Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Arts & Culture

Watch: Radiohead Shares Video For Previously Unreleased Song, 'I Promise'

Radiohead is sharing a previously unreleased track the band recorded during sessions for its monumental 1997 album OK Computer.

"I promise" is a slow-burning, acoustic meditation on themes common throughout the record, including loneliness and alienation, paranoia and heartache. "I won't run away no more, I promise," frontman Thom Yorke sings wearily against a strummed guitar and military drum beat. "Even when I get bored, I promise. Even when you lock me out, I promise. I say my prayers every night, I promise."

In a stunning new video for the song, directed by Michal Marczak, forlorn passengers ride a bus at night, staring blankly into the middle distance. It's eventually revealed that one of the passengers is just a robotic head lying on its side, detached from its body, staring out the window as the bus passes through a blighted city.

The video is a seeming nod to the grueling tour schedule and sense of detached reality Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke says he experienced while on tour for OK Computer. In an exclusive interview with Rolling Stone, Yorke says, "The paranoia I felt at the time was much more related to how people related to each other. But I was using the terminology of technology to express it. Everything I was writing was actually a way of trying to reconnect with other human beings when you're always in transit. That's what I had to write about because that's what was going on, which in itself instilled a kind of loneliness and disconnection."

"I Promise" is one of three previously unreleased tracks available on a deluxe version of OK Computer due out June 23 called OKNOTOK. Bootlegged copies of it, and the other two tracks, "Lift" and "Man Of War," have floated around online for years. But this will mark their first official release. OKNOTOK will include a remastered version of the original album, the previously unreleased tracks and demo recordings.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.