When people hear “Everything in Its Right Place” in the future, it won’t sound alien or cold or difficult; it will evoke glitchy cell reception and patchy Wi-Fi and decontextualized social-media updates and the modern reality of omnipresent technological interconnectivity at the expense of genuine human connection. It will eventually seem logical—even the parts that aren’t supposed to seem logical. It will sound like screaming at your neighbors and never being heard, in an online landscape that is as dark, disorderly, and foreboding as a Stanley Donwood album cover. Or as inescapable as an arena you can’t ever leave. In time, many of us will feel like the singer in the successful rock band—surrounded by every convenience, and yet thoroughly alienated by this supposedly inviting world.
An excerpt from This Isn’t Happening, Steven Hyden’s new book about Radiohead’s prescient 2000 album.