Song of the Week: Radiohead Return to Their Roots with the Unearthed “Follow Me Around”

Foxes, JORDY, and Serena Isioma also dropped essential tracks

radiohead follow me around
Radiohead, photo by Gie Knaeps

    Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, Radiohead dig out a fan favorite. 

    Even if they’re been one of the most consistent rock bands to have emerged in the 1990s, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Radiohead fan who didn’t want even more Radiohead. Thom Yorke and company know they have hundreds and thousands of listeners wrapped around their finger, and rightfully so. “Follow Me Around,” a deep cut recorded during the band’s OK Computer sessions and officially released this week, only further evidences the alt-rock legends’ hot streak in the late ‘90s and early aughts.

    Though OK Computer is defined by its blending of grunge roots and futuristic electronic elements (which, mind you, still sound pretty futuristic), “Follow Me Around” — which you can hear on KID A MNESIA, the band’s new compilation of unearthed material from the turn of the century — is fully-analog Radiohead. Devoid of any of the percussion or effects that made OK Computer so monumental, the track is driven by a steady acoustic riff that sounds like Yorke had been listening to a little too much Willie Nelson; somehow, though, it works.


    Lyrically, “Follow Me Around” follows the basic Radiohead formula, alluding to England’s political landscape and brooding existentialism. “Nowadays I get panicked /I cease to exist,” Yorke croons in his trademark wail, recalling the overwhelming stress he felt once his band broke the “one-hit wonder” curse threatened by “Creep” and began touring arenas. He disses Margaret Thatcher, envisions his own death, and luxuriates in nihilism: yep, it doesn’t get much more on point than that.

    — Abby Jones

    Honorable Mentions:

    Foxes – “Sky Love”

    Amazing news — the disco-pop renaissance continues. Reminiscent of Dua Lipa’s transcendent Future Nostalgia, Foxes’ latest is a big and airy dance floor anthem. “Sky Love” is the latest track to be released ahead of the budding pop artist’s album The Kick, set to be released in February of 2022. She says the song is about “craving the kind of love that seems unimaginable,” and this strain of pop has long been a vehicle for feelings of yearning and eventual catharsis. “Sky Love” is the latest entry to this corner of the genre: It’s got glittery production (courtesy of Roosevelt), a beltable chorus, and an addictive beat. — Mary Siroky

    JORDY – “Sticks and Stones” (feat. Charlotte Sands)

    As part of his promising debut album Mind Games, rising pop sensation JORDY has tapped Charlotte Sands for the emotionally-charged highlight “Sticks and Stones.” On the track, the pair veer into power pop territory as they plead, “Tell me that you’re mine or else I’ll pass away/ ‘Cause sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will f–kin’ kill me.” The single’s accompanying music video ratchets up the tension, with the two pals trapped in glass boxes as a gang of bullies circle wielding bats, chains, and hatchets. But even the threat of imminent danger is nothing compared to JORDY’s emotional turmoil as he once again puts his heart out on his musical sleeve. — Glenn Rowley

    Serena Isioma – “Crying In The Club”

    With “Crying In The Club,” Serena Isioma has captured the moment of hitting rock bottom. It might not be easy to tell right away, though, as they’ve effectively wrapped this (highly relatable) feeling in pulsing bass, stacked vocals, and techy beats. There’s a clear cry for help in the lyrics, and the bright lights and accompanying claustrophobia of a club setting are tangible, too. There’s sometimes a moment in a late night where things teeter from euphoric to tragic — that moment is what Serena Isioma has zeroed in on here. — M.S.


    Frances Forever – “Certified Fool”

    “Was young and dumb, now I’m just dumb,” Frances Forever groans on their latest. It’s a reference to them finishing college and embarking on the adventure of being a touring musician — but at the same time, realizing that there’s no backup plan. Not only does the song represent Frances’ maturity as a lyricist, but also their sonic evolution since the TikTok hit “Space Girl” won over thousands of new fans.

    Channeling a very clear late-’80s, early-’90s alternative style and indulging in a fuzzier guitar sound, it’s a more urgent entry from the young bedroom pop artist. They’re allowing the tension of early adulthood to turn into something beautiful and fascinating, but at the same time, they’re rendered helpless by its anxieties: “Today I’m too tired, tomorrow I’ll try.”

    It’s a fitting example of how many Gen Z’ers are feeling as they graduate college and enter the post-pandemic workforce, shaken by the turbulence of the last few years and deeply unsure of the future. Luckily, and whether they know it or not, Frances Forever is still ahead of the curve. — Paolo Ragusa

    Kings Elliot – “Call Me a Dreamer”

    A sad little waltz, Kings Elliot’s “Call Me a Dreamer” is, indeed, dreamy. It begins as a simple and minimalist track, mostly Elliot and a guitar, mourning a lost love. “Gone,” she sings on the chorus, “gone like the hope you would stay.” As it goes on, it builds, bringing in a small choir as it swells and dips. It’s the vocal range often inhabited by Billie Eilish, keeping the story — and the vocals — front and center. — M.S.


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