Who Is Better: Radiohead or Lana Del Rey?
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Who Is Better: Radiohead or Lana Del Rey?

We ask the unavoidable questions in the wake of the alleged legal dispute between these two bastions of melancholy.
Ryan Bassil
London, GB
Lauren O'Neill
London, GB
Daisy Jones
London, GB

Over the weekend there has been, let’s say, a… kerfuffle between two paragons of Sad Music, Lana Del Rey and Radiohead, over alleged plagiarism. Reportedly, Radiohead have taken issue with the chord pattern in “Get Free,” a track from Del Rey’s 2017 album Lust for Life, because they say it sounds strikingly similar to the one in their song “Creep.” Lana says they’re going to court; Radiohead are yet to comment on the matter.


Anyway, legal shmegal – that’s not the important part. While they have melancholy in common, Lana and Radiohead are very different acts, who represent different things: one is legendary, fantastic, and game-changing, and the other really hates phones. Now, while the law is highly important stuff, the current situation has prompted us to ask the real question here. It’s daring, and it’s shied-away-from, but we’re asking it anyway, because that’s who we are: who is better out of Radiohead and Lana Del Rey? Using some telling criteria, we reached a definitive conclusion.

Songs about beaches

Songs about beaches are the marker of musical excellence – have you ever heard a song about the beach that didn’t make you feel amazing? The magnificent Lana Del Rey, indeed, has a song about the beach called “High By the Beach.” She has also recorded a number of wind-in-your-hair, setting-sun-in-your-eyes songs which evoke the feeling and sensation of being at the beach (“Summertime Sadness,” “Shades of Cool,” etc., etc.) which is essentially the same thing.

Where Radiohead are concerned, as far as I know the members do not go outside and once made an entire album about Thom Yorke hiding from his laptop.

Winner: Lana Del Rey

Songs about sex

The other prong of objective musical excellence. I present Exhibit A, from Lana Del Rey’s “Cola”:

“My pussy tastes like Pepsi Cola.”

Don’t think we even really need to make the obvious Radiohead/virgins joke here.


Winner: Lana Del Rey

Live performances

When Radiohead had to pause to tune their guitars at Glastonbury last year, half the audience started closing their eyes and swaying because they thought it was a lesser known off cut from 2000’s Kid A. Lana, on the other hand,twirled once on Saturday Night Live in 2012 and instantly made it iconic. Take from that what you will.

Winner: Lana Del Rey


Radiohead are frequently praised for their ability to write a good song lyric but let’s be honest here, “I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo” – not exactly an impactful, vivid piece of prose is it? The same goes with “You do it to yourself, you do”. A troubled seven year old could have come up with these lyrics on a rainy afternoon in an English Language class. “You want me, fucking well come and find me”? LOL. Say no more.

Now let’s take a look at Lana Del Rey:

– “And there's no remedy for memory, your face is like a melody / It won't leave my head / Your soul is haunting me and telling me that everything is fine" – “Dark Paradise”

– “Do I let myself recline? / Can I let go? / And let your memory dance / In the ballroom of my mind” – “13 Beaches”

– “Come and take a walk on the wild side / Let me fuck you hard in the pouring rain / You like your girls insane” – “Born To Die”

And that’s just a few samples there of lines from LDR that manage to speak to at least five different emotions in as many words, something Thom Yorke has clearly tried and failed to do.


Winner: Lana Del Rey


Thom Yorke rarely utters curse words because when he isn’t writing terrible music he is a lizard man who speaks in tongues, as evidenced here.

Lana Del Rey meanwhile is not afraid to throw the odd “fuck” or “bitch” into her songs. As we know, swearing is cool, especially when used in the right way, so Lana Del Rey is the clear winner here.

Winner: Lana Del Rey


You know what else is cool? Taking a long drag on a cigarette. Google “Thom Yorke Cigarettes” and the closest image is one of him in the zone, massive can headphones on, holding a pencil. Here it is. As for Lana Del Rey? Have at this:

Smoking kills but we were, ahem, Born To Die either way, so Lana takes this one we're afraid.

Winner: Lana Del Rey


Lana’s coke spoon necklace or Radiohead’s Bearhead Wax Seals?

Who can say?

Winner: N/A


Album artwork is crucial in building a visual identity, making your work recognisable, creating a brand. Some might say it’s as important as the music itself. So let’s have a look at both contenders, shall we?

One the one hand we have Radiohead, a band whose first album cover was of a baby head surrounded by white chocolate jazzies and flower petals. I don’t know what this means, but it bears a strange and striking resemblance to this glass dish my 91-year-old nan painted in the 70s when her eyesight was failing. Their artwork didn’t exactly improve with the decades, either. Their last album cover for A Moon Shaped Pool was of some black and white swirls AKA the same thing you did for GCSE Art with those marbles and a blindfold that time.


Lana Del Rey, meanwhile, has her face on every damn cover.

Winner: Lana Del Rey


Who has the best fanbase? Let’s take it to Stan Twitter.


Lana Del Rey:

We rest our case.

Winner: Lana Del Rey

“Get Free” vs. “Creep”

The chord progression is the same, yes. But who does more with it? It’s difficult to say: “Creep” is a great rock song and it’s also probably Radiohead’s best known. “Get Free” is fine melancholy pop, with real lift in the chorus. These are two good songs, it’s true. Only one is by the era-defining musician Lana Del Rey though, unfortunately. Winner: Lana Del Rey

Who is better?
As we have shown mathematically and irrepressibly, Lana Del Rey is better than Radiohead. We are not accepting questions at this time.

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