My favourite of the three new/old Radiohead tracks that surfaced this year on the 20th anniversary edition of OK Computer (which was subtitled OKNOTOK to give it a contemporary edge). Man of War is the most robust and scalable of the three tracks. It’s also the one that sounds most like you’ve heard it before.
“Drift all you like from ocean to ocean search the whole world but drunken confessions and hijacked affairs will just make you more alone”
The reason for it’s familiarity is simple. Radiohead used to play it a lot in the 90’s. Considered for the last 20 years a true lost classic there were live bootleg cassette recordings and moody fan made CD’s floating around in the mania between 1997 and before the big controversy of Kid A.
“So unplug the phones, stop all the taps it all comes flooding back to poison clouds and poisoned dwarves, you’re my man of war”
Many would be rock and roll archaeologist were mapping Ver ‘Heads OK Computer follow up via Man Of War. And it looked good.
This was how fandom worked back then. You got into a band, you got obsessed with some details, you did your digging and got into demo tapes, live bootlegs etc. You could turn up and see them play a new song and know the words. The internet could not have been dreamed of for these geeks.
Some fans were bereft when they saw the track listing for Kid A didn’t feature the songs they’d amassed on bootlegs. They were the ones with white trainers, Scott Pilgrim haircuts and little leather satchels worn across their skinny t-shirts and tracksuit jackets. You remember those guys right?
Well imagine how chuffed they were to get a time capsule back to their youth this year. Man of War is a fine little vintage item. It made my summer.