Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien Sheds Light On Unreleased ‘OK Computer’ Track “Lift”

    In a new interview, O’Brien confesses that the track "would have killed us"

    Radiohead Ed O'Brien

    Yesterday, it was announced that Radiohead will release an official reissue of OK Computer — entitled OKNOTOK — in celebration of its 20-year-anniversary. With the reissue comes three unreleased songs: “I Promise”, “Man of War” (formerly known as “Big Boots”), and the long-awaited “Lift.” Radiohead is notorious for shelving songs until the right time. “True Love Waits” made its studio debut on last year’s A Moon Shaped Pool, over twenty years after being first written and performed live.

    As fans eagerly await OKNOTOK, guitarist Ed O’Brien shed light on what took the band so long for one song in particular: the fan favorite “Lift.” Speaking to BBC 6 Music, O’Brien said, “If that song had been on that album [OK Computer], it would have taken us to a different place, and we’d have probably sold a lot more records, if we’d done it right, and everyone was saying this.” Wary of its star power, the band shelved the song because “if OK Computer had been like a Jagged Little Pill, like Alanis Morrissette, it would have killed us.” In addition, O’Brien reveals that the original studio version didn’t live up to the band’s standards: “We didn’t do a good version, because when we got to the studio and did it on that record it was a bit like having a gun to your head, it felt like so much pressure.” In the past, he called the song a “bogshite B-side.”

    It is unknown how the OKNOTOK version of “Lift” will be arranged in comparison to live versions scattered throughout the web, but O’Brien seems to have had a change of heart, saying it now “sounds pretty good.” In preparation for the reissue, Radiohead has renovated their website with OK Computer-themed artwork and text, curated by longtime collaborator Stanley Donwood and Tchock (Thom Yorke’s artist moniker).

    Radiohead is currently in the midst of a world tour supporting their terrific new album, A Moon Shaped Pool. After a headlining set full of technical malfunctions at Coachella, the band will resume their tour in Norway this June. Check out the dates here, and pre-order OKNOTOK here or on Amazon