Radiohead, lovingly referred to as “The Sound Wizards Of Oxfordshire” by those in the know, has always inspired incredible devotion. The band’s catalog, from studio recordings to bootleg concert videos, is large and varied enough to deserve the treatment, but, as with most rabid fan bases, discussion centered on the material is often more concerned with trivia bytes and collecting than an appreciation for what makes the music special in the first place. (“Nice 1998 performance of ‘I Promise,’ but have you seen this? It’s cellphone footage of Thom Yorke tapping his foot in line at a Starbucks.”)
A video from Vox gets somewhere more constructive, combining accessible music theory and some of those previously mentioned archival live clips to explain the deceptively complex rhythms behind In Rainbows closer “Videotape.”
It’s a great piece, explaining in plain terms what makes the final track on one of the band’s best albums work so well. More than anything else, it also gets at what makes Radiohead a pop band with so much staying power. Although every album is easy to enjoy on its surface, the songs are carefully written and produced, rewarding listeners who want to dig into them (and proselytize their merits to anyone nearby).
If none of that sounds interesting to the Radiohead faithful, there’s also some relatively obscure footage included in the analysis that they can watch, comforted by the fact that they already burned it onto a homemade DVD of live rarities years ago.