Thursday, February 23, 2012

Radiohead Videos

From the terrifyingly theatrical to the utterly bizarre, the promo videos by British alt-rock standard bearers Radiohead are truly brilliant works of art that can stand very well on their own, even when divorced from their accompanying audio tracks. Here are some jaw-droppingly excellent examples of the short films that have made a forceful impact in the overall Radiohead scheme of things.


This restrained indictment of unbridled consumerism is visually realised in one of Radiohead's most subdued, understated clips. The most conspicuous thing about the video, however, is the almost Warholian play of colours that dominates throughout, providing a subtle counterpoint to the song's underlying message.

JUST (1995)

A man kneels and lies down on the street. Concerned passers-by stop to ask him if anything is 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 finally blurts out (via the accompanying subtitles). The next thing you know, everyone is lying down on the street, just like him. One of the most subtly dystopian promos ever made.


One of Radiohead's most striking, evocative Goth-rock ballads gets a wholly appropriate nocturnal-themed video. This creepy clip was shot entirely in atmospheric black and white, and comprises a mélange of unnerving images and situations, all set in an eerie trailer park late at night. Perfect viewing to accompany those long, dark nights of the soul.


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 crowd.


An understated promo that has a subtle anti-establishment message, 'Karma Police' is set entirely within the confines of an empty moving car and on the road ahead. The man being chased could very well represent the oppressed everyman who, in the video's denouement, finally settles his scores with a shadowy, unnamed authority figure. Karmic irony has never looked better than on here.


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 utterly 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 and highly unsettling, this one has to be seen to be believed.


Taking direct inspiration from Bjork's "Human Behaviour" promo from 1993, this environmental-themed clip displays, with a knowing, secret smile, what happens when you get lost in the woods and intrude upon the secret kingdom of the wild. Mother Nature finally gets her own back at mankind here.


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