This melancholic love song finds Thom Yorke outlining his devotion to his lover. He lists off promises to her, like a shopping list.
I won't run away no more, I promise Even when I get bored, I promise Even when you lock me out, I promise I say my prayers every night, I promise
The song was originally written for Radiohead's OK Computer album and first performed live March 27 1996 at San Francisco's The Fillmore. However, the band didn't think the track was strong enough to merit inclusion on the record and it disappeared from their set lists. It seems they changed their minds as in 2017 "I Promise" was one of three unreleased tracks on OKNOTOK, the 20th anniversary reissue of OK Computer.
Radiohead played the song live for the first time since 1996 at a gig in Oslo, Norway on June 7, 2017. Thom Yorke introduced the tune by saying: "Normally I don't think we're the sort of people who look back but it was interesting when we did. What a bunch of nutters we were and probably still are. One of the crazy things we did was not release this song."
The song is accompanied by a video directed by Michal Marczak who previously filmed the clip for A Moon Shaped Pool's "Identikit," as well as the visual for Mark Pritchard's "Beautiful People" featuring Thom Yorke.