Track of the week : Radiohead – Spectre

It’s a shame in a way that I was taking a little break from blogging in December, as it meant I missed the chance to write about all the surprise Christmas releases. LCD Soundsystem! Green Day! erm… Miley Cyrus & The Flaming Lips?

The best of all (if not the most Christmassy) was Radiohead’s Spectre, written and recorded for the latest James Bond film, but not used. Now, I have no particular interest in Bond, so have no opinions as to how good a Bond theme this would have been, but I am interested in what it signifies for Radiohead.

Radiohead have historically been one of my favourite bands, but since 2002’s Amnesiac I’ve enjoyed their albums without ever truly loving them, finding them hard to connect with and cold at times. Spectre, though, is probably my favourite song of theirs since ‘Pyramid Song’. It shares some qualities with that song, a plaintive piano ballad, but with nods to Bond traditions in the lyrics and strings (although those strings are jarring and truncated, rather than lush).

My favourite Radiohead era is OK Computer through to Amnesiac, and this song could easily be from that time. So does Spectre signal a return to that sound, or is it just an anomaly? Radiohead have earned the right to do whatever they like, but I kind of hope it’s the former.


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