Yesterday, Radiohead, or I should say Radiohead’s former record label, EMI, released a double-disc greatest hits collection simply titled, The Best of Radiohead (Special Edition). Since I’m pretty sure Radiohead had no say in the matter, the label decided to cram a bunch of the group’s hits on two discs, which seems like an easy way out.
Here’s what I decided to do today–piece together a greatest hits compilation like they used to do back in the day, taking only 10 of a group’s best songs and putting them all on one disc. In the last few years, it has sort of become an industry standard to include a brand new song on a greatest hits collection, but since Radiohead never really follows industry standards, I’ve decided to include one B-side, along with nine Radiohead mega-hits on my personal Radiohead best-of collection. I’ve also pieced together the album in a way that takes its listener through a musical journey with lots of peaks and valleys. Thom Yorke’s gotta at least appreciate the sentiment behind that, right?
(good. better. best.)
I wanted to make the title of this collection both Radiohead-ambiguous and record store ready. The parentheses, lower-case letters, and periods may confuse some people, but the “good,” “better,” and “best” should make perfectly good sense.
1. “The National Anthem,” Kid A
How can you not start with “The National Anthem”?
2. “High and Dry,” The Bends
A big hit over in England, lesser known here in the states. At this point in the album, I don’t want to bust out the mega-hits just yet.
3. “Karma Police,” OK Computer
We transition from from The Bends to OK Computer (my two favorite Radiohead albums).
4. “Fake Plastic Trees,” The Bends
Still want to keep the mood chill, but we’ll turn up the volume in a bit.
5. “Idioteque,” Kid A
Get your dance shoes on, and–
6. “Creep,” Pablo Honey
Now it’s time to rock out. Even though modern rock radio has beaten this song into the ground, it’s too good (and popular) not to be included.
7. “Just,” The Bends
Even though “Creep” gets the spins, I think this is Radiohead’s best full-throttle rock song (also my all-time favorite song of theirs).
8. “Paranoid Android,” OK Computer
The “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “November Rain” of the late 90’s. Possibly the last great epic rock song.
9. “How Can You Be Sure?,” Just for College (B-side)
This is the gem I would use to get people, who own already own all of Radiohead’s albums, to buy my collection. It’s a very beautiful, straight-forward song.
10. “Street Spirit (Fade Out),” The Bends
A perfect album closer (showing the band’s strength and serenity).