"One day I am going to grow wings, a chemical reaction..."

>> Monday, July 19, 2010

Possibly my favorite Radiohead song ever, "Let Down" from 1997's O.K. Computer:








I may have said this before--I don't think any band has ever captured a sense of modern existential terror and angst since Pink Floyd circa 1977, and "Let Down" is such a fine example of how a song about despair over the seeming meaninglessness of it all can be aching and beautiful. When you say something like "existential terror and angst," it almost begs to imply some kind of emo whininess and self-pity, which of course is the farthest thing in the world from what the Floyd did in '77 (which was to lash out in rage) or what Radiohead did twenty years later, which was to reach out yearningly for something beautiful and better. "Let Down" may start with an observation of "Disappointed people clinging onto bottles" as they sit and wait for transportation that will take them nowhere, but then Thom Yorke's voice reaches out--"One day, I am going to grow wings, a chemical reaction, hysterical and useless." It's a transformation that won't change anything, but it's still change, something different from all the sameness.

Beautiful stuff. There's always hope amidst all the ugly; it was the last fucking thing in the box, remember?


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