The contest is over, the entries are in, and we have our winners for the Radiohead: Best of DVDs! In order to win, entrants had to submit an e-mail detailing what song they believe should have been included on the recent Radiohead: Best of release. Winners will receive a copy of the DVD and, as promised, here are their answers:
“The track which I think should have been included on The Best Of Radiohead is “Kid A.” It’s such a marvelously kaleidoscopic track, like listening to a movie about an alien robot who comes to visit a little kid in his bedroom and tries to communicate something immensely spiritual before vanishing into thin air before that kid’s eyes. The pictures I see when I hear this song are ever so vivid, and I guess that as I listen to it I’m that kid and Radiohead are, in some way, the robot. It’s a lovely uplifting track that takes me completely out of space and time, away from my problems and the dreariness of my daily life.” — Peter, from Warwickshire, UK
“I think “True Love Waits” should have been included on The Best of Radiohead, and specifically the only official recording of it, which is on the I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings. I think that it would be a very apropos complement to the collection of songs already on the disc. Even though the entire band is not involved on the track, it doesn’t have to be, which is the entire concept of Radiohead itself–the song and the feeling above all else, whether it requires electronic synths, or minimalist guitars and vocals, or if the bassist is playing the exact same line for the whole song (i.e. “The National Anthem”). It is one of the most requested songs at Radiohead concerts, and the feelings conveyed through it, by virtue of the title and lyrics alone, serve to bring the artist and audience together in sympathy (“Just don’t leave, don’t leave”). The sparseness yet uplifting chords fill out the track just enough, creating a stark contrast to the silence the song describes.” — Matthew, from Montclair, NJ
“My favorite back-to-back songs in the Radiohead canon are “Exit Music (For a Film)” and “Let Down.” I always think of these two as a solid, singular block, but I’ll obviously have to pry them apart for the purposes of your question.
So… my pick for the song that should have made the Best Of is… “Exit Music” — not so much because I think it’s a better tune than “Let Down,” but because of the circumstances surrounding my first hearing it.Â That would have been November 1, 1996, in Torrance, CA. I had driven down there from my apartment in Marina del Rey to meet a very close female friend of mine and to catch Romeo + Juliet on its opening night.
At the time, I wasn’t aware that “Talk Show Host” and “Exit Music” were a part of the movie, but I very clearly remember listening to the latter song during the closing credits and liking the slow-build melodrama of it. Alas — despite my well-entrenched love for The Bends (and for slow-build melodramas like “Fake Plastic Trees” and “Street Spirit”) — I didn’t realize that “Exit Music” was a Radiohead song until the very end of the credits. Blasphemy! But there it was.
After the film, my friend and I had dinner together (at the ever-elegant TGI Fridays), talked about the movie, talked about our mutual love for Radiohead’s music. Driving home again on the 405 later that night, I remember feeling that it had been as nice a night as I had had in quite a long time. My friend and I had met in a writing program in L.A., but we were through with all that by November ’96, and it was becoming an increasingly rare thing for the two of us to spend any time together. In fact, I would see her for the last time just a few months later. Bottom line: Her life went one way, mine went another. Not a new story. But it still saddens me that we weren’t able to maintain some kind of contact in the ensuing years.
So… even today, when I hear “Exit Music,” I think of my “lost” friend. I think of November 1, 1996. And I think of all the bittersweet memories I have of my years in L.A. — years that coincided perfectly with Bends– and OK Computer-era Radiohead. Of course, if I could, I’d live those years all over again — unhappy ending be damned.” — Mike, from Livonia, MI
Congrats to the winners, and thanks to all who submitted for reading.
Radiohead: “All I Need” (download)