On Christmas morning in 2015, Radiohead released a song for the upcoming Bond film called Spectre. The song, aptly named Spectre, is a bittersweet beautifully tragic song about James Bond and his constant dance with mortality. The song is composed of Thom singing, a piano, drums, bass and a string section all drenched in the most beautiful reverb I have heard. I was very excited to hear new Radiohead after getting into them in 2012.
It wasn’t until Early 2016 that I started to see rumours on /r/Radiohead that Radiohead was in the studio recording a new album. I was so pumped; my first Radiohead release experience! On April 30th, 2016 people on Reddit started reporting they had received a leaflet in the mail that had a Radiohead logo and said. “Sing a song of sixpence that goes/Burn the witch/We know where you live.” This, in turn, leads to many very weird fan theories on Radiohead’s album release based on the moon and the witching hour. Then on SaturdayMay 1st, 2016 someone realized that http://www.radiohead.com was slowly fading away into whiteness. This is it, I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. After sitting at my laptop for hours on end analyzing the opacity of the Radiohead website, the website finally turned entirely white. Next, all of Radiohead’s social media presence began is disappear as well. Every Facebook post, Instagram post, and Tweet by the band and it’s members were deleted within an hour, then, silence. I was baffled. How long were they going to make us all wait?
After 2 days of complete silence from the band, a video of a claymation bird singing was posted to the Radiohead Instagram. They were literally just teasing us now. On Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016 another video was posted to Radiohead’s Instagram. This time it was a claymation girl tied to a tree being danced around]by weirdos in black robes holding swords. I wanted some information about the new album, anything at all…
A few hours later Radiohead dropped a single, the song being Burn the Witch! The first time I blessed my ears with those beautiful cellos and that drum machine I was blown away and completely hooked. Thom comes into the song so confidently singing about witch hunts, basically as a metaphor for the blaming of ‘different’ people nowadays. When the second verse comes in with Jonny Greenwood’s beautiful violin arrangement and Colin’s ‘Airbag like’ bass line I began to feel this song on a completely different level. Thom sings about ‘avoiding all eye contact’ and that ‘this is a low flying panic attack.’ The song begins to take a very dark and intense turn after the second chorus, it begins to build in intensity until the song and the madness comes to an end. I must have listened to this song at least 200 times on repeat finding new intricate details every time I listened to it; I wanted more.
Three days later on Friday, May 6th, 2016 Radiohead dropped their second single named ‘Daydreaming.’ Along with the single release was a release date for the album; Sunday, May 8th, 2016. I was so relieved to finally have a release date! I was on my way to work at the time and I remember that first initial listen to ‘Daydreaming’ so clearly. I couldn’t help but tear up at the beauty that I was witnessing with my ears. The song started with a very bouncy and glitchy sounding piano that was very pleasant to the ear. Thom begins to sing about the flawed nature of being a dreamer and how ‘they never learn.’ Towards the end of the first verse, Thom begins to manipulate his voice by panning very ghostly sounds from left to right which leads into the chorus bit perfectly. The piano manages to become even bouncier and prettier as Ed begins to make some of the most ethereal sounds I have ever heard; it gives me absolute chills. Colin then starts to play dotted quarter notes that pierce through my soul and make me feel connected to something I can’t even describe. Towards the end of the song, everything gets much quiet and you begin to hear very deep growls, which is actually Thom singing “half of my love” backward and pitched down. After my first listen I was completely bewildered; an emotional wreck. I was so ready for a dark ethereal sounding Radiohead, it was exactly what I needed at that moment in my life.