Radiohead - "The Numbers" (Singles Going Steady)

by PopMatters Staff

1 November 2016

Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood and a CR78 drum machine are back to treat fans now to a minimalist take on the song.

Andrew Paschal: Radiohead may take a more stripped-back approach here, but they are anything but complacent or relaxed. The CR-78 drum machine, listed as a full-fledged band member along with Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood in their latest set of live videos, lends a nice bedroom pop feel that the studio version lacks. Lyrics like, “The system is a lie” are somewhat cliché in 2016, and anything that could be conceivably uttered by Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Thom Yorke alike is probably lacking in some specificity. Nonetheless, the ubiquity of the sentiment supports Yorke’s insistence that we need to “take back what is ours”. [7/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: If there’s any question by now that Radiohead works some kind of magic, it’s because you haven’t been paying attention. “The Numbers” is another lovely, winding spell; it paints a surreal landscape. Sometimes it sounds like outer space, at other times like the desert sunset, and at still others like floating underwater. Repeating chords and simple electronic beats encircle Thom Yorke’s ghostly vocals and Jonny Greenwood’s weaving guitar, creating that strange serenity Radiohead has perfected, that feeling that the world is both weird and divinely beautiful. It’s on the tamer, simpler side of Radiohead’s oeuvre, but it has subtle complexities to it. More alien artwork from a group that constantly transcends the barriers of earthly music. [9/10]

Jared Skinner: Modern masters Paul Thomas Anderson and Radiohead team up again with a stripped down version of “The Numbers” from their recently released A Moon Shaped Pool. Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood and a CR78 drum machine are back to treat fans now to a minimalist take on the song, which lends a more sparse and meditative atmosphere to an already chilling song. Gone are the epic strings of the London Contemporary Orchestra but to stay is the raw, provocative power of the continuously solid music from one of this generations best musical groups. [7/10]

SCORE: 7.67

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