when I’m at the pearly gates
this’ll be on my videotape
when Mephistophilis is just beneath
and he’s reaching up to grab me
this is one for the good days
and I have it all here in
red blue green
red blue green
you are my centre when I spin away
out of control on videotape
this is my way of saying goodbye
because I can’t do it face to face
so I’m talking to you before…
no matter what happens now
you shouldn't be afraid
because I know
today has been the most perfect day
I have ever seen
AVC: If "Reckoner" is what you were aiming at, the band must have had something different in mind for the record.--
EO: There wasn't any kind of vision. But we were talking about making something a bit more bare-bones.
TY: More space.
EO: "Videotape" is the best example. We've had a tendency to pile on overdubs and tracks and fill everything up. I can't help but feel that we suffered from that. We just piled stuff on. You look to the essence of a great song: You've got great vocals, with lovely lyrics and a great melody, and you've got something that backs that. After Hail To The Thief, it was great to hear Thom's Eraser. You've got great vocals up front, in your face, not back in the mix futzing with all the other melodies and stuff going on. Keeping that was definitely in the cards.
By then, several sessions has also taken place at Nigel Godrich’s Hospital Studio in London’s Covent Garden. There, in December 2006, Thom Yorke felt the first real glimmer of achievement. “We were looking for something that had a real effect on us, an emotional impact, and that happened when we were doing "Videotape" and I was semi kicked out of the studio for being a negative influence. Stanley and I came back a bit worse for wear at about 11 in the evening and Jonny and Nigel had done this stuff to it that reduced us both to tears. It completely blew my mind. They’d stripped all the nonsense away that I’d been piling onto it, and what was left was this quite pure sentiment.”--Mojo | February 2008
John: Like it. “Videotape” is the next track. And when you were sequencing the album. Did you always think this is the best way to end the record?--2008-01-03 | XFM Radio Interview
Thom: Well, no. Mm, Nigel and I for ages thought it should be the first track, until some… Chris, our manager, pointed out, you know—having come in from the outside, we’d been locked in the studio for a while—‘You must be bloody kidding! They’ll just play that and say forget it’, ‘cause it’s pretty dark, but um… I think that was only just because it was the thing at that particular moment that we were most proud of, you know? So…
John: So usually I mean, that’s the one that you want to share first and say ‘Hey! Look what we’ve done!’
Ed: Mm, not necessarily. I think—no, not necessarily. I think it’s like every song has its place and if I was… in the morning—well, I don’t play the songs to friends—but if I were to. I mean, it depends, if I come back from the pub and—maybe one o’clock in the morning—and sit and have a smoke that would probably be a good one to start with. But it might not be a good one at ten o’clock in the morning. You know what I mean? It’s like, I like that thing someone said once about ‘every song has its hour of the day’ almost.
Thom: That’s true.
Ed: So, it seems… I think the reason that Nigel… I remember Nigel said he wanted it to be at the start of the record because it’s just literally Thom’s voice. You’ve got the piano but you just got his voice, and we haven’t done that for a while, you know? The thing that was cool about the rest of us, when we heard The Eraser and it was like ‘Ooh… his vocals are loud! Ooh! I like that!’
Thom: ‘Why can’t he do it with us?’ [laughs]
Ed: [laughs] No, exactly. ‘Why does he want to bury it in all our noise?’
Thom: Just giving you space, chap! It’s alright.
Ed: That’s right. Hiding? No. And so I think that it’s great for that because it’s really—the voice is upfront and, you know? It’s such a great lyric.
John: Mm, yeah. Well, it’s a great way to end the album, great way to start it, then. And, of course, people can shuffle it around if they want to.
Thom: If they must.
John: Listening to the whole of In Rainbows. Something: Phil has got in touch with the programme and wanted to know that in the past, at some point, Thom, you had said that “How to Disappear”, you reckoned, was probably the best thing that Radiohead...
Thom: Oh, yeah.
John: …had ever done. Is there anything on In Rainbows you think you could’ve, as a band, have reached that pinnacle again?
Thom: Uh, me personally it would be “Videotape”. Because it was one of those songs where it was absolutely sort of—we just didn’t know how on Earth we were gonna do it; and, you know, and to end up with this really stripped-down thing where you’re hearing all this extra stuff—it’s maybe there, maybe not—you know, it’s just… it exists on a different sort of weird… There’s something else going on which you can’t hear, but it’s going on, and it transforms you hopefully, that’s the idea. “How to Disappear” was a similar thing. There’s a point in there where it’s like… You know the old Murakami?
Thom: Uh, Japanese author. Japanese-American author. And in his books they always have this—well, it’s a constant theme of like having holes in walls that you go through and then you’re sort of a parallel… You break through to the other side sort of thing. And I think that’s the aim of records for us. Making music is—every now and again you get those bits where you break through to the other side.