Pandemic Playlist: Top 5 Radiohead songs that will stir your emotions and take you to another dimension

From chaos to serenity, Radiohead's iconic songs appeal to the whole spectrum of an individual's emotional moodscape


                            Pandemic Playlist: Top 5 Radiohead songs that will stir your emotions and take you to another dimension
Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood (Getty Images)

Hello, music lovers! As the ongoing pandemic continues to hold its grip over the planet, it's up to us to make sure we're all staying happy in the comfort of our homes, practicing social distancing, and eating immunity-boosting foods. One of the best ways to keep ourselves engaged is to binge on TV shows or catch up with what our favorite music artistes have been doing.

Recently, Radiohead, one of the greatest alt-rock bands – whose work features highly in both listener polls and critics' lists for the best music of the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s – was trending after they released their iconic 2018 Sao Paulo concert on YouTube. This concert features one of the band's most memorable gigs in South America. So, in honor of Radiohead's epic performance from a less-complicated time, we present our Top 5 Radiohead tracks for your listening pleasure:  

'Just'



 

Fresh off their new-found success in the '90s, and thanks to the global appeal of their immortal hit, 'Creep', Radiohead returned with their sophomore album, The Bends, in 1995. The album was acclaimed by fans and critics alike for its great mix of rousing rock tunes and poignant ballads. Although there are many great songs in this album, like 'Fake Plastic Trees', 'Street Spirit', and 'Planet Telex', our nod goes to the firebug 'Just' which features one of the best music video endings ever made. It also holds the record for having the most power chords ever crammed into one Radiohead song, allegedly due to a wager that transpired between lead singer Thom Yorke and bandmate, lead guitarist Jonny Greenwood.    

'Karma Police'



 

Released as the second single from their multi-platinum-selling album, OK Computer, in 1997, 'Karma Police' quickly became a Radiohead concert staple thanks to its soaring singalong climax and unconventional chord structures. The song's lyrics talk about how lead singer Yorke is requesting the "karma police" to arrest a series of frustratingly difficult people who had either upset him or rubbed him the wrong way. However, towards the end of the song, Yorke realizes that he is ruining his own karma in doing so, and wisely decides to let matters be, singing, "Phew, for a minute there, I lost myself." This sentiment is also brilliantly portrayed in the music video, which perfectly conveys the saying, "What goes around, comes around."

'The National Anthem'



 

First released on their incredible 2001 album, Kid A, 'The National Anthem' is a blur of twitchy energy and nervous pandemonium. The chilling lyrics describe the current state of the modern world today, with Thom Yorke intoning "Everyone around here / Everyone has got the fear / Just holding on." The signature fuzzy bassline is one of Colin Greenwood's finest efforts, and the jazz cacophony that descends on the track, inspired by Charles Mingus' album, Town Hall Concert's recording, is nothing short of magical. Yorke and guitarist Jonny Greenwood apparently wanted the song to sound like a traffic jam, and the chaotic feel and otherworldly dissonance present in the song make it one of the band's most enduring classics. 

'Weird Fishes/Arpeggi'



 

Released off their impressive 2007 album, In Rainbows, 'Weird Fishes/Arpeggi' is a spellbinding outpouring of emotions that brings together the best of Radiohead in one free-flowing, sublime recording. Starting off with twin arpeggiated guitar harmonies that are picked in a circular pattern by guitarists Ed O'Brien and Jonny Greenwood, the song then elevates into a lush, cinematic fever dream, heightened by heartfelt lyrics like "Your eyes / They turn me on to phantoms / I follow to the edge of the earth / And fall off." In an album rich with melodic masterpieces like 'Nude', 'House Of Cards' and 'Jigsaw Falling Into Place', the swirling 'Weird Fishes/Arpeggi' still holds its own as one of Radiohead's most beautiful works.

'Pyramid Song'



 

Although Radiohead have numerous songs for every possible emotional moodscape, 'Pyramid Song' stands out as one of their most mysterious and meditative numbers. The somber piano and disorientingly odd time signature help accentuate Yorke's zen-like lines about journeying into the afterlife. "I jumped in the river, what did I see? / Black-eyed angels swam with me / All my lovers were there with me / All my past and futures / And we all went to heaven in a little rowboat / There was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt." By the time the triumphant and surreal ending releases you from the song's spell, it feels like you just ventured into another dimension – one full of beauty, serenity, and timelessness. 

Pandemic Playlist is a daily list of songs that will keep you entertained while you're isolated at home. Look out for a fresh selection of great tunes from MEAWW to refresh your mood every day!

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