Whether they know it or not, fans who attend Radiohead performances are witnessing music history as it is being written. And I'm not just saying that because I'm obsessed enough with Radiohead to make a podcast about them. I say that because Radiohead often tests unreleased or in-progress songs through their live performances. Sometimes those tracks surface in the very next album — like "The Bends," which we discussed in our last episode. But sometimes they don't appear until several years later.
In this episode, I'll explore the history of "Nude" — the third track on the band's beloved seventh record, In Rainbows — with Mac Randall, author of Exit Music: The Radiohead Story. We'll compare its early live performances to the final studio version and discuss what this tendency, to not release a song until the arrangement is just right, says about Radiohead as a band.
[00:00:00] Savannah Wright: [00:00:00] This is Fake Plastic Podcast, a podcast that unlocks the alchemy of Radiohead — one song, music video, or live performance at a time. My name is Savannah Wright.
[00:00:11] Radiohead: [00:00:11] This is an unreleased song.
[00:00:17] Savannah Wright: [00:00:17] Whether they know it or not, fans who attend Radiohead's performances are witnessing music history as it is being written. And I'm not just saying that because I'm obsessed enough with Radiohead and to make a podcast about them. [00:00:30] I say that because Radiohead often tests unreleased or in progress songs through their live performances.
[00:00:36] Sometimes those tracks surface in the very next album, like "The Bends," which we discussed in our last episode. But sometimes they don't appear until several years later. Fans at the time of this 1998 performance, for example, did not know that this song would turned out to be "Nude," and that it wouldn't be released until multiple revisions and nearly a decade later.
[00:00:58] Mac Randall: [00:00:58] Um, it's a really [00:01:00] great example of, um, you know, could, you could say they're sort of their tinkering. Um, another way of saying is just it's their craftsmanship, you know, their very real attention to detail as composers and, and as arrangers. And you know, what's great for us. What's great for fans of the band is that you can actually hear these different versions of the song and see what the lyrics are and, and, and follow it on its path.
[00:01:26] Savannah Wright: [00:01:26] This is Mac Randall. He's a journalist, critic, [00:01:30] and the editor of Jazz Times. And he literally wrote the book on Radiohead. It's called Exit Music: theRadiohead Story. And it's one of the band's first unofficial biographies. Mac became interested in Radiohead after hearing a few songs from The Bends and realizing that the band had much more to offer than "Creep."
[00:01:48] Mac Randall: [00:01:48] And so I bought The Bends and, uh, you know, put it in the CD player. First song comes on is "Planet Telex." And as I say in the book, that really. That sold me at [00:02:00] that point. I was just like, this, this, this band is great. And, uh, you know, and the whole album just held up like that. The Bends is that's, that's really what pulled me in. And, uh, I still love that record 23, 24 years later.
[00:02:18] Savannah Wright: [00:02:18] In this episode, we'll explore the history of "Nude," the third track on the band's beloved seventh record, In Rainbows. We'll compare its early lvfe performances to the final studio version [00:02:30] and discuss what this tendency, to not release a song until the arrangement is just right, says about Radiohead as a band.
[00:02:37] Mac Randall: [00:02:37] This isn't a long and slightly tangled history. Um, it was definitely one of the many songs that they worked on during, uh, the OK Computer sessions. The earliest version that I am aware of is the version that's on the cassette that came [00:03:00] with the, OKNOTOK vinyl box.
[00:03:03] Savannah Wright: [00:03:03] This was the version the band recorded with Nigel Godrich during their first sessions for OK Computer. When Thom Yorke shared potential songs for the new album on the band's website, he mentioned "Nude" and said this about its content: quote it is a man's world. And this one is very confused and will have sex with anything woman who comes within a mile radius, but feels bad about it. So doesn't. Close quote.
[00:03:28] Although the band was initially [00:03:30] satisfied with the recording, Godrich says that for some reason, everyone went off on it. So it wasn't included in OK Computer. Here's a clip from that demo. So you can hear what it sounded like.
[00:04:03] (clip from "Nude" OK Computer demo)
[00:04:03] [00:04:00] Mac Randall: [00:04:03] Well, you know, if you, if you hear that version of the song, uh, you hear a lot of things that are the same. Um, the melody line is pretty much the same that Thom sings. A bunch of the words are the same, the whole part about, you know, 'you'll go to hell for what your dirty mind is thinking' that's already in there and the 'don't get any big ideas, they're not going to happen.' that's already in there.
[00:04:26] But, uh, you notice that it's a little bit more. It's there's a [00:04:30] little more aggression to it, the guitar is more prominent. And the real kind of main instrument that's featured besides Thom's voice is that Hammond organ, which I presume is played by Jonny. And it plays this melody line, which is the same, roughly, melody line that Thom sings wordlessly at the end of the In Rainbows version.
[00:05:01] (clip from "Nude" OK Computer demo)
[00:05:01] [00:05:00] So that line was going on at the same time as [00:05:30] Thom is singing his bits. Where it goes from there, um, is, uh, It's a little different. Um, there's another verse that was cut out later. So Thom, after he does, uh, you know, 'don't get any big ideas' part, he he's, he has this part about 'a thin stewardess, her skirt in a mess. You don't stand a chance.'
[00:05:55] And, and instead of, uh, 'now that you found it, it's gone,' he says, 'what do you look [00:06:00] like when you're nude?' Ah, so the word 'nude' actually was in the song originally.
[00:06:06] Savannah Wright: [00:06:06] The title would also go through several iterations, including "Big Ideas", parenthetical "Don't Get Any Big Ideas" and "Failure to Receive Repayment Will Put Your House at Risk" — which Tom jokingly revealed in an interview for MTV's 120 Minutes in 1998. As Mac said, the final title, "Nude," stems from that original chorus: 'what do you [00:06:30] look like when you're nude?'
[00:06:32] Mac Randall: [00:06:32] But that I think was probably one of the first things to go because when you hear it again, there's the version you hear part of on, um, Meeting People is Easy. You know, they, they didn't put it on OK Computer, but they ended up playing the song live a bunch in, in 1998 and also on and off after that.
[00:06:52] Well, um, that turned into 'now that you've found it, it's gone. Now that you feel it, you don't. [00:07:00] Go off the rails', you know, which is I call it the chorus. When you hear it on In Rainbows, it only happens once, but it still seems like the chorus to me because he used to sing it twice.
[00:07:14] Savannah Wright: [00:07:14] So just to be clear, the 1996 version on OKNOTOK has a verse about a thin stewardess with her skirt and a mess. And the chorus says, 'what do you look like when you're nude?' This was changed in 1997 to the 'and now that you've found it, it's gone' [00:07:30] chorus, which remained the same through the In Rainbows version.
[00:07:33] But then in 1998, in that clip we played at the top of the episode, Thom adds a verse that says 'she stands stark naked, and she beckons you to bed. Don't go. You'll only want to come back again.'
[00:07:45] Mac Randall: [00:07:45] So it's like this again, the undercurrent is like, yeah, you could do this, but it's a bad idea. You don't want to do it. You're going to get stuck in, in this relationship, which, you know, may be unhealthy. [00:08:00] All that stuff is completely gone from the final um, song on In Rainbows.
[00:08:05] So you're kind of what the, 'what your dirty mind is thinking' could really be anything. Um, which of course it is open to more interpretation, which I suspect is probably what Thom and, and company, uh, wanted. To make it not so specifically about anything. Um, and leave it more kind of [00:08:30] open.
[00:08:31] Savannah Wright: [00:08:31] In addition to lyrical revisions, the band made a few key musical changes to reach the final arrangement. One of those changes is the song's conclusion. Instead of the final chorus, Tom sings a wordless falsetto, and that's another change: Thom's delivery.
[00:08:48] Mac Randall: [00:08:48] The most dramatic thing of course, about "Nude" on In Rainbows is Thom's vocal, which may be, I don't know if I want to go so far as to say it's the greatest vocal ever on a Radiohead song, but [00:09:00] definitely a prime contender. And the thing about it is, is that I, I think I remember reading an interview with him one time where he commented about it. He found it uncomfortable to sing back when they played it in the nineties because of the falsetto parts and so on.
[00:09:15] Well, he's gone the completely whole hog in there. Because he did. Some of those really crazy falsetto things that he does at the end of the In Rainbows version, they're not in the older versions. So. What, what the drama that [00:09:30] used to be from the organ and then the glockenspiel and the big guitar, it's now all in Thom's voice. He is just, he's taken it all on and he is, and he's pulling it out.
[00:09:41] And, uh, it's just, I mean, it's a. On the one hand, I think he talked about it as being, you know, th the, the feminine quality of it, he said was, was sort of a little off putting to him at first. Well you could say that it's more feminine because it's high, but there's also a very kind of masculine kind of bravado in [00:10:00] it saying, 'Oh yeah, you don't think I can do this? Watch out.' Um, yeah, it's just really an amazing display.
[00:10:10] Savannah Wright: [00:10:10] Mac here is referencing a Mojo interview with Thom in 2008 where he said, quote, 10 years ago, when we first had the song, I didn't enjoy singing it because it was too feminine, too high. It made me feel uncomfortable. Now I enjoy it exactly for that reason, because it is a bit uncomfortable, a bit out of my range, and it's really [00:10:30] difficult to do. And it brings something out in me, close quote.
[00:10:34] In the earlier versions, Thom seems to belt the lyrics, but in the studio version, his vocals are more restrained. Here's a quick comparison. So you can hear the difference.
[00:11:10] (clip from "Nude" demo
clip from "Nude" studio version from In Rainbows)
[00:11:10] [00:11:00] And then there's the secret sauce: Colin Greenwood's sexy bassline. He altered the bassline during the In Rainbows sessions in 2005. And Godrich said it transformed "Nude" from something very straight into something that had much more of a rhythmic flow.
[00:11:32] (clip from "Nude" studio version)
[00:11:32] [00:11:30] True to form, the band premiered this new arrangement at a live performance in Copenhagen.
[00:11:38] Mac Randall: [00:11:38] I heard them, I guess it was 2006. They did a tour before they recorded In Rainbows. They did sort of a, they were road testing a lot of the new songs. One of those new songs was not a new song at all. It was "Nude." And, uh, in the arrangement that we now know from In Rainbows. [00:12:00] And, uh, you know, that was a real showstopper, obviously. So it was great to hear about, hear that come back.
[00:12:07] Savannah Wright: [00:12:07] Yeah. Cause a lot of fans said they were surprised by how it turned out, because it did go from being like Thom belting the lyrics with the Hammond organ and the glockenspiel. And then it was a lot more reserved with the strings. Uh, do you prefer the studio version or?
[00:12:23] Mac Randall: [00:12:23] Uh, there are aspects to all the different versions that, you know, have something to recommend them. [00:12:30] But I do have to say in the end, although I kind of wish that Thom would say. Maybe it's just like the traditionalist in me. You know, you got a great chorus. Why not repeat it? You know, why not sing 'now that you've found it it's gone,' you know, again?
[00:12:48] Instead what they do is they just, they do the same chord sequence, but instead he just sings that wordless melody. So I kind missed that, but there's also the old [00:13:00] show business adage you know, 'always leave them wanting more.' And the In Rainbows version of "Nude" definitely does that. Um, so it it's, uh. So, what you do is you just play it again.
[00:13:17] I do think, um, you know, their pruning and they're, you know, their little revisions and all that, um, really did end up successful. I do like [00:13:30] that version on In Rainbows the best.
[00:13:32] Savannah Wright: [00:13:32] It's interesting to reflect on what was added and taken away over the course of the song's development and why those changes matter. Like the lyrics. The song's final title, "Nude," alludes to the sexual encounter described in the demo version. But the band eliminated that narrative in the studio version.
[00:13:50] You mentioned a little bit about how taking away those, uh, lyrics about like the sexual encounter makes the song a little more open to interpretation. I was just [00:14:00] curious how you interpret the song now.
[00:14:02] Mac Randall: [00:14:02] Well, of course it's hard to, um, completely separate for me anyway, the song, as you hear it now from the song as it original, originally was. So, you know, I guess I still, when I listen to it, I'm thinking of when he says 'you'll go to hell for what your dirty mind is thinking,' I automatically go to, well, he's thinking about the stewardess or he's thinking about, you know, the naked person and this is actually not a good idea. I shouldn't do this.
[00:14:30] [00:14:30] But the fact is that, um, that's not there anymore. So, you know, reading that into it. I even think. I it's funny, I think I, when I, in my book, I think I used the word 'infidelity' and of course listening back to it now, as I just was today, I was like, Well, there's no indication in this song that, you know, this person is married or has a partner, or is, uh, you know. I start thinking of, well, you know, it's a rock musician who, uh, you know, has a long-term partner, but he's on the road and he's tempted [00:15:00] by, by others, other women, you know, along the way.
[00:15:03] That's totally my reading of it. There's nothing in the song that really indicates that at all. I just think I was, it's my interpretation based on earlier versions of the song and what I know about Thom's life at the time, you know. But there's no reason to believe that's actually what it is.
[00:15:23] And I think the reason why all that stuff got taken away. The second verse got taken away and, [00:15:30] and the other words got changed, it's just because of that. To not have it be so easily interpreted. Um, and many radio song, Radiohead songs are, um, very difficult to interpret. This one seemed more easy to interpret at first and now, you know, they made it harder.
[00:15:49] But, um, I guess you could say it's, you know, it's probably being addressed to someone who is feeling some kind of itch, [00:16:00] whether it's a seven year itch or not I have no idea. But you know, the idea of, you know, you can change things around in your life. You say, you know, what is it 'you paint your house white', or was it. It was 'paint your house white.' I don't know if it's 'paint yourself white.' Anyway.
[00:16:16] Savannah Wright: [00:16:16] Yeah. It used to be 'paint your house white' and then it changed to you paint yourself white.' Right. Yeah.
[00:16:21] Mac Randall: [00:16:21] So again, so you put on some kind of makeup or some kind of thing to, you know, uh, make you look different or make you feel different. [00:16:30] Um, and, and 'you fill up with noise', you know, you got all kinds of ideas and music and whatever. You're just, you know, keeping yourself busy, doing different things.
[00:16:43] But there's something missing and that's something missing is, yeah, that same thing: 'now that you feel it you don't', you know, you think you've got it, but you don't have it. And it's always just this, you know, the sort of the ache, the what you're trying to change your life into or change yourself into, [00:17:00] the sort of the undercurrent is that 'don't get any big ideas. They're not going to happen.'
[00:17:05] You're not, you know, you're not really going to change. Um, which is kind of a downer of a statement. Um, but this is Radiohead and yeah. Okay. If you, if you think of it that way it's perhaps one of the more depressing, uh, sentiments that they actually have put in a song. The sense [00:17:30] is yeah, you go try and do all these things to change your life. You know, you're good. And it's they're not going to happen. Not only that, but you're going to go to hell. For just thinking about it.
[00:17:44] Savannah Wright: [00:17:44] It almost feels like this kind of matter of fact answer or like sequel to "No Surprises" or he's just like, this is how life goes kind of thing. But yeah, it is pretty bleak.
[00:17:53] Mac Randall: [00:17:53] Yeah. And, and that was, you know, definitely a major theme at that time.
[00:18:00] [00:18:00] Savannah Wright: [00:18:00] Yeah. That's true, considering this is written around OK Computer, right?
[00:18:04] Mac Randall: [00:18:04] Yeah. The thing, the thing about it is, is that, um, you know, they, they take that sentiment and they make something in the, in that trademark Radiohead way. They. They make it uplifting, you know, they did it in a, you know, in a more sort of traditional rock way at first. And then they did it in a more, I can say 'Radiohead way' once [00:18:30] they came to In Rainbows. And the uplift, the majesty of the whole thing is just as I said, it's in Thom's voice at the end.
[00:18:38] Savannah Wright: [00:18:38] Yeah, totally.
[00:18:40] Mac Randall: [00:18:40] So in the end it doesn't feel like a depressing statement at all. And that's the, that's the, kind of the, uh, the wonder of, uh, of this band.
[00:18:51] Savannah Wright: [00:18:51] That's a good point. Yeah. Because a lot of times you almost don't realize it's about something sad because it just sounds so beautiful. So do you [00:19:00] think "Nude" would have fit in earlier albums like OK Computer or do you feel like it's uniquely suited to In Rainbows?
[00:19:08] Mac Randall: [00:19:08] Well, if you listened to the old version, you know, with the glockenspiel or without the glockenspiel, it could definitely have worked on, uh, on OK Computer. Um, I do think it would have stuck out? I don't think they'd worked it through [00:19:30] quite enough. Um, there seemed in some parts in those earlier versions of songs where it seemed they're not quite sure which way to go with it. I'm sure that was part of the reason why they put it aside for so long.
[00:19:47] Yeah, it's an interesting question. I certainly couldn't hear it on Kid A. Way too melodic and too straightforward. [00:20:00] It might've fit on Amnesiac, cause that's a little bit more of a bits and bobs record. Hail to the Thief possibly. But, uh, so I wouldn't say it's uniquely suited In Rainbows. Um, but it, it certainly works there very well.
[00:20:19] Savannah Wright: [00:20:19] I feel like it does work well because it, that album was full of unreleased songs that Radiohead had been playing over the years. So it felt like it was kind of part of that journey, but also, I can't imagine this song without the [00:20:30] strings and In Rainbows has more strings than I think any of the other albums.
[00:20:34] Mac Randall: [00:20:34] Yeah that's true. Yeah, I should've mentioned that earlier. There was the strings. They're subtle, but they're there. And, uh, they also obviously add a lot to that, that feeling of, uh, of uplift and, and majesty that the song has in that. Yeah that was a. Thank you for mentioning that. That's a great, uh, addition to the song.
[00:20:58] Savannah Wright: [00:20:58] That enchanting combination [00:21:00] of strings, bass, and falsetto captured the hearts of the popular audience, as "Nude" became Radiohead's second top 40 hit after "Creep." Part of its success may be explained by the band's iTunes remix challenge. For that challenge, they released the song's individual stems for listeners to purchase and remix into their own creations.
[00:21:21] But Mac said another reason the song may have attracted a wider audience is because of its lyrics. Although less on the nose than "Creep," [00:21:30] the lyrics of "Nude" speak to a universal feeling of longing and desire.
[00:21:35] Mac Randall: [00:21:35] I think of those two songs next to each other, "Creep" and and "Nude." It's kind of like, well, I guess they have similarly miserable material [laughs] but that people relate to.
[00:21:48] And I really do wonder if. If they had kept those old lyrics and that they kept the old structure of the song. Changed the arrangement, but [00:22:00] kept those parts of it, uh, would it have been as successful? It would have been more successful.
[00:22:05] Because the thing about "Creep" of course, is that. It really. I mean, one of the reasons why it was a big hit was because so many people could identify with it, you know, 'I don't belong here. I'm a creep,' you know, who, whether in their teenage years or any other time, hasn't felt that? You know at some time.
[00:22:26] And I think in a weird way, "Nude" has that [00:22:30] because the thing about, you know, 'don't get any big ideas' and 'you're going to hell for what your dirty mind is thinking.' Who hasn't thought those kinds of things at some time or other, whatever they may be about or whatever they may mean. It has some application to people's lives. That's my best attempt at an explanation for that one.
[00:22:53] Savannah Wright: [00:22:53] "Nude" is one of many songs that Radiohead tinkered with. As I mentioned earlier, the band debuted the majority of In [00:23:00] Rainbows in 2005 through their live performances. "Reckoner," however, premiered live as early as 2001. And songs on In Rainbows Disc 2, like "Last Flowers," trace back to the OK Computer sessions.
[00:23:14] Mac Randall: [00:23:14] Yeah, there's a bunch. I mean, Moon Shaped Pool has, has at least a couple. "Burn the Witch" was something they were doing back in Kid A uh, times. And of course the last track, absolutely heartbreaking [00:23:30] track, uh, "True Love Waits." That's, that's kind of the Holy Grail for Radiohead fans because they started playing that around the time The Bends came out and, uh, there are a bunch of versions of it.
[00:23:46] Uh, there was one, I think they played in Belgium, um, with Thom playing acoustic guitar and singing and Jonny doing this synthesizer arpeggio to sort of like perpetual motion thing going through that song, [00:24:00] almost the whole song. And I think they tried recording it for uh multiple albums.
[00:24:07] And in fact, that cassette, I mentioned from the OKNOTOK. There was a couple of tracks, that says "True Love Piano Loop," "True Love Space Loop". So there are all these kind of different ways that they were trying to. And interestingly, the "True Love Piano Loop" is not that different in the end from, from what they ended up doing with the song on Moon Shaped Pool.
[00:24:29] Um, [00:24:30] so it's an indication if, if they're being straight with us, that they were already thinking of doing something like that with that song 20 years previously. But in any case, um, it was a song that would always kind of come out. It would be like one of those sort of, uh, you know, encore special treats that they would do. And finally on the, I Might Be Wrong album, the live album. It was just a version of Thom doing it himself without, without the synthesizer or anything. And when that [00:25:00] came out, I thought and probably just about everybody thought, well, that's what it's going to be. That is the final version of the song, as we know it. Cause they're not going to put it on another record.
[00:25:10] So when I saw that "True Love Waits" was on the track listing of Moon Shaped Pool. Really? Is it the same "True Love Waits"? And sure enough, it was, but they really changed it around.
[00:25:24] Savannah Wright: [00:25:24] Here's what the version on A Moon Shaped Pool sounds like.
[00:25:49] (clip of "True Love Waits" from A Moon Shaped Pool)
[00:25:49] [00:25:30] So how does the timing of like releasing it not until like their most recent album. How does that kind of change your interpretation of it or like give it extra significance?
[00:25:59] Mac Randall: [00:25:59] Well, [00:26:00] I mean, I think "True Love Waits" wins the prize for the longest gestating song in the Radiohead catalog. And it's interesting that, you know, the, I mean, you know, the melody, the words, uh, again, different from "Nude" in this respect. The arrangement may have changed, but the chord structure is basically the same. The melody is the same, the words are the same. Yeah, nothing else really changed in 21 years.
[00:26:24] So it was really all about how they're going to approach it. They already [00:26:30] knew it was good, but how are you going to approach it in a way that is distinctive? Um, not cliched and serve the song, um, but serves it in an interesting and unusual way.
[00:26:46] Um, and, and that's a song that, again, it's, it's hard where. I was talking about "Nude" and you think about the particulars of Thom's life at the time. And how I sort of put a certain interpretation on it in spite of the fact [00:27:00] that that's not really stated. Um, the whole history of, of, of Radiohead it comes into play in listening to "True Love Waits."
[00:27:13] Now all these years later in large part because, uh, I had always assumed, and again, this is totally an assumption. Not, uh, reality necessarily, but I had always thought that it was probably a song that [00:27:30] was directed in some way to Thom's partner, Rachel of so many years. At the time they had only been together for a few years. And of course, by the time that Moon Shaped Pool version came out, they had been separated. And what we did not know at the time was that she had terminal cancer. So that sort of colors, colors the interpretation of that whole album.
[00:28:01] [00:28:00] The fact that that song, that old song was picked to end the record. And that the last words of the song are 'don't leave'. It kinda makes you think.
[00:28:18] It's too easy sometimes to. Um,look on, look on songs as necessarily being about personal subjects, but it's [00:28:30] hard not to feel that in some way, you know, that album and that song and the placement of that song, where it is at the end of the album and with the whole knowledge of the whole history of the song. There are personal reasons for that. And so that's certainly what I think.
[00:28:46] Savannah Wright: [00:28:46] Yeah, no, that's a good point because I feel like with a lot of A Moon Shaped Pool, it does feel like a culmination of sorts of all of their work up until that point. And, and so to hear something that was there from the very beginning, and then in a whole [00:29:00] different context, it really, I don't know, it feels like the song has aged in like kind of a sad way. You know, it doesn't have that like opt optimism from the beginning, it feels kind of like defeated.
[00:29:10] It kills me. It's so good though.
[00:29:14] Mac Randall: [00:29:14] And I, and I, I had. My first thought when I first played that record and I heard that version of that song at the end. Well, it made me very emotional, but I, I also thought that's it. [00:29:30] This is the end. This was the end of the band. I don't believe that actually is the case. I hope that's not the case, but that was, that was my feeling when I heard this. This was the final statement that we'd been waiting for and we didn't really know it. So that first hearing of it at that exit had a real impact on me.
[00:29:57] Savannah Wright: [00:29:57] Yeah, no, I could see why you would feel that. And I think it does have a sense of [00:30:00] finality to it, but I hope they're still release new stuff.
[00:30:03] Mac Randall: [00:30:03] Yes, I do too. And, uh, you know, all indications seem to be that, uh, you know, there, there, there will be more, uh, we hope so.
[00:30:11] Savannah Wright: [00:30:11] Yeah. So my last question, you already touched on this a little bit, but just to kind of wrap up everything, um, what does this tendency to not release a song until the version is just right say about Radiohead as a band.
[00:30:25] Mac Randall: [00:30:25] Well, they have obviously have certain anal retentive [00:30:30] qualities, which is not necessarily bad. I think that search for the best version or the perfect version of, um, is, uh. You know, it's kind of uh generally doomed to end in failure because you might think you have the perfect version one day and then the next day you listen to it and then you hear all the problems with it.
[00:30:56] On the plus side, though, it also indicates [00:31:00] that, you know, they don't give up. I mean they might, but giving up is not permanent. You know, with all those songs, they knew that they had something that was good. You know, it moved them and in many cases they played the songs, live a bunch and they, they clearly moved other people.
[00:31:22] So something was there in it. But how do, how do we do it [00:31:30] in a way that feels right? For, for all of us. And cause they all have to agree in the end, you know, they, they, they, they have the sort of the perfectionist streak of wanting it to be right. Whatever 'right' means. But you know, they also, as I said, they, they persist. Um, perhaps, you know, after lengthy breaks, but they, they persist. They come back to it if they think it's good. They're going to give it a, give it a try again.
[00:32:00] [00:31:59] I mean, another example of that is on OKNOTOK. They, they put out those others, the three songs that all of which I thought I was going to hear on The Bends. Um, I mean not on The Bends on OK Computer when it first came out. "I Promise," "Man of War," and "Lift." I had a feeling those might all be on there and none of them are.
[00:32:20] So I think that's just another, you know, another example of that, again, you know, the being perfectionist on the one hand, but also not giving up. [00:32:30] I think that, uh, I mean obviously those two kind of go hand in hand, um, because if they, if they just, if they just gave up and they were perfectionists, then they wouldn't have made all the music that they have made. There'd be a lot fewer Radiohead records than there are. So I guess, you know, I guess we should feel lucky for both of those, both of those traits.
[00:32:57] Savannah Wright: [00:32:57] What's special about Radiohead's composing [00:33:00] is that by debuting these unfinished songs live, they include fans in that process. I can imagine it takes enormous trust to release your rough drafts into the ether, knowing that concert goers will surely record and share those demos with other fans. And that for better or worse, those early drafts will remain forever on the Internet.
[00:33:25] But I think that reveals something about the relationship between Radiohead and their fans. [00:33:30] They know they can test these songs live because they have an audience that isn't there just to hear the hits, but to participate in that song writing journey. For that reason, they don't need to worry about sharing early ideas.
[00:33:44] They can bare it all.
[00:33:51] You've been listening to Fake Plastic Podcast. Fake Plastic Podcast is an Alternate Thursdays production with new episodes, every other Wednesday. [00:34:00] Share your favorite Radiohead performance with us on Instagram or Twitter @fakeplasticpod. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen.
[00:34:10] And if you really liked this episode, please leave a review and share with your friends, Radiohead fans or otherwise.
[00:34:18] I'm Savannah Wright. Thanks for listening. [00:34:30]