32 minutes | Apr 24, 2019

Between the Lines: Analyzing Radiohead's Lyrics

Understanding Radiohead's lyrics is a common complaint for first-time listeners. It almost makes me wonder if “Creep” was such a hit because, in part, you can understand the lyrics so well. Whereas with songs like “The Gloaming” or “The National Anthem,” you may only pick up on every other word. Thankfully we have websites like Genius to clear things up.If you don’t know, Genius is a website that publishes official lyrics and then crowd-sources annotations and interpretations. The site also does artist interviews and additional research to verify the stories behind certain lyrics. So Ken Partridge, senior editor at Genius, knows a thing or two about uncovering a song’s history and evaluating how that history may influence our understanding of the lyrics.In this episode, Ken and I will dissect the song “The Bends” — untangling the various meanings of its title and discussing how its past may change your interpretation. And then we’ll hear from pianist David Bennett, who analyzes Radiohead’s music and lyrics on his YouTube channel David Bennet Piano. He’ll offer a fan’s perspective on the lyrics of “Subterranean Homesick Alien” from OK Computer. Because some of the greatest lyrical interpretations I’ve heard have stemmed from fans who simply analyze Radiohead for fun.
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