Careening around a dim warehouse and gripping a bowler hat like Liza Minnelli on uppers, Thom Yorke leaves no doubt of his dancing prowess in the clip for “Lotus Flower,” the lead single off Radiohead’s feverishly received eighth album, The King of Limbs. His delectably bizarre moves continue to be a font of inspiration for amateur video editors, who have taken to dubbing him into increasingly inappropriate songs since the clip was released last week: Thom’s surprisingly adaptable, arrhythmic tweak-out groove has become so omnipresent that it’s already giving Soulja Boy a migraine.
There’s no sign of these videos slowing, and the crop is just getting more bizarre – at this point, count on some Spielberg to set Thom to both Eyehategod and Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” Here are the best clips we’ve stumbled across so far. (You know Thom saw this coming. Thom sees it all coming.)
10. Montell Jordan, “This Is How We Do It” by nuke485
Thom and his followers always pray before they hit the discothèque.
9. Ace of Base, “Black Sea” by sebaisladecap
Thom, a longtime fan of labyrinthine mathematics, finally achieves the Golden Ratio in a Swedish spaz-out. Points for the immaculately timed scream sync at :33 — it’s how we all felt about Firefox’s download speed on Friday.
8. The Trashmen, “Surfin’ Bird” by CreativeGameplay
The 1963 novelty hit is the granddaddy of all mash-ups, a combination of two earlier r&b singles, “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” and “The Bird’s the Word” by the Rivingtons, who had to fight tooth and nail for songwriting credits to the Trashmen’s chart-topping track. Today, their efforts truly pay off.
7. Phish, “Also Sprach Zarathustra”
This isn’t a song hijack so much as a thread best left unpulled. You can’t prove that this wasn’t the original soundtrack to Thom’s original Footloose warehouse shenanigans, because this is exactly how Phish fans dance anyway. The track matches Thom’s movements every bit as well as in the original if not more so. Is Thom a Phishhead? How many puppets must you command, Anastasio?
6. Willow Smith, “Whip My Hair” by g0ldphi5h
A sync to “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” would have been equally apropos, but no other video quite utilizes Thom’s flailing arms like the :30 command to “shake ’em off.” We all know Jonny Greenwood has better hair, though. Those bangs are emotive.
5. Fatman Scoop, “Be Faithful” by pblairg
This has to be exactly how Thom dances when he’s trying to break bread with all the single ladies (foreshadowing!). Golf claps for not one missed “put your hands up” opportunity. If you don’t have 56 seconds to spare in your busy maelstrom of a Wednesday, just watch :09 through :11 ad infinitum.
4. Guns N’ Roses, “Welcome to the Jungle” by DipMistry
Where does Axl Rose end and Thom Yorke begin? Such is the question we continue to ask ourselves daily, hourly. Thom’s spot-on snake dance does nothing to draw the line.
3. Boots Randolph, “Yakety Sax” by Holbrooklyn
Did you know that if you slow down “Fake Plastic Trees” to 27 RPMs, you can hear Colin Greenwood muttering, “Is this Platt’s Bottom? Where do I find Platt’s Bottom?” Fake plastic fact.
2. Beyoncè, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” by TTHHEEPPAARRTYY
This is hijack that started it all – well, almost. The cheeky YouTuber grinningdoubt first introduced Thom to the world of Dereòn jeans and handclaps that aren’t in 12/5 time, but we happen to think this version works a lot better. That slow, ponderous sideways lean Thom does in the beginning… you know that’s a precursor to some real hands-up action. That one little shuffle promises us that Thom will throw some shade at that sorry noncommittal man; we have full confidence. (Note: it doesn’t quite work in reverse.)
1. Rick Astley, “Never Gonna Give You Up” by notbomarr
This syncs up so perfectly, from dancing to singing, it proves the existence of god and the Da Vinci Code in one fell swoop. That Thom unleashes his arousing bowler-hat-clutching/turkey-wing-flapping move atop the line “You wouldn’t get this from any other guy” . . . well, that’s just gravy. We know, Thom. We know.
(Honorable mention: Los Amigos Invisibles, “Cuchi Cuchi”; Roots Manuva, “Too Cold”; Black Eyed Peas, “My Humps”; Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance”; Fatboy Slim, “Weapon of Choice”; MC Hammer, “U Can’t Touch This.”)