Thom Yorke - Hearing Damage

Full disclosure: I don’t like Radiohead very much. When some other web-publication named Kid A the number 1 record of the past decade, my emotional reaction was best described as “resigned outrage.” Perhaps I developed this attitude because most of my musical maturation occurred after their Lightyears-Ahead-Of-Their-Time electronic experimentation had been well absorbed into the indie-rock landscape, or perhaps it came about because I’m sick of people telling me how brilliant they are. Regardless, I have a tough time sitting through an entire Radiohead LP.
Also, vampire familiarity has bred vampire contempt.

Thom Yorke - “Hearing Damage”

Together, these factors must ensure that “Hearing Damage,” the Thom Yorke mood-piece for the forthcoming New Moon soundtrack, is a sonic splinter to my heart. Right? Not this time. This track expertly exploits the minimalism/ maximalism contrast that defines his solo work. There are exactly two chords in the entire song. The synths are so dirty, you can hear their individual bits. The lyrics, written down, wouldn’t fill the front page of a Twilight notepad. But Yorke takes these simple ingredients and layers one on top of another, building them into something more. Drums artfully glitch and skitter. Synth pads sweep and multiply. Reverb freezes and reverses. In these manipulations, Yorke constructs a towering monument to isolation, a perfect soundtrack for Bella’s months in Jobian exile. Not that I’m in to that.

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