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Was Radiohead’s Lift Worth the Fuss?

Did the anticipation feel better than the end result?

For damn near decades the furor over the unreleased Radiohead track “Lift” was nothing short of borderline insane. Known as the song that the band never released because it would have made them too popular,  “Lift” in its embryonic stages has enjoyed a life in the underground.

oknotokNow that an official studio version has made its way to the surface via their new OK Computer reissue OKNOTOK 1997-2017, the question must be asked ‘is it really all that?’ The answer is complicated.

Like Dr. Dre’s fabled Detox, the myth of grew so large that there was no way that it could feel as magical as envisioned.

For one, the band has moved on musically so ears that came along in a post-Bends/OK Computer world will find it rather simple.

Those that have been around since their inception have heard similar mid-tempo movements with “High and Dry” and “Sulk.”

None of this is a knock on the song as it’s quite good yet somewhat unpolished. It is even daringly optimistic for a band that isn’t known for bathing in the sunshine.

Said optimism may have created the feeling from within that “Lift” was a drastically different sibling than any of the aural family that went to the picnic on OK Computer.

In 2017, it’s easy to spot where the brakes were pumped in the tracking/creative process. There is very little bite to singer Thom Yorkes performance.

A signature of Radiohead’s studio recordings is the tension and vibrato that Yorke piles onto the quietest of moments. While better than a mere scratch vocal, what is laid out is a lot of potential.

Other tell-tale signs such as mix and to the number of guitars that were stacked within the wall of sound suggest that that they were on to something, but the community will never know exactly what that exactly was.

“Lift” is damn good but will be a disappointment for those searching for the Golden Fleece.

Stream: Radiohead “Lift”


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