“Follow Me Around” by Radiohead
“Follow Me Around” is a complex song with what some would describe as a dark undertone, with that latter aspect perhaps explaining why it was never officially released during its first two decades of existence. For instance, it has been concluded that the “Tony” namedropped about midway through, i.e. the individual who is basically being called a liar, is none other than Tony Blair.
Tony Blair, being the turn-of-the-century Prime Minister of the UK, as part and parcel of his position was not loved by everyone. And let’s just say from an artistic standpoint, well, this song was actually recorded when he was still in power. And Radiohead, as far as fellow Britons go, were amongst the musicians who possessed a particularly notable disdain for Mr. Blair.
But that noted, this song doesn’t necessarily read as if it is based on such a topic throughout. In fact it is very metaphorical, with the most-discernible aspect of the narrative, as alluded to in the title, being the idea of someone, i.e. the addressee, ‘following’ the narrator “around”, i.e. stalking him, if you will.
And during the first half of the song in particular, it reads as if this may be an inner conflict. A kind of conflict involving the singer’s “former self” versus what he has become since. Thus the addressee can be said to be one side of his persona. But then, with that aforementioned Tony Blair reference, the understanding changes.
And now, it may be that he’s actually alluding to, say the government surveilling him. But either way, it can be said that Thom doesn’t appreciate the constant presence of whoever it is ‘following him around’.
And, we’ll just leave at that with this analysis. Indeed, it wouldn’t be totally out of the way to speculate that maybe one of the reasons this song wasn’t released until now, as part of an anniversary event, is because it was never actually finished. Or put differently, it’s hard to come to a conclusion as to whom the “you” who is tailing and even, as implied in the second verse, threatening the vocalist actually is.
Facts about “Follow Me Around”
“Follow Me Around” is a part of Radiohead’s anniversary triple-album “Kid A Mnesia”. This product is actually not to celebrate the anniversary of their existence. Rather it is to celebrate 20 years having transpired since the dropping of what was perhaps, all things considered, the greatest albums in Radiohead’s catalog. The said albums are:
- 2000’s “Kid A”
- 2001’s “Amnesia”
Accordingly, “Follow Me Around” is said to date back to the late-1990s. Owing to this, it is a piece that true Radiohead fans have been familiar with for years, having actually debuted in 2000.
Radiohead bandmates are credited as the writers of this song. The full songwriting credits are therefore as follows:
- Thom Yorke
- Colin Greenwood
- Jonny Greenwood
- Ed O’Brien
- Philip Selway
And it was produced by a musician who has been by their side since the mid-1990s, fellow Englishman Nigel Godrich.
“Amnesia” also contains a song titled “If You Say the Word“. This song was also written decades ago. However, it was only officially made public in 2021.