On a recent episode of The Greg Gutfeld Show, Fox News’ late-night program with minimal star wattage and more intentional jokes than a daytime Fox show, the night’s guests discussed the latest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees. When Radiohead, one of this year’s first-time nominees, came up in conversation, Fox News host Kat Timpf had some takes (via Spin):
“Seeing as it’s about fame and not talent, I think that Radiohead’s definitely going to get in, and should get in,” she said. “I don’t even like them, but the kind of guys that I like have to be three things: strange, malnourished, and sad. And those guys always like Radiohead! I had to pretend to like Radiohead for years to get these men even though the music is just elaborate moaning and whining over ring tone sounds and you know what, if that’s not fame and power that will get me to do that for someone else then I don’t know what is.”
Now, The Greg Gutfeld Show airs at 10 p.m. EST—when I imagine it’s bathrobe and covfefe hour for our big boy president. Since I’m convinced Fox News is the only channel included in the White House’s cable package—give or take Mike Huckabee’s new home, Trinity Broadcasting Network—there’s some possibility that Donald Trump saw the Radiohead segment. Which makes me wonder:
Has Trump ever listened to Radiohead?
While often considered to be one of the biggest rock bands in the world—an artier descendant of U2, and Coldplay’s godfathers—Radiohead probably isn’t as famous as Timpf thinks. The group haven’t notched a top 40 single in nine years, when “Nude” peaked at No. 37 in 2008. “Creep,” the band’s reluctant calling card, didn’t peak much higher in 1993, at No. 34. Radiohead routinely sells out arenas in North America, but a minimal FM radio presence might limit their reach to a 71-year-old whose taste is hard to pin down (beyond Taylor Swift and Michael Jackson).
Let’s see if there are any breadcrumbs linking Trump and Radiohead, beyond Yorke’s incensed comments about the orange man.
This is practically a meme by now, which can describe both the breathtaking political hypocrisy of Donald Trump, as documented by years-old tweets, or sports and pop culture opinions that are refuted during his presidency in real time. Whether it’s his bizarre fixation on Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson’s dissolving relationship, or inaccurate reads of Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander’s ability to deliver in the postseason, there’s always something.
But in the case of Radiohead, there’s no pre-election @realDonaldTrump tweets that indicate he has any opinions of the band whatsoever. Or post-election, for that matter. Advanced searches for “Radiohead,” “Creep,” and “Thom Yorke” all came up short. I even considered the possibility that Trump, an angry awards-show viewer, had potentially seen one of the Oscar-nominated Paul Thomas Anderson films scored by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood (There Will Be Blood, The Master, or Inherent Vice). But alas, nothing to the effect of: “Johnny Depp was robbed! Sweeny Todd was better than the boring There Will Be Blood. We must increase offshore drilling!” Onward.
Greg Gutfeld, the rare Fox News host who seems to keep up with post-Reagan-era pop culture beyond Kendrick Lamar, previously talked about Radiohead on his old late-late series, Red Eye. I found this clip through some quick searching, and am still not sure what they were going for. (It feels like they’re half-committing to some Daily Show-esque satire aimed at Radiohead fans, but who knows.) Gutfeld calls on correspondent Andy Levy, who cooks up some adjective stew about the band’s divisive 2011 album, The King of Limbs, and declares that it’s the best release of the year.
Gutfeld then takes the Reddit-speak a step further: “The King of Limbs is not the best album of the year, it’s the best album of the century, which is saying something since, to this day, I have still not listened to it, yet I’m confident that listening to it will not alter my opinion one iota.”
As satire, it’s works like a deflating balloon, even if they make some valid points about fan overreaction. (But was anyone calling King of Limbs their favorite album of the year? 2011 was a long time ago!) Anyway, if Trump was having sleep troubles before launching his career-making birther crusade and tuned in to this episode of Red Eye, he might have been compelled to check out Yorke’s “Lotus Flower” dance. Again, this seems unlikely.
Most Trump parodies are bad. This video, which circulated around the music blogs earlier this year, is no exception. But sometimes Trump watches them and gets mad, so who knows.
Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka, was pretty wild in the ‘90s, according to the new memoir from her mother Ivana Trump. The punk legend apparently wore “ripped corduroy jeans and flannel shirts,” and even dyed her hair blue after school once—before Ivana forced her to dye it incredibly blonde. Edgy, Ivanka!
The reason I bring this up: Radiohead was certainly closest to their “flannels and corduroy” period in the early-to-mid ‘90s, with Pablo Honey and The Bends, and Ivanka may very well have requested “Fake Plastic Trees” while riding in the back of some limo with her father.
But I’m really not convinced.
Verdict: Trump has never listened to Radiohead.
(We’ve reached out to the White House for comment, and will update this post if we hear back.)