Song review: Radiohead – Burn the Witch


The excitement amongst music fans has been palpable over the past few days, as one of the world’s biggest bands, Radiohead, mysteriously began to remove all online content posted through their official channels, with many fans hoping that news of a forthcoming album release was imminent.

blog_recommendedFive years after the release of their last record, The King of Limbs, the band have brought us one step closer to whatever is coming next with a brand new single, Burn the Witch. SPOILER ALERT: IT’S FANTASTIC!

First hinted at as a potential unreleased track as far back as 2002, Burn the Witch is a masterful return to the spotlight for the band, leaning heavily on the seemingly other-worldly talents of guitarist and arranger Jonny Greenwood, and with a string section every bit as brilliant as the one heard on the surprise Christmas release Spectre (the Bond song that we should have had!).

Opening with urgent-sounding plucked strings, the track wastes no time in building a sinister atmosphere, made darker still by Thom Yorke‘s proclamation that we “Stay in the shadows / Cheer at the gallows”. The dense production and orchestration is reminiscent of Jonny Greenwood‘s solo soundtracking work, texturally lush and full of nuance. The former BBC composer in residence has gone from strength to strength with his cinematic work, and Radiohead are reaping the rewards of this true musical genius.

By the time the swooning strings kick in for the second verse (with Yorke‘s wailed vocals haunting through the chorus), Colin Greenwood‘s outstanding bassline sat tightly behind, it’s clear that Radiohead‘s ability to turn out something incredibly special and unique hasn’t diminished in their absence. Given a Radiohead associate’s claims that the album will be “unlike anything you’ve heard before”, fans will be chomping at the bit for more new music, with rumours suggesting the new album could arrive sooner than the touted June release date.

A special mention should go to the amazing, Trumpton-inspired stop motion video that accompanies the track. Like a Saturday morning kids programme but based on 1973 movie The Wicker Man, the video ties the song’s themes together perfectly.

If this is even a sliver of what is to come, music fans are in for an absolute treat. Welcome back, Radiohead. We’ve missed you!


Author: Chris, Liverpool store

This article has 1 comment

  1. WIth the announcement of second single, Daydreaming, I thought my head might just explode. To find out almost at the same instant that the new album would be releasing on the 8th of May (just 8 hours and 53 minutes to go!), was like Christmas come early! I hope you enjoy it is much as I’m sure I will, Radiohead fans!