Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Song of the Day #249 - Radiohead - Spectre

Spectre, how he laughs...

To conclude our Christmas trifecta, here is perhaps the most bizarre revelation yet: Radiohead was initially contacted to do the theme song for the new Bond movie, but it didn't work out, or something, but they liked what they had done, and finished it up, and here it is! This is actually uhh... very bad news possibly. Like first off it made people act really insufferably about how this is better than the Sam Smith song they chose, okay guys come on if you're really this sure of the artistic greatness of Radiohead (and who isn't?) do you really have to go around lamenting that it didn't make it into a Bond movie? Not that I have anything against Bond, I like it as much as the next guy, but it isn't important.

The really bad news is that we recently saw some leaked stuff about Radiohead being in studios and working with a string orchestra and stuff, and people of course started spreading all sorts of rumours around LP9, which they keep saying is being worked on but are very hesitant to specify any type or amount of work, but uhhh... what if it was all actually just for this song??? Like maybe LP9 is still barely anything??? Uhhh... UHHHH...

Okay okay but at the VERY LEAST we have this song which is a very nice song indeed. It sounds very tailored to its intended role in the Bond credits sequence, with really "cinematic" shifts, ones that suggest similar visual breaks... I wonder at what rate and with what levels of collaboration the band works with the director etc? The feel is like a much more dramatic and tense version of "Pyramid Song", like... if "Pyramid Song" was a book, this would be a movie remake of it, maybe? Is that a great or terrible analogy?

Regardless, it's thinking that would get me pretty hyped up, given that "Pyramid Song" is probably in my top 20 songs of all time. Something about the somberness of the strings and piano, with that jazzy, precise drums... it's the formula for some of my favorite music of all time. Thom sticks to a more melodic line than normal, maybe... his "response" lines in the lower register feel almost like a compromise, I can easily picture him doubling down and going even higher. Same with the strings after each verse, the really "rollicking sea" type crescendos, it feels not what they would normally do, maybe. A choice made with awareness to the purpose of the song, I think. But it isn't necessarily a bad choice - it's interesting to see this sort of side to a band that's usually relentlessly innovative and uncompromising about their artistic choices. Kinda reminds me of this video maybe. I dunno. It isn't any huge change or anything.

So yeah, fantastic song. Maybe not actually indicative of the style, let alone existence, of LP9, but whatever. I think there's a lot of room in this aesthetic/mode of hugely cinematic, but still brooding, music, so it would be a great jumping off point for a new album. But uhh if Thom Yorke posted that lately they've been really into slowed down samples of auctioneers over 60bpm breakbeat I would also be convinced that it was leading to a great album.

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