Radiohead ‎– Airbag / How Am I Driving?

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Airbag / How Am I Driving? is the fifth extended play (EP) by English alternative rock group Radiohead, released in April 1998 specifically to the North American market. It includes most of the songs that had been issued as B-sides on Radiohead's CD singles from OK Computer in the previous year.

The contents of Airbag / How Am I Driving? differ slightly from the EP No Surprises / Running From Demons = ノーサプライゼス〜ランニング・フロム・ディーモンズ, released a few months earlier in Japan. The song "Airbag", which opens OK Computer, was never officially released as a single. The version on this EP fades out rather than transitioning to the song "Paranoid Android" as it does on the album.

"Meeting in the Aisle" was Radiohead's first instrumental, featuring programming by Zero 7's Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker.

The sample that opens "A Reminder" is a recording from Prague Metro's automated announcement system: "Finish getting on and getting off; the doors are closing. The next station will be Jiřího z Poděbrad." An early version of "Palo Alto" was entitled "OK Computer."

The EP stylistically bridges the gap between the progressive-alternative OK Computer and Radiohead's experimental future sound, much as the My Iron Lung EP of 1994 had foreshadowed The Bends and OK Computer.

On the EP cover, the number 1426148550 is given. It was a working UK telephone number, and the voice on the other end, which simply said, "Hello?" was that of Radiohead singer Thom Yorke. Fans could even leave a message, and some of the content was used in later productions. This number has been disconnected for years. Calling it, as of 2009, yields BT's standard "The number you have dialed has not been recognised" message. Yorke, in concerts at the time, joked that it is the number to call to report bad drivers.

Airbag / How Am I Driving? debuted at number 56 on the Billboard 200, selling 20,000 copies in its first week. Although only 25 minutes long, the EP gained the distinction of being nominated for a 1999 Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Performance, up against full-length albums by other artists.

The EP was re-issued in the Netherlands and the UK in early 2007. Before its re-release, the EP had been a highly sought-after item by Radiohead fans outside of North America. In 2009, the album was released by EMI on iTunes.

All songs written by Radiohead.

Versions (9)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
C2 7243 8 58701 2 5 Radiohead Airbag / How Am I Driving?(CD, MiniAlbum, Dig) Capitol Records C2 7243 8 58701 2 5 US 1998 Sell This Version
C2 7243 8 58701 2 5 Radiohead Airbag / How Am I Driving?(CD, MiniAlbum, Club, Dig) Capitol Records C2 7243 8 58701 2 5 US 1998 Sell This Version
C2 7243 8 58701 2 5 Radiohead Airbag / How Am I Driving?(CD, MiniAlbum, Dig) Capitol Records C2 7243 8 58701 2 5 US 1998 Sell This Version
C2 7243 8 58701 2 5 Radiohead Airbag / How Am I Driving?(CD, MiniAlbum, MP, Dig) Capitol Records C2 7243 8 58701 2 5 US 1998 Sell This Version
C2 7243 8 58701 2 5 Radiohead Airbag / How Am I Driving?(CD, MiniAlbum, Unofficial) Capitol Records (2) C2 7243 8 58701 2 5 Russia 1998 Sell This Version
C2 7243 8 58701 2 5 Radiohead Airbag / How Am I Driving?(CD, MiniAlbum, Unofficial) Capitol Records (2) C2 7243 8 58701 2 5 Russia 1998 Sell This Version
C2 7243 8 58701 2 5 Radiohead Airbag / How Am I Driving?(CD, MiniAlbum, RP) Capitol Records C2 7243 8 58701 2 5 Europe 2007 Sell This Version
C2 7243 8 58701 2 5 Radiohead Airbag / How Am I Driving?(CD, MiniAlbum, RP) Capitol Records C2 7243 8 58701 2 5 US Unknown Sell This Version
ALR 527 Radiohead Melatonin(Cass, Comp, Unofficial) Always Records ALR 527 Russia Unknown Sell This Version

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DLD493

DLD493

July 14, 2016
edited over 2 years ago
referencing Airbag / How Am I Driving?, CD, MiniAlbum, Dig, C2 7243 8 58701 2 5

Some of Radiohead's best B-sides, and kind of a hint at the band's future releases.
It starts off with Airbag, the opening track of OK Computer, with its start-and-stop bassline and chopped-up drums.
It then moves on to Pearly*, which is a gorgeous piece of alt-rock. Every Muse song in existence has Pearly* to thank.
Next is their first instrumental track ever, Meeting in the Aisle. This little slice of trip-hop awesomeness is essentially the precursor to the style of Kid A.
A Reminder. Uhh... not much to say about this one.
Polyethylene (Parts 1&2). The Paranoid Android of Airbag/How Am I Driving?. The longest track, and, as you could guess, it's made of 2 parts. Part 1 is a little acoustic ditty, Part 2 is epic alt-rock with borderline nonsense lyrics.
Melatonin is a little synth ditty Thom wrote for his son as a lullaby. It's quite soothing, even though the lyrics get a bit dark near the end.
Finally, Palo Alto. It's like Pearly*, but happy!
All in all, one of their most underrated releases, if not their most underrated. I love the art, too.