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Artistic, Political and Philosphical References in OK Computer

From Pablo Honey to A Moon Shaped Pool: Radiohead’s Experimental, Political Journey

De Pablo Honey à Moon Shaped Pool : le parcours expérimental et politique de Radiohead
Guillaume Clément

Résumés

Radiohead est souvent salué par la critique comme étant l’un des groupes de rock britannique les plus influents et les plus innovants, pour avoir su repousser les frontières du genre. Après deux premiers albums plus proches d’un rock à guitares traditionnel, leur troisième opus, OK Computer (1997), a pris un virage plus expérimental tout en rencontrant un succès commercial et critique colossal. En parallèle à la complexification de leur musique, les membres de Radiohead sont également devenus plus politisés, notamment le chanteur Thom Yorke, dont les textes sont inspirés du contexte socio-politique de l’époque. OK Computer est donc l’album qui a défini trois grandes orientations toujours visibles dans la musique de Radiohead à ce jour : la création d’une veine particulière de musique rock, teintée d’électronique et d’expérimentation, la qualité subversive et politique des paroles, et une volonté de redéfinir les mécanismes de commercialisation et de consommation de la musique.

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  • 1 “OK Computer – full official chart history”, Official UK Charts. <https://www.officialcharts.com/s (...)
  • 2 For instance, Q Magazine made OK Computer the “best album of Q’s lifetime” in their 15th anniversa (...)

1When OK Computer, Radiohead’s third album, was released in June 1997, it claimed the top spot in the British album charts and remained ranked in the Top 40 for two years, with sales in excess of three million units.1 The album was met with critical acclaim and continues to this day to feature in the music press’s lists of the best albums of all times.2 Since 1997, Radiohead have come to be known as one of the most avant-garde rock bands in Britain whilst maintaining a persistent mainstream rock appeal. They have also become known for their political activism. In addition, while the band achieved a remarkable reinvention of their sound with OK Computer’s follow-up, Kid A (2000), they also shook up the music industry when they self-released In Rainbows (2007) online as a “pay-what-you-want” download, ten years after OK Computer.

2This quick overview on Radiohead’s career since 1997 goes to show that, to this day, their legacy is to be found, at the very least, in three facets which clearly featured on OK Computer itself. First, Radiohead have redefined the boundaries of rock music and confronted their audience to more progressive structures and electronic sounds, as seen on Kid A and all later releases until A Moon Shaped Pool (2016), their most recent album to date. Secondly, OK Computer has also provided Radiohead with an opportunity to convey and cultivate a certain taste for subversiveness, expressed through more or less openly political (yet quite abscond at times) lyrics. This trend has, since then, become a dominating characteristic of Radiohead’s output, most visibly perhaps on 2003’s Hail To The Thief. Thirdly, OK Computer’s legacy lies in the way it puts forward a criticism of consumerism. This position bore fruit and fully informed the band’s decisions to promote and sell their music in alternative ways, especially on Kid A (2000) and In Rainbows (2007). However, it would be unfair to consider OK Computer to be the sole source of Radiohead’s subversiveness. Their earlier recordings did incorporate controversial aspects which put forward a challenging worldview – albeit in a nascent, rudimentary form – and which would go on to drive the band towards a more political journey later in their career.

OK Computer’s roots in Pablo Honey and The Bends

  • 3 Dave Jennings, “Creepshow”, Melody Maker, 25 September 1993.
  • 4 Martin Clarke, Radiohead: Hysterical and Useless, London: Plexus, 2000, 35.
  • 5 Grant Gee, Meeting People Is Easy (DVD), Parlophone, 1998.

3For all its relevance and near-prescient nature, OK Computer should not be considered as Radiohead’s true moment of birth. Several of the aforementioned trends, especially the taste for subversiveness, were visible throughout the band’s earlier releases. Their debut album, Pablo Honey (1993), does sound in step with early-1990s rock trends with a grungy sound and introspective, self-loathing lyrics, yet BBC Radio 1 elected not to include debut single “Creep” in their daytime playlist because it was deemed too depressing.3 Guitarist Jonny Greenwood is often said to have deliberately tried to sabotage the song by playing a loud, heavily distorted dead note in the leading-up to the chorus because he did not particularly care for the song.4 While “Creep” went on to become Radiohead’s best-known single, it seems that the band members were, very early on, already quite wary of their music’s commercial potential and chose to play this song live only very sparsely. In Grant Gee’s documentary Meeting People Is Easy,5 which chronicles Radiohead’s OK Computer world tour, singer Thom Yorke can be seen sarcastically holding his microphone towards the audience and refusing to sing “Creep”’s verse during a performance in Philadelphia in August 1997. A similar refusal to take part in the traditional rock’n’roll stardom tropes runs through another song on the album, aptly entitled “Anyone Can Play Guitar”, which belittles the entire rock genre and dismisses any sense of achievement:

  • 6 Radiohead, “Anyone Can Play Guitar”, Pablo Honey, Parlophone, 1993.

And if the world does turn
And if London burns
I’ll be standing on the beach with my guitar
I want to be in a band
When I get to heaven
Anyone can play guitar and they won’t be a nothing anymore.6

  • 7 Radiohead, “My Iron Lung”, The Bends, Parlophone, 1995.
  • 8 Brett Turnbull, Radiohead: Live at the Astoria, 27/4/1994 (VHS), Parlophone, 1995.

4On The Bends, their sophomore album released in 1995, Radiohead seemed to steer away from the introspective outlook of their debut, but their sound remained very much under the influence of such contemporary rock heavyweights as REM or U2. Nevertheless, a certain sense of cynicism regarding the music industry’s futile mechanisms continues to be conveyed, as is the case on “My Iron Lung” and the following self-deprecating line: “This is our new song, just like our last one, a total waste of time.”7 From a political point of view, The Bends’ era hints at a budding will by the band to start using their music as a subversive medium, a case in point being the single “Fake Plastic Trees”, which was occasionally introduced as “a song about Canary Wharf” in live performances.8 The redevelopment of London’s old docklands area in Canary Wharf had been underway since the 1980s and came to fruition by attracting several key financial institutions, such as HSBC, then one of the most prominent tenants of the skyscraper on One Canada Square. By choosing to correlate this newly developed commercial estate to “Fake Plastic Trees”, a song deriding all things “fake” and inauthentic, Thom Yorke hints at his distaste for capitalism, embodied on two levels by Canary Wharf as a commercial estate and as the headquarters of several financial institutions. The song’s anti-capitalist message is further highlighted in the music video, which depicts Yorke pointlessly wandering the aisles of a supermarket filled with colourful yet generic products.

5Following The Bends’ release, Radiohead found themselves at a turning point in their career and were fully aware of it. In 1996, the band were touring the United States as the opening act for successful Canadian pop-rock musician Alanis Morrissette. Radiohead took advantage of this opportunity to showcase some of the new songs they had been working on, many of which were then released on OK Computer. One of these new songs was entitled “Lift” and garnered a very enthusiastic response from Alanis Morrisette’s fans. Yet, as guitarist Ed O’Brien revealed in a 2017 interview, the band made a conscious decision not to include “Lift” on their next album, precisely because it would steer them in a different direction and make them appealing to more mainstream fans like Morrissette’s:

  • 9 Quoted in Shaun Keaveny, “Ed O’Brien tells 6 Music about lost Radiohead track ‘Lift’”, BBC Sounds. (...)

If that song had been on that album, it would’ve taken us to a different place, and probably we’d have sold a lot more records—if we’d done it right. And everyone was saying this. And I think we subconsciously killed it. If OK Computer had been like [Morrissette’s] Jagged Little Pill, it would’ve killed us. But “Lift” had this magic about it. But when we got to the studio and did it, it felt like having a gun to your head. There was so much pressure.9

6As a result, the song was scrapped only to be remastered and released on OK Computer’s 20th anniversary reissue in 2017. Nonetheless, Radiohead’s decision not to make their next record one that might appeal to Alanis Morrissette fans underlines their desire for constant change and musical reinvention which has acted as their driving force for the past 30 years.

OK Computer or “Cruel Britannia”

  • 10 Martin Clarke, Radiohead: Hysterical and Useless, op. cit., 110-112.
  • 11 Edward Herman & Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, New (...)
  • 12 Will Hutton, The State We’re In, London: Jonathan Cape, 1995.

7On their third record, the quintet’s songwriting focus shifted towards more social concerns. According to biographer Martin Clarke, Yorke found inspiration10 in Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent,11 a description of the mechanisms of propaganda, and Will Hutton’s The State We’re In,12 in which the author lambasted Thatcherite policies’ impact on contemporary Britain. Such highly political influences can be felt throughout OK Computer’s lyrics, which generally paint a gritty picture of British society, as perhaps best instanced on “No Surprises”, which provides a depressingly bleak outlook on modern living:

  • 13 Radiohead, “No Surprises”, OK Computer, Parlophone, 1997.

A heart that’s full-up like a landfill
A job that slowly kills you
Bruises that won’t heal
You look so tired, unhappy
Bring down the government
They don’t speak for us.13

8“No Surprises” features a litany of dispiriting slogans just as can be found on “Fitter Happier”, one of the most challenging tracks on the album. Clocking in at less than two minutes, “Fitter Happier” features very little music per se while the lyrics are delivered by a computer-generated voice. The text itself consists in a matter-of-fact collage of catchphrases which seem to have been taken straight out of infomercials and public service announcements promoting a healthy lifestyle, while more cynical slogans are progressively inserted into the text.

  • 14 Radiohead, “Fitter Happier”, OK Computer, Parlophone, 1997.

Fitter happier, more productive
Comfortable, not drinking too much [...]
Eating well (no more microwave dinners and saturated fats)
A patient, better driver, a safer car (baby smiling in back seat)
Sleeping well (no bad dreams), no paranoia
Careful to all animals (never washing spiders down the plughole)
Keep in contact with old friends (enjoy a drink now and then) [...]
Fond but not in love, charity standing orders
On Sundays ring road supermarket
Still cries at a good film, still kisses with saliva
No longer empty and frantic [...]
Fitter, healthier and more productive
A pig in a cage on antibiotics.14

  • 15 Nick Cohen, Cruel Britannia: Reports on the Sinister and the Preposterous, London: Verso books, 20 (...)

9The lifestyle thus depicted – safe, mundane, ethical living, while suppressing any true feeling – appears at odds with the upbeat, optimistic lyrics that might have been expected from a British rock band in the age of Britpop. The early- to mid-1990s had indeed witnessed a surge in the popularity of homegrown rock acts like Blur and Oasis, and while the former’s lyrics were not devoid of cynicism, the latter’s made for a soundtrack of choice for the Cool Britannia phenomenon – an acclamation of all things British, especially in the fields of culture and fashion. However, Radiohead chose to focus on a more realistic picture of their homeland, closer perhaps to the notion of Cruel – rather than Cool – Britannia (a phrase coined by journalist Nick Cohen),15 in which people are defined more as consumers than citizens.

Kid A and Amnesiac: “Did you lie to us, Tony?”

  • 16 Naomi Klein, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, London: Picador, 2000.

10Radiohead’s post-OK Computer recording sessions yielded two albums, Kid A and Amnesiac, released only a few months apart in 2000 and 2001, and gave way to a dramatic change in their songwriting approach by largely eschewing guitars and veering towards more experimental, electronic music. Once again, Yorke confessed to having been influenced by political writings like Naomi Klein’s No Logo (a book that calls for the opposition to capitalist brands)16 which directly informed the peculiar commercial strategy that surrounded Kid A’s release. The album was indeed shrouded in mystery until its release date while the band refused to issue any of the album’s tracks as singles.

11Lyrically speaking, both albums picked up where OK Computer had left off, with texts consisting in collages of cryptic phrases, thus making it more difficult to make sense of the lyrics, on a political level at least, than with OK Computer’s. Amnesiac’s “You and Whose Army?” stands as an example of Yorke’s songwriting strategy, with concise, arcane lyrics:

  • 17 Radiohead, “You And Whose Army?”, Amnesiac, Parlophone, 2001.

Come on, come on
You and whose army?
You and your cronies
Come on, come on
Holy Roman Empire
Come on if you think
Come on if you think
You can take us all
We ride tonight
Ghost horses.17

  • 18 Quoted in Nick Kent, “Happy Now?”, Mojo, June 2001, 62.
  • 19 Radiohead, “Follow Me Around”, Live performance on BBC Radio 6 Music, 22 December 2003.
  • 20 New Musical Express, 14 March 1998.

12Upon first listening, the military imagery deployed in this song seems to reference a sense of impending conflict. Yet, in an interview with British rock magazine Mojo in June 2001, Thom Yorke simply confessed that “the song’s ultimately about someone who is elected into power and who then blatantly betrays them – just like Blair did.”18 While the lyrics seem to refer to an imperialistic policy, they actually take aim at Tony Blair and his “cronies” for failing to live up to the liberal hopes he and his party had stirred among the British electorate after eighteen years of Conservative rule. Similar feelings of disappointment and resentment of the New Labour government were expressed more directly on “Follow Me Around”, an unreleased song played live on several occasions, as one crucial line went: “Did you lie to us, Tony? We thought you were different. Now you know we’re not so sure.”19 Interestingly, in Tony Blair’s first few months at Downing Street, several prominent members of the music industry, like Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, or Oasis manager Alan McGee, voiced their discontent at the Labour government’s policies. A March 1998 issue of the New Musical Express collected many musicians’ disillusioned reactions under a controversial front page emblazoned with Blair’s portrait and the following headlines: “Ever had the feeling you’ve been cheated? Welfare to work, student tuition fees, no debate on drugs, curfews… Rock’n’roll takes on the government.”20

13Therefore, where OK Computer’s political message consisted in a general attack against the hypocrisy of the consumer society, the Kid A / Amnesiac era saw the band take their music in a more electronic direction, further illustrating the band’s opposition to consumerism and, however implicitly, their resentment of Tony Blair.

Hail To The Thief: Blair, Bush and the Iraq War

  • 21 Radiohead, “2+2=5”, Hail To The Thief, Parlophone, 2003.
  • 22 Quoted in Joseph Tate (ed.), The Music and Art of Radiohead, Farnham: Ashgate, 2005, 195.

14Hail To The Thief was released on June 9th, 2003 – only a few weeks after the invasion of Iraq by British and American troops. The title is, in itself, a reference to a popular slogan used by protesters who contested George W. Bush’s election as President of the United States in 2000. It should also be noted that the phrase “2+2=5”21 (from the opening track’s title) references George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, in which this equation stands for a false dogma – another symbol of political manipulation. By Yorke’s own admission, an Orwellian spirit of political observation is what informed the songwriting process for the entire album: “When I started writing these new songs, I was listening to a lot of political programmes on BBC Radio 4. I found myself writing down little nonsense phrases, those Orwellian euphemisms that our government and yours are so fond of. They became the background of the record.”22

  • 23 Thom Yorke, “Harrowdown Hill”, The Eraser, XL Recordings, 2006.

15Three years later, Thom Yorke bolstered his criticism of the British government’s involvement in Iraq on his own electronic solo album, The Eraser (2006). The leadoff single from the record was an intriguing track entitled “Harrowdown Hill”, named after a place in Oxfordshire where the body of David Kelly, a scientist and United Nations inspector in Iraq, was found in 2003. While Kelly was officially alleged to have taken his own life, Yorke wrote “Harrowdown Hill” from Kelly’s point of view to present the expert’s death as the result of a conspiracy: “Don’t walk the plank like I did. [...] Did I fall or was I pushed? [...] Don’t ask me, ask the ministry.”23

16This song remains, by some measure, the most explicitly political song ever released by Thom Yorke and differs from the traditional Radiohead songwriting rationale, in that it does not consist in an obscure collage of politically charged catchphrases (like “Fitter Happier” or “No Surprises”), but rather follows a more transparent, accessible narrative.

In recent years: less political music, more political action?

  • 24 For instance, a second drummer was added to the band’s line up when recording their eighth album ((...)

17At that point in their career, Radiohead found themselves as a very successful band whose music had become more experimental whilst retaining crucial mainstream appeal, from the grunge rock of their early days to Kid A-era ambient electronica. This growing complexity went hand in hand with their music’s increasingly political nature, as the band chose to tackle contemporary issues, albeit in cryptic fashion at times. Nevertheless, it could be said that some of the band’s post-Hail To The Thief releases seem to have trodden a less political path than some of their predecessors, with a few notable exceptions, and that Radiohead were looking to experiment with different ways to record24 and release their music than with ways of making it political.

18Their seventh album, In Rainbows, will likely be remembered for challenging the commercial mechanisms of the record industry. Having completed the six-album contract that had bound them to EMI since their debut, Radiohead set up their own publishing company and made a surprise announcement in October 2007 by allowing fans to determine for themselves the amount they were willing to pay to download their new album. According to Warner Chappell Music, the band’s publisher, “most fans chose to pay nothing to download the album but it still generated more money before it was physically released than the total money generated by sales of Hail To The Thief”.25 Radiohead also sold a deluxe box set version of the album, which is said to have sold 100,000 copies – no small feat in the age of illegal downloading. Other bands followed suit and attempted to embrace the possibilities offered by the internet to reinvent the way to release their music, like U2, who made their 2014 album Songs of Innocence available for free as an automatic download to all users of Apple’s iTunes software. The same year, Thom Yorke released his second solo album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, as a legal download on the BitTorrent platform, but Radiohead’s next two albums were made available both in shops and online as CDs and online downloads for a set price.

19Radiohead’s most recent LP, A Moon Shaped Pool (2016), could be described as a synthesis of Radiohead’s subversiveness and experimentations as it features atmospheric soundscapes and lyrics with a hint of political potential. With its ominous title, leadoff single “Burn The Witch” stood out as a criticism of authoritarianism, while “The Numbers” struck listeners due to the unusually straightforward nature of its lyrics:

  • 26 Radiohead, “The Numbers”, A Moon Shaped Pool, XL Recordings, 2016.

We are from the earth
To her we do return
The future is inside us
We call upon the people
People have this power
The numbers don’t decide
The system is a lie.26

20Such a blunt call to action appears to be quite far from Yorke’s traditional songwriting approach, which has typically relied on cryptic phrases and collages. It would, however, be far-fetched to call A Moon Shaped Pool a protest album as the rest of the record features more romantic, introspective themes, like on “Decks Dark”, “Present Tense”, and closing track “True Love Waits” for instance. To many listeners, A Moon Shaped Pool and its two predecessors, In Rainbows and The King of Limbs, are likely to be interpreted as less political records than OK Computer or Hail To The Thief.

21Interestingly, the period corresponding to Radiohead’s last three albums has seen a spike in some of its members’ personal political activism, and this could be interpreted as a choice – particularly on Yorke’s part – to express oneself politically through activism rather than through music. Though Radiohead refused to take part in the Live 8 benefit concert in 2005,27 Yorke and guitarist Jonny Greenwood did participate in fundraising musical events for environmental NGO Friends of the Earth as part of the latter’s Big Ask campaign in 2006.28 Since then, Yorke has become known as an environmental activist of sorts, frequently taking to the band’s online blog to raise awareness on issues related to climate change. Most notably, the singer attended the United Nations conference on climate change in Copenhagen in December 2009 and chronicled the event on the official Radiohead website.29 Moreover, Yorke briefly ventured into party-political support by playing at a fundraising concert for Tony Juniper (former director of Friends of the Earth) when the latter stood for election as a candidate for the Green Party in the 2010 general election.30 More recently, Thom Yorke has been known for voicing his concerns over the question of Brexit on his personal Twitter account, usually by re-tweeting messages posted by pro-Remain groups like the People’s Vote campaign.31 Online blogs and Twitter accounts certainly offer platforms which are easy for musicians like Yorke to voice their opinions and raise awareness among their audience. Since such platforms did not exist as such back in the mid-1990s, the emergence of social media might be one of the contributing factors that has made the politicisation of recorded music less relevant – or less necessary – than it was two decades ago. Nevertheless, Radiohead’s tendency to remain skeptical as regards the current socio-political climate does seem to have originated in the OK Computer era, providing the band with a notable politicised reputation whose potential came to fruition both through politically-laden songs and through personal activism.

Conclusion

22This brief overview of Radiohead’s career has outlined three defining features of their music: a redefinition of the boundaries of rock music, a taste for subversiveness and politics, and a reinvention of the way music is to be marketed and consumed. While sparse elements of these three characteristics appeared on their first two albums, they came to fruition in a most convincing, articulate fashion on OK Computer. Thanks to this reinvented take on rock music, the album won the assent of the public and the acclaim of critics, justifying its particular status to this day. Seeing how it paved the way for later career choices made by the band, OK Computer is a career-defining album for Radiohead, but also an era-defining, or even foretelling, work of art thanks to the picture it painted of Western societies in the late 20th century.

23Starting as five middle-class, university-educated musicians forming a band in the late 1980s, Radiohead have, since then, witnessed multiple transformations in British society and politics, from the twilight years of Thatcherism to Tony Blair’s New Labour, and on to David Cameron’s austerity policy and Brexit referendum. As a rock band that have drawn their inspiration from their socio-political context, Radiohead have felt compelled to let their music reflect these social changes and, eventually, convey their opposition to some of them. While, in retrospect, calling OK Computer a protest album may seem far-fetched, Radiohead remain a political band by trade – albeit in a less straightforward way than some of their contemporaries (like Manic Street Preachers or Billy Bragg for instance) – because of a purposeful choice to maintain a relative separation between music as a form of art and political participation. However, Radiohead’s songs could still be perceived as attempts at educating their listeners, both musically and politically.

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Bibliographie

CLARKE Martin, Radiohead: Hysterical and Useless, London: Plexus, 2000.

COHEN Nick, Cruel Britannia: Reports on the Sinister and the Preposterous, London: Verso, 2000.

FRIENDS OF THE EARTH, “The Big Ask: How you helped make climate change history”, Friends of the Earth. <https://friendsoftheearth.uk/climate-change/big-ask-how-you-helped-make-climate-change-history>, accessed on June 5, 2019.

GEE Grant, Meeting People Is Easy (DVD), Parlophone, 1998.

HERMAN Edward and CHOMSKY Noam, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, New York: Pantheon Books, 1988.

HUTTON Will, The State We’re In, London: Jonathan Cape, 1995.

JENNINGS Dave, “Creepshow”, Melody Maker, 25 September 1993.

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KENT Nick, “Happy Now?”, Mojo, June 2001, 62.

KENT Nick, “Radiohead ou électro Thom”, Rock & Folk, September 2006, 70.

KLEIN Naomi, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, London: Picador, 2000.

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OFFICIAL UK CHARTS, “OK Computer: Full official chart history”. <https://www.officialcharts.com/search/albums/ok-computer/>, accessed on April 1, 2019.

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RADIOHEAD, OK Computer, Parlophone, 1997.

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RADIOHEAD, Hail To The Thief, Parlophone, 2003.

RADIOHEAD, “Follow Me Around”, Live performance on BBC Radio 6 Music, 22 December 2003.

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Notes

1 “OK Computer – full official chart history”, Official UK Charts. <https://www.officialcharts.com/search/albums/ok-computer/>, accessed on April 1, 2019.

2 For instance, Q Magazine made OK Computer the “best album of Q’s lifetime” in their 15th anniversary issue (#182, October 2001).

3 Dave Jennings, “Creepshow”, Melody Maker, 25 September 1993.

4 Martin Clarke, Radiohead: Hysterical and Useless, London: Plexus, 2000, 35.

5 Grant Gee, Meeting People Is Easy (DVD), Parlophone, 1998.

6 Radiohead, “Anyone Can Play Guitar”, Pablo Honey, Parlophone, 1993.

7 Radiohead, “My Iron Lung”, The Bends, Parlophone, 1995.

8 Brett Turnbull, Radiohead: Live at the Astoria, 27/4/1994 (VHS), Parlophone, 1995.

9 Quoted in Shaun Keaveny, “Ed O’Brien tells 6 Music about lost Radiohead track ‘Lift’”, BBC Sounds. <https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p051sx5y>, accessed on April 29, 2019.

10 Martin Clarke, Radiohead: Hysterical and Useless, op. cit., 110-112.

11 Edward Herman & Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, New York: Pantheon Books, 1988.

12 Will Hutton, The State We’re In, London: Jonathan Cape, 1995.

13 Radiohead, “No Surprises”, OK Computer, Parlophone, 1997.

14 Radiohead, “Fitter Happier”, OK Computer, Parlophone, 1997.

15 Nick Cohen, Cruel Britannia: Reports on the Sinister and the Preposterous, London: Verso books, 2000.

16 Naomi Klein, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, London: Picador, 2000.

17 Radiohead, “You And Whose Army?”, Amnesiac, Parlophone, 2001.

18 Quoted in Nick Kent, “Happy Now?”, Mojo, June 2001, 62.

19 Radiohead, “Follow Me Around”, Live performance on BBC Radio 6 Music, 22 December 2003.

20 New Musical Express, 14 March 1998.

21 Radiohead, “2+2=5”, Hail To The Thief, Parlophone, 2003.

22 Quoted in Joseph Tate (ed.), The Music and Art of Radiohead, Farnham: Ashgate, 2005, 195.

23 Thom Yorke, “Harrowdown Hill”, The Eraser, XL Recordings, 2006.

24 For instance, a second drummer was added to the band’s line up when recording their eighth album (The King of Limbs, XL Recordings, 2011), whose sound relied on the use of samples and loops.

25 “Radiohead reveal how successful In Rainbows really was”, NME.com. <https://www.nme.com/news/music/radiohead-539-1330056>, accessed on June 4, 2019.

26 Radiohead, “The Numbers”, A Moon Shaped Pool, XL Recordings, 2016.

27 Nick Kent, “Radiohead ou électro Thom”, Rock & Folk, September 2006, 70.

28 “The Big Ask: How you helped make climate change history”, Friends of the Earth. <https://friendsoftheearth.uk/climate-change/big-ask-how-you-helped-make-climate-change-history>, accessed on June 5, 2019.

29 Thom Yorke, “Not finished”, Radiohead – Dead Air Space. <http://www.radiohead.com/deadairspace/091218/not-finished>, accessed on April 30, 2016. Prior to the release of A Moon Shaped Pool in June 2016, Radiohead entirely deleted the content of their website, including the blog in question).

30 Thom Yorke, “Tony Juniper / Cambridge Corn Exchange”, Radiohead – Dead Air Space. <http://radiohead.com/deadairspace/100210/Tony-Juniper-Cambridge-Corn-Exchange>, accessed on April 30, 2016.

31 Thom Yorke, Twitter. <https://twitter.com/thomyorke/status/1126972716978982917>, accessed on June 6, 2019.

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Référence électronique

Guillaume Clément, « From Pablo Honey to A Moon Shaped Pool: Radiohead’s Experimental, Political Journey », Revue LISA/LISA e-journal [En ligne], vol. XVII-n°1 | 2019, mis en ligne le 12 novembre 2019, consulté le 14 décembre 2019. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/lisa/10590 ; DOI : 10.4000/lisa.10590

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Auteur

Guillaume Clément

Guillaume Clément est maître de conférences en civilisation britannique à l’Université Rennes 1 (France). Il a soutenu une thèse de doctorat sur les significations politiques de la musique rock britannique à l’époque « Cool Britannia ». Ses travaux de recherche au sein de l’équipe ACE (EA 1796) de l’Université Rennes 2 se concentrent sur les interactions entre politique et culture populaire au Royaume-Uni depuis les années 1960. Ses publications récentes ont été l’occasion d’évaluer l’inspiration et l’impact socio-politique de grands groupes de rock britanniques comme les Beatles, Queen, les Sex Pistols, Blur ou encore Radiohead.

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Les contenus de la Revue LISA / LISA e-journal sont mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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