You do it to yourself you do
And that's what really hurts
Is you do it to yourself, just you
You and no one else.
From splendid, serene isolation on an island yesterday, we move address a different form of loneliness with a double-header starting up our Monday song, featuring a great original alongside a very laudable cover version. Radiohead’s original comes from their breakthrough 1994 album The Bends. Apparently written about a narcissistic friend of frontman Thom Yorke, in which relentless self-inflicted pain seems to relentlessly return. Yorke has jokily described that it is also a song in which he was in competition with fellow guitarist Jonny Greenwood to see how many different chords they could fit into a song, of which there are numerous, and restless changes, suiting the unsettling state of mind it evokes.
Yet as much as the song is darkly upbeat, it is the video which also sticks in the memory. Directed by Jamie Thraves, and shot near London’s Liverpool Street Station, a man lies on the ground refusing to move. A crowd gathers, and the man also refuses to let anyone touch him, nor tell him the awful secret that has caused him to behave this way. Eventually he does, and the next scene, having heard his secret, everyone else is lying down in a state of despair. Neither director nor artists have ever revealed the truth about this, keeping its potency alive – though any number of events, personal or political could apply, then or now.
For comparison, let’s enjoy producer and musician Mark Ronson’s version working with featured Alex Greenwald on vocals and Sam Farrar on bass, both of the band Phantom Planet. There are no differences in structure or words, but, from Ronson's 2008 album Version, the true strength of this take is its use of brass, giving a new, glowing groove to the indie original.
Mark Ronson featuring Phantom Planet version:
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