Listen To The Voice of Reason – Part 4

Thom Yorke

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They say the best things come to those who wait; I feel this is absolutely true of my relationship with Radiohead and the voice of Thom Yorke in particular.

Radiohead are one of those bands that slipped my attention for many years. I’d heard the obvious tracks like Creep, High and Dry, and once I started paying attention, it was the insanely unique voice of Mr. Yorke I became slightly obsessed with. Once his vocal skills had wormed their weird little ways into my brain, they nestled there, incubating, waiting until I was able to appreciate them in every sense.

Anyone who’s read parts 1 to 3 of my blog will know music and vocals in particular are such a massive part of my life, so it’s fair to say I had my mind blown when I first heard my favourite Radiohead album ever. Which one? For me, it has to be In Rainbows. 

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The album came out in 2007,which seems like a million years ago but to me it’s the one constant on my ancient Ipod. As far as I’m concerned, all the tracks are fantastic but I’m going to focus on my three favourites. I like these three for the lyrics, Thom’s voice, the musicianship from Colin, Jonny, Ed and Philip and the stupid way they make me dance.

15 Step 

How come I end up where I started?
How come I end up where I went wrong?

These are the opening lyrics to one of the best tracks on the album for me.

The skittish start always sets me off on one of my stupid, all over the place dances, I just can’t help it. I love the lines; these are the questions I quite often ask myself and Thom’s voice just adds extra poignancy to them.

You used to be alright
What happened?

Another great lyric, sung with the same weary tone. Was he asking the question of a friend or just looking in the mirror? The words work either way and the voice just adds more melancholy to the meaning.

Did the cat get your tongue?
Did your string come undone?

I love this line, it’s as if he’s talking to someone like they are a puppet who can’t speak or think for themselves because they don’t have the power to any more. It makes me think of someone who’s been so ground down they can no longer function as a person.

I love this song and the tone of the voice, the sense of exasperation, boredom and resignation overlaying the music is just genius.

*(click  the title to  see the live Radiohead From The Basement recording)

 

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Bodysnatchers

I have absolutely no idea what these opening lines are about and the rest of the song doesn’t really give you a clue either.

I do not
Understand
What it is
I’ve done wrong

Sometimes it’s best not to try and analyse things too much. I’ve read that the song is about aliens, a near death experience after an accident or a suicide attempt. I don’t care really, the meaning is Thom’s secret, let him keep it!

The middle verses of the song are sung in the same tone and have the same nonsensical lyrics which I love. As the song goes on, Thom’s vocals get more and more manic and desperate and this is when I love his voice and the way he sings the most. When he gets going he’s almost out of control and this is what I love, it’s as if nothing else matters but the song and he just lets go. I wish I had that ability and the outlet to just go for it and not give a shit.

Has the light gone out for you?
Cause the light’s gone out for me
It is the 21st century
It is the 21st century
You can fight it like a dog
It brought me to my knees
They got scared and they put me in
They got scared and they put me in
All their eyes wrapped around my face
All their eyes wrapped around my face
Although everybody else can see
Although everybody else can see

I’m alive
I’ve seen it coming

This is the point where he’s completely lost it and he starts to do amazing things with his voice, almost a low howl one minute then a full blown rant. With anyone else they wouldn’t get away with it but this is just superb for me.

 

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Nude

This is one of my all time favourite Radiohead tracks, again it’s the sinister, haunting quality of the vocal that gets me first, combined with the lyrics that tell me something isn’t quite right here.

Don’t get any big ideas
They’re not gonna happen

You paint yourself white
And fill up with noise
But there’ll be something missing

Now that you’ve found it, it’s gone
Now that you feel it, you don’t
You’ve gone off the rails

So don’t get any big ideas
They’re not gonna happen

You’ll go to hell for what your dirty mind is thinking

All the way through the song I keep thinking is this about someone being stalked? Is there an element of fear and menace? Again, I haven’t got a clue what the lyrics are actually about but I’d love to hear your views in the comments box for this post.

I like to listen to this in the dark, I find it incredibly disturbing and I love the power that some songs have to do that to me. Another track that does this to me is I WANT YOU *by Elvis Costello – makes me want to lock the door and keep a knife with me!

*click to hear the track.

Well this is the end of my post about the vocal shenannigans of the amazingly talented and slightly scary Thom Yorke. I hope you have enjoyed it, found it interesting or at the very least it’s stopped you thinking about that annoying little itch you’ve got for a couple of minutes.

I’d love to hear what you think, good, bad or indifferent. I’m new to blogging so I’m always after advice……even if it’s ‘Your shit, why are you bothering?’

Cheers

Mxx

 

 

 

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