Ten Tracks That Mattered: #5 – Radiohead

Radiohead - In Rainbows“Bodysnatchers” by Radiohead

How could I not? I mean, did Radiohead really need another amazing album? Couldn’t they have just slowly faded like U2? Well, apparently not. I liked their last album. Hail to The Thief had some interesting stuff on it. It was a bit of a return to their tighter Bends-y construction, a step away from the rampant experimentalism of Kid A and Amnesiac. So I didn’t know what to expect with In Rainbows, and frankly, I wasn’t dying to know. Radiohead released the album themselves in that peculiar “Pay What You Want” fashion that was either brilliant or daft, depending on your point of view. I paid nothing. I picked it up out of curiosity. And then I sat on it for weeks for some reason, perhaps not wanting to be disappointed, perhaps afraid of getting suckered by hype, perhaps I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind. But finally, sitting at a coffee house tapping away at the novel-in-progress, I decided to give it a spin.

I didn’t listen to anything else for three days.

In Rainbows

This isn’t peer pressure. This is not me going, “Oh Gawd, since everyone else says it’s good, I might as well squeeze it into the top ten.” This is me going, “Holy pus bucket, Batman!” which, in non-derivative slang translates to, “Heck, these guys have put out something really special.” It’s tough to single out a solitary track to represent this album, and indeed, as we climb higher in the ranks of Tracks That Mattered, we’re getting away from songs and focusing more on albums. But I love this one. “Bodysnatchers” is a paranoid, rapid-fire growl with rich, rounded guitars and a humming bassline. Thom Yorke howls about abduction and paralysis and defeat:

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
All their eyes wrapped around my face
Although everybody else can see

This is classic Radiohead. The stuff I love, come back again to haunt.

Radiohead: official site, in rainbows (no longer available as a download), Bodysnatchers (youtube)

Listen and weep:

About the author: will

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