Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rock Of Ages: Radiohead - "Climbing Up the Walls" (1997)

As is with most monolithic albums, it's hard picking singular songs from them. Radiohead's OK Computer is no different from the many other amazing albums that have come out in all of rock history. It's chock full of greatness. So choosing one was hard, but I guess it's more or less just one that points ahead more so than other songs for Radiohead. After finally seeing them live during their amazing In Rainbows tour, "Climbing Up the Walls" has climbed up to my personal favorite Radiohead song. Radiohead went from alt. rock upstarts to completely visionary artists in just a few years time. In 1997 when OK Computer landed, it was the first step toward the avante-garde that Radiohead would soon create in 2001 with Kid A. "Climbing Up the Walls" is the first song to point to this murky, synthy, ambient creep that would become a Radiohead staple. It's slow pulsing in and out blips of oozing sound marked with heavily saturated drum effects is more reminiscent of something Nine Inch Nails would produce, but coming from Radiohead it's utterly intriguing. Thom Yorke's vocals are so muddled in effects and sound, it sounds alien. It's a chilling experience that soon will erupt into a frenzied midsection.

As much as Radiohead was still steeped in guitars at this point, the overall production and eerie sound of "Climbing Up the Walls" takes organic instruments and totally melts them down into something else and when it cools off, it's a chilling, harrowing sound that evolves. The song comes late in the album and after plenty of other heart wrenching and gear churning songs like "Exit Music (For A Film)" or "Fitter, Happier"but the track still comes as a surprise. The swelling strings and other worldly sounds are something that just immediately captivates. A tell-tale sign of things to come, "Climbing Up the Walls" is a truly revolutionary track amidst many on an album that is definitive of our generation.

Up Next: Favorite song of the 90's goes to........ Foo Fighters

No comments: