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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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    140. “Where Bluebirds Fly”

    “There There” single (2003)

    Textured and conflicted like a lot of the band’s material from their Hail to The Thief era, but this sounds too much like the soundtrack to a boss level in an archaic video game. –Sean Barry
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    139. “Vegetable”

    Pablo Honey (1993)

    Jonny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien could hold their own against the best grunge guitarists in the ’90s. Then again, Radiohead would go on to do grunge way better on The Bends. –Dan Caffrey
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    138. “India Rubber”

    “Fake Plastic Trees” single (1995)

    A grunge-y guitar riff in the chorus and nice bass courtesy of the elder Greenwood. However, at the end of the day, it’s not a track that leaves one wondering why it was left off the album. –Justin Gerber
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    137. “Stupid Car” (demo)

    Drill EP (1992)

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    Another example of a car song that means exactly what you think it does. If it weren’t about a real-life auto accident, this could have been drolly funny, and thus an amusing — if minor — Pavement song. –Dan Caffrey
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    136. “Meeting in the Aisle”

    “Karma Police” single (1997)

    A thuddish precursor to the electro soundscapes on Kid A, “Meeting In the Aisle” becomes a harmless, forgettable bit of entrance music, which is exactly what the band used it for on their 1998 tour. –Dan Caffrey
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    135. “These Are My Twisted Words”

    “These Are My Twisted Words” single (2009)

    Radiohead released this standalone single independently back in 2009, presumedly because it was a bit too rock-oriented to fit on The King of Limbs. The krautrock beat jogs forward in a hypnotic fashion, but never quite finds whatever it is that it’s running towards. –Nina Corcoran
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    134. “Morning Mr Magpie”

    The King of Limbs (2011)

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    A solo, acoustic version of this song was introduced to the world in the Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of All Time short film collection years earlier. Best to remember that one. –Justin Gerber
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    133. “I Want None of This”

    Help!: A Day in the Life War Child compilation (2005)

    “Take a lesson from me/ Don’t get stuck on a dream,” Yorke sings, casually laying out one of a dozen depressing lines in an otherwise musically dampened number. It’s an expansion of Hail to the Thief‘s piano ballads while scaling back towards the minimalist side of In Rainbows. –Nina Corcoran
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    132. “Molasses”

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

    This B-side came out three years after Nirvana’s last album — which explains all the similarities. With the exception of an Indian-style interlude post-chorus, “Molasses” rides the downtempo side of ’90s grunge, sneering with a seductive hiss about genocide, starving waitresses, and a government that couldn’t care less about you. Hypnotic, if not exactly innovative. –Nina Corcoran
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    131. “Coke Babies”

    “Anyone Can Play Guitar” single (1993)

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    That Coldplay comparison exists for songs like this. “Coke Babies” rides somewhat of a shoegaze softness and ’90s alt-rock production, making for an easy listen that could work with Chris Martin replacing Thom Yorke. –Nina Corcoran
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    130. “Harry Patch (In Memory Of)”

    “Harry Patch (In Memory Of)” single (2009)

    Written in tribute to World War I veteran Harry Patch, with all proceeds donated to charity. Really just Jonny and Thom here, offering up sweet orchestration on a “Good job! Good effort!” track. –Justin Gerber
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    129. “Anyone Can Play Guitar”

    Pablo Honey (1993)

    Aptly enough, the song’s triple-axe attack has more snarl than Yorke’s criticism of Jim Morrison. A slightly better-than-average cut (but only slightly) from the band’s grungier days. –Dan Caffrey
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    128. “Million Dollar Question”

    “Creep” single (1992)

    The punk-like pace is refreshing and makes up for yet another clunky criticism of the man, maaaan. –Dan Caffrey
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    127. “Scatterbrain”

    Hail to the Thief (2003)

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    The penultimate song on HTTT leans on the jangle of Radiohead’s earliest work, but meanders. Not every song has to soar, but can it at least get off the ground? –Justin Gerber
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    126. “I Am Citizen Insane”

    “Go to Sleep” single (2003)

    A three-minute instrumental that merges the skipping heartbeat of Kid A with a hopefulness usually absent from the band’s music. Consider it a song to help you focus that’s just aimless enough to make its melody forgettable hours after hearing it. –Nina Corcoran
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    125. “Melatonin”

    “Paranoid Android” single (1997)

    Like “Meeting in the Aisle”, it’s slight, but showed the band moving in a spacier direction. Bonus points for the cheap drone of the synths. –Dan Caffrey
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    124. “Go Slowly”

    In Rainbows bonus disc (2007)

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    Pleading and confessional, like an old man on his death bed. In Rainbows’ bonus disc provided many outstanding moments, but “Go Slowly” was comfortable in its solitude. –Sean Barry
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    123. “Lewis (Mistreated)”

    My Iron Lung EP (1994)

    The chord progressions are borrowed from any number of other early-’90s acts, but there are so many shifts that “Lewis (Mistreated)” feels more like an alt-rock history lesson than a straight-up ripoff. (Fun fact: McKenzie Gerber (of Gerber & Gerber fame) and I used to jam with EiC Michael Roffman on this.) –Dan Caffrey
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    122. “How Do You?”

    Pablo Honey (1993)

    Pablo Honey is storm-cloud sullen in its lyrical content, making “How Do You” stand out for its exuberance — courtesy of the distortion and tack piano, of course; not the words. –Dan Caffrey
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    121. “Man of War”

    OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997- 2017(2017)

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    It will always be “Big Boots” to me, and though it’s technically an OKC-era cut, it reads more Bends, doesn’t it? Surreal to hear that final refrain on proper release decades after it came to life. –Justin Gerber
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    120. “I Am a Wicked Child”

    “Go to Sleep” single (2003)

    While Yorke’s busy singing a prayer to be a better child, Jonny Greenwood rolls out a meditative — if slightly snoozy — guitar lick fit for True Detective. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a reminder that God will break your heart: “He’s tugging at my arms and legs/ Like I was a marionette/ Send baby Jesus/ To radiate his lie.” –Nina Corcoran
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    119. “A Reminder”

    “Paranoid Android” single (1997)

    Everything in life is a dream, or at least it sure can feel like it. This B-side appears after some airport announcements in French and the clamor of a crowd, layering reverb and lackadaisical guitar (a little too lackadaisical at times) until there’s a big enough pool for Yorke’s vocals to swim across with grace, giving he illusion of a lucid dream. –Nina Corcoran
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    118. “Staircase”

    “The Daily Mail” / “Staircase” single (2011)

    The band’s King of Limbs: Live from the Basement session brought us this grooving and moody track that contains a purposefully understated and beautiful energy. It’s mercifully entrancing, if a touch unassuming. –Sean Barry
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    117. “Glass Eyes”

    A Moon Shaped Pool (2016)

    radiohead moon shaped pool album Ranking: Every Radiohead Song from Worst to Best

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    A somewhat stirring, albeit minor, entry off Radiohead’s ninth LP. Yorke’s calling home to no one with an uncertainty of where he’s going, all atop musical ideas better explored on other Moon Shaped tracks. –Justin Gerber
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    116. “The Amazing Sounds of Orgy”

    “Pyramid Song” single (2001)

    Tom Waits by way of Thom Yorke, “The Amazing Sounds of Orgy” (we’re guessing it refers to the sex gathering, not the industrial act) is the rare song that earns an overused music-critic adjective like “haunted” or “eerie.” We’ve probably used those words at other points in this list, so please forgive us. –Dan Caffrey
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    115. “Dollars and Cents”

    Amnesiac (2001)

    The genius of Amnesiac rides on Colin Greenwood’s modest basslines. He keeps them simple so that no matter what’s added to it — tapped cymbals, wood block, almost nonexistent guitar — the song will still hook you right from its opening measures, which is especially true here. –Nina Corcoran
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    114. “The Gloaming”

    Hail to the Thief (2003)

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    “The Gloaming” thankfully loses some of its electronic chilliness in concert, transforming the sterility of its studio rendition into something as alive as the shadows described in the lyrics. –Dan Caffrey
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    113. “Hunting Bears”

    Amnesiac (2001)

    Guitar and some looping? Some synths, maybe? Is it about humans hunting bears, or bears on the hunt? Whatever’s going on here, it sticks with you long past its short runtime. –Justin Gerber
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    112. “I Promise”

    OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997- 2017(2017)

    Simple lyrics over a simple melody but never simplistic. The first taste of the relics the group dug up for their OKC reissue, “I Promise” is a love song that never becomes maudlin. Tough to find a spot on the record for it, but that’s OK Computer for you. –Justin Gerber
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    111. “Thinking About You”

    Pablo Honey (1993)

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    A rare moment of tenderness for Radiohead that chronicles a relationship torn apart by fame. And would you believe me if I said Yorke doesn’t judge either party, but sympathizes with the both of them? –Dan Caffrey
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    110. “Pearly”

    “Paranoid Android” single (1997)

    Clangy, sexual, great overlapping vocals. One of the better B-sides in the arsenal, “Pearly” has a lot of snark and classic head-voiced Yorke: “Darling use me!” –Justin Gerber
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    109. “You Never Wash Up After Yourself”

    My Iron Lung EP (1994)

    The porch-lounging scale suits bucolic lyrics that only become disturbing when you pay close enough attention to them. And even then, it’s hard to deny the pastoral beauty. –Dan Caffrey
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    108. “Treefingers”

    Kid A (2000)

    Mindful and encompassing, Kid A’s interlude is a chance to catch your breath while still maintaining the magic. –Sean Barry
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    107. “Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief”

    A Moon Shaped Pool (2016)

    radiohead moon shaped pool album Ranking: Every Radiohead Song from Worst to Best

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    Like the rest of A Moon Shaped Pool, it’s plenty gorgeous, even if the string interruption meanders juuust a tad. –Dan Caffrey
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    106. “Lozenge of Love”

    My Iron Lung EP (1994)

    Quick-pick acoustic track on the strong-as-hell My Iron Lung EP. Another early indication of how good The Bends would be when compared to its predecessor. –Justin Gerber
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    105. “You”

    Pablo Honey (1993)

    “You” has the good fortune of being the lead track to Pablo Honey, catching listeners when the aggressive squall feels fresh. Hell, even if it closed out the album, the three-way guitar acrobatics of Yorke, Greenwood, and O’Brien would still be impressive. –Dan Caffrey
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    104. “Bloom”

    The King of Limbs (2011)

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    The opening track off The King of Limbs may play even better live (see: most Radiohead songs). As it stands, it’s a frenetic bounce atop Colin Greenwood’s groove-laden basslines. –Justin Gerber


    103. “Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong”

    My Iron Lung EP (1994)

    Rock-solid song about the old tale of love-gone-bad raised up by a momentum-shifting chorus. Climax is vintage Radiohead. –Justin Gerber
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    102. “Present Tense”

    A Moon Shaped Pool (2016)

    radiohead moon shaped pool album Ranking: Every Radiohead Song from Worst to Best

    Once again, ghost moans save the day, preventing one of A Moon Shaped Pool‘s most fragile tracks from becoming too fragile. –Dan Caffrey
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    101. “Climbing Up the Walls”

    OK Computer (1997)

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    Another dystopian howl backed by that slinking, distorted bass. It lolls and trudges defiantly. –Nina Corcoran
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