“If You Say the Word” by Radiohead
Radiohead’s “If You Say the Word” is one of those songs, which are actually quite common in the music industry, where the vocalist is asserting his dedication to the addressee. Think of Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” (1972) as a classic example of this phenomenon. That is to say that the nature of the vocalist’s relationship with the addressee is never specified.
But what is made effectively known is that if the latter finds him or herself in any type of serious dilemma, particularly it would seem in this case dealing with depression or some other similar kind of mental malady, then all s/he needs to do is “say the word”, and the singer “will come running” to their aid.
And again, there is nothing revolutionary about such a sentiment being expressed in song. But one part of this piece which does come off as being quite unique is the bridge. Said segment only consists of a single line. And in the said line, the vocalist alludes to the notion of the addressee having difficulty keeping friends.
But again in that regard, he seems to be putting forth an idea that whereas such may be the case with others, it is not so in relation to their relationship. Instead, as put forth earlier, Thom “will come running”, i.e. expeditiously offering assistance, whenever the addressee is in need of such. Or put differently, even if this individual has no other friend in the world, he or she can rely on the vocalist.
Release of “If You Say the Word”
This song is from a Radiohead project entitled Kid A Mnesia. And if that sounds like an unusual title, that’s because it is a combination of Kid A (2000) and Amnesia (2001). These are albums that Radiohead originally came out with over 20 years ago.
In other words, Kid A Mnesia (which is actually a triple album) serves as the anniversary issue of those two undertakings combined. So even though “If You Say the Word” was not released until the aforementioned date, it was actually composed back around the turn of the century. This was around when the band was putting the aforementioned albums together.
And to note, Kid A Mnesia also features “Follow Me Around“, another track from back in those days which wasn’t made public until now.
Radiohead’s discography actually dates back to the early-1990s. To date they have dropped nine studio albums. Six of these album have gone on to top their native UK Albums Chart.
Kid A and Amnesia are amongst the albums to do so, with the former also topping the Billboard 200. The latter fell just a spot short of accomplishing that feat also.
Amazingly, Radiohead has consisted of the same five members since the band’s inception in the mid-1980s. This was when as amateurs they operated under the moniker On a Friday. And those five individuals listed below are also credited as the writers and co-producers of “If You Say the Word”:
- vocalist Thom Yorke
- guitarist Ed O’Brien
- drummer Philip Selway
- bassist Colin Greenwood
- guitarist Jonny Greenwood
And in the production department, the band received assistance from one Nigel Godrich. Actually Nigel is a regular collaborator of Radiohead who many regard as the de facto sixth member of the band.