A Beginner’s Guide to Radiohead

For a long time I was a very casual Radiohead fan appreciator.  When I say “very casual,” I mean I knew who Thom Yorke was, I knew he was incredibly respected by other artists and I knew about four or five songs by title.  Then I saw Radiohead live at Bonnaroo and…wow.  Like something from a Sci-Fi novel, Radiohead crawled into my ear and encompassed all my thoughts.  For a little over a week now, I have almost exclusively listened to Radiohead, burning through (most of) their discography (multiple times).

I know they’re super famous (they’ve sold over 30 million albums worldwide) and extremely highly regarded (Rolling Stone ranked them as the 73rd greatest artists of all time), but what amazes me is, when I tell people I saw Radiohead at Bonnaroo, I am almost always met with the same response.  Blank stare, followed by “who else did you see?”  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, three weeks ago I probably would have had a similar reaction, but after delving deep into the annuals of Radiohead, I feel like the mere mention of Radiohead should elicit a stronger emotion than sheer apathy.

Musically, Radiohead are so dense and weird.  They’re so challenging (in a good way) to listen to.  Each track begs for focused and multiple re-listens, this isn’t LMFAO top 40 stuff, this is deep.  This isn’t “feel good” music for a breezy summer afternoon.  This is haunting, chilling, sometimes tear inducing music, and it’s awesomely amazing (yeah, awesomely amazing, that was just said).

To try and spread this musical goodness to the masses/people like me a few weeks ago, I have curated “A Beginner’s Guide to Radiohead”.  Let me make myself clear, this is NOT a Best Of or Greatest Hits compilation.  This is a Beginner’s Guide.  I’ve compiled songs, I feel that are easily palatable for new listeners to digest in order to wet their appetite for deeper, richer, more complex Radiohead tracks (you start with cheddar and swiss and work your way up to gorgonzola and roquefort).  I included songs from each album (with the notable exception of “In Rainbows,” because it’s not available on Spotify), to show their musical dexterity.  I also tried to keep the playlist to about an hour to  promote one session listening.

Before I present you with the Beginner’s Guide to Radiohead let me say, there are surely many people, more qualified to create a Beginner’s Guide to Radiohead than I, but they didn’t and I did, so enjoy.

B. T. Dubs.  This is fantastic…”5% trying to atone for accidentally inventing Coldplay.”


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