Monday, April 4, 2011

Radiohead - The Answers In The Trees

Relaxing while the rest of us Scramble
Radiohead have always been a big fan of Trees even back to the days of The Bends with 'Fake Plastic Trees' (Heck I named my website after it), and is it really surprising now that they have released their 8th studio album The King of Limbs and it is entirely related to trees?

They decided to honor one of Britain's oldest trees 'Big Belly Oak' which is located in the 4,000-acre Savernake Forest in Wiltshire, England. The tree is thought to be between 1,000 and 1,100 years old. With a girth of more than 36 feet, it is one of 50 trees honored as part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations. There even is an old wise tale saying that the devil appears to anyone who dances naked at midnight 12 times anti-clockwise around the tree.

You might think to yourself - what why would you dedicate an entire album to a tree? And hey even Liam Gallagher said the same thing well a little more harsh maybe... "I heard that f------ Radiohead record ['The King Of Limbs'] and I just go, 'What?!'" he said. "I like to think that what we do, we do f------ well. Them writing a song about a f------ tree? Give me a f------ break! A thousand year old tree? Go f--- yourself!" ... it is all a bit harsh if you ask me but that is just Liam being Liam.

So Radiohead make this announcement on "Radiohead's new record, The King Of Limbs, is presented here as the world's first* Newspaper Album". This being for The Newspaper Album Presale. For me I still believe The newspaper album and TKOL Record are two separate entities. Well TKOL record actually just being a part of The Newspaper Album. I go into more detail on it on a previous post here.

Black and White "Wall of Ice" type of Theme

Now I want to break down the whole The King of Limbs vs The Newspaper Album once again. Starting off with back in August, 2009 the band released a single called 'These Are My Twisted Words'. At the time no one really thought too much of it just a song being released and such. But now with all the TKOL talk this song is starting to be brought back up over and over again. The artwork for the updated Radiohead website has been changed to look similar to that of TAMTW artwork back in 2009.
Switch to Colors is interesting

Also the new single announced for Record Store Day - Supercollider/The Butcher again brings us back to TAMTW artwork. There has been a constant theme with these trees and limbs right from the start. I believe 'These Are My Twisted Words' was actually THE SEED to The King of Limbs. It was planted a year and a half ago in Radiohead already anticipating and knowing what they had in store with this Newspaper Album.

Next The King of Limbs comes along and it is that original seed turned into a tree (or the TREE TRUNK). Now we get the announcement of Supercollider/The Butcher and that is THE BRANCHES coming out of that TREE TRUNK. The next question I ask you does a tree have only one or a couple of branches? Nope there are plenty of branches on trees and I believe that is the case with The Newspaper Album. There will also be plenty of Branches (Additional Songs) that will be springing out of this tree.

Where the Fun all Began

I wrote another post about The Puzzle Pieces Theory proclaiming that The Newspaper Album is a Paid Newspaper Subscription. That initial $48 for the World's first newspaper album was for more then 8 songs and a 625 book of art. There are additional clues out there as well, Jonny saying that the band is currently recording in the studio, The bands silence since the release of TKOL's, Thom mentioning in previous interviews that they don't want to release a traditional album and all the unrecorded songs played live the few years, plus the 4 year time frame in between In Rainbows clearly they would write more then 8 songs.  

These Are My Twisted Words (Aug 2009)

The King Of Limbs (Feb 2011)
-Morning Mr Magpie
-Little By Little
-Lotus Flower
-Give Up The Ghost

- Supercollider
- The Butcher
Wonder what that barcode scans for?

Possible 'Future' Branches -
- Present Tense
- The Daily Mail
- A Walk Down The Staircase
- Open The Floodgates
- Burn The Witch
- Skirting On The Surface
- True Love Waits

***This is all just ramblings more or less but something that I have been thinking about and that I have heard mentioned here and there.  The no denial from the band about all these conspiracy theories on why there will be more Radiohead songs - makes it that much harder to not think there will be music.  It seems like Radiohead have had this in the works for a few years now and have been hush hush about the whole deal, wanting to have a revolutionary type of album release.  So far after a month and a half I believe they have accomplished just that, having every music fan on the edge of their seat waiting to see what there next move will be.  My guess on the next move would be another BRANCH is on the way and after that another then another.  I am sure glad I purchased my Subscription to this "NEWSPAPER" album and all the madness that comes with it.***


  1. Just a thought...

    Instead of steadily releasing several branches (such as releasing songs in 2's starting with Supercollider/The Butcher), I don't think it's out of the question to call Suppercollider/The Butcher the "primary branches" from which other branches grow off of. If your theory about TAMTW being the seed is correct, then it would imply a continuous outward growth. In other words, I think a trees branches grow exponentially instead of simply two-by-two.

    People have theories about a second album coming out, perhaps "the queen of diamonds" based on the ims menoo referencing "he is and she is." I think this second album may be either the collection of branches OR it could be the "leaves" or "fruit" on the end of the branches. A tree is more than just branches; trees are meant to produce.

    In this way, perhaps the next release after SuperCollider/The Butcher will consist of four songs (2 x 2). And perhaps the release after that will consist of eight songs (4 x 2). This release could likely be the second album, has it would match up very well with the 8-track TKOL.

    Just a theory?

  2. The Continuous outward growth would make more sense or even leaves or fruit or whatever else springing from the branches. I dunno exactly how it would go but just from all the pictures recently of limbs/branches it just seems like there is more to come...

  3. Cool... kinda looks (exactly) like my idea on I posted this exact theory in the comments here 5 days before this article:
    as "mjv"...

    I beat you to it... haha. Glad to see someone else is thinking along the same lines.

  4. Yeah great minds think a like eh? I was also discussing this on twitter a week before this post. Seems to have some kind of rhythm to the madness but for now we just continue to sit back and speculate what might be

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  6. I've read all the clues from Chieftan Mews and Aporia and they seem to be always related to the tree's genesis, from seed to leaves.
    In the TKOL's cover we have a couple which has been inspired by Munch's paint "Amor and Psyche".
    Aporia posted this following message: "If we are a metaphor of the universe, the human couple is the metaphor par excellence, the point of intersection of all forces and the seed of all forms. The couple is time recaptured, the return to the time before time. [OP]". And Chieftan Mews said that the King is the King Of Limbs and the all others are like soldiers, likewise the heart tells to the bodyparts to move.

    I'm now thinking that TKOL is the heart, the couple, "the seed of all forms" (look at the Arbor Philosophica in TKOL artwork...).

    "Leaves fall & then grow again. From the same branches. The sounds they make can change too." (Chieftan Mews). I think this sentence is fundamental:

    We can have two different scenes from it:

    1) TKOL = trunk + branches + leaves = tree

    - "from the same branches": he's talking about TKOL's branches. TKOL has 8 songs = 8 branches (and yeah...the seed of TKOL has been These Are My Twisted Words)
    - "leaves": are the "seed" which came up from TKOL and which will give new life to the tree
    - "The sounds they make can change too": this new life will make TKOL'S branches sound differently

    "Leaves fall & then grow again. From the same branches. The sounds they make can change too."

    Now that TKOL has been released ("leaves fall") we'll soon have another LP ("& grow again") which will be thematically and structurally related to TKOL ("from the same branches") and which will sound different from TKOL ("The sounds they make can change too")

    2) TKOL = tree trunk

    - "from the same branches": he's talking about TKOL's main branches. I don't know how many main-branches has The real King Of Limbs (3 or 4 I guess). The first one was These Are My Twisted Words (one song). The second one will be "Supercollider/The Butcher" (2 songs). I think the third one will have 3 songs and the fourth one 4 songs.
    - "leaves": are the "seed" around the tree trunk (TKOL)
    - "The sounds they make can change too": the sound of these (...3,4?) branches will be different from each one

    "Leaves fall & then grow again. From the same branches. The sounds they make can change too."

    We will see the TKOL's main branches in bloom ("Leaves fall & then grow again. From the same branches") and each one will have a different sound ("The sounds they make can change too").

  7. MOLONOVORECORDS some great great insights there. I love "The Sounds They Make Can Change Too" makes me think there is some additional songs to come that will go in another direction. This could also explain the absent Jonny on TKOL's and maybe the next sounds we here are back to Jonny ripping his guitar to shreds again.

    I find it interesting about the 1 song branch, to the 2 song, 3 song and 4 song branches and These Are My Twisted Words being the original 1 song branch. And now Supercollider/The Butcher being that 2 song branch. So if this theory would be correct we would expect a 3 song release in the next few months I suppose.

    I have also been studying The Universal Sigh Newspaper and am trying to make as much sense of it as possible. I feel there is something hidden in that Stanley Donwood article, but just can't put my finger on it yet.

  8. If you look at Donwood's interview on, he gives even more justification to this type of theory, though it mixes metaphors a bit:

    "There’s nothing archival about a newspaper. It doesn’t pretend to be definitive; just because a newspaper comes out we don’t expect news to stop, or sport to finish. A newspaper is just a simple statement, an account of how things were at the time of writing. Newspapers aren’t even preserved. The vast bulk of them are recycled and turned into more newspapers."

    Then he calls the new record "very much ... a state-of-play document."

    I wouldn't be surprised (in fact I'd be a little pleased) if part of the newspaper album concept documents the growing of the limbs. We've got these 8 tracks, all sounding a bit rough and young, without (to my ears) the polish and finality I generally expect from Radiohead--most of the mixes are dense and cluttered, waiting for refinement (and where oh where is Selway amidst all the static, front and center drum loops) These songs may well be released again in future stages, with their branches or leaves shooting off as well, the "newspaper album" being the doumentation of developments along the way--periodic snapshots of the tree at that time.

    Given Donwood's comment, "Newspapers aren’t even preserved," I'd expect more digital format singles and EPs (hopefully 24bit FLAC available), rather than "albums".

    After "revolutionizing" music distribution repeatedly by embracing the possibilities of the Internet to break from the traditional and make an album as much of an event as a physical entity (Kid A listening parties and online full-album preview, web casts, name-your-price download before physical release), a subscription or periodical album seems like a perfectly reasonable next innovation for the band.

  9. I think TKOL is the 4 first songs on the album, so we have the beginning of the tree and Codex is the four last songs, so we have the Caudex hence the trunk of the tree ... Maybe ?

  10. To continue the idea of the whole thing as something growing vertically (seed, trunk, branches) don't forget to consider that a tree also has a Crown at the very top!

  11. Would that be a Kings crown or the Queens? Radiohead are definitly in love with trees in this album and the whole process of it all seems likely to continue with the release of the physical Newspaper Album

  12. Also, from what Newspapers are made ? Wood hence trees ^^

  13. i wonder whether we're going to see tkol songs developed by the band as the newspaper release unravels over time.

  14. Yeah the whole songs developing over time is a good way to look at it as well. I think a song like Feral could really develop into something more.

  15. A new development in TKOL2 theories, there is a download link for a supposed part 2 on this site

  16. i may not know what i'm talking about but here it goes:
    first of all i have seen no one speak of Harry Patch (In Memory of) which was released what a week before 'These Are My Twisted Words'? anyway as u can see Harry Patch was nothing like anything that Radiohead has done before (my opinion) and ya i know Radiohead is always changing their sound but harry patch definitely stuck out for me so maybe that was them telling us that they are gonna be doing something unheard of (the king of limbs and the whole seed/tree/branches theory and also the Universal Sigh) all i'm saying is that i feel like no one has brought up the idea of maybe Harry Patch being the reason for all of this
    HINT* harry patch (IN MEMORY OF) is this whole thing in memory of him? is Harry Patch the planter in this story
    i don't know just a theory

    would love to get some feedback on what u guys think

    PLANTER(King) or Reason:
    Harry Patch (In Memory Of)

    These Are My Twisted Words

    The King Of Limbs

    Supercollider/The Butcher

    and more to come hopefully

  17. Some more good points brought up here. I would love to hear what the band had to say about the whole thing. Maybe one day we will get a big interview on all things The King of Limbs and only then would we truly understand what it all is about. Harry Patch seems like something seperate though but I could be wrong.

  18. Little late to this forum, and probably throwing out thoughts that have been previously brought up. I think it may be just as Donwood hints. Newspapers aren't definitive, they just state facts (songs). Maybe as more "facts" are released, the intention is for us to form our individual thoughts and opinions. Thus, making our own album talored how we like it. The band has made comments about how the digital age has changed the way music is perceived, and how the album is no longer as relevant as it once was... Most people just download songs and make their own playlists. Maybe they are trying to combine the two, so that the album isn't definitive and like a newspaper it can be recycled into new forms (playlists/albums). Donwood did say, "Newspapers aren’t even preserved. The vast bulk of them are recycled and turned into more newspapers." I don't think the band will release new albums, just new songs for us to let grow on the tree (we prune them how we want, and make our own tree). (The heart tells the body parts to move.) This may be their way of trying to make the album relevant in the digital age. It is probably not as complicated as everyone expects (it rarely is), though conspiracy is fun.

    Also, I currently have "The Butcher" after "Feral" in my playlist.

    Any thoughts?