Today’s update is a little disjointed, but I wanted to go ahead and post it rather than try to get it perfect.
One of the benefits of hearing a band live is that sometimes you can understand some of the lyrics to your favorite songs better. The lyric quoted in the title of today’s piece was snarled with great clarity and venom by Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke on Saturday night, during “Paranoid Android” (their “breakthrough” single from 1997’s OK Computer). And Thom did look like a paranoid android — bobbing in front of the microphone like a man possessed. The full context is “Ambition makes you look pretty ugly/Kicking squealing Gucci little piggy/You don’t remember, you don’t remember/Why don’t you remember my name?”
And the audience kind of sat there getting stoned. At least that was what was happening where we were sitting.
The Gorge, near the city of George, Washington, sits in a high natural amphitheatre overlooking the Columbia River. You can see down into the river bed for miles past the band shell. It’s the most sublime location for a concert I’ve ever seen.
Radiohead is a band that makes music that kicks back against the complicity with which we are giving up our humanity. Unfortunately I think most of the crowd on Saturday was too far gone to respond.
The new Radiohead song that won’t leave my head, “Dollars & Cents,” was given a disturbing spin on Saturday. Radiohead have made a career out of defying expectations, and originally I understood “Dollars & Cents” to dramatize pressures that the band felt to be conventional pop artists (“Be constructive with your blues…Quiet down!”). But on Saturday I thought I heard Thom sing
We are the dollars & cents We are the pounds & pence We are the marketing men, and yeah We're going to crack your little souls
Words of caution to live by for an MBA student.