Of course, I was an alienated teen in the ‘90s. Hell, I’m a somewhat alienated adult in 2018. I was/am also a fairly alienated teen/adult who developed/develops unrequited crushes on people I didn’t/don’t think I’m worthy of because I had/have shitty self esteem. So, Thom Yorke in the summer of 1993 was speaking my motherfucking language.
Maybe not so much twenty-five years later, but there’s still a part of me that relates quite a bit to the character who Thom is serving as the narrator of.
I didn’t know a Radiohead from a hole in my head when I purchased the “Creep” cassingle towards the end of that summer. All I knew was that I’d heard the song on the radio and was in love immediately. The Radiohead guys may hate it now, but I don’t. Then again, no one ever screams at me to play it.
“Creep”’s soft verses/loud chorus dynamic is certainly a relic of the grunge era (although that gun-cocking sound that leads into the chorus is still unique to that one song), and Radiohead distanced themselves from all of the bands who’d gotten big in Nirvana’s wake pretty much immediately after “Creep” hit. However, I think the song would’ve transcended the era anyway (easy for me to say now) because it’s more than a Nirvana rip off. Not least because Thom Yorke could (and can) sing his ass off. One wouldn’t get that impression from the way he murmurs through “Creep”’s first two verses, but then he flips into a falsetto and straight up belts for a few seconds and you’re like “what the fuck did I just hear?” This is a large part of why Radiohead in 2018 is ALL CAPS RADIOHEAD and not Seven Mary Three.