Single Review: Radiohead – The Daily Mail / Staircase

By on Wednesday, 21st December 2011 at 12:00 pm

Following on from the release in March 2011 of their 8th studio album ‘The King of Limbs’ (review here), the evergreen Radiohead have revealed singles ‘The Daily Mail’ and ‘Staircase’ released digitally this past monday. It’s testament to their musical ingenuity that they can afford to miss two such infectious tracks from their recent album release. However, ‘The King of Limbs’ stands as a polished and succinct mirror to our ever-decreasing attention spans, and it seems apt that for such a dystopian-sounding band, that this powerful aside is allowed to drift in the industrial ether.

Rising from a delicate piano melody, ‘The Daily Mail’ builds in surges to crescendo ala ‘White Rabbit’; the lyrics begin, “the lunatics have taken over the asylum, waiting for the rapture”, uncapping the slew of anti-consumerist feel. The song possesses a mad simplicity with Thom Yorke’s falsetto tone juxtaposed against the intricate functionality of a rhythm section that is noticeably more stock than almost anything from ‘The King of Limbs’.

‘Staircase’ is a more melancholic affair; a neat rhythmic shuffle from the bass and drums lean on the beat to drive the song forward and the synth evolves seamlessly into a familiar arpeggio on the guitar. Themes of appeasement and recovery are evident in the lyrics: “the pot is full / let me take control” cuts through the haze of background noise at the chorus and from the subtle key-change, you can imagine Thom Yorke as a fictional paramedic delivering that shot of adrenalin to pull you from an overdose.

Having trialled ‘The Daily Mail’ at Glastonbury 2011, this release seems to be somewhere between a teaser for the new material promised for 2012’s Olympian touring schedule, and an early Christmas present for fans. It is also a cheeky middle-finger to the conventions of the music industry, proving that a direct marketing route enables them to put tracks forward that are outside of the parameters of their current album, but still well worth a listen. [Editor’s note: we’ve included the ‘From the Basement’ versions of both songs below.]


‘The Daily Mail’ and ‘Staircase’ are available to download now from Ticker Tape Ltd. (well, that’s what the single’s Amazon UK page says, so that’s what we’re sticking with).



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