Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Radiohead Countdown--Nine Days Until "In Rainbows"

(Joshua Masayoshi Huff)

Yesterday, we talked about Radiohead's upcoming album. Some of you may be unfamilar with the band, so we're going to have a mini-countdown: at least one Radiohead song a day until October 10th. I guess I'll be curating this countdown, but if you've got any suggestions, have at it! I think I'll do a lot of my favorite tracks as well as b-sides and live versions in order to keep it fresh.

"Dollars and Cents" (Live version on "I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings")

Originally, this song was on "Amnesiac", the band's follow-up to "Kid A" (which remains my favorite). In my opinion, "Amnesiac" feels less cohesive than "Kid A", but it does contain many of the band's strongest songs (in fact, "Pyramid Song" may be the band's crowning achievement).
"Dollars and Cents" was a live fan favorite and debuted years before it was ever released on an actual record. I cannot seem to find my favorite live version of the song (from Copenhagen), but this version more than suffices. The song features a hypnotic bass line and sounds as if it is a subway train making its way under a metropolis at night--it just has that fast, whining feel.

"Pyramid Song" (on "Amnesiac")

This song made its debut at a Free Tibet festival back in the late '90s--then, it just featured Thom singing and playing piano. It takes its inspiration from the Egyptian Book of the Dead--clearly evidenced by the "black eyed angels" and "jumping into the river".

When pressed to name my favorite Radiohead tracks of all time, I usually struggle for a bit, but "Pyramid Song" immediately comes to mind. Though largely piano-based, Colin's upright bass playing is understated yet perfect, Phil's drum kick into the song is incredibly timely, Jonny's ondes martenot playing is, once again, superb and Ed's general guitar wankery folds in nicely.

"all my friends were there with me/and there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt" is really a perfect line, especially regarding death. Thom's writing is spot-on on this track, and I do believe it is Radiohead's most accomplished piece.