There’s this sad and yet mellow feeling when listening to Radiohead. The loneliness becomes interesting, the silence stops bothering you, and it’s as if your anxiety is being beautifully put into the sweetest lullaby. Thom Yorke’s lyrics and the rest of the amazing band members collaborate extremely well to create ephemeral tracks that resonate at the core of human emotion and condition.
From tracks about unrequited love( i.e., Creep) to the 21st-century consumerism killing our soul every day (i.e.their album Hail To The Thief), the English band has managed to be more than just a living breathing art. They are a symbol of the existential knack our generation is going through amidst the uncertain times.
For those who are in the lowest period of their life, their music can be a drug. Their songs can make you breakdown beautifully than you ever have and at moments can even uplift your spirit. After all, great art disturbs the ones that are comfortable and comforts the ones that are disturbed.
If you have that itsy bitsy nagging void inside of you and are starting to contemplate towards the darkest corner of your mind, why not have these Radiohead’s songs in the background?
Subterranean Homesick Alien
Taken from Radiohead’s most popular conceptual album, OK Computer, the track tells that tale of a man wishing to be abducted by aliens in a spaceship. He’s bored of the normal routine and people who have lost the taste for life.
Bored of his daily commute, all he wants to do is be told about the secrets of life and reach the stars through the beings beyond anyone's comprehension. The person in the song even acknowledges that no one on the earth will be willing to believe him even if he ends up getting abducted. He feels that despite coming in contact with these beings and learning the secrets of the universe, earthlings are caught up in their own mess with no sense of curiosity left.
Because the people down on earth have no time to learn about the meaning of life since all of them are uptight as much as him due to the social and economic climate.
Thus, this track will keep you company when you feel wanting just to disappear.
Accompanied by a surreal video where Thom is walking from door to door to places, this track takes you to a familiar place i.e.your own self. It’s for those who are sleepwalking endlessly on a repeated cycle.
This beauty is for all the dreamers, and the track literally features Thom snoring samples towards the end. "Daydreaming" is for people who threw their life away to an institution’s agendas by keeping their dreams aside.
The track is symbolic like the video, and it’s better off felt that understood like all of Radiohead's songs. Daydreaming is a melody for those who are still asleep and forget to wake up from someone else's dream.
How To Disappear Completely
This ballad is from Radiohead's 2000 album Kid A and resonates with a sadly haunting aura. It gives off a feeling that a person wishing for the bad experience he's going through to be unreal and just a dream.
Ever had those moments in life where you wish all of it were just a bad dream you could wake up from? If so, then “How To Disappear Completely” doesn’t fail in giving that vibe of that anxiety in the moment of desperation.
Nevertheless, the track is beautiful, and another angle of the song could be from helpless civilians' perspectives amidst an ongoing war. For instance, there is a verse that goes,
“Strobe lights and blown speakers
Fireworks and hurricanes
I'm not here
I'm not here
This isn't happening”
This paints a gloomy picture of a warlike scenario, and you can’t help but wonder if the shriek within the song from time to time is the call that projects endless trauma.
House Of Cards
Is this a song about a guy who doesn’t want to get friend-zoned? If you look at the lyrics, it feels like it, but then it’s more than that. The verse “house of cards” is a metaphor for the things we are ready to give up for the sake of getting affection in return.
On a closer look, it’s the call of a man trying hard to get someone to cheat knowingly in the presence of a relationship. He wants her to forget the family and trust she built and stacked up all these years to build a loving relationship with him. The literal house of cards is indeed a very fragile thing if you have ever tried building one, and for Thom, the family and marriage values we hold in society are represented as a stack of cards.
I still don’t know why I can’t skip out on this track. It’s among the soothing songs by Radiohead with its own simplicity without a sense of detachment.
All I can picture while listening to this gem is many child soldiers passing through a pile of bodies questioning the purpose of war and their act. Too dramatic? I think the same as well, but when you put the headphones on and listen to Gagging Order, you are in your own realm.
Every piece and verses that Thom spits out from his mouth is left for your own beautiful interpretation. Maybe just feel this one as well; I still don’t have much say on this beauty. And I want to keep it that way.
It's like a weapon
It's like a weapon
Of self defense
Against the present
Against the present
Even Charlie Brooker( creator of Black Mirror) shared this track on his Twitter feed. And I’ll stop right at this moment and leave you alone to listen to these enigmatic tracks or at least once if you haven’t.
I just realized that I’m doing injustice to Radiohead's remaining other tracks by keeping a few of them on the list. So, wouldn’t a top 10 list every week be a good idea? I guess now that would be doing justice to all the songs.
At last, if you ask me, “why listen to Radiohead?” I have a simple question to you as well: "Why breathe? Why dance? Why watch a beautiful sunrise? "