Thom Yorke in "Lotus Flower" clip

Pleasant surprise or cruel joke?

For the legions of Radiohead fans worldwide who now have a chance to download their eighth studio album, The King of Limbs, a whole day earlier than expected, the news is warmly welcomed indeed.

There might be a few fans in Japan sucking their teeth though. A random tweet about a supposed appearance at that busiest of intersections in Shibuya (recall that scene in Lost in Translation) never came to fruition.

Instead, Thom Yorke and crew decided to release new music and the following black-n-white video for “Lotus Flower.”

Yorke, in a natty-looking black bowler, does a hokey-pokey, agitated shuffle of sorts to a wonderfully insistent, danceable beat. He throws in a few hand claps for good measure and his falsetto soars and dips and winds around lyrics that touch on something about “empty spaces in my heart” and “setting you free.”

The song is one of a few uptempo moments on the album, but still Radiohead concerns itself mostly with texture and emotion rather than pure adrenaline. The LA Times‘ soon-to-be departed pop music critic Ann Powers, in her pointed “snap judgment review,” refers to songs on the disc as having “sensual power” and an “enveloping resonance” that brings “unalloyed pleasure” even when the words turn somber.

On my first listen to the disc, she makes a whole lot of sense. The disc is only eight songs deep shallow, but it’s layered with curious, excellent sounds and lyrics that will take some time to unpack.

Download it now, you’ll be glad you were given a days head start.


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