my nominated track is an electronic one (surprise surprise). but at least this one has words..!
i love the lyrics, but what has always stood out to me is the sample from jacob’s ladder:
If you’re frightened of dyin’ and you’re holding on…
You’ll see devils tearing your life away.
But…if you’ve made your peace,
Then the devils are really angels
Freeing you from the earth….
not a particularly cheerful piece, i know. but it’s from a brilliant album, and is, in my humble opinion, the most powerful track. it weaves thom yorke’s haunting vocals into a carpet of rhythmic and melodic textures that, if you allow it to, bring a lightness to your chest and a steadiness to your breathing. and then – building it as only unkle can – after the spoken word sample it surges with an intensity that still summons a physical response in me, regardless of how many times i’ve heard it.
recently i had the opportunity to share it with a friend who i hadn’t seen in a while, due to his being preoccupied with his terminally ill father. we were raiding my cd shelf, looking for music for him to borrow. unlike the other songs we were running through on my stereo, rather than a snippet, we played this one through beginning to end. as the last beats washed away, he said, very quietly, that was exactly what i needed to hear. and in that one utterance, i understood more about his emotional life in that moment than in all the time we’ve been friends.
so – because it privileged me with a glimpse into a usually guarded friend – if i were to pick one song that’s stood out to me in the last 6 months, this would be it. if you’re looking to make a more upbeat compilation you’ll probably want to leave this track out! but i’d love for you to listen to it anyway.