Deconstructing: 20 Years Of Thom Yorke

The most memorable moment of my junior year Homecoming night wasn’t the dinner (who knows where), the dance (in my high school gymnasium, I think?) or the date (though I hope she’s doing well these days). It came after all that, when I got home, sprawled out on the living room floor, rewound the VCR and — finally! — cued up Radiohead’s performance on Saturday Night Live. This was October 2000. Kid A had been out less than two weeks, and my obsession with the band was in full bloom. After falling hard for OK Computer that spring, I spent my summer wailing along to The Bends in my ’88 Camry, scouring Napster for every B-side or rarity in the Green Plastic archives and gobbling up all available information about the new record. In the waning minutes of Oct. 2, a friend and I lined up outside our local record shop to purchase Kid A at midnight and stayed up late dissecting it over AIM. The next day I forced all my classmates to listen to it on repeat. Now this band that had so entranced me, the band that would serve as my gateway to vast new galaxies of music, was appearing on SNL, one of the few institutions whose clout seemed universal. This was the apotheosis, their moment to parade their incalculable splendor on pop culture’s most prominent stage.

They did not disappoint. Colin Greenwood’s insistent bassline announced “The National Anthem,” and they quickly built up an urgent swirl of chaos around it — Jonny Greenwood hunched over noise boxes and conjuring ghost moans from his Ondes Martenot, Ed O’Brien bleeding feedback and oscillations from his Stratocaster, Phil Selway holding it all together even as a brass band skronked free-jazz dissonance directly into his ear. This was madness, but it all seemed quaint compared to the vertically challenged fellow who appeared to be having a nervous breakdown at the eye of the storm. Thom Yorke paced in circles, convulsed, strangled his microphone, stomped his foot, babbled nonsense under his breath. Eyes glued shut, countenance locked into a sourpuss snarl, he deployed his radiant vocal chords in sharp stabs of pre-9/11 Orwellian paranoia: “Everyone has got the fear/ It’s holding on!” As the second verse segued into more rolling cacophony, Yorke gave himself over to a tantrum/seizure every bit as harrowing as the music, pausing only to lift his hands with the derangement of an asylum escapee turned itinerant preacher. In the song’s final disintegrating moments, he bitterly scowled at his audience, then leapt with arms outstretched to silence the noise barrage, a petulant man-child conducting his skewed symphony. I desperately wanted to be him and not to be him. Not sure I’ll ever sort that one out, but I won’t forget it either.

Yorke left his stamp on millions of us, and he’s not done yet. Ten albums, hundreds of concerts, and countless haircuts into his career, he’s as active as ever, juggling multiple bands, inhabiting multiple cities, championing multiple causes. He wields astounding influence across disparate spheres, sometimes reluctantly, sometimes unwittingly. When he talks (or even types), people listen. When he makes a record, it seeps into the cultural DNA. His singing voice has inspired so much beleaguered thomfoolery, though thankfully that’s mostly over now. (Yet still the post-Vedder warblers persist.) Somehow, this freakish, whimpering miserablist from Oxford became the most revered rock star of his generation even as he alienated large swaths of his fan base, fervently avoided the spotlight and sought to dispel mythic celebrity narratives at every turn. This is a man who wrote a song called “How To Disappear Completely” and meant every word of it. Thankfully, he doesn’t look to be disappearing anytime soon, but convenient chronology suggests a look back is in order anyhow.

Four days ago marked the twentieth anniversary of Radiohead’s debut album, Pablo Honey. Today, Yorke’s new band Atoms For Peace release their debut, Amok. The gulf between the two records is almost unimaginable — the former, an overcooked, underseasoned pub platter of anxious guitar-pop bangers and mash; the latter, a soft winter blanket knit together from spidery skitters and synth smears — the surest shorthand for just how much ground Yorke has covered during two decades in the public eye. The albums’ only common thread is that unmistakable voice, and even that has undergone a graceful deflation over the years. We can debate endlessly about whether Amok is a treasure trove or a frivolous dalliance (I’m leaning toward the latter at the moment), but regardless of whether you connect with Yorke’s music these days, it’s hard to miss the sound of him enjoying himself. Even for such gentle, whispery music, Amok is an appropriate title; Yorke is running free with nothing left to prove, light years removed from the sniveling headcase who wrote “Creep.”

Not that “Creep” is anything to be ashamed of. Most bands would be ecstatic about a career that amounted to nothing more than “Creep.” Let us not understate how fondly we would look upon Radiohead’s prophetically mopey falsetto bomb had it been relegated to the Buzz Bin of history along with “In the Meantime” and “Possum Kingdom.” But it wasn’t, partially because in 1995 The Bends came along to establish Radiohead as legit guitar titans and Yorke as more than just a powerful pair of lungs, but mostly because in 1997 OK Computer catapulted the band into the pantheon instantly. (They didn’t even have to pass go on their IMF-issued voodoo economics Monopoly board.) Haters gonna hate, but that record’s timeless brilliance was evident from the beginning, which makes sense for music with its tentacles stretched so effortlessly into both past and future. They were in a creative sweet spot that simply can’t be forced; even the outtakes, compiled on the Airbag / How Am I Driving? EP, comprise one of 1998′s greatest records. Rarely does music so rapturously meld reverence for the classics, enthusiasm for the cutting edge, unbridled pathos and purebred songwriting swagger. Sure, OK Computer is the record that launched a thousand Coldplays, but it also launched innumerable souls into the stratosphere. Everybody wanted a piece of Radiohead’s grandeur; some were foolish enough to think they could replicate it. No surprises there.

Surprises, though, would be one of Yorke’s great contributions to music history. After the pressures of touring behind OK Computer reduced Yorke to a walking ulcer (as chronicled in Grant Gee’s documentary Meeting People Is Easy), Radiohead retreated to the studio and came out with the audio equivalent of a digital middle finger: No discernable guitars until track 4; Yorke’s once-soaring vocals mostly caged, sliced and garbled; the icy electronics that loomed at OK Computer’s fringes now frosted over everything. Like Nirvana’s intentionally abrasive In Utero, it seems a lot less radical in hindsight, but that’s partially because it was just as masterful as what came before it and arguably even more influential. If OKC established a new template, Kid A was an inspired reminder of the virtues of template-smashing. Still, 2001′s Amnesiac (culled from the Kid A sessions) and 2003′s Hail to the Thief suggested Radiohead had settled into its new postmillennial identity, so when the guitar-centric, user-friendly In Rainbows materialized out of nowhere in 2007, the back-to-basics move was the least expected.

Of course, the biggest shockers with In Rainbows were related to its method of delivery. The album was announced just 10 days before its release date with no advance singles or press, just a 24-word note. It would be released without assistance or interference from a record label. Most paroxysmal: Listeners could name their own price for the digital version or shell out about $80 for an elaborate deluxe vinyl and CD “discbox” with a bonus disc of extra music plus the download. As a proud owner of said discbox, I can assure you those $80 were well spent, but that’s really a footnote. More centrally, the digital download arrived in everyone’s inbox at once, so this forward-thinking approach became a temporary road back to the old-fashioned experience of a fan base discovering a band’s new album together on release day, the difference being that much of the dialogue was now on blogs and Facebook rather than at the record store. (Sorry, Jack White; oh good, you guys made up.) As for the pay-what-you-want model, it sent ripples throughout the music industry, even if in practical terms it was more of a statement against the major label system than a workable solution for artists. After all, even In Rainbows ended up on Best Buy racks a few months later via TBD Records. But pointing out a problem is a necessary step to fixing a problem, and Radiohead’s stunt undeniably shook up people’s understanding of the value of music, a subject that seems increasingly relevant as bands figure out how to scrape their way to survival.

Maybe In Rainbows’ distribution scheme was a grand gesture that barked harder than it bit, but Yorke has used his pedestal to contribute in concrete ways too. Radiohead has played Tibetan Freedom Concerts and Amnesty International benefits, helping to raise hundreds of thousands. In 1999 Yorke voiced his support for Jubilee 2000, the movement to convince the world’s richest nations to forgive the poorest nations’ debts; the U.S. Congress eventually committed hundreds of millions of dollars to debt relief. In 2003, Yorke’s op-ed for The Guardian called for fair trade measures that would lift millions out of poverty in developing countries. He has vehemently argued against nuclear power and in favor of clean energy. His environmentalism includes work with the 10:10 program and Friends of the Earth’s The Big Ask. Not to be hypocrites, Radiohead commissioned a study by the group Best Foot Forward to drastically reduce carbon emissions on their 2008 tour and adopted an energy efficient LED display. Though a 2001 Uncut profile paints Yorke as an insufferable Puritanical asshole who ought to appreciate his fame and loosen up a bit, to me his legendary dickishness has always seemed more like the frustration of a shy retirer with the weight of the world on his conscience. He was genuinely compassionate and deeply troubled after the 2012 stage collapse in Toronto that claimed drum tech Scott Johnson’s life. Similarly, I find his disgust for self-indulgent interview questions and celebrity narratives refreshing, not fun-sucking. His bit about backing away through a hedge when someone on Reddit asked him about his songwriting process was high comedy. It’s good to see a singer who isn’t willing to play along with the entertainment industry’s fraudulent song and dance or intent on broadcasting himself as God’s gift to mankind.

Rather, Yorke has always seemed slightly embarrassed of his success and far keener on hyping up whichever past or present heroes are informing his songwriting these days. His albums broadcast his tastes clearly enough; you can trace a line from Pablo Honey to now that includes R.E.M., Pixies, Jeff Buckley, DJ Shadow, Bjork, Aphex Twin, Can, Kraftwerk, Anti-Pop Consortium, Four Tet, Grizzly Bear, Liars, Caribou, Flying Lotus and Burial. Yorke is exceptionally good at chewing up such leftfield sounds and spitting them back out in his own image. His ability to make avant-garde music palatable to the masses is one of the reasons Radiohead is among the ultimate musical gateway drugs. But the guy is never shy about citing his influences, and he’s gone out of his way to spotlight many of those names as tourmates or collaborators, sometimes with glorious results. Even when he’s not behind the decks, Yorke’s entire public life has essentially been a DJ set.

Still, all that barely matters to a kid in front of the TV witnessing some transcendent stroke of genius. (Did I mention how incredible “Idioteque” was on SNL as well? Because it was incredible.) What mattered most then, and what sticks with me now, is the sheer kinetic force Yorke can summon whenever he pleases, in whichever context he likes, be it drowning in claustrophobic electronics or gliding over a simple, spare acoustic. I doubt we’ll ever witness his combination of awe-inspiring power, influence and adoration again. That’s partly because the monoculture that helped elevate Radiohead to no-questions-asked festival headliners has dissolved, and partly because today’s microscopic hype cycle gives bands less room to evolve gracefully like Radiohead did after Pablo Honey (and makes it harder to notice if they do make a leap once the hype machine leaves them behind). But mostly it’s because Thom Yorke is just that great, a legit once-in-a-lifetime talent. In X-Men, when Cyclops takes off his visor, volatile beams of electromagnetic energy shoot from his eyes, capable of leveling buildings and blasting right through human beings. Something similar happens when Thom Yorke opens his mouth to sing; in an interstellar burst, he’s back to save the universe.

Comments (112)
  1. It’s a year 2000 overload in that first paragraph.

  2. maybe i’ll get flamed for this, maybe not. at this point i’m not really caring. in rainbows is my favorite radiohead album. once all the hype from their distribution fell down, we were left with their most top to bottom incredible album since kid a. it’s my go to when i want to listen to them. for a band that had nothing left to surprise with, making an album like that was more shocking. they’ll always throw a left hook when you least expect them to.

    • No flames here. I think there’s a strong case for In Rainbows as their best from a pure enjoyment perspective, though I still rank OKC and Kid A above it and maybe even The Bends depending how 1995 I’m feeling on a given day. Certainly would rejigger Doug’s list from last year.

    • I can see that. In Rainbows is probably my second favorite (behind Kid A). But it’s more of a tie with OK Computer. I’m guessing that’s not as drastic of a statement as you feared.

    • I agree. Actually I’m torn between In Rainbows and King of Limbs. I didn’t like Radiohead until my husband dragged me to the King of Limbs concert last April and I fell in love with that album. So I love KOL because it was the one that made me love Radiohead, but I think In Rainbows is a “better” album. More melodic and pleasing to the ear (imho).

    • Me too. That album is perfect.

  3. Haven’t finished this yet but the 3rd paragraph does make me wonder why Thom hasn’t released a solo album called Thomfoolery yet. Think of the album art possibilities (maybe that infamous photobomb?).

  4. Hmm, I guess I never really gave much thought to having 20 years of Thom Yorke in my life and how it’s segued between music industry eras until this article. I relate the Pablo Honey period to being 10, watching Beavis and Butthead dismantle “Creep” and having this naive, ignorant association with music being “alternative”-sounding, and anything that sounded like that was “good.” Kid A didn’t arrive until my junior year of high school, and I remember vividly this moment when I was working at Target — all my co-workers played in punk / hardcore / metal bands — and all of us congregating in the CD section browsing over the new releases. On one hand was Green Day’s Warning and the other was Kid A. At that point, you could tell which kids were going to expand their musical palette in the coming years during the discussion of which they thought was more interesting. From that point on, Radiohead was the go-to band for anyone who wanted to appear “worldly” in front of their peers. It kind of got ridiculous / annoying, because sadly the most name-dropped bands where I grew up (excluding my more relatable college circle) were the Juliana Theory (ugh), Radiohead and like, some local metalcore band that got signed to a major. People were always citing them Yorke and co. as influenced, and they sounded NOTHING LIKE THEM. Then In Rainbows arrived when I was beginning my professional career, removed from my past life, and it was then that the icky overhype of suburbia’s super-saturation of Radiohead found redemption with me because no one else was really around anymore to “claim” them as “their” band. Oddly enough, I’m wilting away in suburbia again, but I guess everyone I used to know around these parts smartly got out or just got married, had babies and failed to keep tabs on Atoms for Peace.

    tl; dr, I know. What a nostalgia trip, though, Mr. Yorke.

    • OMG I don’t think I’ve heard the name “The Juliana Theory” in 10+ years, but I feel some YouTube surfing coming on…

      • Their failed stint on Sony Epic was the funniest — They basically tried to turn them from a glammed up SDRE knock-off into the next Creed, due to their Christian shtick. The lead singer began wearing a tight leather jacket and the tightest leather pants, grew his hair out down to his shoulders and took the stage with a headset microphone so he could pull rock star poses. Emogame got his character right when his special move was a rain of pictures featuring his pose and an autograph.

  5. Your breakdown of the SNL performance gave me goosebumps. Fantastic.

  6. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  7. Thom Yorke in fact played the baseline for The National Anthem, FYI!

  8. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • you said you’d leave forever, shithead.

      commenters, i’m blaming our this^ on our eventual acceptance of rubjon. it’s encouraged others.

      • I’m thinking it’s ignore time. Downvotes are like upvotes to them. And I sure as hell ain’t gonna upvote them.

      • BEN CORNELL IM STUCK IN THIS WEIRD LABYRINTH PLACE LIKE A NETHERWORLD CALLED STEREOSPINSTONEFORK….ALL THE BLOGS STUCK 2GETHER IN 1 AND I CAN’T GET OUT SO UNTIL THE WORMHOLE CLOSES AND I PROTRUDE OUT OF ITS SULTRY COSMIC GRASP I AM HERE TO STAY…..CORKY ANDERSON IS HISTORY THOUGH. CHILL OUT DUDE TOO….IM A RADIOHEAD FAN MAN BEEN LOVING THEM SINCE DOOLITTLE AND SURFER NOSA

      • Ben Cornell, you know damn well I am more lovable than these shitheads.

      • They’re both parody. Rubjon is Airplane. Corky is Scary Movie.

        • What the fuck is Airplane? And Scary Movie is the greatest comedy of the last decade.

        • Honlads, if you think RubJon is airplane, your comic barometer is in crisis!

        • Rubjon is airplane? haha no. Corky’s surely annoying but he’s a better troll.

          • No one worse on here than muffinmuncher. You haven’t even been commenting on here for a month yet and you think you can insult me? RubJohn? And did you really just pull a “…NOT!” comment? Sorry, I forgot we are still living in 1997.

          • Hey rubbaman! Yes I pulled a NOT comment. It was done purely for the sake of comedic irony. I wanted to sound ridiculously over the top out of it and silly. It wasn’t meant to be taken seriously, even though you did. I also highly oppose the sexually charged and feminist term “Muffin muncher”. I am assuming you are being naughty with that word. Perhaps you simply refer to one who eats muffins, which indeed I do. Thats why my avatar is aptly named. I life muffins, you see. I certainly can insult you, as that is the point, is it not? You are a troll, sometimes you are funny, sometimes I don’t find it funny ( like the racist, misogynist stuff that got you banned). But all in all, I find your addition to the board humorous and nicely received. You do make me laugh alot with some of your shenanigans and you do it well. Your profile picture is though really really 2003. I would advise an upgrade to surprise the whole stereogum crew I dunno- something that shows off the new rubberjohnny0829. It would be both clever and amusing.

  9. Fantastic article. One of the best I’ve read on this site. And I’m not just saying that because I worship the ground Thom convulses upon.

    But that probalby has a lot to do with it.

  10. I never tire of hearing any Radiohead song, but “Jigsaw Falling into Place” always slays me.

  11. Very well written and inspiring piece! Beyond the Kid A / Amnesiac years, I’ve kind of grown less intrigued with Radiohead’s work (although In Rainbows was a pleasant surprise.) I was extremely underwhelmed by King of Limbs, yet the most fascinating thing about this particular band is that they still always manage to hold my attention over the years.

    I’m almost positive that whether it be 10 or 20 years down the road, Radiohead will release something that will once again completely blow the masses away simply because they possess so much creativity, and that seems to be an attribute that will be with them forever.

  12. maybe just because i find it the most varied, melodic and the actual moment in my teens where i “got” radiohead – the bends will probably always be my favorite

  13. Speaking as someone who didn’t “get” Radiohead the first time around (“Creep”) or the second time around (“Paranoid Android”\”Karma Police”), I finally gave into my urge to check them out based on a $5 MP3 album sale at Amazon. It was Kid A, and once I heard the beginning beat of “Idioteque”, my brain instantly snapped back to watching that SNL performance.

    I remember thinking at the time “That’s that same band that did “Creep”? What the hell?” but sort of shuffling it to the background. But hearing Kid A in its full glory in 2010, I finally “got” it. I got the sheer power and emotion in Yorke’s singing and the will and drive of pushing the envelope. I now count myself a Radiohead fan, and I am glad for it.

    • Wow, I had a somewhat similar reaction the first time I saw “Idioteque” on SNL back when I was 14. Except my reaction at the time was “This is weird. I think I’ll stick to Coldplay.” Didn’t end up getting into Radiohead until 2006, listening to OKC because Allmusic Guide and Pitchfork said it was good. I wasn’t really a huge fan though until I heard Kid A in winter ’07. It sounded like a perfect culmination of great ’90s albums like Homogenic, Mezzanine, and Endtroducing. I hadn’t been convinced that I could hear a DJ Shadow influence on OKC, but it was definitely there in Kid A, along with plenty of other influences and a whole lot of originality.

      I never did forget that SNL performance though, especially Thom’s flailing and Johnny’s noise boxes or whatever. Now I have youtube rips of those SNL performances saved on my computer.

  14. Kudos on this piece. Stereogum’s “Deconstructing” series is becoming one of my favorite long-form reads anywhere on the internet. This one is up there with the best.

  15. I just hope they make one more great record.

  16. Form your very well-written post:

    “Let us not understate how fondly we would look upon Radiohead’s prophetically mopey falsetto bomb had it been relegated to the Buzz Bin of history along with “In the Meantime” and “Possum Kingdom.” But it wasn’t, partially because in 1995 The Bends came along to establish Radiohead as legit guitar titans and Yorke as more than just a powerful pair of lungs, but mostly because in 1997 OK Computer catapulted the band into the pantheon instantly.”

    And from my comment yesterday on the AMOK Premature Evaluation:

    ”Pablo Honey wasn’t a bad album. Very much of its time and a pretty solid debut with a classic song. However, had they not followed it up with The Bends, Radiohead would now be on one of VH1′s ” One Hit Wonders of the 90′s” shows. The Bends was such a a huge leap ( another debut to sophomore album jump I can compare it to is Fiona’s huge leap from Tidal to WTP). It cemented Radiohead as a band with a vision and a sound of their own. THEN came OK Computer. WHAAT?!?! It was SO effing good that being a fan of Radiohead meant ” Ok. If they can keep topping themselves like this, what possibly can they do next?” And then comes Kid A.”

    Dude. We are BRAINTWINZ!

  17. This is wild speculation on my part but I’ve always wondered what effect Radiohead realizing they’d never “make it big” in America had them, especially post-OK Computer. Not to play musical psychiatrist but I’m sure most British bands from Queen to Muse to Coldplay to Oasis would admit that making it in America is one of the sure signs of having Beatles-esque success and stature. OK Computer had moderate-to-good success in the US but nothing that established their presence culturally. Whenever I watch VH1 discussing Radiohead and Creep during one of their many countdowns, it’s obvious how little of their legacy permeated beyond that song in a popular context in this country. Which is a shame. If, having created their masterpiece, they realized they weren’t heading toward U2 level popularity in America, I wonder if Yorke determined that they could go about their music without massive guitars.

    • I think they very well could have become the next U2, and were given at least a couple opportunities (after The Bends and then after OK Computer). But I think part of it is them realizing the difference between being popular and being respected. Unlike many other British bands that made it huge, they did what made sense to them creatively first. Rarely did they give a rats ass about being the most popular band, or else they would’ve made The Bends 2 or even OK Computer 2. I think right now they are one of the most well known and respected bands in the world. But you have to remember, that doesn’t sell millions like it might have in the 90s

    • The bands like U2 or Oasis and to a lesser degree Coldplay got big by making the same album with variations over again. Radiohead has never done that, and the general public doesn’t have that kind of attention span to keep up.

      • It’s such a thrill to realize they can go and reinvent themselves at the drop of their own whim and not caring what their labels or manager(s) have thought. I think of a quote from their manager who said :Thom and the boys think their in a sort of art project”. That’s the type of band I respect and love…not the Coldplay-esque approach of formulaic record templates from one album to the next, securing slots on Billboard’s top 10, Rhianna appearances and shifting units.

    • I mean at the same time they’ve had several number one albums and have sold out stadiums on multiple occasions. The King of Limbs Tour sold out almost instantly.

  18. Thom Yorke has been such a huge part of my life. I have a recurring dream about him dying and I always wake up sobbing. I’m sure that seems dramatic, but Radiohead’s music has just been that important to me. They were a gateway to so many different types of music. I wouldn’t frequent sites like Stereogum if not for Radiohead. They really showed me how limited my ideas about music were, and that got the dominoes falling on the rest of my worldviews. I owe a lot to Radiohead. Great write-up, Chris.

    • I love when actual music makes it into my dreams. I once dreamt that I was looking through some old illuminated manuscript from the Middle Ages and at one point it mentioned “Stem/Long Stem” by DJ Shadow. And I thought to myself (still in the dream) “Wow, I didn’t realize it was such an old song!”

      Another time I had a fever and fell asleep during “Treefingers.” I don’t remember much of that dream though, except that it was of course very abstract and ambient. Another time I fell asleep during “Idioteque” and dreamt of a hand placing various items on a conveyor belt one after the other. And a lot of my early memories of Kid A in general now feel more like dreams than reality. Perhaps I’ll never again be as open to music as I was during those few years. Or perhaps there will simply never be another Kid A.

  19. I had always placed Thom Yorke in that whole group of “untouchable” people (like David Bowie or David Byrne). He’ll forever go down not only as a legend of independent music, but music in general.

  20. Even though I haven’t always been a diehard fan, I’ve often felt that objectively, Radiohead are probably one of the best bands (if not the best) to have ever existed.

    Imagine if they’d made The Bends part 2? Thom would go on to date Winona Ryder or one of the Spice Girls and would now be chums with Bono and appear on big group charity singles and be featured on albums by Take That or McFly.

    OH YUCK.

  21. I thought their 1997 MTV Live From the 10 Spot set was the moment that really crystalized their excellence. Kid A was more transformative, but seeing their expert live craftsmanship was just stunning. Jonny is amazing, but Ed for some reason stood out for me on the live show. The songs sounded like the albums but they also sounded like more than the albums.

    Fitter Happier
    Airbag
    Karma Police
    The Bends
    Exit Music
    Talk Show Host
    Subterranean Homesick Alien
    My Iron Lung
    Climbing Up The Walls
    Lucky
    Planet Telex
    Bullet Proof
    No Surprises
    Bones
    Just
    Paranoid Android
    Fake Plastic Trees
    Let Down
    Street Spirit
    Electioneering
    Nice Dream
    The Tourist

    • I’ll have to check that out. I just watched Glastonbury 2003 on youtube and it’s the best concert I’ve ever seen them do. Every song has a little something extra, and Thom’s voice is otherworldly.

    • live from the 10 spot! i remember as a 19 year old being infatuated with the newfound technology of burning CD-Rs, so i made this particular performance a double album, complete with fade-ins and outs, CD labels, etc. – i was such a dork

    • Isn’t that’s the one they were filming in that scene of Meeting People Is Easy? Where they looked all green and the producers were backstage like “Do they know they look weird? Are they TRYING to look weird? Cuz they look weird…”

    • Oh man… That was before I was swept up in Radiohead hysteria, but I do remember seeing some clips from this performance years later and being blown away. I can totally see that being monumental for someone who fell in love with the band during the OKC era.

  22. bravo; this article is a bona fide tearjerker. if we hadn’t already been mush, the last sentence would have finished us off

    thanking thom for existing

    apropos of replicate, muse sux

  23. Not to nitpick, but Thom Yorke wrote and played the bassline in National Anthem.

  24. I think In Rainbows is the perfect Radiohead album. As for KOL, the last four songs are as perfect of a set as you’re going to get. Nice write-up Chris!

  25. “20 Years of Thom Yorke” and not a single mention of “The Eraser”?

  26. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • haha. So cute :) The trolls have come out to play :) RubberJohnny part deux :P

      • believe me muffin muncher…. this is not me.

        • You can sometimes suck rubberjohnnyy when you act the role of mean spirited troll. But the guy above looks like he lifted your emo avatar that you lifted from google. Better copyright that bra ;) Besides the guy whos picture you stole might find youve lifted and is liable to kick yer trolling a$$!

        • It’s tempting to believe you. Undecided.

      • They all look alike to me.
        Part of me thinks this is Corky Pandershit. I think he has like 5 accounts on here.

        Is there really nothing better to do, fella(s)?

        • Mean spirited? Whatever do you mean by “mean spirited,” friend?

        • I trust you mean that this filthydubber is Corky…. I know DAMN WELL you didn’t just accuse me of being the same person as Corky!

          • Corky Anderson is a tough troll to beat. I believe he had -41 down-votes on his first week on the board. He rose through the trolling ranks without paying his dues, true, but was received as a legitimate person for a bit. Thats what made his troll-dom so exceptionally well played. Porky Panderson, the second incarnation of Corky Anderson found himself with the #1 most downvoted comment of the week. I have to say, as much as I enjoy music and the news here, this whole trolling business is almost as entertaining. Corky’s a good troll. I think filthydubber is not Corky, as I have never read Corky use the offesnive terms that filthydubber used. Filthydubber is an obvious troll which immediately takes away his cool points. I think he is trying to emulate you rubberjohnny, unless he is you. Who knows. Either way, love to you johnny. And get a haircut! ( joking).

  27. Thanks, but Brian…we go home. Tonight. We walk. We’re not wanted here anymore. Time to “dissapear” for a while. You know what I mean. Duly noted, right? No room on these boards for a muffin, a pig named porky, a family of trolling bears, myself and a recipe bear…so, we walk out of stereogum…..and into NME!!!!

  28. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwdCCyYSPSk
    IM AN AMERICAN BRO
    WANNASEE DAT REAL REAL WATCH THAT

  29. Anyone else sick of the over exposure of Radiohead on this site? Most overrated band in the last 20 years.

    • Then don’t read the Radiohead articles, simple as that! For me, Radiohead deserve all the adulation they receive and more, so I read these articles to connect with the people who feel the same as I do. I stay away from articles concerning Coldplay and Muse because I would only have flame-inducing comments to add. You could do the same.

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