LxL’s Top 10 Radiohead Songs

Radiohead-Promo

There are only a few acts in rock history that have been able to shape-shift and stay both relevant and innovative over a 20 year span. American chameleon Beck is certainly one, with his incredible new summer jam “Wow” certainly being an example of that, but Radiohead is the most notable from across the pond. Radiohead’s new album A Moon Shaped Pool is an extension of that continued innovation, building out beautiful and dissonant orchestration into the band’s sound, influenced by the experimental film scores done by guitarist Jonny Greenwood (There Will Be BloodThe Master, Inherent Vice). All three of us were at the perfect ages for Radiohead to really take hold (though it only took hold with two of us), with Kid A, Amnesiac, and Hail to the Thief releasing during our high school years and In Rainbows releasing in our college years. So without further ado, our 10 favorite songs for a band we hold dear.

10. “Give Up the Ghost”

Radiohead has built its reputation on being weird, electronic, and experimental, but the band does beautiful ballads as well as anyone. The hypnotic looping of “Give Up the Ghost” is the perfect example of Radiohead at their most emotionally resonant. The first time I saw this live a year before the release of King of Limbs, there wasn’t a single person not transfixed to the stage during it.

9. “Burn the Witch”

The lead track off of the Radiohead’s latest, “Burn the Witch” combines beautiful yet jarring orchestration with piercing political commentary. Thom Yorke often speaks caustically to the political climate of our time, but he has never done so more poetically than “Burn the Witch”

8. “There There”

In the beginning of the George W. Bush’s presidency, Radiohead released Hail to the Thief, calling out our world’s leaders years before the reality of all the corruption, greed, and unjust war became clear. “There There” comes off as snappy and playful as Radiohead gets, but its soaked with the impending doom right around the corner.

7. “Pyramid Song”

Like I said before with “Give up the Ghost”, Radiohead does piano ballads in a way that just makes you float off your feet. “Pyramid Song” feels like floating into another dimension.

6. “Reckoner”

The crash of percussion and the still, harp-like guitar riff announces “Reckoner”, one of Radiohead’s most arresting songs off of their most colorful album, In Rainbows. The way “Reckoner” grows and shifts is just picture perfect: every piece of instrumentation in just the right place.

5. “Electioneering”

“Electioneering” is Radiohead at their most manic and chaotic. Early in their years of writing politically, the band sounds as urgent as ever on “Electioneering”.

4. “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi”

One look at the alien-like individual that is Thom Yorke, and you wouldn’t think of him as a hopeless romantic. And certainly he’s not, but Yorke writes some of the most moving love songs around. “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” is a simply gorgeous love song that is hard not to get wrapped into.

“Paranoid Android”

Inspired by The Beatles “Happiness is a Warm Gun”, “Paranoid Android” is really three different songs fused into one blazingly epic song cycle.

“Idioteque”

As much as Radiohead breaks ground on every album, Kid A may be the only one that truly transformed music, ushering in an era where electronics, experimentation, and rock all belonged together. “Idioteque” is a disco for the apocalypse.

“Everything In It’s Right Place”

“Everything In Its Right Place” is really a perfect song. It’s beautiful, alarming, and creepy all at once. It combines all of Radiohead’s best elements: bold experimentation, arresting vocals, and abstract yet expressive lyrics.

Just Missed:

Austin – “Codex”

Austin is the only one of us that isn’t a Radiohead nut, but he does find enjoyment in King of Limbs. “Codex” sort of hearkens back to the best piano ballads from Pink Floyd, a band that Austin certainly cherishes.

Todd – “Life in a Glass House”

Todd loves his jazz and “Life in a Glass House” is a swinging, messy jazz tune and an interesting genre departure for Radiohead.

Wes – “Street Spirit…Fade Out”

The Bends may have been Radiohead’s second album in 1995, but it was really their first as the bold, experimental band we know today. “Street Spirit…Fade Out” is one of my favorite album closers period: its pacing, restless and just doesn’t want you to leave or stop listening.

The 10 Best Winter Albums

LxL_TopTenThursdays_02_900x300

Wes as a wee cub

 

We at LxL are men for all seasons, and winter is no exception.  As three people grown up and still suffering through the Midwestern cold, we get the meaning of winter.  So we know you need a little musical help to get you through the harsh cold. Here are our top ten albums of winter. Enjoy.

Continue reading “The 10 Best Winter Albums”

Top Ten Thursday: Best Artists of the Aughts (2000-2009)

best_of_the_aughts

This was a particularly tough list to put together.  On average, order one of our Top Ten lists takes about 45 minutes.  Over an hour and a half into our last meeting, we still only had the top six ironed out for this one.  We ended up just individually ranking the final eight candidates individually, and normalizing the results to select the final four on the list.  It worked out though, and I didn’t even have to swan dive off my balcony, as I threatened several times throughout the meeting.

So let me tell you a little bit about our decision making process in selecting the top ten artists of the first decade of the new millennium.  It was about as simple as weighing quantity and quality.  To some degree, we also factored in the amount of lackluster material an artist had working against them.  In the end, ever artist in the ten had at least three good to great albums during the decade.  Painfully, M.I.A., LCD Soundsystem, and a few others didn’t have the consistent presence throughout the entire decade like most others on here and missed out.  Also, great artists like Beck, Ryan Adams, Spoon, and Bright Eyes just missed out because while they had the quantity, their highs just weren’t quite as high as others on the list.

So there you have it.  Enjoy the read, and as always let us know who me missed, left off, or mistakenly included.

10.  The Strokes

the strokes, full band pic

The Strokes were one of those rare bands where the product lived up to all the hype preceding them.  They produced some refreshingly honest pop music that ushered a whole new group of fans into “indie” music.  Beneath the surface of The Strokes instantly accessible music were simple but perfect harmonies, taking them beyond what was expected of an early-20’s rock outfit in the early 2000’s.
Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Best Artists of the Aughts (2000-2009)”

Top Ten Thursday: The Sounds of Winter

Wes as a wee cub

We at LxL are men for all seasons, and winter is no exception.  Oh, wait, Todd lives in the concrete jungles of Cali where the weather rarely dips below 60.  That’s alright, he is still an Indianaananaan (not really sure how to write that, or say it for that matter) at heart.  Here are our top ten albums of winter. Enjoy.

Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: The Sounds of Winter”