“Idioteque” is a good choice; it’s way up there for me too.
The first song that springs to my mind is “Paranoid Android,” which I know is sort of ridiculous, considering that it’s on the same album as “Karma Police,” “No Surprises,” and “Lucky,” all of which are arguably more nuanced and interesting. But I started listening to Radiohead ten years ago, when I was 15, and what does a teenager care for musical complexity? So this pick is dedicated to high school me.
“Paranoid Android” is a typhoon of angst, scored by a virtuosic rock band at its most cathartic. For all its virulent social commentary and dystopian imagery, the core tension in the song, the line that transforms the foreboding bass line into a snarling guitar-driven monster, is “why don’t you remember my name?” The true paranoia of the song is borne from insecurity; its sneering violence is just lashing out. What could be more teenage than that? And before we get too far up our own asses about all the subtle details that make this band so special, I want to recognize that rock and roll, fundamentally, is meant to be music for young people with more feelings than they can handle. You may disagree, but to me, “Paranoid Android” captures that spirit even better than “Creep.”
Plus, I’ve never had more fun mangling a song at karaoke.