Top Ten Songs by Radiohead

Over the past fifteen years, Radiohead have jumped the fence of one hit wonder stardom to become one of the greatest and most innovative rock bands in history. Their albums have defied the physics of sound and laughed defiantly in the face of record company executives. This is not only a list of their best songs but also a top ten list of the songs that have touched and inspired me as a fan for the last ten or so years. Attempting to pick so few out of so many has been hard and I know I will receive a lot of flak for trying to determine the greatest songs by a band that inspires so many to become musical elitists, but this is my top ten, if you don’t like it write your own.

10. Bulletproof… I Wish I Was: This is one of their most haunting and lyrically universal songs, and actually the first song that prompted reviewers to think that maybe Thom Yorke had some intense personal problems. With lyrics like “Pay the money and take a shot, Lead-fill the hole in me” and “Heat the pins and stab them in, you have turned me into this, just wish that I was bullet-proof” it is not surprising that it lead critics to believe that something disturbingly personal was happening behind the scenes. But the band stands behind the idea that it, like most other Radiohead songs, have a much more universal meaning.

9. Morning Bell (Kid A Version): There are actually two versions of this song on two different albums, Kid A and Amnesiac, and in this one I feel like the music is much more representative of the lyrics than the other which sounds like something on the soundtrack of a psychedelic space opera. “The lights are on but nobody’s home, everyone wants to be a friend, nobody wants to be a slave, walking walking walking,”

8. Street Spirit (Fade Out): The British equivalent of “Creep” here in America, this song is one of the more lyrically interesting songs in the Radiohead roster. “Immerse your soul in love.”

7. Exit Music: The fourth track on “OK Computer” is probably one of the most interestingly romantic songs ever written by anyone. A story of two lovers whose love has been forbidden by their parents, they escape and are able to be together. It starts out as a very beautiful and haunting acoustic song and ends with fuzz bass and all-around Radiohead goodness. “We hope your rules and wisdom choke you.” Then, “we hope that you choke, that you choke.” Definitely one of my favorites.

6. Like Spinning Plates: This is a song that is built on the background track of a different song called “I Will” (which is a little further down on the list) played backwards, then Thom sang the lyrics of the song backward, it was recorded forward and then listened to backwards to make it sound like it was being sung forward, but this allowed for the words to be strangely enunciated so that it actually sounds like its being sung backwards. Great song. “While you make pretty speeches, I am being cut to shreds.

5. Idioteque: A strange attempt at making a dance song, as the name imply’s, that turned out to be absolutely genius. The music is made with a very strange wire based drum machine and samples from the first ever computer-made song from way back in 1975. Radiohead seems to do this thing where on every album there is one very experimental song that engulfs your attention on the first listen. You either like it or you hate it, this is that song for “Kid A”.

4. Scatterbrain: A song about our tendency to stay confused by the constant barrage of mass media headlines, and the pushing of news that isn’t necessarily news. The music in this song kind of floats along over a very hypnotic drum beat that kind of sounds hollow and heartless, and that sound was definitely intended for this song. “Yesterdays headlines blown by the wind, yesterdays people end up scatterbrained.

3. Talk Show Host: This song appears in many different forms, the most well known being on the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack in which it is playing at the first sight of Romeo in the movie, which seems to set his character for the rest of the movie. It’s hard to actually determine what the lyrics are about, although they are some of the best Thom has ever written. “If you want me, well fu@#ing come and find me, I’ll be waiting with a gun and a pack of sandwiches”

2. 2+2=5: Radiohead came back rocking out again with the first track on “Hail to The Thief”, actually one of the most unique Radiohead songs. There is not much else I can say about it except listen to it. “You can scream and you can shout but it’s too late now, because you have not been paying attention.”

1. I Will and Dollars & Cents: Sorry people, I know I cheated but I could not decide between the two, both songs bring out the revolutionary in me, and make me want to either stop buying things, or just join some doomed militia. People if you have not heard these things, please go download them, borrow them from a friend, buy them from a store or steal them, I don’t care. Just listen to them. They will really change your life.

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