Few things make people feel smarter than having an opinion about Radiohead – which makes me feel like a certifiable genius.

Their latest release, The King Of Limbs, was released in a typical blaze of non-self promotion only a couple of weeks ago, and its musical qualities can be discussed another time (my six-word review: first half OK, second half terrific).

But I’m still coming to terms with the accompanying video that got dropped along with the album, as are some 6.5 million (and counting) viewers on Youtube:

 

So what’s going on here? I’m going to describe it as a pop cultural postmodern piece of art working on many levels:

Level 1: Gooby white dude dancing with seemingly little regard for rhythm, function or form.
Oh yes, it’s definitely that.

Level 2: Thom Yorke ditching the other four Radioheaders to dance in clip by himself.
Where are the other four guys? This day has been coming, mind you, with Thom grooving live with his super (backing) band featuring Flea on bass:

 

Or unleashing some baffling dancing in live Radiohead performances (around the 3:20 mark):

 

Level 3: Thom Yorke satirising other music videos which favour style (ie fancy dancing, costumes, etc) over substance (ie music)
We know this has worked due to the explosion of hilarious mashup videos, not to mention Thom Yorke dance guides.

Level 4: It’s not just a batch of random moves thrown together; it was choreographed by a real choreographer.

Level 5: Watch (and listen closely): like the music of a typical Radiohead song, the visuals ebb and flow, start and stop, push and pull – but also circle around each other and reward repeated viewing:

Exhibit A: he only takes his hat off twice in the clip (at 2:25 and at 4:14): the lyrics at both these spots? ‘Just to feed your fast-ballooning head’

Exhibit B: Thom’s face and dancing starts in darkness; the intro finishes at 0:51 and throws Thom into a harsh light for the vocals to kick in.  The song finishes by reversing that order, from light to dark, from 4:51, with Thom finishing with similar moves from the intro.

Level 6:  every so often, the fleeting but knowing glances straight down the barrel of the camera. These looks seem to say: ‘Is this a serious video?  Am I mocking my own dancing ability?  Maybe, maybe not:  you be the judge.’

I can’t decide, but by golly I’m entertained. To Mr Yorke, I take off my bowler hat.

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