If their seminal single, “Creep,” serves as any indication, Radiohead are professionals at penning gloomy, introspective music. The band’s vast repertoire of singles, from “Pyramid Song,” to “Videotape,” to multiple cuts off their newest LP A Moon Shaped Pool, are just two of the many songs in their canon which further evince this skill.
Data analyst and Radiohead super-fan Charlie Thompson decided to see if there was a way to gauge which of their songs was definitively the gloomiest. To answer his question, Thompson used Spotify to calculate the valence of each song and rate them on a scale of 0.0-1.0 (wherein “1.0” would be considered the farthest from the depressive end of the spectrum). Then, Thompson combined these results with the content and density of the lyrics to create a “gloom index” of the top 10 most depressing Radiohead songs.
The winner came out to be “True Love Waits,” from A Moon Shaped Pool. Its victory makes perfect sense; Yorke’s vocals are particularly emotive as they implore the song’s object not to leave, and are amplified by haunting piano chords in the background. Thompson’s study also found that the album takes away the score for lowest average gloom index, meaning it’s the saddest of their discography.
Other high ranking songs in the top 10 included “Give Up The Ghost,” “Exit Music,” and “Let Down.” View the full study here.
H/T: Consequence of Sound