Everything in Its Right Place
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|"Everything in Its Right Place"|
|Song by Radiohead|
|from the album Kid A|
|Recorded||January 1999 – April 2000|
|Kid A track listing|
"Everything in Its Right Place" is a song by the English rock band Radiohead. It is the opening track on their fourth studio album Kid A (2000). The song has been covered by several other artists, has been featured heavily on Radiohead's set lists and received positive reviews from critics.
Background and recording
Following the critical and commercial success of their 1997 album OK Computer, the members of Radiohead began to suffer psychological burnout, and songwriter Thom Yorke suffered a mental breakdown. He began to suffer from writer's block and said he had become disillusioned with rock music. He listened almost exclusively to the electronic music of Warp artists such as Aphex Twin and Autechre, saying: "It was refreshing because the music was all structures and had no human voices in it. But I felt just as emotional about it as I'd ever felt about guitar music."
Yorke bought a house in Cornwall and spent his time walking the cliffs and drawing, restricting his musical activity to playing the grand piano he had recently bought. "Everything in Its Right Place" was the first song he wrote on the piano, followed by "Pyramid Song" (released on Radiohead's 2001 album Amnesiac). He said: "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."
Producer Nigel Godrich was unimpressed with Yorke's piano rendition of "Everything in its Right Place". One night, he and Yorke transferred the song to synthesiser and Godrich processed the recording in Pro Tools. Guitarist Jonny Greenwood manipulated Yorke's vocals using a Kaoss Pad, creating a "glitching, stuttering collage". Greenwood said the song was a turning point in the making of Kid A: "We knew it had to be the first song, and everything just followed after it." He said it was the first time Radiohead had been happy to leave a song "sparse", instead of "layering on top of what’s a very good song or a very good sound, and hiding it, camouflaging it in case it’s not good enough."
Composition and lyrics
"Everything in its Right Place" is an electronic song featuring a synthesiser and a drum machine. Yorke's vocals on the track are manipulated with digital effects. 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.
Well, it's three-chord rock but it's not, it's very unusual ... It was originally in F minor, and it never comes down to the one chord, the F minor chord is never stated. So there's never a tonic, there's never a cadence in the normal sense, whereas in most pop tunes it will appear, even if it's only in passing. The other thing that really struck me about it is the word 'everything', sung to one-five-one: the tonic, the dominant and the tonic. The tonic and the dominant are the end of every Beethoven symphony, the end of everything in classical music, that's the way it goes. In the tune, those notes actually sound kind of distant because of the harmonies, they don't sound like the tonic and dominant. And the word: 'everything'. I'm sure Thom did it intuitively, I'm sure he wasn't thinking about it. I've seen him playing the piano and he's completely lost in it, the way he should be, but it's perfect, it is everything.
Remixes and re-interpretations
"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, heavily layered with sensual vocals, as a b-side.
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".
With "Jigsaw Falling into Place", it inspired contemporary classical composer Steve Reich's instrumental work, Radio Rewrite. Reich describes "Everything" as "a very rich song. It's very simple and very complex at the same time."
In pop culture
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 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. 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. It was also once used in the popular Source Mod The Stanley Parable. The song was also used in the documentary The Business of Being Born. Additionally, the trailer for the 2016 film The Accountant used the song.
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