22 August 2004

Longing for escape

I recently discovered “Low Morale,” a set of dark and delicious little web animations about the hunger for escape that can overtake you in office-land ... or anywhere. The capstone is the long, cleverly done animation done with Radiohead's “Creep” as the background music.

While I'm plugging the cartoons, let me also offer praise to the fine fellas of Radiohead. For a while, that song was everywhere, but somehow I had never really listened carefully to the lyrics before. Maybe it was because the animation uses a slower acoustic version, but this time it really caught me. It's a gem.

I'll ask Cameron Crowe speaking though Lester Bangs in Almost Famous to sing its praises:

We are uncool! And while women will always be a problem for guys like us, most of the great art in the world is about that very problem.

Good-looking people have no spine! Their art never lasts! They get the girls, but we're smarter.

Great art is about conflict and pain and guilt and longing and love disguised as sex, and sex disguised as love
....
The only true currency in this bankrupt world if what we share with someone else when we're uncool.

Rock ’n’ roll inherited that longing from the blues — for love and sex and acceptance, all tangled together — but traditionally has put a brave face on, from Buddy Holly to the Beach Boys to David Bowie and beyond. But there are days when that longing is just despair, and there is no brave face to be given to it. Bravo to Radiohead for saying so.


Via Gary Farber I learn that Amanda Palmer has an interpretation of “Creep” which brings out its note of despair less through the lyrics than as a musical composition.


YouTube turns out to be full of cover versions, mostly by women who want to play with that showy big crescendo, but there are a couple I have found which I like. Carrie Manolakos does a torchy version, which would be wrong except that her phrasings are very crafty, keeping that note of pain and longing. And Moby has an odd and interesting live performance which contrasts his band playing it like a big pop anthem with him singing it like the cri de cour it is.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good-looking people have no spine!
Their art never lasts! They get the
girls, but we're smarter.
Thanks. This quote made my day.

- i. Nebbish