Top tracks of 2016 #3 – Radiohead, David Bowie & Underworld(again)

Some music becomes irrevocably linked to the year or the events it accompanied –  Ghost Town, Shipbuilding, What’s Going On, Ball Of Confusion, even Nessun Dorma. We’ve questioned on this blog before where all the political pop has gone, but  ‘Burn The Witch’ by Radiohead really is 2016 in four minutes. The video in particular perfectly captures that chilling moment (at exactly 3 minutes in) when you realise that the country you live in has gone completely and irrevocably insane  That guy is me.

Apparently Radiohead did not get permission for this obvious Trumpton homage, presumably on the grounds that it would have been denied, given it fuses cosy childhood nostalgia with The Wickerman to stunning effect.

Musically it’s one of the best things Radiohead have ever done, the edgy strings accompanying subtle lyrics –  presumably written before this car crash of a year – perfectly anticipating the  ‘low flying panic attack’ that has been 2016.

Abandon all reason
Avoid all eye contact
Do not react
Shoot the messengers

This is a low flying panic attack
Sing the song of sixpence that goes:

Burn the witch
We know where you live

Sure, as Roy has pointed out the album could not follow up on the promise of the single, but really how could it? There is also a great live version posted by Roy as his number 5 pick here.

Talking of Roy, his number 2 is below along with Andy’s.



7 thoughts on “Top tracks of 2016 #3 – Radiohead, David Bowie & Underworld(again)

  1. In my, and many more qualified people’s opinion, 2016 was also the year in which we lost one of the greatest “artists” that popular music has produced. In the formative years of the late 70’s and early 80’s I was a massive fan, and when you consider the breadth of his reportoire between “Hunky Dory” and “Let’s Dance” surely anyone who has the slightest interest in music will find at least one song which makes an impression on them. So, from his final album “Black Star”, released poignantly immediately prior to his death, I’m NOT going to choose “Lazarus” which would have been very easy to do, but seeing as that video has been seen 39 million times there’s probably little point. Instead, I’ve gone for the last trtack on the album, which is a particular favourite of mine. Thank you, David Bowie, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have listened to your music for 40 years. I’ll let Henry Rollins explain…

  2. Agree that ‘Burn The Witch’ is one of the best things Radiohead have ever done and that video is truly disturbing. Also found this on you tube if you ever wondered what Radiohead would sound like as a Metal band

    Nothing really left to say about Bowie other than he was the most important cultural iconoclast of the post-war generation with an influence way beyond music.

    1. Thanks for the video link – a whole mini concert to enjoy. I love the use of the song title behind the stage. Simple but very effective. Worked well at the Hammersmith Odeon when we say them last year.

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