Everything in Its Right Place

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"Everything in Its Right Place"
Song by Radiohead from the album Kid A
Released 2 October 2000
Recorded January 1999 – April 2000
Genre Electronic, experimental
Length 4:11
Label Parlophone
Capitol
Producer Nigel Godrich and Radiohead
Kid A track listing
  1. "Everything in Its Right Place"
  2. "Kid A"
  3. "The National Anthem"
  4. "How to Disappear Completely"
  5. "Treefingers"
  6. "Optimistic"
  7. "In Limbo"
  8. "Idioteque"
  9. "Morning Bell"
  10. "Motion Picture Soundtrack"

"Everything in Its Right Place" is a song by the English rock band Radiohead, written by lead singer Thom Yorke in 1999. It was recorded with producer Nigel Godrich in Batsford later the same year. It is the opening track of their 2000 album Kid A.

While no singles were released from the album, Yorke has since expressed regret over not releasing "Everything in Its Right Place" as the lead single for Kid A.[citation needed] The song is noteworthy in its own right as it has been covered by several other artists,[1][2] features heavily in Radiohead's set list[3] and received positive reviews from critics.

Recording and musical style[edit]

The song was written late one night by Thom Yorke on a piano at home. According to Yorke, "I bought a piano for my house, a proper nice one - a baby grand. And this was the first thing I wrote on it. And I'm such a shit piano player. I remember this Tom Waits quote from years ago, that what keeps him going as a songwriter is his complete ignorance of the instruments he's using. So everything's a novelty. That's one of the reasons I wanted to get into computers and synths, because I didn't understand how the fuck they worked. I had no idea what ADSR meant."[4]

The recording was largely finished in another night by Yorke together with drummer Phil Selway and producer Nigel Godrich. The final composition featured neither guitar, piano, nor drums, but electric piano, a drum machine and computer manipulations of Yorke's voice. The song features an unusual chord progression with a great deal of dissonant harmony, which, combined with the bizarre vocal effects and unintelligible sounds, gives the song an ominous feel. Another distinguishing feature is its marriage of an unconventional time signature (10/4) to a dance/house groove. The feel of the song, especially when played live, has been seen as akin to house music and minimal techno due to its keyboard part, which plays an ascending chord sequence in a syncopated rhythm, alongside a steady, synthetic bass drum.

Though not all band members contributed directly to the sound, all are credited equally on the track, as always. Thom Yorke and guitarist Ed O'Brien have both cited "Everything in Its Right Place" as the moment their frustrations with a year of contentious recording sessions began to give way, and they felt they were actually getting somewhere with their experimental approach, which had initially been worrisome to O'Brien. After the completion of the song in early 2000, the album was finished in only a few more months in an atmosphere of greater cooperation and understanding between Yorke and the other band members. Thus it formed a natural opening track for Kid A, the first album compiled from these recording sessions.

Yorke's chopped up, effected, vocals in the beginning appear to say the phrase "Kid A, Kid A" twice. When the whole track is reversed, these vocal effects sound exactly the same—forwards and backwards.

Song meaning[edit]

Yorke is reported to have written this song in the shadow of their 19971998 OK Computer tour. Specifically, as he recalled in an interview, it was their show in Birmingham, England, that affected him the most, as he was beginning to fully realize the band's sudden and unexpected fame. Yorke reportedly left the stage for his dressing room, feeling burned out and helpless.

The song's title references a 17th-century proverb as detailed in The Oxford Book Of Quotations.[5] Yorke studied English & Fine Arts at Exeter University.

The line, "Yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon", apparently refers to the face one makes in reaction to a lemon's sourness. Yorke revealed in an interview that while promoting OK Computer, he was told he frequently exhibited a sour-faced look. Other lyrics are said to have been drawn randomly from a hat in a process inspired by artist Tristan Tzara, whose instructions for "How to make a Dada poem" appeared on Radiohead's website at this time.

Another line, "There are two colors in my head", is a reference to the paintings of Mark Rothko, of whom Yorke would reference as an influence in interviews leading up to its release.

Live[edit]

The song continues to be played in an extended, more rave-like version at nearly every Radiohead concert. Live performances feature Thom Yorke singing and playing keyboards, Colin Greenwood playing bass and guitarists Jonny Greenwood and Ed O'Brien doing live manipulations of Thom's performance. Jonny uses an effects device (the KORG Kaoss Pad) that samples and changes Thom's vocals, while Ed usually samples Thom's keyboard to create a loop, often using a DigiTech Whammy for pitch effects. Phil Selway starts the song off with a shaker (that looks strangely like a lemon), and eventually picks up a snare drum beat. Ed sometimes samples the drum too. As the song nears its end, band members leave the stage one by one until the stage is empty, but their sampled performances continue. It has often been Radiohead's set closer, or closed the main set before encores. A version can be found on the band's 2001 live album I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings.

Another aspect of the live performance is the fact that sometimes another song segues into it. Thom will sing a portion of something over the keyboard drone before the song begins, so that Jonny may test the Kaoss Pad. In 2001 he referenced the Manics' "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next", 2003 saw Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush" played before it, in 2006 unrecorded Radiohead fan favourites "True Love Waits" and "Follow Me Around" were sometimes played before, while 2008 sometimes saw short portions of R.E.M.'s "The One I Love" or Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Maps" played. The "After the Gold Rush" snippet was revived for the band's 2012 Coachella Festival performance.

Remixes and re-interpretations[edit]

"Everything in Its Right Place" has been covered by numerous other artists working in various genres. Club remixes were created by Paul Oakenfold and Josh Wink, among others. Classical pianist Christopher O'Riley and jazz pianists Brad Mehldau and Michael Wolff have both recorded interpretations in their respective styles. Jazz pianist Robert Glasper has recorded versions of the song melded with Herbie Hancock's jazz standard "Maiden Voyage" on two separate occasions. Hip-hop band The Roots have performed the song live on various occasions with Bilal or Osunlade, the latter of whom contributed his own dance-friendly version with Erro (Eric Roberson) to a 2006 Radiohead tribute album. Anomie Belle regularly performed the song live, and later recorded a Björk-esque version,[6] heavily layered with sensual vocals, as a b-side.

American producer Pretty Lights released a mash up of it with Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana in 2011.[7]

Thom Yorke himself has altered the song by playing it live occasionally on the piano in sessions for radio stations and for Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit in 2002, stripping away the electronic soundscape and emphasizing the haunting melody. An UNKLEsounds Remix can be found on the UNKLE DJ Soundscape mix Do Androids Dream of Electric Beats?. Scala & Kolacny Brothers also covered the song on their album "It all leads to this".

In 2007 Steve Adey re-interpreted the song as a b-side to his Burning Fields 7".

British DJ and producer SBTRKT sampled the song on his track "Right Place", which was released as a free download by music blog RCRD LBL.

In 2009 the a cappella vocal group Sonos recorded a version using only their voices.

With "Jigsaw Falling into Place", it inspired contemporary classical composer Steve Reich's instrumental work, Radio Rewrite.[8] Reich describes "Everything" as "a very rich song. It's very simple and very complex at the same time."[9]

In pop culture[edit]

Everything in Its Right Place was the opening song to the psychedelic planetarium feature, SonicVision, organized by Moby. It is played in the opening, as viewers enter a spaceship and are launched into the stars[10] The song was used in the opening of the 2001 film, Vanilla Sky. Director Cameron Crowe and his cast were enamoured of Kid A during the filming and played it during scenes to get into character.[11] The song was also used in the opening scene of the 2009 movie Veronika Decides to Die, as well as in the trailer for 2011 drama film Anonymous. On various File Sharing websites, downloaded versions of this song can be found that are erroneously credited to the band Pinback. The song was used in Episode 6, Season 3 of the television drama series Nip/Tuck during a scene where the surgeons are seen piecing together two dead bodies.

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]