Airbag [Live in Berlin] (4/5)
12. Lucky [Live in Florence] (5/5)
13. Climbing Up The Walls [BBC Radio 1] (5/5)
14. Exit Music (for a Film) [BBC Radio 1] (5/5)
15. No Surprises [BBC Radio 1] (5/5)

ok compRadiohead
OK Computer Collector’s Edition Disc 2; 2009
Capitol Records

My Rating: 71/100

OK, we get it now. Radiohead is a great b-side band. With this round back in 97/98, Radiohead proved themselves to be a fanboy’s dream. The three P’s – “Pearly,” “Polyethylene”, and “Palo Alto” – are fabulous cross-eyed rock songs, while “A Reminder” is one of the most gorgeous tracks the band has ever recorded. They showcases a penchant for the quiet and powerful on “Melatonin” and “How I Made My Millions,” and “Lull” is just a brilliant little throwaway. Still, what this disc shows more than anything is that Radiohead was experiencing the kind of once-in-a-lifetime inspiration that most bands never experience. My only gripe with the collection over all is that it covers previously released material. Surely there’s something lost in the vaults from the OKC sessions that could stand the light of day? “Big Boots?” “Lift?” “Follow Me Around?” “I Promise?”

PS The live tracks are pretty great as well.

PPS The ZERO 7 remix is worth it, the FILA BRAZILA remix is dull.

TRACKS

1. Polyethylene (Parts 1 & 2) (5/5)
2. Pearly (5/5)
3. A Reminder (5/5)
4. Melatonin (4/5)
5. Meeting in the Aisle (5/5)
6. Lull (5/5)
7. Climbing Up the Walls [Zero 7 mix] (5/5)
8. Climbing Up the Walls [Fila Brazila mix] (3/5)
9. Palo Alto (5/5)
10. How I Made My Millions (5/5)
11. Airbag [Live in Berlin] (4/5)
12. Lucky [Live in Florence] (5/5)
13. Climbing Up The Walls [BBC Radio 1] (5/5)
14. Exit Music (for a Film) [BBC Radio 1] (5/5)
15. No Surprises [BBC Radio 1] (5/5)

Pitchfork’s Review

All Music Guide Review