Top 10 Best Radiohead Songs
Radiohead has proved to be one of the driving forces behind the last decade of alternative rock music. They are one of the only bands that truly keep their audience guessing; every album released has a completely different sound than the previous one. I have compiled a list of the top ten Radiohead songs which is based not only on popularity, but also on both quality and originality. Seeing that Radiohead is one of my all-time favorite bands, it was hard to pick only ten songs, so I've added a few honorable mentions to the list as well.
Anyone and everyone that is aware of Radiohead's existence knows that "Creep" was the hit single that put these guys on the fast-track to stardom. Released in the early 90's off their debut album, Pablo Honey, "Creep" fit right in with the rest of the melancholy, alternative grunge rock that had taken over the airwaves.
9. High and Dry
Since its release, The Bends still holds true as my favorite album of all time, although many Radiohead fanatics would disagree, arguing that OK Computer was their greatest success to date. Truth be told, they're both fantastic albums, and we can thank a catchy little mellow, acoustic tune by the name of "High and Dry" for being the first single released to prove that Radiohead was not going to be contributing to the 90's one-hit wonder music pile.
8. Fake Plastic Trees
Another fabulous, mellow acoustic single off The Bends, except this one didn't seem to be as radio-friendly as "High and Dry". However, it still holds as a favorite for Radiohead fanatics nationwide and also was featured on the Clueless soundtrack. In addition, it also placed a spot on Rolling Stone Magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.
7. Karma Police
By the time "Karma Police" had crossed every radio airwave and music television broadcast nationwide, it was a proven fact that Radiohead was the one to beat. Now, they weren't just some band that had released a few catchy tunes, but they had now released two albums, each a sensational masterpiece in their own way. "Karma Police" was a classic in itself, a work of art, a stunning success.
Just when you thought the good ole' 90's alternative rock bands were getting boring and predictable, along came Kid A. Kid A gets mixed reviews from Radiohead fans, some dislike the computerized, electronic sound of the album while others think it's pure genius. Idioteque is one of the key elements of the album with its techno vibe that puts you in a hypnotic trance.
5. Jigsaw Falling Into Place
For me, I was torn between "Jigsaw" and "Reckoner" as the most compelling track off In Rainbows, but "Jigsaw" seemed to captivate the majority of the Radiohead audience. At first listen, the melody is a bit sleepy, but after a few more, the catchy beat grows on you and makes you want to "let it out".
4. Everything In Its Right Place
Now we're getting to the good stuff. "Everything In Its Right Place" is electronically mesmerizing. I suspect that the reason it's the first track on Kid A is to prepare the listeners for what they're in for. It's like taking a euphoric ride into outer space and seeing everything for the first time.
3. Paranoid Android
One of the best pieces of music ever written. Ever. I could write an entire novel about this one song. Listening to "Paranoid Android" is similar to spending six minutes and twenty-five seconds with either a manic-depressive or a brief thunderstorm. It starts out as a slow, calm melody, like gently floating down a river, and then explodes into a mass of electric riffs and chords that shoot right you like a bolt of lightning. Then, just when you think you've had enough, it slows back down to an almost choir-like chant during the "Rain Down" segment before exploding one more time. Classic. Pure genius.
2. Street Spirit (Fade Out)
As if "Paranoid Android" wasn't enough, here is yet another one of Radiohead's beautiful gems. It's hard to imagine life before "Street Spirit". The intensity, the emotion and the devastation behind it is surreal. Thom Yorke said it was "the dark tunnel without the light at the end" and trust me, that darkness shines through the overpowering emotion of the melody and vocals. Immerse your soul in love.
1. Let Down
As the cliché goes, I saved the best for last. I like to think of "Let Down" as Radiohead's best-kept secret. It wasn't one of their popular songs for some unknown reason, but once I discovered it, there was no turning back. "Let Down" is and forever will be my favorite song of all time. It is truly a beautiful work of art. Listening to it sends me on a euphoric high similar to descending a roller coaster at 300 MPH. The hopeful melody and burning emotion could instantly move any audience. By the end of the song, you feel like you've been on an emotional roller coaster and all you want to do is get back in line.
Black Star: "Black Star" is like the little brother who doesn't get as much attention as he deserves. It's a sensational rock ballad and one of the best tracks off The Bends.
Just: The Bends strikes again. I struggled with whether or not to add this to the top ten list because of its popularity among Radiohead fans, but along with "Black Star", it doesn't get as much hype as it deserves.
Pyramid Song: An eerie track that is mysteriously haunting. This track also came up frequently as a Radiohead favorite, even though it's considered more of a B-side versus a hit single.
Reckoner: While skimming through the recently released In Rainbows, "Reckoner" was the first song that really grabbed my attention. It has a dazzling, distorted cymbal pattern and a bit of a melancholy sound to it. (But then again, don't most of their tracks?) Personally, it's my favorite off the new album and I think it shows off the brilliance of the masterminds behind rock music, otherwise known as Radiohead.
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