Radiohead: 01 and 10 (The Binary Theory)

Ten days after Radiohead released In Rainbows, Puddlegum proposed the Binary Theory, a playlist that combines OK Computer and In Rainbows. Here are the original articles, published in October, 2007.
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I originally wrote these posts about Radiohead on, in October, 2007. The first piece was written the morning of October 10th, the day In Rainbows was released, pointing out the abundance of tens surrounding the album. I suggested The Binary Theory, as it came to be known, that the album was somehow connected with OK Computer. The post became immensely popular after hitting the front page of Digg.

Ten days later on October 20th, I followed it with second piece where I proposed the 01 and 10 playlist. This article became even more popular with Radiohead fans, drawing more than 10,000 visits an hour at one point. I never imagined how widely the playlist and theory would be embrace (and debated). Weeks later, Thom Yorke talked about the theory during a BBC Radio interview with Steve Lamacq, and the theory drew even more attention.

These articles drew thousands of comments. A discussion in the comment thread of the second article suggested listening to the playlist with a ten second crossfade.

NME has since interviewed Philip Selway, and he didn’t deny that there was something to the theory.

Since the original posts no longer exist on the web, I’m sharing them on the new site. I’m also including the official Spotify Radiohead 0110 playlist.

Here are a just a few of the articles that have discussed The Binary Theory over the years:
Brooklyn Vegan
Green Plastic Radiohead
NME – interview with Philip Selway
NME – another article

Enjoy, and share your thoughts below!

Radiohead: 1010101010

(Originally published on October 10, 2007. Written by Kevin Flick.)

Ten years after OK Computer shocked the world, Radiohead released In Rainbows on October 10 (10/10). Though no one was expecting the album to be released until 2008, Radiohead announced In Rainbows just ten days in advance. In Rainbows, which consists of ten letters, has ten tracks, and would be downloadable from a rumored ten servers.

In September, Radiohead began to send nine cryptic messages to their fans. One image was titled Xendless Xurbia, with hundreds of white arrows pointing up, each with a black arrow pointing down. Coincidentally, one of Radiohead’s new songs is called Down Is The New Up. Interestingly enough, X is the Roman Numeral for ten. The tenth cryptic message will be posted today, October 10.

Piecing things together, one message was translated as meaning:

What is with the emphasis of ten? Consider that it is in reference to binary code, 1010101010. ”Endless urbia” being stuck in binary code. With all the changes going on around us in this world, we are caught in binary code.

As fans huddled around their terminals waiting for their email code to download In Rainbows, 12am came without a link to the album. But then at 7am fans received the email with a link to download In Rainbows, listening and chatting with their friends online about the songs.

Note: The working title for OK Computer was Zeros and Ones.

Radiohead: 01 and 10

(Originally published on October 20, 2007. Written by Kevin Flick.)

Ten years after OK Computer shocked the world, Radiohead released In Rainbows on October 10 (10/10). Though no one was expecting the album to be released until 2008, Radiohead announced In Rainbows just ten days in advance. In Rainbows, which consists of ten letters, has ten tracks, and would be downloadable from a rumored ten servers.

Radiohead preceded the release of In Rainbows with nine cryptic messages. They repeatedly emphasized X, the Roman Numeral for ten, in phrases such as “March Wa X”, and “Xendless Xurbia”. The tenth message was posted on October 10 with a photo of the band drinking tea.

There has been a lot of speculation over Radiohead’s emphasis of ten surrounding the release of In Rainbows. One theory suggests that Radiohead was typing a binary code of ones and zeros, 1010101010. This has come to be known as the Binary Theory, also called TENspiracy by some.

Puddlegum first addressed the Binary Theory in Radiohead: 1010101010. Someone associated with Thom Yorke contacted Puddlegum, sharing Thom’s reaction to Puddlegum’s article:

“The meaning behind all of this is right in front of our faces, we’re just overlooking it. (Thom) has been expecting an article much like this one for a couple of years, as have I. But I’m willing he’ll have fun waiting a few more. On the other hand, it seems to annoy him that no one ‘gets it’ yet, given the mountain of clues.”

Ten days after our original article, we have come to believe that OK Computer and In Rainbows were meant to complement each other. During the writing and recording process of OK Computer, Radiohead used the working title of Zeros and Ones. If OK Computer is represented by 01, and In Rainbows is represented by 10, then we have 01 and 10. In binary code 01 and 10 complement each other.

Consider that In Rainbows was meant to complement OK Computer, musically, lyrically, and in structure. We found that the two albums can be knit together beautifully. By combining the tracks to form one playlist, 01 and 10, we have a remarkable listening experience. The transitions between the songs are astounding, and it appears that this was done purposefully.

The lyrics also seem to complement each other. There appears to be a concept flowing through the 01 and 10 playlist. Ideas in one song is picked Pull me out of the air crash,” and “When I’m at the pearly gates, this will be my videotape.”

To create the 01 and 10 playlist, begin with OK Computer‘s track one, Airbag, and follow this with In Rainbows‘ track one, 15 Step. Alternate the albums, track by track, until you reach Karma Police on OK Computer, making All I Need the tenth track on the 01 and 10 playlist. Follow Karma Police with Fitter Happier from OK Computer, for tracks eleven and twelve. These two tracks act as a bridge between the first ten and the following ten tracks on the 01 and 10 playlist. Then continue to alternate the albums again, picking up with Faust Arp on In Rainbows, with Electioneering on OK Computer as the following track.

Radiohead – 01 and 10 playlist:
  1. Airbag (OK Computer)
  2. 15 Step (In Rainbows)
  3. Paranoid Android (OK Computer)
  4. Body Snatchers (In Rainbows)
  5. Subterranean Homesick Alien (OK Computer)
  6. Nude (In Rainbows)
  7. Exit Music (For A Film) (OK Computer)
  8. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi (In Rainbows)
  9. Let Down (OK Computer)
  10. All I Need (In Rainbows)
  11. Karma Police (OK Computer)
  12. Fitter Happier (OK Computer)
  13. Faust Arp (In Rainbows)
  14. Electioneering (OK Computer)
  15. Reckoner (In Rainbows)
  16. Climbing Up The Walls (OK Computer)
  17. House of Cards (In Rainbows)
  18. No Surprises (OK Computer)
  19. Jigsaw Falling Into Place (In Rainbows)
  20. Lucky (OK Computer)
  21. Videotape (In Rainbows)
  22. The Tourist (OK Computer)
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Kevin Flick
Kevin Flick

Kevin Flick founded Puddlegum in 1997 and has been engaging in music journalism off and on since. He's also a recording/mixing engineer and loves to help bands work through the creative process. He has coproduced and mixed for artists such as Saeyers, Midi Memory, and Cathedral Bells.

Rumors are that he's a Brighton Hove & Albion FC fan. He's also obsessed with coffee. Kevin resides in the college community of Bloomington, Indiana, where he studied at Indiana University.

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