Radiohead is one of the best bands on the planet. But even Radiohead have some incredible turkeys in their back catalogue. Thom Yorke’s single is the distinctly average ‘Analyse’. Listening to The Bends yesterday was the straw that broke the camel’s back and made me write this post. Here are the ones to skip.

  • I Will — Doesn’t seem like a bad song at first. But an alternative version, ‘I Will (Los Angeles version)’ is far superior, yet had to make do with being a B-side.
  • You Never Was Up After Yourself — I almost left this off the list simply because it’s such a forgettable song.
  • Melatonin — This unmemorable song sounds like a demo, mostly because of the horrible cheap synth sounds used.
  • Analyse — A monotonous track, if you’ve heard the first ten seconds you’ve heard the whole song.
  • Backdrifts — Only some interesting electronic soundscapery saves this one. The melody is so unbearably sickly sweet, it sounds like the sort of thing they’d sing on Hi 5.
  • How Do You? — This song kind of single-handedly sums up everything that was wrong with early Radiohead. Why did they feel such a need to sound so American?
  • Stop Whispering — Radiohead can perhaps be forgiven for having the odd bum tune on their first album, but there is simply no excuse for this travesty. Why… just why? Shockingly, the worst song on Pablo Honey is also the longest one.
  • SulkThe Bends is regarded as a classic album, but I think the quality varies dramatically from song to song. Sulk sounds like a proper dud, particularly given the fact that it is immediately followed on the album by the genius of ‘Street Spirit (Fade Out)’.
  • High and Dry — Possibly the most banal song ever written, I almost always skip this track while listening to the otherwise-bearable The Bends. Thom Yorke recently admitted that EMI put pressure on Radiohead to release this. If only they hadn’t, then we might never have ended up with banal whinepots like Coldplay and all those other bands that get compared to Radiohead but couldn’t actually hold a candle to them.
  • Let DownOK Computer is widely regarded as one of the greatest albums ever to grace an ear. I say that no truly great album can contain a track as poor as the aptly-titled ‘Let Down’. A cheesy, unadventurous song that goes absolutely nowhere. And what is with that bleeping at the end? It’s like something out of a low-budget 1970s science fiction programme. They went down to the Oxfam and bought the cheapest Casio keyboard and accidentally leant on the demo button?

Generally believed to be a bad Radiohead song, but actually quite good

Pop is Dead. It’s not well-known as it doesn’t appear on any albums, but this was actually one of Radiohead’s first singles. Most people think it’s quite cheesy. I just think it’s good fun and a whole lot less cheesy than some of the songs from Pablo Honey.

41 comments

  1. Collie

    “Radiohead is one of the best bands on the planet”
    Hopefully you’re not speaking of planet Earth, or I for one have a sudden wish to stowaway on the next available shuttle to outerspace, where I shall jetison myself into the vast empty expanse and hope to drift to a new, Radiohead free world where good music doesn’t consist of making the listener want to slash their wrists. Ker–chrunk, ker–chrunk….. (from Creep) by far and away the best and most listenable bit of Radiohead’s entire career and that was about 10 years ago. But each to their own opinion.

    Actually I recently stumbled upon this:
    http://www.lowmorale.co.uk/creep/

    That Nizlopi JCB video chap is responsible. And lo and behold, even the bloke in the animation tries to kill himself! Says it all!

  2. The Low Morale video is good, even if the bloke does attempt to top himself at the end!
    If I had to vote for my least favourite Radiohead track (and I am a big fan), then I guess I would plump for ‘How Do You?’ Although I always skip ‘Fitter Happier’ when I listen to OK Computer.

  3. I don’t mind “Let Down” or – if it’s the one I think it is – “How Do You?”, but I agree about “High and Dry”. Can’t comment on most of the others as I gave up on Radiohead when they released Kid A.

  4. djm

    Are you high? “Let Down” the worst?? That song is like an endorphin rush and a religious experience tied into one. You can’t be serious. Listen to it again and again and again. Listen to how each rephrain builds and builds taking you up and down and forgetting where you are. It is absolute brilliance. And the final refrain plateaus and caresses you. Man, you are totally missing it.

  5. Dave

    check out the live version of ‘analyse’ on youtube played at the murcury awards, you will reconsider – its one of the stonger songs on ‘the eraser’

  6. marvin27

    Let Down?????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    How such a masterpiece can get within an asses roar of a ‘Worst Song’ list defies logic, reason, sense, jesus it even defies gravity for f**k sake. Christ Man Have You Ears?

  7. David Walton

    i dont think any of them songs are bad atall, people like the person who wrote that statment at the top of this page are putting to much pressure on york. you cant expect anyone to produce song after song at such a high standerd. perhaps some of the songs listed arnt very adventerous by yorks standerds. show me one musician writing songs half as good as any of them listed and i will eat my shoes.

  8. William

    “Let Down” is probably only second to “Paranoid Android” or “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” as my favorite Radiohead song ever. I disagree with some of your other choices, but I can at least understand them. “Let Down”…I just don’t know man. I can’t see where you’re coming from at all.

    Also, I tend to like Pablo Honey somewhat (it’s still probably their worst album, but I don’t crap on it all the time like a lot of people seem to), but I really only ever bother defending “Blow Out”.

    My least favorite is probably “Karma Police”. I thought it made a pretty poor single for an amazing album. They lyrics are pretty funny though.

  9. Let down???????? your having a laugh man!! that is one of their greatest of all time!!

  10. Kevin B

    Where is “CREEP” it is easily come to become the worst Radiohead Track of all time?

    It’s hard to find bad Radiohead songs, I like Kid A, Amnesiac, HTTT and In Rainbows, but they’ll always be compared to The Bends and OK Computer and some “fans” want carbon copies of these rather than new material, but Creep and most of the Pablo Honey material sounds like its from a completely different Radiohead.

  11. Yeah, I think Pablo Honey is Radiohead’s worst album by a long way, and half of the songs on The Bends are utter rubbish. I do like some songs from their earlier albums though, and I do quite like ‘Creep’.

  12. Jorge

    I could understand if you included “Electioneering,” or “Fitter Happier,” but you picked “Let Down.”

    Normally I consider matters of taste to be subjective, but in this instance you are actually incorrect, wrong and truly not at all right.

  13. Tony

    ““Radiohead is one of the best bands on the planet”
    Hopefully you’re not speaking of planet Earth, or I for one have a sudden wish to stowaway on the next available shuttle to outerspace, where I shall jetison myself into the vast empty expanse and hope to drift to a new, Radiohead free world where good music doesn’t consist of making the listener want to slash their wrists. Ker–chrunk, ker–chrunk….. (from Creep) by far and away the best and most listenable bit of Radiohead’s entire career and that was about 10 years ago. But each to their own opinion.

    Actually I recently stumbled upon this:
    http://www.lowmorale.co.uk/creep/

    That Nizlopi JCB video chap is responsible. And lo and behold, even the bloke in the animation tries to kill himself! Says it all!'”

    why did you even bother making that post if you yourself said ‘each to their own opinion’?. why do so many people complain about a lot of radioheads music being of the mood it is?, and say that people who listen to it must be depressive?. would you say that everybody who watches films like saw, hostel or devils rejects are closet psychopaths?. the art you opt for doesn’t necessarily reflect your personality, it just has a compelling or positive effect on you that you can’t always explain.
    and please, do stoaway to another planet, i’m sure you won’t be missed

  14. Tony

    by the way, just wanted to say that i actually agree with the author on high And dry. it staines the bends in my opinion, it’s just so much worse, and corny than anything else on it. and like sulk, its followed by one of their best songs of all time fake plastic trees. If only another song that was round at that time had made it instead, like bishops robes, lozenge of love or banana co.

  15. Wikum

    HAHA Let Down!!! That’s a perfect song…just perfect! The lyrics, the rhythms, the harmony and cacophony, the refrains, the effects, the soaring vocals. One of if not radiohead’s best songs.

  16. pauly

    i’m glad to see i wasn’t the only one confused/disgusted about ‘let down’ being on this list.

  17. :)

    Sulk and let down are bother masterpieces high and dry is the only one that deserves to be there, atleast you got pop is dead right.

  18. Charlie

    Let Down is the song that got me into Radiohead. I also read at one point that it was a fan favorite. Judging by mine and others’ reactions, that’s a fair statement. But you would have to listen to Let Down expecting it and wishing it to be bad to not enjoy it.

  19. John

    You don’t like Radiohead!

  20. Big Bucks Charlie

    What about Anyone Can Play Guitar? That is just about as bad as they’re earlier career has gotten.

    Not going to comment on the more insignificant ones but High And Dry in thier worst ten songs? Oh no, you have it all backwards. I’ll admit they’ve done so many song that are way better than that but there definitley are worse Radiohead songs that exist.

    Also, anyone who bashes a track on the official greatest album of all time (Ok Computer), for whatever reason, cannot even begin to call themselves a true fan of Radiohead. Let Down is a true classic and is amongst the best songs ever recorded. So, you are not a true fan of Radiohead.

  21. I’ll struggle to recover from this revelation.

  22. Matt

    Fake Plastic Trees and High and Dry are by far the worst tracks on anotherwise perfect album. Let Down is a GREAT song man. I also think that Pablo Honey is way underated. Amnesiac is probably the weakest album even though 3 of my favorite songs are on the album (Pyramid Song, Knives Out, You and Whose Army). That proves how strong a band Radiohead really is.

  23. Master Of Dingdong Bells

    Come on man! Let Down is a beautiful song and where do you get the idea that it is cheesy. It sounds more humble than anything else, a quality that makes songs great. It’s also catchy and yet so meaningful. Just look at the song’s lyrics. And as for the bleeping noises at the end it makes for a spectacular ending. And you think it sounds like something out of an old science fiction film? Seriously?

    I also think Big Bucks Charlie is exactly right about High And Dry. It is nowhere near their best song but is it really as bad as you said it is?

    I’m surprised you don’t have Knives Out on here.

  24. You still have not changed it.

  25. Justin

    I love most Radiohead, but I really love Let Down, and Matt your way off also, “Fake Plastic Trees” is a masterpiece.

  26. Ed

    Let Down is possibly my favourite Radiohead song.

    How can anyone call it their worst, let alone put it beneath Pop is Dead? Absolute joke of an inclusion.

  27. Stephen

    Rubbish. Let down kicks ass. So does Backdrifts and I Will.

    I think one of the worst songs by Radiohead is Fog.

    And it was songs like Fake Plastic Trees, High and Dry, and Karma Police that probably had some influence in Coldplay’s style. But just because Coldplay is mainstream (and frankly so is Radiohead) you can’t say they are not a kick ass band, because they are. This is a terrible list.

  28. john

    i also think let downs an absolute masterpiece its so emotional i get into it so much listening to it, my worst radiohead song is probably inside my head.

  29. Incense

    i disagree with ‘I Will’ and ‘Let Down’, i took something away from both songs and they both mean a lot to me. ‘Let Down’ sounds like a drone at first but when you get into it you’re just carried away to a different place altogether, it is an amazing experience.

    Agree that most of Pablo Honey isn’t very good, but since then they have produced so much brilliance as to negate the lacklustre droll on the first album.

  30. Leslie Swinton

    Backdrifts and I Will are both excellent songs. The author is full of crap and obviously has no taste for masterpieces…

  31. Ryan Christie

    Let Down the worst huh??? I’ll admit, like many I’m sure, the truly great RH songs are the ones that don’t immediately listen well–that I believe is less taste and far more conditioning we’ve all been exposed and programmed to, to hear on one level only, and render judgement instantly. After opening your channels for truly experinecing most of RH’s music, the songs take on a completely foreign feel before they can truly be appreciated.

    Let down as your #6 only lets me know you haven’t gotten “there” yet–in the most no-intentional-msical snobbery possible, as I’m no hipster that looks down on those who don’t label myself by the imitation of other’s art.. Enjoy the journey if you choose it, and feel free to throw off the commercial yoke anytime–the sooner you do (and I hope you choose to), the more you’ll appreciate the life-changing that will ensue.

  32. Ryan Christie

    Let Down the worst huh??? I’ll admit, like many I’m sure, the truly great RH songs are the ones that don’t immediately listen well–that I believe is less taste and far more conditioning we’ve all been exposed and programmed to, to hear on one level only, and render judgement instantly. After opening your channels for truly experinecing most of RH’s music, the songs take on a completely foreign feel before they can truly be appreciated.

    Let down as your #6 only lets me know you haven’t gotten “there” yet–in the most no-intentional-msical snobbery possible, as I’m no hipster that looks down on those who don’t label myself by the imitation of other’s art.. Enjoy the journey if you choose it, and feel free to throw off the commercial yoke anytime–the sooner you do (and I hope you choose to), the more you’ll appreciate the life-changing that will ensue.

  33. Joel

    I’m glad that I’m not only who disagrees with Let Down being on this list. Great song. So is Sulk too. I use to consider High & Dry one of my least favourite songs on The Bends. Now it’s okay.

  34. Mark

    ‘Let Down’ is one of the greatest pieces of music ever written, I have played it 1000s of times and never tire of it. To be on somebodies ‘worst’ list is absurd. They must be pulling our legs.

  35. James

    One of my least favourite songs is Creep…

  36. Trash.

    Let Down & I Will are both amazing, and Sulk is far from a bad song. If I had to make a list, it’d consist only of Pablo Honey songs, excluding Creep, as that was the song that brought them to the public eye.

  37. Tom (which my name was spelled with an H)

    You deaf bastard, Let Down is the definition of the perfect song. There is not a single wasted note or noise or anything that could be added to make it better. Radiohead’s BEST song and one of the most brilliant ever made.

  38. drakola

    I love how you call “Let Down” cheesy and unadventurous. It makes everything else you say pointless! That album is one of the great adventures of the 90’s.. every song on it is equally amazing. Having an opinion, just to have one.. is a bit boring and cliche.

  39. okn0tok

    Rubbish, some of those songs are very good. It’s pointless to make such a list as no two people feel music in the same way.

  40. werisar

    As soon as I read ‘Let Down’ everything else instantly lost it’s credibility.

  41. Scott

    Just stumbled across this long running thread. Had no idea so many others loved Let Down as much as I do (except for the author of course). Easily in my top 5 RH songs ever. My fave on OK Computer.