Song of the Day #224: ‘Just’ – Radiohead

radioheadOK, this is the weakest connection yet in this ‘six degrees of separation’ thread… today’s song simply shares in common with yesterday’s the word “just.” I know, lame, but I really like this song.

As I’ve written before, Radiohead is hit-or-miss for me, with the hits coming mostly in the mid- to late-90s. Specifically, they have never been better than they were on The Bends, one of the most resonant and potent albums I own. It was all downhill from there, with OK Computer and In Rainbows the two successes among a bunch of oddball noise.

But I love The Bends, and I love ‘Just,’ one of its biggest hits. The song starts off with a riff borrowed from Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ then settles into a mix of melodic quirk and shredding guitars. I’m not generally a fan of songs as “loud” as this one gets, but sometimes the right song hits the right groove and I’m right there with it. This is one of those cases.

I also love this video, directed by Jamie Thraves. It’s a simple concept… man lies down on crowded sidewalk and elicits an increasingly frantic response from passers-by, but it’s very well-executed. The final shot is pretty great.

Can’t get the stink off
He’s been hanging round for days
Comes like a comet
Suckered you but not your friends
One day he’ll get to you
Teach you how to be a holy cowYou do it to yourself you do
And that’s what really hurts is
You do it to yourself just you
You and no-one else
You do it to yourself
You do it to yourself

Don’t get no sympathy
Hanging out the 15th floor
You’ve changed the locks three times
I still come reeling through the door
One day I’ll get to you
And teach you how to get to purest Hell

You do it to yourself you do
And that’s what really hurts is
You do it to yourself just you
You and no-one else
You do it to yourself
You do it to yourself


7 thoughts on “Song of the Day #224: ‘Just’ – Radiohead

  1. Dana says:

    So, I don’t get it. Why is he lying there?

    Anyway, as for the song, I suppose I like it a bit more than other stuff I have heard from Radiohead, but, in general, I am not a fan of their music. Too loud for my taste.

  2. Clay says:

    Most of their music is actually less loud than this one. At least the stuff I listen to.

  3. Amy says:

    That was amazing. What an effective video. Any idea what he’s supposed to say? I found myself liking the song more and more as it went on, and, while it did get increasingly loud, the intensity was earned so I didn’t find myself minding it so much.

    Of course, I’ll always associate them with fearing for my unborn child’s hearing when they opened for R.E.M. I may JUST finally be over that now.

  4. Clay says:

    I assume the filmmakers don’t have an idea of what he’s saying… just that it should be endlessly intriguing to guess. This is a great example of what a music video can be… it makes the song better just as the song makes the video better.

  5. Clay says:

    Incidentally, for another connection to an earlier song this week, Mark Ronson did a cover of ‘Just’ on his Version album:

  6. Amy says:

    I like his version a lot; so, he’s a producer and a recording artist in his own right? Interesting. His video is also wonderful and does create a whole different vibe for the song – much less ominous and more whimsical. I particularly love the shadow musician playing trumpet on the back of the truck. Good stuff.

  7. Clay says:

    His album contained remixes of other songs, sung by either the same or different artists.

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