Electioneering – Radiohead

With a clatter and a riff seemingly put together from found pieces my favourite jam on OK Computer might prove itself to be Radiohead’s last ever straight forward angry heavy rock song. At the time of it’s release it sat alongside songs that hinted at the bands controversial ambient next steps. There were slow mournful mood pieces and schizoid time changing epics. Electronica lurks beneath parts of the album and there are the pre millennial tension melodies that defined an era.

Electioneering broils forward out of the speakers full of vim and righteous ire. Sardonic and flushed in the cheeks.

‘I would stop, I would stop at nothing, say the right things when electioneering’

While the guitars sound out like alarms and the bass rattles loosely, most of Electioneering’s drive comes from the relentless percussion. There are chimes and cymbals, usually used sparingly, which are played like they’re snares or toms. The poor cowbell gets a beating like it owes Phil Selway money.  It’s a mighty driving force for the song to boulder along to.

Thom Yorke could be describing the democratic process from a sympathetic and supportive standpoint if you read his lyrics written down. It’s his delivery that speaks of the contempt and the distain he feels for the Westminster crap shoot.

‘I go forwards, you go backwards, somewhere we will meet’

With increasing mania this line is repeated as Colin and Johnny cook up the storm of noise Phil is conducting.

I loved OK Computer when it came out. It sounded like the future or rock music. It respected the listener and challenged them to work with it. It held it’s own along side The Colour And The Shape as a rocker  and Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space as an art statement. It worked some of the same muscles as Vanishing Point and Portishead. But it towered over the other works released that year.

20 years later the albums been remastered and expanded. Radiohead in 2017 stole Glastonbury again a generation later.

Love them as I do on their current vector, I would have liked a few more heavy rock songs like this one. Radiohead the rock band were loved for many good reasons.


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