Let Down – Radiohead (OK Computer, 1997)
Let me let the cat out of the bag and tell you that when the Dandy Classic Music Hour records it’s 50th episode of the podcast (it’ll be here before you know it) we intend to honor one of both Dan and I’s all-time favorite albums by talking Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer’. So in honor of my 50th Dandy Classic Track of the Day I figured we’d have some synergy and pick a song (my favorite Radiohead song actually) from said record.
One of the main reason I’ve loved that album since it came out in the late summer – early fall of 1997 (seems like yesterday) is the song “Let Down”. If you are familiar with the album you know it has a very heavy sci-fi motif and this song seems to embody that otherworldly quality that capture the record ideally.
This song just captures and leads my imagination in such a bizarre, but enjoyable way. From the chimey guitars, to the blips and whirs in the back ground of the mix, to the awesome bass-work and drumming the stage is set for epicness. It’s minor-key perfection.
Also Thom Yorke, whom many will criticize for his vocal stylings, is in top-form here in conveying the creepy, claustrophobic tale by virtually mumbling the words barely audibly in the first verse before opening the song up in the fantastic chorus. The song resets and he starts to let us in on what appears to be a bugs perspective of existence and the grandiose music around the story is somewhat absurd, yet beautiful. And his falsetto, when he unleashes it on this song, is deadly.
When he sings “let down and hanging around. Crushed like a bug in the ground!” it’s part celebratory and lamenting concurrently. And in my experience as a music fan one of my favorite moments is when the song takes off around the 3:30 mark and takes flight at the 3:41 as the song soars and goosebumps form on my body every single time as audio magic goes on for a solid minute before finally crashing down and the song concludes by blipping away and an acoustic guitar let’s you know it’s time to start the track over again.