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Music

Thom Yorke's favourite film of all time

Thom Yorke’s artistic career has constantly evolved. When he started Radiohead, the band’s first few albums were heavily rock-orientated, though OK Computer reinvented the genre and inspired a new wave of rock bands to turn guitar-laden tunes on their head.

Radiohead took a significant u-turn in 2000. The music press and Radiohead fans alike were expecting a follow-up similar to OK Computer, but Radiohead sent everyone down the river with the release of Kid A, a primarily electronic album with elements of ambience. Amnesiac followed in a similar vein, while In RainbowsThe King of Limbs and A Moon Shaped Pool all varied in sonic composition.

When Yorke was not down in the basement with his bandmates, he turned his talents to a solo career that further explored his penchant for ambient and electronica, notably on 2006’s The Eraser. Yorke also contributed the soundtrack to 2018’s Suspiria, a remake of Dario Argento’s original 1977 ballet-horror flick.

In an interview with Variety, Yorke revealed that many Radiohead tracks had been used in films. Both Radiohead and Yorke’s solo output certainly have a cinematic edge, with an unrivalled emotion and sombre mood that lends itself perfectly to accompanying emotional and climactic film scenes.

Yorke said, “There’s been a few that make me go, ‘I wish we’d done that.’ There was an old sequence in Vanilla Sky, where they used ‘Everything In Its Right Place’ that we really liked. There was a use of ‘You and Whose Army?’ in some independent movie – I can’t remember the name now – which had me in tears; it was so good. Generally, when it works, it’s the coolest feeling.”

“I think my all-time favourite film now is Children of Men,” Yorke added. “They use a little tiny bit of ‘Life in a Glass House’ during the Michael Caine sequence. I love the film so much, and then the fact that our music is in it is like ‘Wow, fucking hell!'”

Children of Men is a 2006 film directed by Alfonso Cuaron, based on P.D. James’ novel of the same name. The film is set in a dystopian 2027 London, where the earth’s inhabitants have all become infertile, leaving society on the brink of collapse. Clive Owen plays a civil servant who must help a refugee rumoured to be pregnant escape the danger and desolation of the city.

Later in the interview, Yorke revealed that he had received a few offers to provide film scores before Suspiria. He said: “Mostly, they’ve gone to Jonny. A long time ago, they were trying to get me to do Fight Club, but I had no idea how to do it then. I know Ed Norton now, and we joke about it a bit. I was not developed enough.”

Jonny Greenwood, as Yorke mentions, has penned many scores and soundtracks for acclaimed movies, including many with frequent collaborator Paul Thomas Anderson. Greenwood wrote for Anderson’s films There Will Be BloodThe MasterInherent Vice and Phantom Thread.

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