“15 Step” – Radiohead
I’ve seen them live twice, and every time, I can’t help but think that this is what music of the future will sound like. The soundscape that they build is unmatched; eerie, powerful, melodic, insanely-rhythmically-tight. Different. You can tell whoever created it is a fascinating savant.
Formed in 1985, this English rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, consists of Thom Yorke (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, other instruments), Colin Greenwood (bass), Phil Selway (drums, percussion) and Ed O’Brien (guitar, backing vocals).
Radiohead released their debut single “Creep” in 1992. The song was initially unsuccessful, but it became a worldwide hit several months after the release of their debut album, Pablo Honey (1993). Radiohead’s popularity rose in the United Kingdom with the release of their second album, The Bends (1995). Radiohead’s third album, OK Computer (1997), propelled them to greater international fame. Featuring an expansive sound and themes of modern alienation, OK Computer is often acclaimed as one of the landmark records of the 1990s.
Kid A (2000) and Amnesiac (2001) marked an evolution in Radiohead’s musical style, as the group incorporated experimental electronic music, krautrock and jazz influences. Kid A, though somewhat polarizing at the time of its release, is now frequently recognized as one of the most important albums of the 2000s. Hail to the Thief (2003), a mix of piano and guitar driven rock, electronics and lyrics inspired by war, was the band’s final album for their major record label, EMI. Radiohead self-released their seventh album, In Rainbows (2007), as a digital download for which customers could set their own price, and later in physical form to critical and chart success. Radiohead’s eighth album, The King of Limbs (2011), was an exploration of rhythm and quieter textures, which the band released independently.
Though the band has a quality-dense discography, making it hard to choose one song, I felt like choosing this particular cut off In Rainbows because of sheer empirical evidence. When the band started their set at this year’s Bonnaroo, they opened with 15 Step. The crowd—close to 80,000 strong—had their collective head explode in an irreversible injection of musical phronesis. In other words, it was well received.
To enhance the experience turn it up and try to find a place with minimal distracting sounds; let this track envelop you.