This article was originally published in 2016, but we’re dusting it off for Thom Yorke’s birthday on October 7th.
Ever felt overwhelmed by an artist’s extensive back catalog? Been meaning to check out a band, but you just don’t know where to begin? In 10 Songs is here to help, offering a crash course and entry point into the daunting discographies of iconic artists of all genres. This is your first step toward fandom. Take it.
For some of us, it takes a while to get into Radiohead, if we ever get into them at all. That’s because it’s easy to categorize their music as serious, self-important, and depressing — and it is, sometimes. But to dismiss it entirely would be to miss out on sci-fi landscapes, wild experimentation, hook-filled grunge, and even some dance beats here and there. And that’s what this list is about.
Like all of our In 10 Songs features, these aren’t necessarily the 10 best Radiohead songs, but the ones we feel best represent the many sides of the band while also unveiling their sometimes hidden accessibility. If you can get into at least one tune, chances are you’ll find a whole lot more of them to like throughout their discography. And if you can get behind all 10, you just might be a convert.
But that’s just our opinion. If you feel we totally missed the boat, leave your 10 favorite gateway songs in the comments section below. As any fan can attest, one of the best things about listening to Radiohead is disagreeing about Radiohead.
— Dan Caffrey