Photos by Nick Tomecek
Most of us learned young there are two things to avoid discussing at the dinner table: Coldplay and vegans.
I’m kidding. Politics and religion are the two things I’m told to avoid.
We might not be eating supper together, but it’s a challenge to avoid politics while writing about Radiohead’s sixth album, “Hail to the Thief.” The depressing, angry record is almost solely inspired by George W. Bush and the war on terrorism.
This record might feel relevant to some in regards to the current political climate. Instead of focusing on this, I will jog you through my faves.
I’ll start with the song that launched 1,000 ships in my mind, “There, There.” Describing the intensity at which I connect to this song daunts me.
This track is the thunder of my soul. It’s the voice of my paint; the haunting of my night drives and the question I always ask myself.
I’ve read online it was a challenge to record the right take of this song, and I can see why. The emotion that went into the recording is raw and palpable. If you haven’t heard it, I’ll paint you a picture.
It’s steady at first. Imagine your heart rate on a steady jog.
Cue guitar. Not sad, not happy, you don’t feel anything.
The verse comes in, and lead singer Thom Yorke describes tripping over broken branches while walking in the pitch black of night.
Then, you’ve reached the chorus. Yorke’s desperate vocals elongate the vowels in the lyrics that forever resonate in my mind.
Just cause you feel it doesn’t mean it’s there.
Your jog quickens to a run. Yorke details a siren singing you to shipwreck.
The pounding of the tom-tom drums aggressively coerces listeners to keep running.
Suddenly, everything breaks in an unparalleled grand crescendo!
If you’re angry, sad or feeling feelings to their fullest, I recommend listening to this in your car as loud as you can. It’s therapeutic, I promise.
I can’t tell you what the song means to Yorke, but I can tell you what it means for me: You can’t trust your feelings. While negative feelings will always loom over you like an article on deadline, don’t indulge them.
I plan to get a tattoo of these lyrics someday as an important reminder to deflect negativity in its many forms. I could talk all day about this song, but I promised you a scenic jog through my faves, which appear to mostly be in the latter half of this album.
I like Yorke’s soft, high-pitched vocals in “Sail to the Moon.” I embrace vulnerability from this edgy singer like a warm, all-encompassing hug.
I won’t break our aforementioned dinner table rules, but “I Will” has a really solemn message and sound with which I can relate. The soothing choral vibes fascinate me.
“A Punchup at a Wedding” and “Myxomatosis” just have cool, if somewhat morbid, names. Myxomatosis is a treacherous virus with ghastly symptoms that infects rabbits.
“Scatterbrain,” has horrifying war-related imagery to match its somber tone. In “A Wolf At the Door,” Yorke quickly rattles off lyrics — something I’ve grown fond of.
Then, “There There,” a song, frankly, you should just listen to already.
After writing this, I’ve made a sudden mind-blowing comparison between “Hail to the Thief” and Black Sabbath’s debut album. Tell me if I’m wrong.
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Hey, I'm Savannah. I collect records, and they collect dust. Like my preferred media form, I strive to not become obsolete. I created Off the Record as a way to turn my mind inside out, into something visual and tangible. One is the loneliest number, so I asked my friends to join.