Apart from releasing several now-classic albums and earning a reputation as one of the greatest live bands touring today, Radiohead has helped set the bar for what a music video can be. Working with directors like Michel Gondry and Jonathan Glazer and letting Thom Yorke loose in “King of Limbs,” Radiohead is known for its animated and cinematic music videos. Over the years, the band’s massive and loyal fan base have also been inspired to create their own visual representations of Radiohead songs. From animations to lyric videos to mash-ups with existing film footage, here are our 15 favorite fan-made Radiohead videos.
Vimeo user Stefan Ringelschwandtner filmed this stunning time-lapse video for “Nude” with visceral shots of water droplets. We’ve never found showers this fascinating before.
14. “Fitter, Happier”
This video by Aaron Hinton was an official selection at the Utah High School Film Festival. The creator prefaced the video with, “Think about the deeper meaning. It bothers me that some people think they need to fit into society’s standards, that they need to be a specific person with a specific look and a specific set of skills. If you are one of these people, then YOU are the robot in this video.”
13. “Go Slowly” / 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The stunning imagery from Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey is well-paired with Radiohead’s ambient single “Go Slowly.”
12. “Nice Dream”
Mark ‘Weird Fish’ Fisher has one of the largest collections of Radiohead fan-made videos on YouTube, many carefully made with clips from video archives and films. He even got a nod from the band’s own Jonny Greenwood when he posted his video for “Polyethelene.” Here he pairs Radiohead’s “Nice Dream” with a reverie-like sepia-toned film which gives off a continual sense of paranoia. Replete with fantastic slow motion shots of bubbling liquid and a wealthy housewife’s unraveling mental state, it parallels the slow-burning track as it reels from a calm refrain into a frustrated and angry guitar-driven bridge.
11. “15 Step” / Se7en (1995)
This suspenseful clip from the David Fincher film Se7en answers the Q: “Aww..What’s in the box?!” with A: Thom Yorke’s head. The clip was edited by Garth Jennings and Adam Buxton for Radiohead’s webcast back in 2007.
In March, 2008, aniBoom, together with Radiohead’s label TBD Records, launched the In Rainbows Animated Music Video Contest, which culled over a thousand entries from animators all over the world. Radiohead chose four grand winners, including this black-and-white computer-generated video.
Dicken Shrader’s video for “Bodysnatchers” is a fantastic lyric video that races through colorful imagery and whirling pixels, ending on a political message.
8. “Codex” / The Tree of Life (2011)
It’s a wonder that no one has thought to have Radiohead score a Terrence Malick film, though this clip makes a good case for a future collaboration. It sets clips from 2011’s The Tree of Life to “Codex,” off of King of Limbs.
7. “Videotape” / Workers Leaving The Lumière Factory in Lyon (1895)
One of the earliest motion pictures ever produced, Louis Lumière’s film of workers leaving a factory in France is remastered here. A skipping film reel of spectral workers in the daily grind goes well with the song’s hypnotizing, chugging pace.
6. “The Amazing Sounds of Orgy”
Another video from mfisher1967, here he’s used a few different clips, meticulously fusing them together to form one haunting and dramatic piece. The shuffling percussion and eerie atmospherics of this song act as embellishments to this video of a nuclear mushroom cloud, construction work and a geo-magnetic storm occurring in the Earth’s upper atmosphere (20Hz). The footage is mesmerizing to watch.
5. “15 Step”
This anime video for “15 Step” created by Kota & Totori was another aniBoom winner. It follows a young man on a frustrated pursuit for a girl.
4. “A Wolf At the Door”
Grapevine Industries’ lyrics video for “A Wolf at the Door” pairs artwork from its Loups gallery with lyrics and music. The striking drawings in red, black and white tell an animated story of big bad wolves who terrify innocent children. The film was put together by Gastón Viñas.
3. “Let Down” / Sandpit (2010)
Employing time-lapse shift tilt photography, these scenes have the effect of being viewed in miniature. The buzzing city-scape of New York City makes the very real people and cars resemble toys. The user created the video using a film titled Sandpit shot by Sam O’Hare. The video mirrors the feeling of being lost in a larger world, a sentiment that “Let Down” conveys well. Check out more information on the filming here.
2. “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi”
Our favorite aniBoom winner, Transmutation, was created by Tobias Stretch. It’s an amazingly detailed claymation film with a story of a transformative voyage through nature.
1. “All I Need” / Microcosmos (1996)
Perhaps the most well-known example of a Radiohead song set to a film is J.T. Helms video pairing of “All I Need” with stills from the French nature documentary Microcosmos (1996). The visceral close-up imagery of insect interactions complement the song’s animal allusions, as Thom Yorke sings “I’m a moth who just wants to share your light / I’m an insect trying to get out of the night.” Helms is also known for his videos of Arcade Fire’s “My Body is a Cage” paired with Once Upon a Time in the West and his short-lived video of Boy with the Red Balloon set to Grizzly Bear’s “Two Weeks.”