There There

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"There There"
Single by Radiohead
from the album Hail to the Thief
B-side "Paperbag Writer"
"Where Bluebirds Fly"
Released 26 May 2003
Format CD, 12"
Genre Alternative rock
Length 5:23 (Album Version)
4:44 (Radio Edit)
Label Parlophone
Producer(s) Nigel Godrich, Radiohead
Radiohead singles chronology
"Knives Out"
(2001)
"There There"
(2003)
"Go to Sleep"
(2003)
Music video
"There There" on YouTube

"There There", stylised as "There there." on the CD single art, is a song by the English rock band Radiohead, featured on their album Hail to the Thief (2003) and released prior to the album as its first single. "There There" reached number four in the UK Singles Chart and number one in Canada. It also received moderate airplay from US modern rock stations peaking at number fourteen on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance, making it the band's most successful single on the radio since "Optimistic" in 2000. On Hail to the Thief the song, like others, is given a subtitle: "The Boney King of Nowhere".

In 2008, the song was featured on Radiohead: The Best Of, a compilation album.

Musical style[edit]

Like many Radiohead songs of the 2000s, "There There" is described by the band as heavily indebted to the band Can, whose songs Radiohead have also covered. The track made lead singer Thom Yorke burst into tears when he heard it in its completed state for the first time.[1] Live performances of "There There" usually begin with Phil Selway, Jonny Greenwood and Ed O'Brien on drums. The song has frequently been a concert opener since 2002, when it made its official debut as part of a tour of Portugal and Spain. A rough version of the song was premiered live during an Internet webcast by Radiohead in early February 2000; a demo of a more complete, but still early arrangement of the song appeared as a b-side in 2003 on the single "2 + 2 = 5". The song has also been performed solo on acoustic guitar by Thom Yorke on several occasions, beginning at Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit in October 2002. This single has been released with the Copy Control protection system in some regions.

Themes and video[edit]

The alternate title for the song as listed on the track listing for the album is "The Boney King of Nowhere". This is a reference to a song from Episode 2 ("The Owls of Athens") of the British children's television show Bagpuss, of which Yorke and his young son are professed fans.[2] A Bagpuss-inspired music video was filmed for "There There". The music video shows singer Thom Yorke enter a forest and find many creatures involved in human-like activities, like a pair of cats getting married, two squirrels sitting by a fireplace and smoking pipes, etc. He goes from one scene to another, each one increasing in luminosity. Finally, he arrives at a clearing where a golden jacket hangs from a tree. He puts the jacket on and also a pair of golden shoes hidden inside the tree. Doing so, he awakens the crows, who chase and attack him. The shoes appear to give him extra speed, but become tangled on the ground. When the shoes fall off his feet, his feet turn to tree roots upon touching the ground, followed by the rest of his body which turns into wood, also tearing Yorke's pants. Yorke becomes a tree in which the crows rest on the branches. The camera pans down to reveal Yorke's still, screaming face on the tree Yorke transformed into.

The video was directed by Chris Hopewell. Yorke had originally hoped that Bagpuss creator Oliver Postgate would agree to direct it, but Postgate (who was 78 years old and retired) declined his request.[3] The video was filmed at one-quarter regular speed; it looks jumpy, as if some of the frames are missing. The video received an award for art direction at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.

Demo version[edit]

A demo version appears on the single "2 + 2 = 5" released in 2003. It was the only Hail to the Thief b-side not to appear on the COM LAG (2plus2isfive) EP. The beginning and end are considerably longer than the version which made it onto the album, resulting in a track length of 7.45 making it one of the band's longest tracks.

Track listing[edit]

CD & 12":

  1. "There There" - 5:23
  2. "Paperbag Writer" - 3:58
  3. "Where Bluebirds Fly" - 4:32

B-sides[edit]

The single for "There There" featured two B-sides: "Paperbag Writer" and "Where Bluebirds Fly". "Paperbag Writer" was created mostly by Yorke, with band member Colin Greenwood adding a bassline. "Where Bluebirds Fly", an electronic piece with wordless vocals, was originally heard as the band's entrance music for their 2002 tour. It has received one live performance: in March 2005, Yorke performed it in London at the UK Ether Festival with the Arab Orchestra of Nazareth, soloist Lubna Salame, the London Sinfonietta, and band member Jonny Greenwood playing the ondes Martenot.

Personnel[edit]

  • Thom Yorke - vocals, guitar
  • Jonny Greenwood - guitar, toy piano
  • Ed O'Brien - guitar, effects, backing vocals
  • Colin Greenwood - bass
  • Philip Selway - drums, percussion

Release[edit]

Country Date Label Format Catalogue number
Japan 21 May 2003 Toshiba-EMI CD TOCP 40161
United Kingdom 26 May 2003 Parlophone 12" 12R6608
CD CDR6608

Charts[edit]

Chart (2003) Peak
position
Canadian Singles Chart 1
UK Singles Chart 4
Italian Singles Chart 5
Finland Singlies Chart 5
Ireland Singles Chart 7
Norwegian Singles Chart 8
Danish Singles Chart 9
Australian Singles Chart 28
Dutch Singles Chart 48
French Singles Chart 54
German Singles Chart 67
Swiss Singles Chart 76
US Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks 14
European Hot 100 Singles 7

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"In da Club" by 50 Cent
Canadian number-one single
14 June 2003 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"Bridge over Troubled Water" by Clay Aiken