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The Bends conveys raw emotion

Emily Tumbrink, Assistant Scene Editor | Wednesday, October 8, 2003

There are certain moments in my life that would be entirely forgettable were it not for the music playing in the background. That may sound strange to some of you, but I am almost certain that anyone who truly loves music can remember at least one such experience. I can remember the very first time I encountered Radiohead’s The Bends. Sitting in front of my computer, sending IMs to my friends on AOL (as I can often be found doing today), I decided to pop in the CD that I had recently borrowed from a friend. As I continued typing, the music that I had intended to be mere background noise began to assert itself more and more into my consciousness. Soon, I found that I was unable to force it into the background, and not only that, but I was also unable to let the album play past the fourth track without starting it over again. I was so taken with the music I heard that I kept playing “High and Dry” and “Fake Plastic Trees” over and over again. Luckily, when I had finally had my temporary fill of those two songs, I was able to listen to the album in its entirety and immediately christened it my new favorite, a title that it retains to this day. There is some unexplainable quality in Thom Yorke’s voice that drives his emotion into the ears of listeners, even though he is not what we might call a conventionally “talented” vocalist. “High and Dry” is one of those songs that can make you want to cry even if you are in a good mood. Though that may not necessarily sound like a good thing, there is something to be said for experiencing raw emotion. And that is exactly what you get when listening to The Bends.

Contact Emily Tumbrink at etumbrin@nd.edu