Radiohead – Creep
‘Creep’, the Oxford quintets iconic torch song of teenage self-hatred was once described by Thom Yorke as ‘our Scott Walker song’ which is strange as the song, one of the more raw compositions Radiohead have recorded in their twenty year lifespan seems to be the opposite of Walkers often lush, orchestrated sound in the late 1960’s. On reflection however, Walkers songs were often mini narratives of outsider figures, people on the margins struggling to understand themselves and the world they inhabit. Think of the overweight transvestite in ‘Big Louise’or the dissonant introspection of ‘It’s Raining Today‘ both featured on Scott 3. Maybe Yorke was trying to capture the feel, the emotional mood of Scott Walkers music, that sense of grand tragedy and melodrama which informs most of his work.
Here, Radioheads attack is more direct and less sophisticated than Walkers approach perhaps, gauche even and almost unrecognisable from their current ‘mature’ incarnation but this never diminishes the song but makes it even more powerful and the song evokes an acute sense of young male confusion and angst, sensitivity and rage evoked both simultaneously and separately and the prevailing atmosphere hinting at the forlorn romanticism of it’s musical forebear.
The choral version of the track is heavily associated with the 2010 promotional campaign for David Fincher‘s film The Social Network and was an extremely effective way of capturing the mindset of the Mark Zuckerberg character in the film – i.e., an insecure outsider whose success if fuelled by rejection. The music also captured that sense of longing, anxiety, resentment and isolation that seems to drive most of our online interaction in the modern world.
A Belgian womens choir conducted by Stijn Kolacny accompanied by his brother Steven, Scala & Kolacny Brothers remain faithful to the originals emotional spine and by simplifying it even further, using only voice and piano. A tender, haunted whisper to Radiohead’s imploding aria, it’s tremulous feminine grace enough pierce even the most cold-hearted of scoundrels.