Thursday, March 10, 2005

"Creep" by Radiohead

I was told after my last entry that apparently I have too much time on my hands and I write too much. Well I have to say this...I do have too much time on my hands and this is the only way i know how to cope with it other than resorting to petty crime. So this keeps me off the streets, which is a good thing. On to the song...which is probably Radiohead's least complicated (hence why it is their biggest hit). We start with a 8 measure intro, which basically spells out the entire song. We have a single riff that carries through the whole song, no changes, no bridge, not even an inversion for the chorus. The progression is I-iii-IV-V42. The key is the third inversion V7 chord, which really carries the suspense well, since it's so unstable and unsure of itself. This really echoes the lyrics, since they talk about how he nevers really fits in in a crowd. The vocals are easy and not strained at all. In fact, the delivery is somewhat nonchalant at first. This delivery is used effectively as it seems to be holding back a deeper emotion, something seething in the background. He's tired of being ignored and on the verge of breaking. I love how the guitar is always on, sometimes completely overshadowed in the background, then driving to the forefront on the chorus as the vocals bite a little bit. Actually the constant drive of the progression is used as juxtaposition, as the nearly polite delivery of the verses contrasts with the pent up rage of the verse, as the chords keep this same line over and over. After the second chorus the vocal line changes, as the singer improvises an eerie higher line. The use of the echo effects on the vocals adds a real ghostly feel, perhaps to make it seem that even when he is screaming, the girl he's trying to catch the attention of isn't paying attention. To her he is still just a ghost. The final verse is simply resignation, as we no longer manage to pull out the power of the chorus a final time, and fade away to nothingness. I like how Radiohead excells at using not just the words, but the entire instrumentation and use of effects to create a specific mood. "Creep" is a great example of a simple song being brought to life by combining haunting lyrics and ethereal instrumentation to create a song about being alone, even in a crowd.


Djumby said...

but you seeee, i would much rather have you commiting petty crimes than writing so much. Reasoning: I wouldn't feel bad if you commited a petty crime, but I would feel bad if you wrote too much, therefore making me look bad...;-)

Scott Spiegelberg said...

What do you think of this version of "Creep?" Yes, those are bass clarinets.