Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees - 1996


Radiohead's "Fake Plastic Trees" - A Dive into the 1996 Classic

Radiohead, a British rock band, released "Fake Plastic Trees" in 1995 as part of their album The Bends. This song quickly became one of the band's most iconic tracks, known for its haunting melody and introspective lyrics.

Background and Release

Radiohead, formed in 1985, had already gained some recognition with their debut album Pablo Honey and its hit single "Creep". However, it was with The Bends and songs like "Fake Plastic Trees" that the band started to establish their unique sound and thematic complexity.

Musical Composition

"Fake Plastic Trees" is known for its ethereal and atmospheric sound. The song starts with a simple acoustic guitar line, gradually building up with electric instruments and orchestral elements. Thom Yorke's emotive vocals are a standout feature, conveying a sense of melancholy and introspection.

Lyrics and Themes

The lyrics of "Fake Plastic Trees" are open to interpretation, often seen as a critique of consumerism and artificiality in modern society. Themes of alienation and environmental concerns are also prevalent, reflecting Radiohead's tendency to explore complex and often dark topics in their music.

Critical Reception and Legacy

Upon its release, "Fake Plastic Trees" received widespread acclaim from critics and fans alike. It has since been covered by various artists and remains a staple in Radiohead's live performances. The song's influence extends beyond music, often being cited in discussions about 90s alternative rock and its impact on culture.

Further Reading

For a deeper understanding of Radiohead's impact and the significance of "Fake Plastic Trees", you might want to explore the following topics:

  1. Radiohead's Musical Evolution
  2. 1990s Alternative Rock Scene
  3. Music as Social Commentary

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What year was "Fake Plastic Trees" released? (1995) (!1996) (!1994) (!1997)

In which album is "Fake Plastic Trees" featured? (The Bends) (!OK Computer) (!Pablo Honey) (!Kid A)

What is a distinctive feature of "Fake Plastic Trees"? (Its ethereal and atmospheric sound) (!Fast-paced rhythm) (!Heavy metal influences) (!Rap verses)

What instrument predominantly starts the song "Fake Plastic Trees"? (Acoustic guitar) (!Piano) (!Drums) (!Synthesizer)

Which theme is not prominently featured in "Fake Plastic Trees"? (Fast-paced urban life) (!Consumerism) (!Artificiality) (!Environmental concerns)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

When was Radiohead formed? (1985) (!1980) (!1990) (!1975)

What was Radiohead's debut album? (Pablo Honey) (!The Bends) (!OK Computer) (!Kid A)

Which Radiohead song was a major hit from their debut album? (Creep) (!Karma Police) (!High and Dry) (!No Surprises)

Who is the lead vocalist of Radiohead? (Thom Yorke) (!Jonny Greenwood) (!Colin Greenwood) (!Ed O'Brien)

Which album did Radiohead release after "The Bends"? (OK Computer) (!Kid A) (!Amnesiac) (!Hail to the Thief)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

What is a central theme in the lyrics of "Fake Plastic Trees"? (Consumerism and artificiality) (!Love and relationships) (!Space and technology) (!Historical events)

Which of the following is a line from "Fake Plastic Trees"? ("Her green plastic watering can") (!"In a beautiful world") (!"I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo") (!"Yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon")

The lyrics of "Fake Plastic Trees" suggest a critique of what aspect of society? (Modern consumer culture) (!Political systems) (!Educational institutions) (!Traditional family values)

How do the lyrics of "Fake Plastic Trees" generally make listeners feel? (Melancholic and introspective) (!Euphoric and energetic) (!Confused and disoriented) (!Angry and rebellious)

Which of these is not a theme explored in "Fake Plastic Trees"? (Party culture) (!Alienation) (!Environmental concerns) (!The artificial nature of society)


Create a memory game with matching pairs for this topic. Insert suitable texts using exactly the following format:

Radiohead Formed in 1985
"Fake Plastic Trees" Released in 1995
The Bends Album featuring the song
Thom Yorke Lead vocalist of Radiohead
Consumerism and Artificiality Central themes of the song

Open Tasks


  1. Create a Playlist: Curate a playlist of songs from the 1990s that share themes with "Fake Plastic Trees".
  2. Art Interpretation: Create a drawing or painting inspired by the lyrics of "Fake Plastic Trees".


  1. Music Analysis: Analyze the musical composition of "Fake Plastic Trees" and its use of instruments.
  2. Lyric Analysis: Write an essay interpreting the lyrics of "Fake Plastic Trees" and their societal implications.


  1. Music Production: Compose a piece of music inspired by "Fake Plastic Trees", focusing on atmospheric sound.
  2. Social Commentary: Conduct a research project on how music of the 1990s, like "Fake Plastic Trees", reflected societal issues of the time.
  3. Documentary: Create a short documentary on Radiohead's influence in alternative rock.

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Oral Exam

  1. Musical Influence: Discuss how Radiohead's music, particularly songs like "Fake Plastic Trees", has influenced modern alternative rock.
  2. Song Comparison: Compare "Fake Plastic Trees" with another Radiohead song in terms of themes and musical style.
  3. Cultural Impact: Examine the cultural impact of "Fake Plastic Trees" in the 1990s and its relevance today.
  4. Personal Interpretation: Share your personal interpretation of "Fake Plastic Trees" and how it connects with broader societal themes.
  5. Evolution of Music: Explore the evolution of alternative rock music from the 1990s to the present, citing examples like "Fake Plastic Trees".

OERs on the Topic


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