RADIOHEAD: All these weird creatures who lock up their spirits
It's a new month over here at 'Pimps (I will also accept "Po' Gore" as a nickname), so that means I have a clean slate of bandwidth with those mad bastards over at Taco Robot. I must note it was the Tofu Hut that really brought in all the traffic at the beginning of the month, and not my own inane ramblings. This month I'm hoping maybe CNN.com will drop my addy in some article and really cripple me.
Until that day, here's another big old chunk of Radiohead b-sides... just a chip off of a huge, enjoyable block you can find on various EPs and singles out there. If you eventually burn these tracks to a CD, the next songs would represent tracks 7 through 12. I've actually tried to consider how the tracks are arranged on this hypothetical "album," but feel free to scramble them up any way you choose.
I Am a Wicked Child: A Radiohead Compilation
7. "The Amazing Sounds of Orgy": So fucking creepy. I'd love to make the three-minute horror movie that should go with this song. The opening verse and the refrain ("I want to see your smile again" and "So glad you're mine," respectively) juxtapose sentimentality against ominous lyrics like "The amazing sounds of the killing hordes / the day the banks collapsed on us." Hey, you've got spiders crawling all over you.
8. "Paperbag Writer": The creepy vibe remains here on this outtake from the HAIL TO THE THIEF sessions (released on the "There There" single), but shit gets FONKY... as fonky as it can get when it comes to England, really. Clock the bassline that enters at the 1 minute mark, or the strings that seem to be playing both forwards and backwards. I honestly think Dr. Dre would be impressed with the production on this one. Now that's the hotnezz. The Beatles reference in the title and the druggy lyrics only make it sweeter.
9. "I Am Citizen Insane": This instrumental track closes out my Radiohead/electronica trilogy for the evening in beautiful style, with what could be mistaken for a collaboration between Aphex Twin and and Luke Vibert. To those of you out there who don't listen to any 'electronic' music and didn't just tune the fuck out after reading those two names, give this track a shot. If you're at work, put it on repeat and keep doing what you're doing. If you manage to lose yourself in the song, I think you'll understand what the fuss is about.
10. "How I Made My Millions": Lead singer Thom Yorke recorded this demo on a minidisc recorder at home. If you listen closely, you can hear his girlfriend doing the dishes in the background. If I were dating someone and heard something this crushing coming out of the next room, I think I would have to end the relationship and walk away in sad, talentless shame. By the way, how great are the song titles tonight?
11. "Subterranean Homesick Alien (acoustic) ": This early version of OK COMPUTER's thematic center is an acoustic performance from the RARE ON AIR series of albums (Vol. 4 also features live performances from Tom Waits, Jeff Buckley and more). Not only did OK COMPUTER and the album version of this track finally soften me to Radiohead, but the lyrics of this song made me actually want to be abducted by aliens. It's quite a feat that they manage to convey both the strangeness of what it's like to be human and how peculiar humans would seem to another intelligent life form. The passage where the narrator begs to be stolen "on board their beautiful ship, show me the world as I'd love to see it," always jumped out at me as a unique response to an alien abduction.
12. "Palo Alto": There's a riveting sequence in the Radiohead documentary MEETING PEOPLE IS EASY where Thom Yorke mixes this song on a lap-sized mixing board, while footage of people hustling and bustling their lives away in dreary cityscapes is intercut. Seeing that documentary made me begin to consider what attracted me most to the band: they write what are essentially folk songs about the death of the human soul. "No Surprises." "How to Disappear Completely." Even "Creep." They're all about the different levels of disconnect we all experience every day. How sanitized life can become, with everything pre-fabbed, everything cookie cut and similar to everything else. "Palo Alto" is named after a city in California -- the "City of the Future" -- that played a huge role in California's second gold rush: Silicon Valley, or the La Brea Tar Pit of technology.
FOR MORE ON TONIGHT'S RAMBLING:
The city of the future, Palo Alto
Listen to some Aphex Twin samples
Order your Radiohead singles