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Ranking: Every Radiohead Song from Worst to Best

Over 160 songs and everything in its right place

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    A staff ranking of Radiohead’s nine albums isn’t the easiest activity to partake in. There are different eras in the band’s 24-year recording history that make it difficult to compare one album to the next. Inevitably, there will be disagreements, leading to punch-ups at weddings, sulking, and feeling like a real creep. When the dust settles, you can only hope that with a bit of reasoning and compromise that you’ve compiled the best order. The Fab Five of Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, and Phil Selway have quite the track record.focu

    Now imagine us ranking the songs. The top and bottom tiers were pretty evident (in our opinion), but how do you figure out where to place “Lewis (Mistreated)” and “Gagging Order” among their catalog of album tracks? The added “problem” of there being so many strong songs doesn’t help the matter. Despite the obstacles, we pulled it off: Radiohead’s 162 songs have been ranked.

    Yes, this list includes the previously unreleased cuts from last week’s OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997-2017. No, it does not include songs that have not been officially released in completed studio form. No, it does not include different-sounding demos (“Thinking About You”) or alternate versions (the Amnesiac draft of “Morning Bell” notwithstanding). Yes, it does include some of the best music of the past 25 years. Please let us know your feelings below although I can practically hear you Radioheadz typing already. Hopefully, you found everything in its right place.

    –Justin Gerber
    Senior Contributor


    162. “Pop Is Dead”

    “Pop Is Dead” single (1993)

    Weak analogies and tales of doing “one final lot of coke to jack him off” atop bratty guitar didn’t do much to set the band apart from their contemporaries. Their worst single by a kilometre. –Justin Gerber
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    161. “Supercollider”

    “Supercollider” / “The Butcher” single (2011)

    This scrap from The King of Limbs sessions was released as a single for Record Store Day in 2011 along with “The Butcher” and isn’t really able to establish itself within its own breezy melodies despite its lengthy effort to do so. –Sean Barry
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    160. “Inside My Head”

    “Creep” single (1992)

    Recorded at the peak of the band’s fascination with generic angst, it’s all moody bass, vague anti-authoritarian lyrics, and little else. –Dan Caffrey
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    159. “The Butcher”

    “Supercollider” / “The Butcher” single (2011)

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    Level with “Supercollider” in terms of boredom and forgettability. –Sean Barry
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    158. “Nothing Touches Me”

    Pablo Honey [2009 Bonus Disc] (1991)

    Despite a traffic-jammed organ and Colin Greenwood peppering his bass lines with eighth notes, the song gets sunk by the moodiness of Thom Yorke’s speak-singing. –Dan Caffrey
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    157. “MK 2”

    In Rainbows bonus disc (2007)

    As the second “MK” interlude from In Rainbows’ second disc, “MK 2” serves well as an attention-grabbing precursor for “Last Flowers” seeing as it sounds a bit like a theremin symphony. Unfortunately, it kind of goes nowhere. –Sean Barry
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    156. “Yes I Am”

    “Creep” single (1992)

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    A Pablo Honey-era ditty with little to offer in way of melody or lyrics. A five-minute search for a catchy chorus that goes undiscovered. –Justin Gerber
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    155. “Phillipa Chicken”

    Pablo Honey [2009 Bonus Disc] (1991)

    Yorke could be addressing war or he could be addressing love. Either way, the avian metaphor is heavyhanded. –Dan Caffrey
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    154. “Faithless, the Wonder Boy”

    “Anyone Can Play Guitar” single (1993)

    A typical mopey song that resonates with teens in the maelstrom of puberty, but ceases to translate years later. Thom “can’t put the needle in,” in case you missed those lyrics repeated a thousand times. –Justin Gerber
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    153. “Banana Co.”

    “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” single (1996)

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    Off of 1994’s Itch EP, “Banana Co.” is silly and lackadaisical enough to be considered pop-rock parody. –Sean Barry
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    152. “Paperbag Writer”

    “There There” single (2003)

    All the components for a great hit — minimal funk bass, anxious violins, subliminal political messages — without the structure of a hit to hold it together. Imagine if this tongue-in-cheek play on The Beatles’ standalone single resulted in a song as equally memorable. Keep writing, boys. –Nina Corcoran
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    151. “Kinetic”

    “Pyramid Song” single (2001)

    Perhaps the band’s only uninteresting flirtation with jazz. Unlike other Amnesiac-era dances with Mingus, this one builds without ever climaxing. –Dan Caffrey
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    150. “Prove Yourself”

    Pablo Honey (1993)

    Although Yorke’s suicidal thoughts are no laughing matter, the band’s first official single never manages to break free of its own self-pitying melodrama. –Dan Caffrey
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    149. “Fast-Track”

    “Pyramid Song” single (2001)

    Here lies a stuttering loop that begins to get tired of its own repetition. Sure, it’s digestible filler, but it’s filler nonetheless, perhaps because Radiohead found it hard to one-up the song’s accompanying single. –Nina Corcoran
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    148. “Feral”

    The King of Limbs (2011)

    An auto-pilot instrumental that slams the breaks on any momentum The King of Limbs had mustered up (not much). Their worst album track in the 21st century. Yes, their worst. –Justin Gerber
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    147. “How Can You Be Sure?”

    “Fake Plastic Trees” single (1995)

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    Bitch, bitch, bitch. More of Yorke’s musings about how everything sucks. Hungry, drunk, and broke don’t suit him as well as introspective weirdness. –Dan Caffrey
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    146. “Ripcord”

    Pablo Honey (1993)

    Yorke would eventually sharpen his music-industry attacks into phrases more evocative than “soul destroyed with clever toys for little boys.” –Dan Caffrey
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    145. “Killer Cars”

    “High and Dry” single (1994)

    At least the overly literal lyrics deal with automotive terror and not generic despair. But that doesn’t change the fact that they’re overly literal. –Dan Caffrey
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    144. “Little by Little”

    The King of Limbs (2011)

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    Comes off as little more than a lesser Amnesiac B-side. Bonus points for the entire band getting something to do on TKOL. Points deducted for doing nothing memorable. –Justin Gerber
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    143. “I Can’t”

    Pablo Honey (1993)

    Of all the Pablo Honey tracks, “I Can’t” sounds the most at home in a coffeehouse. If it had been released three years later, it would have found its way onto the Friends soundtrack. –Dan Caffrey
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    142. “Bishop’s Robes”

    “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” single (1996)

    A little too forceful in how sinister it’s trying to be. Radiohead functions best when the evil — whether it be religious, political, or scientific — is a little colder, a little more sterile. –Dan Caffrey
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    141. “Trans-Atlantic Drawl”

    “Pyramid Song” single (2001)

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    Like a bat out of a PS3 snowboarding game, “Drawl” has energy aplenty at the start. When the bottom falls out in the final minute, it should be transcendent, but ends up anticlimactic. –Justin Gerber
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