2016 has been a big year for Radiohead, what with the release of a new album, an overhaul of their digital identity, and incredible live performances. Even after all this time, the band knows how to craft beautiful and lasting music, as detailed on their lush, remarkably intimate new album A Moon Shaped Pool.
But music isn’t all they know how to do. Radiohead know how to create puzzles, and in turn, how to delight their fans by doing so. They play the long game. In fact, they played the long game so well that it took them about ten years to complete an easter-egg that links two of their most celebrated albums: OK Computer and In Rainbows.
The theory (which has been all-but-confirmed by the band) goes like this: Radiohead’s third and seventh albums (released ten years apart) are directly linked, and were in fact designed to fit together. Sounds pretty crazy, right? Who could pull off such a cryptic, longwinded, laborious stunt?
This super-album of sorts, the product of the Ones and Zeroes theory, sounds pretty special. And if you think it’s too good to be true, just take a look at some of the evidence that the theory puts forward. Puddlegum looked at the theory in great depth, and I encourage you to read the full investigation here, but in a nutshell, it’s all tens. Or rather, it’s all in the computers.
The foundation for the connection is the number ten, and how there were way too many occurrences of the number to be simple coincidence. The albums were released ten years apart. Radiohead announced In Rainbows ten days before release. In Rainbows only has ten tracks. Both album names contain ten characters. OK Computer and In Rainbows are Radiohead’s third and seventh albums: 3+7=10. #illuminati.
For the release of In Rainbows, the band allowed fans to name their own price and download the album from ten servers (allegedly). They released nine different cryptic messages that all laid strong emphasis on “X,” the Roman numeral for ten. They then released a tenth message… on the 10th of October (10/10).
Lots of tens.
Now here’s the cool part.
The music on each album fits together really well. Scarily well. If you interlock the songs from each album, starting with Airbag then going to 15 Steps and so on, there’s a freaky cohesion. The beats at the end of Airbag set the tempo for 15 Steps. The reverb sounds at the end of Subterranean Homesick Alien and the start of Nude are incredibly similar (indeed, Nude was written in the same sessions as OK Computer). There’s a connection between the flurry of distortion at the end of Paranoid Android and the start of Bodysnatchers. Electioneering and Reckoner both share similar tambourine parts. The 22 track album is divided into two sets of ten tracks, with Karma Police and Fitter Happier forming what could be considered an intermission of sorts.
Want proof? Listen below. Just make sure to set the crossfade to 10 seconds to get the most out of it.
Image: The Upcoming