25 November 2009

Fade out

Is it a video of a melody? Is it a melody of a poem?

"Street Spirit is our purest song, but I didn't write it. It wrote itself. We were just its messengers; its biological catalysts. Its core is a complete mystery to me, and, you know, I wouldn't ever try to write something that hopeless. All of our saddest songs have somewhere in them at least a glimmer of resolve. Street Spirit has no resolve. It is the dark tunnel without the light at the end. It represents all tragic emotion that is so hurtful that the sound of that melody is its only definition. We all have a way of dealing with that song. It's called detachment. Especially me; I detach my emotional radar from that song, or I couldn't play it. I'd crack. I'd break down on stage. [...]
It's why we play it towards the end of our sets. It drains me, and it shakes me, and hurts like hell every time I play it, looking out at thousands of people cheering and smiling, oblivious to the tragedy of its meaning, like when you're going to have your dog put down and it's wagging its tail on the way there. That's what they all look like, and it breaks my heart. I wish that song hadn't picked us as its catalysts, and so I don't claim it. It asks too much. I didn't write that song."

So speaks Thom Yorke about Radiohead's song Street Spirit (Fade Out) (1995). I always believed that the lyrics of Street Spirit appear weak against the subtle beauty of the video and the haughty echo of the song. As strange as it may sound, for this poetry, for it is poetry, you need to tune out (abstract) the lyrics and listen to what's left. And then watch these mini stories flash before your eyes in rhythm rather than in rhymes. Is Yorke right? Does it drain? Does it shake? Does it break? Did you fade out? Are you still there? Are you one? Are you more?

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