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SNL GPA: Radiohead Score Above-Average Grade on Below-Average Premiere


School is back in session. The 36th season premiere of Saturday Night Live was pretty lacking in the joke department, from its opening Tea Party sketch to Alec Baldwin's strange cameo-filled monologue to the fake Turner Classic war movie sketch. But at least Radiohead were on hand to save the proceedings with a rare TV performance. Other than Baldwin's Tony Bennett impression (the show's comedic highlight), there were no other musical moments, so let's get straight to the grades:

Song One: "Lotus Flower"
+3 for the "Lotus Flower" live arrangement. The song has been out since February, but Radiohead made it sound fresh.
+2 for Thom Yorke's dance moves.
+2 for Maracas!
-2 for SNL not improving the sound of their musical broadcasts. This is season 36, and it's still the worst sounding venue in music. Yorke was barely audible. Hopefully, Stephen Colbert's studio has better acoustics.

Song Two: "Staircase"
+3 for this actual text message from a friend:

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Yeah, that's touring drummer Clive Deamer. So, +3 for freaking out America with the doppelganger drummers.
-3 for playing this song. Seven months after the release of The King of Limbs, Radiohead are finally promoting the album... only this track isn't even on TKOL. The Amp was at Roseland Ballroom last year when Yorke debuted "Staircase." Didn't love it then, still don't love it now.
+2 for at least making this the best "Staircase" performance yet.

Overall: -1 for what was a pretty low-key performance by Radiohead, at least compared to their energetic visit to SNL in 2000. And -1 for Yorke's stringy hair. However, +4 for these hilariously awkward SNL promos:

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Final Grade: B/B+

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