Dismiss Notice
We are making some updates and reconfigurations to our server. Apologies for any downtime or slow forum loading now or within the next week or so. Thanks!

Radiohead's odd time signatures is quite rare.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by manco, Feb 23, 2021 at 10:19 AM.

  1. manco

    manco Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    For some reason I had built them up in my mind that they had done a dozen of these but in fact it's just:

    Morning Bell(Kid A)
    15 Step
    Desert Island Disk

    the vast majority of their songs are in 4/4. I guess the density of their arrangements fools the listener into thinking otherwise.
     
    Timos likes this.
  2. Earthbound

    Earthbound Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Tennessee
    I think Videotape has an odd time thing going on doesn't it?
     
  3. Eleventh Earl of Mar

    Eleventh Earl of Mar Somehow got them all this far.

    Location:
    New York
    Radiohead never struck me as a band that would go into strange time signatures - it never occurred to me they had any, aside from Pyramid Song which fooled me for a bit, though if you focus on the drumming it's very plainly 4/4

    Not a slight, just an observation of my hard on for them years ago
     
    nosticker, Louise Boat and WHMusical like this.
  4. aphexj

    aphexj Sound mind & body

    Location:
    Toronto
    Syncopation, yes, but it's still 4/4
     
    mark winstanley likes this.
  5. manco

    manco Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    15 Step gets talked about so much that it made me think they must have had 2-3 of these on every album. I would have sworn Bloom was odd time, but nope.
     
  6. Eleventh Earl of Mar

    Eleventh Earl of Mar Somehow got them all this far.

    Location:
    New York
    As much as I enjoy Radiohead - even when I was that teenager, I could tell a lot of it's fanbase didn't have a lot of context for where they were pooling influences from. A lot of circle jerking about how "complicated" their music is.
     
    Louise Boat, Lownote30 and somnar like this.
  7. ARK

    ARK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Charlton, MA, USA
    Can you give specific examples?
     
  8. Tristero

    Tristero Touching from a distance

    Location:
    MI
    One could just as easily critique prog fans on similar grounds, if you were given to broad overgeneralizations. . .
     
    WHMusical likes this.
  9. pbuzby

    pbuzby Senior Member

    Location:
    Chicago, IL, US
    The instrumental part of Paranoid Android is in 7.
     
  10. jalexander

    jalexander Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Bloom sounds odd because it’s a 3 over 2 pattern. The bassline is the anchor and is clearly in 4/4 moving in eighths and quarters so it has the normal feel of “2’s”. The drums however have a triplet pattern which makes everything sound wonky layered together. When the guitar chords come in later, they are just big hits on the 1, so they reinforce the 4/4 time signature.

    When I first had to play triplets over eighth notes on the piano, that was a mind warp. Eventually you figure it out, and can then start doing three over four, five over four, etc.

    I love the effect though and Bloom is probably my favourite Radiohead song.
     
  11. Timos

    Timos Forum resident

    Another one: Pyramid Song is in 11/8 (well, 4/4, followed by 3/4, followed by another 4/4. Then repeat)!
     
    bleachershane and FloydMaui like this.
  12. Chemically altered

    Chemically altered Forum Resident

    Location:
    In your mind
    Radiohead is closet prog.
     
  13. jalexander

    jalexander Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Kid A got so much praise for how innovative it was (and still does). After OKC, I got into Tortoise and tangentially into some Ninja Tune stuff, which meant that Aphex Twin was in my listening world as well. In light of that stuff, Kid A wasn’t that big a deal. Because of that it still feels like a transitional album to me, rather than a groundbreaking masterpiece. For a rock band, yes it was innovative, and far more interesting than other 90s rock bands who just added a techno beat into the mix. But from an electronica or post-rock lens it wasn’t that out there.

    Radiohead themselves have talked about how they didn’t know the first thing about synth programming and concepts like ASDR at the time, which obviously other bands were well versed in. It’s just that those bands that did, didn’t have mainstream rock exposure so most listeners wouldn’t have evaluated Radiohead against them.

    I still think Radiohead came into their own with In Rainbows because they found some harmony between these different approaches that really became their own unique thing.

    I’d also contend that continues today. Can Jonny compete with the modern classical composers he so loves? Not really. He’s never going to be an Oliver Messiaen. But he can leverage those influences and bring them into Radiohead in a unique way as he did on much of AMSP.
     
  14. aphexj

    aphexj Sound mind & body

    Location:
    Toronto
    I thought "Everything in its Right Place" was 10/4, no? That's how I've always counted it...

    That song is good enough for Steve Reich, it's good enough for you!
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021 at 11:15 AM
  15. Kerm

    Kerm Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Yes. “2+2=5” also starts in 7/4 and cycles through some other things before landing square for the end. I think the OP is missing more than a few examples. “The Tourist” is a bit odd as well. “Sail to the Moon.”

    I’d actually contend the opposite of the OP hypothesis. Radiohead are talented at taking off time signatures and making them sound musical and natural.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021 at 11:22 AM
    jalexander, FloydMaui and aphexj like this.
  16. aphexj

    aphexj Sound mind & body

    Location:
    Toronto
    Even on their first album... the main pattern of the opening song "You" has 3 measures of 6/8, followed by an interruption of 5/8

    Just because the 'vast majority' of their songs are 4/4 doesn't mean they don't have an above-average number of odd times for a rock band!
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021 at 11:30 AM
  17. tightplatonic

    tightplatonic Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Thank you for sharing this! I'm not familiar with Tortoise/ninja tune/Oliver Messiaen but will def check them out based on this info as a big radiohead/greenwood fan I always curious where they draw their inspiration from
     
    ARK and jalexander like this.
  18. jalexander

    jalexander Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    All great stuff, but different genres:
    • Tortoise are probably the best known 90s post-rock bands. Part of the Chicago scene where jazz influences were being used to take alt rock in different directions. Check out Millions Living... as a starting point
    • Ninja Tune is an influential electronica label. Check out stuff like Kid Koala or DJ Vadim. Of course the critical electronica influence is Aphex Twin who was not on NT
    • Oliver Messiaen was a 20th century classical composer. His style is pretty influential on Jonny’s orchestration. He also used the Ondes Martenot keyboard in his compositions, which Jonny has used extensively
     
    tightplatonic, Louise Boat and ARK like this.
  19. jalexander

    jalexander Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Also, I see you’re from Toronto. Here’s Canadian born (and London based) pianist Angela Hewitt playing some Messiaen:
     
    tightplatonic, ARK and aphexj like this.
  20. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Senior Member

    Are you sure of that? I think it is in 4/4.
     
    Timos likes this.
  21. Turnaround

    Turnaround Member your mama warned you about

    Location:
    New York
    I can't tell if this thread is criticizing Radiohead for not being something that they didn't say they were, or praising Radiohead for being something that they are not. :laugh:

    "Radiohead is not as complicated as you'd think"
    "So that makes them simple!"
    "They are simple, but sound complicated!"
    "So that makes them pretty complicated!"
    "Yeah, but they're actually very simple."
    "They're actually complicated, but sound simple."
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021 at 12:50 PM
  22. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Senior Member

    Isn't the intro to Let Down in 5/8?
     
    Timos likes this.
  23. mkortjohn

    mkortjohn Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    Here's an interesting video about that song. Actually 4/4, but the syncopation gives the song an interesting effect.
     
  24. WHMusical

    WHMusical Chameleon Comedian Corinthian & Caricature

    Radiohead is Proggist Clog.
     
    Tristero likes this.
  25. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Senior Member

    IIRC, Identikit has some bars of 7/8.
     

Share This Page

molar-endocrine