The Best Radiohead Songs For a First Time Listener

A friend recently asked me “who are the most important bands of our generation?” Considering my generation spans from the late 80s through the 90s, it was an easier question to answer than had I been older. Radiohead is definitely on the top of the list.

While my favorite Radiohead songs are constantly changing, here are some ones that are currently on my playlist.

“Karma Police” is a popular choice of casual Radiohead fans. It has a catchy hook and comes off of the Kid A album. They like to play this song live a lot and it is a great song for fans to sing along with.

Probably the most famous Radiohead song is “Paranoid Android” off of OK Computer. Hailed as a modern day “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paranoid Android is a 6 plus minute long rock epic of a song. It has highs and lows and continues to mature with each listen.

Another favorite song of theirs that I may not be listening to all the time, but hold s a special place in my heart, is “Electioneering”. There is nothing “radiohead-ish” about this song, it is just a great rock song. If you didn’t know it was a Radiohead song, you would just think its another awesome track.

On the slower side of the Radiohead spectrum lies the song “Nude,” off the In Rainbows album. What a song. It is so simple, lyrically and structurally, yet so complex. The more I listen to this song the more I appreciate it.

On The Bends album, Radiohead had much more of a singer-songwriter sound. One example of a song that fits this description is Fake Plastic Trees. Lyrically it exudes all things Thom Yorke, however the melody is
very catchy and it is a beautiful song that has been featured in many movies and television shows.

These are some good songs to get started with if you are just getting into the Radiohead catalog. Most of their music requires a few listens before it truly shows its full potential, so keep listening if you don’t like it at first!


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