Music

Do You Know That You Can Enjoy Radiohead Songs (and More) in Its Online Public Library?

Radiohead songs, albums, performances, and more rare content are found in this official archive. 
IMAGE Radiohead
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We're late for this party. Unless you’re a hardcore fan who has been with Radiohead since it released its debut song “Creep” in 1992 and then continued to follow Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, and Philip Selway all to way to their latest set A Moon Shaped Pool in 2016, you (like us!) may have missed the big news: A free online repository of Radiohead songs, albums, performances, and other content exists. 

Why should you visit the Radiohead Public Library?

It’s worth repeating that access to the Radiohead Public Library is no-questions-asked free because that is exceedingly rare in our grubby world. As well, considering the scope of the digital archive, which covers the love and labors of almost three decades, including hard-to-find remixes and unseen photos, the endeavor becomes even more impressive.

The one-year-old project is not just a gift for fans, but also a way for the group to take control of its existence in the ephemeral online space. As Radiohead said on social media upon the debut of the archive: “Radiohead.com has always been infuriatingly uninformative and unpredictable. We have now, predictably, made it incredibly informative.”

The band explains its motivations even more clearly in this statement: “The internet as a whole has never been a reliable resource for detailed or even accurate information re: Radiohead. Many sites that attempted to provide some measure of service have long since gone dark as well. The overall effect has been ‘Radiohead’ search results that yield random and/or abbreviated shards: songs and album titles unaccompanied by detailed artwork or any additional context, low quality videos preceded by advertisements and shuffled via algorithms, and so on… That ends with the unveiling of the Radiohead Public Library.”

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It's a smart move, really, and, for a group unafraid to dabble in technology, a natural step. Previously, the band had also published all its songs and albums on YouTube.

What are the highlights of the Radiohead Public Library? 

You may ask: If Radiohead songs are already on YouTube why would you head to the library? The band points out how the videos on its platform can be enjoyed in HD and, more important, without the interruption of advertisements. 

Also, the library is curated. Together with the music, “corresponding visuals and various artefacts associated with each album,” are also found here. These include live performances, B-sides, and compilations, among others. Navigating to a particular era and getting lost in the memories is as easy as selecting one of the colored squares at the top right. 

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And the very good stuff? Music experts, such as Rolling Stones, Billboard, and NME, list the jewels in this treasure trove—those hard-to-find Radiohead songs and albums. These include the band’s Drill EP from 1992, the TKL RMX 8 EP from 2011, and “I Want None of This” from the compilation Help!: A Day in the Life, all of which are now available on streaming services.

Also available to stream is Radiohead’s Office Chart playlists, which NME describes as the influences (or what the band was listening to) during the recording sessions of In RainbowsThe King of Limbs, and A Moon Shaped Pool.     

Meanwhile, Rolling Stone highlights as “must-see” items the OKNOTOK White Cassette, which it says is “the best bite-sized version of the OK Computer origin story,” as well as the 137 minutes of the Inside Out Night webcast that was streamed during December 2002.

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You may also be interested in securing your official library card. Make sure to click on the member’s cards for behind-the-scenes tidbits, too. 

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What is Radiohead doing now?

Outside of this great digital archive, the members have been spending time working on solo projects. Most recently, in April 2020, O’Brien released his debut album Earth. And notably, Jonny Greenwood was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score for his work on 2017’s Phantom Thread and won the large orchestral award of The Ivors Academy in December 2020.

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Rolling Stone points out how these solo works are yet to be added to the Radiohead Public Library. But, as the archive now exists as the truest and most official source for all things Radiohead, it’s only a matter of time before you see more rare works and Radiohead songs added to the project.  

radiohead.com/library

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Clifford Olanday
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