"Optimistic" is the sixth track on the 2000 album Kid A by the band Radiohead.
No singles were released from Kid A, but promos of several songs from the album, including "Optimistic", were sent to radio stations. Without an official single specified by the band or label, the guitar-driven "Optimistic" became the default track to be picked up by alternative rock stations in the United States and received more airplay than any other track on Kid A. The song hit number 10 on the Billboard modern rock charts, and one of only three Radiohead songs - the others being "Creep" and "Bodysnatchers" - to peak in the Top 10 of that chart.
"Optimistic" was included on disc one of the 17-track, US version of Radiohead: The Best of, a compilation released by Capitol Records in 2008. The song was not included on the 16-track, UK version released by Parlophone.
"Optimistic" was performed often during an initial tour in 2000 but it did not appear again in Radiohead's live shows until it was brought back in 2008 to be played twice at a special show for BBC Radio 1 on April 1, and again on May 4, during a VH1 exclusive concert at the Basement, London, featuring a set from their newest album In Rainbows. It has now become a regular part of the setlist on their 2008 tour. The live performance is similar to the one found on the album, featuring guitar, bass, drums, and ondes martenot, an electronic instrument played by guitarist Jonny Greenwood.
The chorus for "Optimistic" was directly inspired by Thom Yorke's long term partner, Rachel Owen. During the making of "Kid A", Thom was constantly stressed and on the verge of an emotional breakdown because of his desire to make the album as perfect as humanly possible. His partner would constantly try to calm him down by telling him that, "the best you can is good enough". The lyrics of the song also reference George Orwell's Animal Farm. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.