Monday, October 26, 2009

Thom Yorke vs. The Devil

Have you ever wondered where artists get their inspiration from? Have you ever heard a song and thought to yourself, "What were they thinking (or taking) when they came up with those lyrics?" Over the course of history, there have been countless bands whose front man comes across as completely f*^k&d up!... Take for example Radiohead's Thom Yorke.

Although many of his lyrics have been identified as to what he is singing about and where he found inspiration, one song in particular Yorke just blows completely off the Radar.

Featured on their album The Bends, this song is said to be one of the bands saddest songs, described by the band as "a dark tunnel without the light at the end."
What makes this song so interesting however, is Thom Yorke's stance on the song- claiming HE DID NOT WRITE IT!

Yorke stated:
Street Spirit is our purest song, but I didn't write it. It wrote itself. We were just its messengers; its biological catalysts. Its core is a complete mystery to me, and, you know, I wouldn't ever try to write something that hopeless. All of our saddest songs have somewhere in them at least a glimmer of resolve. Street Spirit has no resolve. It is the dark tunnel without the light at the end. It represents all tragic emotion that is so hurtful that the sound of that melody is its only definition. We all have a way of dealing with that song. It's called detachment. Especially me; I detach my emotional radar from that song, or I couldn't play it. I'd crack. I'd break down on stage. That's why its lyrics are just a bunch of mini-stories or visual images as opposed to a cohesive explanation of its meaning. I used images set to the music that I thought would convey the emotional entirety of the lyric and music working together. That's what's meant by 'all these things you'll one day swallow whole'. I meant the emotional entirety, because I didn't have it in me to articulate the emotion. I'd crack...

Our fans are braver than I to let that song penetrate them, or maybe they don't realise what they're listening to. They don't realise that Street Spirit is about staring the fucking devil right in the eyes, and knowing, no matter what the hell you do, he'll get the last laugh. And it's real, and true. The devil really will get the last laugh in all cases without exception, and if I let myself think about that too long, I'd crack.

I can't believe we have fans that can deal emotionally with that song. That's why I'm convinced that they don't know what it's about. It's why we play it towards the end of our sets. It drains me, and it shakes me, and hurts like hell every time I play it, looking out at thousands of people cheering and smiling, oblivious to the tragedy of its meaning, like when you're going to have your dog put down and it's wagging its tail on the way there. That's what they all look like, and it breaks my heart. I wish that song hadn't picked us as its catalysts, and so I don't claim it. It asks too much. I didn't write that song."

Well then..

I will leave you with that to keep your thoughts running.


1 comment:

  1. Very interesting post, you made me actually go open youtube type in the songs name and listen to it all the way through even though I particulairy aint a Radiohead fan. I wanted to see what it was Yorke, was talking about in the little mini interview you posted, or article rather. I didn't quite get the song, nor did I get the video, could also just be that I'm biased to the fact I'm not a fan. I wonder though, do you yourself see and get what Yorke is trying to say?