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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Number 7 - "Idioteque", Radiohead

Radiohead

Idioteque - Radiohead

Kid A (2000)

Never released as a single, you can just imagine a bunch of drunk record execs in navy suits slurping paella, not knowing what to do with it. Especially way back in 2000.

But of course it was actually the soaring highlight of this entire masterwork.

You've never heard anything quite like it. It's an exercise in playing off jarring syncopation against a smooth falsetto that contains just enough melody to warrant the name. The vocal seems perpetually poised just this side of panic.

It's a cloying, claustrophobic, almost sinister track that you just so happen to be able also to dance to. There's a sense of alarm from an external threat. The lyric supports this.

"Who's in a bunker, who's in a bunker?/ Women and children first"

The album itself is peppered with references that Yorke has acknowledged regarding what was taking place in the former Yugoslavia at that time, and it's hard not to read this in the same context. The riff is a sample from Paul Lansky, apparently.

Lansky wrote an essay about the song explaining all the nerdy complexities of the chord progressions which is no doubt lurking around online for the truly avid fan.