When it first appeared on Radiohead’s 2011 album The King of Limbs, “Bloom” was an expansive wash of interlocking guitar parts, polysyllabic percussion and more than one flugelhorn. In concert, it’s remained one of the band’s most complex live songs, with up to three drummers working at a time on its tricky rhythms. So it’s fascinating to see bandleader Thom Yorke perform a solo piano version of the song in his new YouTube playlist, Live from Electric Lady Studios.
Filmed on November 19th at the historic New York studio, the clip shows Yorke playing “Bloom” as a simple blues. With just his bare voice (“So why does this still hurt?/Don’t blow your mind with why”), his jazzy piano chords, and some light feedback burbling in the background, you can hear the heart of the song more clearly than ever. It’s a gorgeous act of reinterpretation, the kind of performance that can make you rethink your entire understanding of a song.
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