A LAZY STROLL DOWN MEMORY LANE : 45 45s AT 45 (25)

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MONDAY 21 APRIL 2008

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So here we finally have something from probably the most talked-about band across cyberspace*

*(well they were back in 2008!!!).

I was very very lucky to see Radiohead at the outset of their career on two occasions – the first when they were complete unknowns in September 1992 as the support act to The Frank and Walters at The Venue in Edinburgh. Just over a year later, having had success in the USA with Creep, they were given the support slot with James and this time it was Glasgow Barrowlands just before Xmas 1993.

I’d be a liar if I said that on the basis of those two gigs I could have predicted that world domination would soon be theirs. In fact, I’d go as far to say that having bought debut album Pablo Honey on the back of the 1992 gig and been a bit disappointed with it, I wasn’t all that looking forward to seeing them support James. But that night, they gave a pretty decent performance, and a bit of hope that they were going to be more than one-hit wonders.

Problem was, the band seemed to disappear from view thereafter as the UK went barmy for Britpop. As we now know, it was in fact to begin the long and drawn-out process to write and record songs for their second LP, on which work began in early 1994 but which wasn’t released until May 1995.

And its my considered opinion that The Bends might just be the best LP of all time…..its certainly the one I’ve listened to more than any other over the past 13 years (up to 2008!!!!). Yup, I much prefer it to the more-critically lauded OK Computer.

Part of this is down to the existence of the song that has made #25.

You can scour the internet and see that the song is pretty special to a lot of people, but there’s a bit of argument as to what exactly it is about. What can’t be denied is that Thom Yorke delivers an incredibly intense and moving vocal while the boys in the band deliver a haunting and memorable tune and melody.

It is clearly about something that is far from natural – the constant use of words like rubber, plastic and polystyrene only help emphasise that point. But is it about an artificial feeling of love that the protagonist has for someone, or does it have a deeper meaning? Is it indeed the template for Radiohead’s manifesto for the future in which their disgust about the way the planet is being treated would come to dominate how their songs sounded as well as the band’s philosophy and outlook on things?

I’m not entirely sure, and I’ve said previously, I tend not to delve too deep into the meaning of lyrics. They are important, but no more so than the music.

I know that many of you will disagree that this in fact the finest single ever released by Radiohead. While I had a bit of a debate with myself about which song to select for certain bands, this one was, as the cliché goes, a no-brainer. This is a song that can provoke so many emotions in me, depending on my mood and state of mind, and there’s not many others that I can say that about.

mp3 : Radiohead – Fake Plastic Trees
mp3 : Radiohead – India Rubber
mp3 : Radiohead – How Can You Be Sure?

Surprisingly, the single only reached #20 in the UK charts, and it was later single Street Spirit (Fade Out) that was the big seller.

3 thoughts on “A LAZY STROLL DOWN MEMORY LANE : 45 45s AT 45 (25)

  1. ‘The Bends’ remains Radiohead’s best album, no question. Cannot stand Radiohead recent output (everything since ‘Hail To The Thief’, in fact) – tuneless, pretentious dirges of the worst kind. ‘The Bends’ has 90% of their best tunes on one album.

    ”How Can I Be Sure?’ is a wonderful track. I’m guessing this is the b-side Badger was referring to…

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