Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Radiohead Videos

From the terrifyingly theatrical to the utterly bizarre, Radiohead promo videos are truly brilliant works of art that can stand on their own, even when divorced from the accompanying tracks. Here are some excellent examples of the music videos that have made a mark in the overall Radiohead scheme of things (with links to the clips themselves):

JUST (1995)
A man kneels and lies down on the street. Concerned passer-bys stop to ask what’s the matter. The man refuses to tell, insisting that it’s too terrible to disclose. The crowd persist in knowing anyway. "Yes I'll tell you, I'll tell you why I'm lying here...but God forgive me...and God help us all...because you don't know what you ask of me," the man says (via the accompanying subtitles). The next thing you know, everyone is lying down on the street. One of the most subtly dystopian promos ever made.

Set in a busy diner somewhere in Middle America, this Tarantino-esque promo features the usual suspects found in any given flick by the enfant-terrible auteur: shady characters, dramatic showdowns, and a car explosion. Arguably Radiohead’s most cinematic visual piece.

A genuinely disturbing animated clip that features imagery of casual sadomasochism, dying junkies, severed limbs and deranged angels and mermaids. Definitely not one for the Nickelodeon channel.

An understated promo that has a subtle anti-establishment message, ‘Karma Police’ is set entirely within the confines of a moving car and the road ahead. The man being chased could very well represent the oppressed everyman who looks forward to settling his scores with a shadowy, unnamed figure of authority.

This semi-animated promo is a purely CGI construct, featuring a stellar combination of computer-generated 3D imagery and traditional hand-drawn cell animation. The nautically themed clip follows the travails of a survivor of some unspecified global holocaust, as he dives into the depths of a radiation-wracked sea searching for his dead family. Strangely poignant and moving.

Arguably the most disquieting clip in the Radiohead video oeuvre, this remarkable one-take promo features decidedly surreal imagery, partly based on Salvador Dali’s paintings. Almost indescribable, this one has to be seen to be believed.

Taking direct inspiration from Bjork's "Human Behaviour" promo from 1993, this environmental-themed clip shows what happens when you get lost in the forest and intrude upon the secret kingdom of the wild.


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