I have to admit: I’ve been agonising over these ‘reminds you’ song choices. It’s no coincidence they’ve both been written uncharacteristically late. But once I’d thought of this one, it seemed obvious.
Radiohead – Fitter Happier*
See, I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I have this totally pretentious formative moment from when I was like 16. I’d recently bought The Bends and OK Computer, slapped the two CDs, a walkman, and a load of batteries in a coat pocket, and went-a-walking.
I ended up climbing to one of the higher points on Cannock Chase in search of a radio mast I’d been able to see on the horizon, and looking down over my hometown. I’ve never been one for sights: touristed to a load of famous things, not impressed. But it was a bit breathtaking.
It was all about the atmosphere, of course. Back to back, on your own, two albums of Radiohead throws an inevitable … fog over you. The stuff I’d seen helped: it had briefly snowed, and some deer darted out in front of me while I was walking through the forest. It was one of those experiences that was almost self-consciously defining. It was the start of thinking in albums as the primary unit of music; it led to my habit of chasing big filmic Moments; I’d gone out with the aim to write a short story, and came back with one in my head, which I knocked out to more Radiohead**. It was so neat I could’ve planned it, almost. But, no, I was just standing there, kicking big old rocks around and looking out over my hometown to these weird, alien noises.
…Almost immediately afterwards, my batteries died and I was left to walk home, as it got darker, in silence.
*Amusingly, listening to this song on Spotify, it came immediately and inexplicably followed by Would I Lie To You? by Charles & Eddie. A slight shift in tone there…
**For a few years, I wrote exclusively to OK Computer. I tried it the other day and it didn’t work.