Reckoner

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"Reckoner"
Single by Radiohead
from the album In Rainbows
Released 23 September 2008
Format Download
Genre Alternative rock, art rock
Length 4:50
Label XL Recordings
Writer(s) Radiohead
Producer(s) Nigel Godrich, Radiohead
Radiohead singles chronology
"House of Cards" / "Bodysnatchers"
(2008)
"Reckoner"
(2008)
"All I Need"
(2009)
In Rainbows track listing

"Reckoner" is a song by the English alternative rock band Radiohead, and is the seventh track on their 2007 album In Rainbows. The song was released as the fourth and final single from In Rainbows on 23 September 2008.[1] It was released through the Radiohead Remix website in the form of "stems", individual parts of the song (e.g. vocals, guitar, piano) for fans to remix, as with "Nude". The band had James Holden and Diplo create the first remixes of "Reckoner".[2]

The song was listed at #254 on Pitchfork Media's "Top 500 songs of the 2000s". In October 2011, NME placed it at number 93 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".[3]

History[edit]

In 2001, Radiohead performed a song with the working title of "Reckoner" in George, Washington.[4] This song, also known as "Feeling Pulled Apart by Horses" after a part of the lyrics, was a fast-paced, 'thrashy' rock song. In 2005, at a Trade Justice Movement rally where he also played "Nude", Radiohead singer Thom Yorke performed this early version of "Reckoner" on acoustic guitar. Yorke was later asked about the band's plans for "Reckoner", and he declared it "dead and buried". The song, in either form, was not played on the 2006 Radiohead tour where most In Rainbows material was introduced live. However, the song title was included in the final track listing of their seventh album.

"Reckoner" on In Rainbows bears little resemblance to the earlier incarnation of the song. When the album came out in October 2007, critics and listeners who had heard both versions remarked that the recorded version of "Reckoner" was a completely different, calmer song, taking the form of a ballad sung in falsetto, with dominant percussion and insistent, softer guitar riffs, and entirely different lyrics. The recording also features a string arrangement by guitarist Jonny Greenwood.

Thom admitted a John Frusciante influence, claiming the guitar riff "was sort of a homage to [him], in my sort of clunky ‘can't–really-pick' kind of way" characteristic of Red Hot Chili Peppers.[5]

Late in 2007, members of Radiohead gave an interview to BBC Radio 1 in which they explained that the new "Reckoner" in fact came out of an attempt to record the earlier song with that title. Late in the sessions, Yorke and Greenwood tried adding a coda to the original version of the song, and eventually the band decided to abandon everything except the new coda, which became "Reckoner".

The pre-coda, original version of Reckoner was eventually reworked by Thom Yorke (with Jonny Greenwood) and released as a solo effort, bearing the title Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses.

When played live, Yorke's guitar chords are more prominent in the outro section of the song. This part is played on an acoustic guitar in the studio version. The chords bear a vague harmonic similarity to the intro of the original version.

"Reckoner" is featured in the 2008 film Choke based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk, and in the 2010 Warren Miller film, "Wintervention". It was also featured in Season 2 of television drama series Life and is used for the closing credits of the 2009 eco-documentary The Age of Stupid and 2010 documentary Countdown to Zero. The song was also used during the climax of the season 1 finale of the television series Detroit 1-8-7. Gnarls Barkley have played a cover of the song numerous times on tour.

At a concert in Glendale, Arizona, Yorke stated that the song was inspired by a "very trippy dream, one of those ones you wake up from and go, 'aww man, I don't want to wake up from that, ever.'"[6]

Personnel[edit]

  • Thom Yorke - vocals, guitar
  • Colin Greenwood - bass, shaker
  • Jonny Greenwood - piano, shaker, string arrangement
  • Ed O'Brien - guitar, tambourine, backing vocals
  • Phil Selway - drums

Charts[edit]

Chart Peak Position
UK Singles Chart 74[7]

Music video[edit]

The official music video for "Reckoner" is Virtual Lasagna's submission to a video contest conducted by Aniboom. The video was chosen on 1 October 2008. The video depicts a situation in which a place filled with greenery is being replaced with structures, which hints at the gradual deforestation of the Earth for human benefit.

References[edit]

External links[edit]