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Joel Whitney: Radiohead’s new video: ‘Lotus Flower’

February 21, 2011

joel_whitney.jpgHere’s the video for Radiohead’s new song, ‘Lotus Flower,’ from its new CD, The King Of Limbs.

Bands who’ve been around as long as Radiohead—especially on the West side of the pond—too often wind down their storied careers, or vulgarize their early successes, by imitating from the last influence a band should mine—itself. But with each new CD, Radiohead singer Thom Yorke always manages to find not just a new melody, but a new melodic language or register to sing in. While there’s a conversation from one Radiohead CD to the next, the songs are never overly derivative of earlier work, especially where melody comes in.

In this simple video that features Thom dancing, he allows his much-vaunted weirdness to boil over into silliness. Stills from the video may remind you at first blush of Christopher Walken dancing in the Fatboy Slim video, Weapon of Choice. But in the end Thom achieves a kind of beautiful staccato spasm-ing, calling out rhythmic accents in the song with claps, that reminds me more of his strange special-effect-achieved lurching movement in Radiohead’s There, There video.

Enjoy.

—Joel Whitney

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Joel Whitney is an editor of Guernica. Read his interview with Deeyah on banned musicians here. Joel’s writing and commentary have appeared in World Policy Journal, The New Republic, The Village Voice, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Paris Review, The Nation, Agni, New York magazine—and on NPR. He lives in Brooklyn. He’s on Twitter.

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