Optimistic (song)

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Song by Radiohead from the album Kid A
Released 2 October 2000
Recorded January 1999–April 2000
Genre Experimental rock, alternative rock
Length 5:16
Label Parlophone
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"

"Optimistic" is a song by the English rock band Radiohead, the sixth track on their 2000 album Kid A. The song most closely resembles Radiohead's previous work of all the songs of Kid A, but is still vastly different, with the guitar/full band line up being the only major similarity. Ed O'Brien wrote that Thom Yorke's lyrics reminded him 'of PJ Harvey's blues stuff'. The repeated phrase 'try the best you can' was included by Yorke because it was what his girlfriend kept telling him about recording the follow up to OK Computer.


No singles were released from Kid A, but promos of several songs from the album, including "Optimistic", were sent to radio stations. Without an official single specified by the band or label, the guitar-driven "Optimistic" became the default track to be picked up by alternative rock stations in the United States. "Optimistic" was included on disc one of the 17-track, US version of Radiohead: The Best of, a compilation released by Capitol Records in 2008. The song was not included on the 16-track, UK version released by Parlophone. "Optimistic" received more airplay than any other track on Kid A, and peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart,[1] and one of only three Radiohead songs - the others being "Creep" and "Bodysnatchers" - to peak in the Top 10 of that chart.[2] The song has been covered by Hanson on their live album The Best of Hanson: Live & Electric, recorded on their 2005 Australian tour.

Live performances[edit]

"Optimistic" was performed often during an initial tour in 2000 but it did not appear again in Radiohead's live shows until it was brought back in 2008 to be played twice at a special show for BBC Radio 1 on April 1[3] and again on May 4, during a VH1 airing of the programme From the Basement, featuring a set from their then-newest album In Rainbows. Since then, the song has become a regular part of the setlist during their 2008 tour. The live performance is similar to the one found on the album, featuring three guitars, bass and drums.



  1. ^ "Kid A - Charts & Awards - Billboard Singles". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  2. ^ Radiohead Awards at AllMusic
  3. ^ "Radiohead at the BBC - Matinee Show". ateaseweb.com. 2008-04-01. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 

External links[edit]