Track Review: Thom Yorke “Reckoner” (live on the Jonathan Ross Show)

    [audio: -acoustic.mp3]

    If you made a painstaking frequency chart of the adjectives used to describe Thom Yorke’s state of mind since the ascent of Radiohead, "comfortable" would likely miss the top several hundred. But listen to Thom strum his acoustic guitar and croon towards the heavens during a recent stop at the BBC, and that’s the word that springs to mind. "Reckoner" is one of the more cryptic tracks from the beloved In Rainbows. The lyrics are merely uneasy, not wallowing in dread. Its gentle chord progressions hardly evoke oppression. But its still a pleasant shock to hear Yorke as a casual observer and not the chronicler of some new level of modern hell. The session also featured a version of "Everything in its Right Place" that felt off in comparison; anemic for lack of a nervous edge. Beyond critical reproach and paranoid no longer, the angst just doesn’t suit Thom like it used to. Yesterday he woke up sucking on a lemon, and today he settles for toast and jam.