Tag Archives: Lotus Flower

The Evolution of Radiohead “Lotus Flower”

February 20, 2011
My living room

The King of Limbs

Radiohead: The King of Limbs

All day today I was under the impression that it was Saturday.  A text message from a friend confirming our dinner plans tonight was my first indication that today was indeed Sunday.  Another friend reminded me that next weekend is the Academy Awards.  The sum total of what this means to me is that February is over already.

I feel like I’m in some parallel universe, where the relationship with time is much more dynamic, much less linear.   As I play around in this sphere, the question that often arises is “what happened?”  Not because I’m concerned, but because I like it here.

In the midst of this, my phone rang.  “How are you?” the familiar voice on the other end asked.  “I’m listening to Radiohead,” I replied.

And that’s the answer.  That’s what happened.

Radiohead’s latest album The King of Limbs came out Friday, following an announcement just a few days prior that the album would be available for download on Saturday.   I’m on Radiohead time.

I’m not going to write about the album because I like people to have the space to form their own opinions about music and because I don’t want to limit it with something as concrete as words.  Listen to it a few times.  Get lost in it. Or run away from it.  Whatever it moves you to do – move and do it.

Which leads us to the video for “Lotus Flower” that was released Friday morning (US time), just prior to the album becoming available.  The video racked up a substantial number of “plays” and accolades early in the day.  My first thought was, “wow… look how Lotus Flower has evolved.”

I was thinking back to October 2, 2009, the first time Lotus Flower was played live for an audience.   Thom debuted the song during a “secret show” to unveil his new band, “??????“.  ?????? soon became known as “The Thom Yorke band,” and by “known” I mean: people didn’t have the attention span to say “question mark question mark question mark question mark question mark question mark” and needed something more tangible.  On March 1, 2010, Thom Yorke declared ?????? had been named “Atoms For Peace.”  As time is dynamic, so is Thom Yorke, Radiohead, and the music they compose.  Even the older albums feel to me like they evolve upon each new listen.

I managed to capture quite a lot of video during that first show, in October 2009, much to the dismay of some self-declared “traditional journalists” who felt they’d been scooped “by some bloggers.”  That’s the challenge isn’t it? They’re behind.  We’re living in different times now, to the rhythm of instant gratification.  The real, immediate, news is reported on Twitter, the “Nightly News” is simply a recap of the history of that day.

So here’s the “Nightly News” video recap of “Lotus Flower” – the first single off The King of Limbs:

“Lotus Flower” performed for the first time, at The Echoplex, October 2, 2009:

[Video playlist] ?????? Live at The Echoplex

Official “Lotus Flower” Video, released February 18, 2011:

Radiohead “Lotus Flower”/Beyonce “Single Ladies” Thom Yorke dance mash-up:

“Lotus Flower Rick Roll”:

(“Lotus Flower live at The Echoplex” video courtesy http://www.youtube.com/user/starfiterpilot)

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