Riley Breckenridge's Top 10 11 Radiohead Songs

(Last week, the news that Daniel Radcliffe listened to a lot of Radiohead to get into character for the lastest installment of Harry Potter triggered this list of top 10 Radiohead songs for various ultra fans. Riley Breckenridge, 3hree Things columnist and Thrice drummer, talks about his best songs, in a list that goes up to eleven; not bad for a guy who has not just one, but two Radiohead tattoos.--Ed.) 

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I don't think there's another band on the planet that has influenced me more as a musician and songwriter than Radiohead, so whittling this list down to just 10 songs was a daunting task. (So daunting, in fact, that I lost my ability to count and gave them 11 songs.) And if you were to ask me to submit this list again in a month, I'd guess that almost half of it would be different.

I can't think of another band that has been as inspiring, yet defeating as Radiohead has been. The best way I can think of explaining that would be via a clumsy basketball analogy. (Sorry.) You can go out and play a pick up game, and play well, and feel good about yourself, but once you watch footage of Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan, you realize, that while you're technically playing the same game, the game that they're playing is on a completely different, almost unfathomable level. That's how I feel about Radiohead. We're playing the same game, but they're functioning on a level that is well beyond my wildest dreams.


1. "How To Disappear Completely"
This song has been a fitting soundtrack to some of the highest and lowest times in my life. I remember falling asleep to it every night for almost two years, because of how much it calmed me and put me at peace whether it'd been a great day or a difficult one. The lyrics "I'm not here. This isn't happening." resonated with me so intensely (both in times of something-seeming-so-incredibly-wonderful-that-it's-surreal and times of something-seeming-so-insurmountable-and-depressing-that-it's-soul-crushing) that I got them tattooed on the inside of my arm. And there's something about the arrangement, movement, and mood of this song that moves me like nothing else can.


2. "Everything In Its Right Place"
I'm of the opinion that the sound of the first five notes in this song is one of the most comforting sounds ever created.
Five notes. Played in a single second. And I'm instantly in a better place.

3. "All I Need"
I heard this for the first time at a show that I went to (alone) in 2007 at Bayside in San Diego (before In Rainbows was released.) Standing at the back of the crowd, with the sun disappearing into the Pacific Ocean behind the stage, the coda of this song brought me to tears. It was such a cathartic end to a brooding groove, I couldn't hold in my emotions. Absolutely gorgeous.


4. "Paranoid Android"
There's something beautifully schizophrenic about this song. It's all over the place, really; hypnotic, groovy, chaotic, cathartic, a deceptively heavy. Somehow, Radiohead managed to tastefully squeeze everything that has made them (arguably) on the best rock bands of all-time into roughly six-and-a-half minutes of music.

5. "In Limbo"
The movement of the guitar arpeggio in this track is some of my favorite guitar work in Radiohead's entire catalogue. And subconsciously it's been highly influential in some of the guitar parts I've written for Thrice. It dances between dark and light, and its triplet feel can be pretty mesmerizing. When asked about my favorite songs on Kid A I often forget how about how much I love this one, but I'm not making that mistake this time. Dare I say, this is an underrated Radiohead song.


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7 comments
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Carson
Carson

Great list. Got me thinking about some of my own favorites, though it was impossibly hard to really compile a list...11. Lotus Flower - Like the song. Like the remix. Like the video.10. Polyethylene - Man, that song rocks!9. Climbing Up The Walls - always stays with me and love the nod to Penderecki at the end8. Jigsaw Falling Into Place - keeps building and building. Agree that this is a top 107. You And Whose Army? - I love Thom's vocal on this6. Weird Fishes - beautiful guitar work, and haunting vocals...5. Idioteque - amazing, especially live4. Everything In Its Right Place - Yes, the beginning notes just set me right...3. There, There - wrote an essay about this + the video is awesome2. Pyramid Song - haunting, can listen to it over and over...1. Last Flowers - Sure, it's on the 2nd disc for In Rainbows, but it's an amazing song. Thom's vocals and the lyrics are so raw and vulnerable. Wish it had made In Rainbows proper...

Cheers!

Hg_gv
Hg_gv

Interesting list.If I had to chose I'd say "Let Down" is my #1. But I noticed your tweet regarding that one.I like how your list is pretty personal, with some not obvious choices. 

Also very glad to see Reckoner - as a drummer it's some of the most hypnotic drumming + percussion I've ever heard, and sometimes it gets stuck in my brain, especially at the kit.

One last comment, regarding Videotape. That song, simple as it is, really grows on you over time and the lyrics really sink in.  

Timbo
Timbo

You should know you're playing on the same level as Radiohead, Thrice's music has been consistently as good as theirs for the last three albums, and hopefully will continue to do so with it's upcoming one.  

Riley Breckenridge
Riley Breckenridge

I certainly appreciate the comment, but I disagree. We've done a good job of doing whatever it is that we've managed to do for the past several years, but I think Radiohead is just on another level.

neonspektra
neonspektra

I agree with you. The chemistry of these guys is out-of-this-world. Especially the From the basement sessions (In Rainbows & King of Limbs)... unbelievable, awesome, mouth watering, a lesson for all the bends in the world, etc. Oh, you guys are an inspiration as well :) Can't wait for Major/Minor.

Oc75
Oc75

I call shenanigans on any list that excludes "No Surprises" or "National Anthem".

Medusa
Medusa

Nice.  I hated seeing all of the comments bashing last weeks Top Radiohead songs list.  Having said that, I agree with yours much more.  That doesn't make it better, just different.  I agree with you - Radiohead is on a different level.

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