Radiohead have shared a studio recording of "Follow Me Around," a track dating back to the late '90s that finally gets an official release as part of their Kid A Mnesiae box set which is out this Friday.
"Follow Me Around" first gained attention when it was included in Radiohead's 1998 documentary, Meeting People is Easy and quickly developed a rather legendary status among the band's die-hard fans ranking not too far behind other tracks like "True Love Waits," "I Promise," and "Lift" that were bootlegged and obsessed over, but never made their way to studio albums. As the band has more widely celebrated their past achievements, they've offered up proper recordings of some of these most beloved bootlegs and in a lot of cases, they've surpassed expectations as the new versions have felt like the true takes we'd been longing to hear for years. "Follow Me Around" didn't gain quite the same mythical status as some of these other tracks, but it was still a very pleasant surprise to see it'd be included in the upcoming anniversary pieces for Kid A and Amnesiac. Today, the band shared the studio version of the song and it's a sharp, precisely recorded take of Yorke alone strumming an acoustic guitar. Hearing it now, it's no wonder the song never found a proper home as it feels very alien along the deep electronic vibes the band was pursuing at the turn of the millennium and has much more of a '90s feel than anything they've released in the past twenty years. This is one of the most direct songs shared by the band in quite some time, free from studio wizardry and other magic that the band seems to produce so seamlessly. With all of the other tracks that have finally been shared with fans, they all still felt very present, but this feels very much like a time capsule to the alt-rock era of the '90s. There are hints of Brit-Pop, but also the possibility of this winding up on many radio stations delivering the hits of a post-grunge world, or worse yet, some "coffee house" playlist. This isn't to say that this is a bad song (it is Radiohead after all), but rather one that for the first time feels like it's clear why this one stayed in the vaults for so long and it's hard to imagine people who aren't already fans of the band (diehard or casual) finding much to care about with this one. Radiohead have always done things on their own terms, often mystifying their fans along the way, and never gave way to pressure. No one has operated quite like them and sometimes being a fan can lead to longing for things that may never come to pass. However, for those who've been waiting for over twenty years to hear a proper version of the song, it will certainly satisfy your wishes.
Kid A Mnesiae is out Friday, November 5.