How did I not know about this? It was only through reading Cracked's post 10 Mind-Blowing Easter Eggs Hidden in Famous Albums that tipped me off to the supposed hidden Radiohead album that can be made by mixing together OK Computer and In Rainbows. It seems like this theory originated on the Puddlegum blog shortly after In Rainbows came out in 2007. Noting that OK Computer had been released 10 years earlier, Puddlegum discovered a whole sequence of occurences of the number 10 that apparently connected the two albums. Then, and it's not clear why, they came up with the idea to merge them:
"To create the 01 and 10 playlist, begin with OK Computer’s track one, Airbag, and follow this with In Rainbow’s 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."
It does work surprisingly well - if In Rainbows was on Spotify I would have created a playlist to demonstrate. The guitars at the end of Paranoid Android seem to continue into Bodysnatchers, for example, and Nude seems to float back down from the same dark spot of night sky that Subterranean Homesick Alien vanished into seconds earlier.
It's almost certainly not deliberate, of course. From what I've heard about Radiohead's working methods, I doubt that they could be disciplined enough to carry the idea through even if they had thought of it. This is a band whose songs often go through numerous variations before making it to record and who chop and change the running order of their albums right until the very last.
Puddlegum notes that ideas "in one song" on the 01 and 10 album are "picked up by the next". Indeed ideas like alienation, technology, social collapse, death and so on do recur throughout this playlist, just as they do on pretty much everything Thom Yorke writes.
Still, this is a fascinating way to listen to these two albums. Radiohead followed OK Computer with Kid A - a wilful attempt to avoid ending up in the middle of the road. As I wrote this time last year (see number 17 on this list), In Rainbows is the band's most successful attempt since that moment to reconcile their experimental and traditional sides. This playlist makes that clear.