Today, Radiohead dropped some uneasy visuals for the track “Man of War.” The track was originally written during the OK Computer days, but is just now seeing the light of day for the release OKNOTOK, the reissue of OK Computer upon its 20th anniversary.
The new and previously unreleased track is a case of contrasts. A ballad composed of string arrangements and pianos fights for the heart of the strong with distorted guitar shreds and some anxiety-filled vocals from Thom Yorke. The lyrics deliver some similar anxiety-raising warnings as well: “drunken confessions and hijacked affairs will just make you more alone.”
The visuals only add to the sense of uneasiness that permeates the new track. Day and night clips pendulum-swing back and forth, changing moods on a dime and never letting the viewer get comfortable. An unnamed and aggressively average main character bounces back and forth between a relatively carefree afternoon and fearful and distraught night. During the day, he calmly walks strolls around town and at night, he constantly is looking over his shoulder, fearful of something or someone. However, the two moods eventually converge as the track hits a frenzy, until the character is quickly lost in a crowd that swarms him on a railroad track.
The new track was written during a “really bonkers” time as Thom Yorke puts it. “I was basically catatonic…the claustrophobia—just having no sense of reality at all…I was getting into the sense of information overload,” Yorke said to Rolling Stone. The reissue itself is dedicated to Thom Yorke’s late partner, Dr. Rachel Owen, who last her life this past December to a battle with with cancer.
“This re-issue is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Rachel Owen (1968-2016) who died after a long and brave battle with cancer. We hope you are OK. Thank you for listening,” the tribute reads on the vinyl sleeve.
The reissue will drop this Friday, and will feature two other unreleased songs, “I Promise” and “Lift.” Yorke himself was also in some controversy regarding his performance in Israel. Check out the new video below.
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat