Nude (song)

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Nude (Front Cover).jpg
Single by Radiohead
from the album In Rainbows
  • "4 Minute Warning"
  • "Down Is the New Up"
Released31 March 2008
GenreArt rock
Producer(s)Nigel Godrich
Radiohead singles chronology
"Jigsaw Falling into Place"
"House of Cards" / "Bodysnatchers"

"Nude" is a song by the English rock band Radiohead, released in March 2008 as the second single from their seventh studio album In Rainbows (2007).

Radiohead first recorded "Nude" during the sessions for their third album, OK Computer (1997), but were not satisfied with the results. They performed it several times over the following decade, and it became one of their best-known unreleased songs. For In Rainbows, Radiohead rearranged the song around a bassline written by Colin Greenwood.

"Nude" was promoted with a music video of Radiohead performing in slow motion, and a competition inviting fans to create remixes using the separated stem tracks. Boosted by the stem sales, it became Radiohead's most successful single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart since their debut single "Creep" peaked in 1993.


"Nude" had working titles including "Failure to Receive Repayment Will Put Your House at Risk", "Big Ideas" and "(Don't Get Any) Big Ideas".[1] The final title derives from an early version of the chorus: "What do you look like when you’re nude?"[2]

Radiohead recorded a version of "Nude" during the first sessions for their third album, OK Computer (1997), with producer Nigel Godrich. This version, inspired by Al Green, featured a Hammond organ, a "straighter" feel, and different lyrics. The band was initially pleased with the recording but, according to Godrich, "for some reason everyone went off it".[3]

"Nude" was first performed in the late 1990s by singer Thom Yorke in a solo performance in Japan.[1] Radiohead performed it several times over the following decade, and it became one of their best-known unreleased songs.[1] They and Godrich worked on "Nude" again during the sessions for their albums Kid A (2000) and Hail to the Thief (2003), but were not satisfied with the results.[3]

During the early sessions for Radiohead's seventh album In Rainbows (2007), Colin Greenwood wrote a new bassline for the song. According to Godrich, this "transformed it from something very straight into something that had much more of a rhythmic flow".[3] The band also removed a chorus and wrote a new ending.[3] They performed the new arrangement, along with other new material, on their 2006 tour before recording three takes for In Rainbows.[4] The final take was used, with overdubs recorded in Covent Garden, London.[3] Godrich said in 2008:[3]

Songs have a kind of window where they are really most alive – and you have to capture it. "Nude" missed its window, and it took a lot of reinvention to bring it back to the place where we could capture it again in a way that resonated for the people playing it. It was essentially the same song; nothing had really changed. What has changed are the people playing it.


Pitchfork described "Nude" as a "graceful and sorrowful version" of "sneering, knees-up" songs by the Kinks or Blur, or an inverse of Radiohead's 1997 single "No Surprises".[1] The lyrics address "suburban ennui, crushing boredom, unfulfilling go-nowhere lives".[1] The chord progression uses a double-tonic complex, suggesting the keys of both E major and its relative minor C#.[5]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Nude" was directed by Adam Buxton and Garth Jennings.[6] It was first played as part of a Radiohead webcast on December 31, 2007, one day before the retail release of In Rainbows. The video features Radiohead performing in slow motion with feathers filling the screen.[7] Greenwood said:[6]

We just rented cameras from this old guy who normally does nature stuff and just jumped up and down in front of them. And then [Buxton and Jennings] edited it on their laptop and put it up on YouTube. It was so cool because we didn't have to go through three weeks of video commissioning and receiving dodgy scripts set on abandoned skyscrapers in downtown LA or something. If you go in thinking "let's try it", it's really liberating.


"Nude" was released as a single on 31 March 2008.[8] Radiohead held a competition for fans to create remixes from the individual stem tracks of guitar, drums, bass, vocals and strings, available to purchase via iTunes. The entries were streamed on the Radiohead website.[9]

"Nude" outperformed the previous In Rainbows single, "Jigsaw Falling into Place", reaching number 21 on the UK Singles Chart. It reached number 37 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Radiohead's second top 40 hit after "Creep" reached number 34 in 1993. It was also the first Radiohead song to make the Pop 100.[10] Sales included sales of the remix stems, boosting its chart performance.[11] In 2020, the Guardian named it the seventh greatest Radiohead song, writing: "After kicking around in Radiohead lore for more than a decade, 'Nude' ... found stunning form, first by channelling Björk – choppy coos, weeping strings – and then in a finale as bright and penetrating as dawn."[12]

Early versions of "Nude", recorded in the OK Computer period, were included in the special edition of the 2017 OK Computer reissue OKNOTOK 1997 2017[2] and the 2019 compilation MiniDiscs [Hacked].[13]


Chart (2008) Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[14] 52
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[15] 12
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[16] 16
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[17] 8
Denmark (Tracklisten)[18] 11
European Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[19] 30
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[20] 7
France (SNEP)[21] 76
Ireland (IRMA)[22] 18
Italy (FIMI)[23] 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[24] 8
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[25] 23
Norway (VG-lista)[26] 4
Portugal Digital Songs (Billboard)[27] 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[28] 25
UK Singles (OCC)[29] 21
UK Indie (OCC)[30] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[31] 37

Track listings[edit]

  1. "Nude"
  2. "4 Minute Warning"[8]
  1. "Nude" – 4:17
  2. "Down Is the New Up"[8] – 5:00
  3. "4 Minute Warning" – 4:05



  1. ^ a b c d e "Pitchfork's Guide to Radiohead's In Rainbows | Pitchfork". Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b Atkins, Jamie (22 June 2017). "OK Computer – OKNOTOK 1997-2017 - Record Collector Magazine". Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "The Music Producers | Word Magazine". 3 July 2011. Archived from the original on 3 July 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  4. ^ Pareles, Jon (2 July 2006). "With Radiohead, and Alone, the Sweet Malaise of Thom Yorke". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  5. ^ Osborn, Brad (2016). Everything in its Right Place: Analyzing Radiohead. Oxford University Press.
  6. ^ a b Dombal, Ryan (28 March 2008). "Radiohead". Pitchfork. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  7. ^ "'Nude' Radiohead Video Hits Web, EMI Airs Dirty Laundry". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  8. ^ a b c "Radiohead announce new single details". NME. 12 March 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2008.
  9. ^ "Radiohead Launch 'Nude' Remix Contest". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  10. ^ "Artist Chart History - Radiohead". Retrieved 28 April 2009.
  11. ^ "Countin' Down The Drum Stems! Remixable Single Gives Radiohead A Hit". Retrieved 28 April 2009.
  12. ^ Monroe, Jazz (23 January 2020). "Radiohead's 40 greatest songs – ranked!". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  13. ^ Larson, Jeremy D; Greene, Jayson (12 June 2019). "The best, weirdest, and most revealing moments on Radiohead's OK Computer sessions leak". Pitchfork. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  14. ^ " – Radiohead – Nude" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  15. ^ " – Radiohead – Nude" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  16. ^ " – Radiohead – Nude" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  17. ^ "Radiohead Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  18. ^ " – Radiohead – Nude". Tracklisten. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  19. ^ "Radiohead – Chart Search" Billboard European Hot 100 Singles for Radiohead. Retrieved 2 May 2015. (subscription required)
  20. ^ "Radiohead: Nude" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  21. ^ " – Radiohead – Nude" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  22. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Nude". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  23. ^ " – Radiohead – Nude". Top Digital Download. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  24. ^ " – Radiohead – Nude" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  25. ^ " – Radiohead – Nude". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  26. ^ " – Radiohead – Nude". VG-lista. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  27. ^ "Portugal Digital Songs: Apr. 19, 2008". Billboard. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  28. ^ " – Radiohead – Nude". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  29. ^ "Radiohead: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  30. ^ "Official Independent Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  31. ^ "Radiohead Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 2 May 2015.