1. Radiohead didn't write a novelty song. It being perceived as that has nothing to do with them. If U2 released 'Stop Whispering' this place would turn into the Ewok village at the end of Return Of The Jedi.
Thank you for the image and the following LOL :-DDD
After I stopped laughing, I pondered the weighty statement, listened to "Stop Whispering" and concluded, would U2 come up with that song today, the mainstream-radiofriendly-U2 fans would be picking up their jaws and taking out the stormtrooper helmets.
But it doesn't compare to U2-prime. It is intense, but way too "sub-someAmericanindieband", and reminds me of an early On A Friday demo, which sounded like U2 lite.
To answer the original question, we are comparing Banana Co-s with Lemons, the sweet meat with Melon, stolen honey with vegetables.
The two bands resonate with very different tastes, often in the same person, like it happened with me.
I fell in love with U2's big anthems as a child and pre-teen, and I grew out of those after Pop, keeping their more intriguing, complex and darker material close, and started appreciating the more subtle musicality and brooding intensity of post OK Computer Radiohead once I got used to Yorke's whiny voice. I hated them for that voice for years.
I still don't care for their pop-rock years (Computer is the earliest I love, and it is of course a pop-rock record, but it's just too perfect in shape and content to ignore, and many of those songs get to me).
Another big difference is U2's current, prolonged state of creative stagnancy - compared to Radiohead's constant evolution (for better or worse, the answer's in the ear of the beholder). Which doesn't mean U2 wasn't a great example of artistic growth, they just turned a dead-end at some point (likely when they started chasing the perfect pop-song).
Radiohead chose not to write anthemic music anymore, at least not in the mainstream sense of the word. U2 chose to ditch intensity in favour of joy.
In case they somehow find their way back into the heart of darkness, I'll be on board once again.