5 Essential Radiohead Songs For New Listeners

A starting point to the begin exploring the vast depths of Radiohead.

December 4, 2018

Photos PA Images/SIPA USA

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Tom Morello took part in a Twitter Q & A today and was asked what the most famous or critically acclaimed album he hasn't listened to yet. He responded by saying the entire Radiohead catalog. 

Surely he's not alone in this case as there's likely many out there that have yet to explore Radiohead's music.

With an extensive discography and propensity to stretch the depths of musical boundaries, it may seem like a daunting task to dive in.

For Tom Morello and everyone else that has yet to take the plunge, here are five Radiohead songs that serve as a good starting point to the band.

"My Iron Lung"

It'd be easy to go with "Creep" as the first song, but most people have heard that song at some point in their lives. "My Iron Lung" comes from the band's second album The Bends and was written in response to the success of "Creep." This track is a great fusion of Radiohead's early alternative rock sound and psychedlia giving you a good sense of their roots and a preview of what's to come.

"Paranoid Android" 

OK Computer is frequently cited as one of Radiohead's best album and "Paranoid Android" is a big reason why. The song clocks in just under six and a half minutes and contains several different sections. Everything from alternative, art rock, experimental, downtempo, and progressive rock is present in the song making it one of Radiohead's staples. 

"Idioteque"

Kid A represented a major transition period in Radiohead's discography. Trading in guitars for synthesizers, the album took on an electronic and experimental undertone that was vastly different from their previous work. "Idioteque" puts you in a trance blending a dance rhythm with a chaotic beat.

"Weird Fishes/Arpeggi"

Another song that contains a long, melodic build up to pure bliss. The In Rainbows track contains many subtleties that give it high replay value. 

"Morning Mr. Magpie"

The final choice here comes from Radiohead's 2011 record King Of Limbs. This song serves as a return to form to Radiohead's earlier alternative sound while blending the experimental tendencies they had in the Kid A/Amnesiac days.  

Honorable Mention

Since bonus content is all the rage these days, here's a few extra tracks that are personal favorites once you want to dig a bit deeper into the band's catalog.

"Separator"

"Myxomatosis"

"Exit Music (For A Film)"

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