- 13 Dec 01
After September 11th Radiohead were probably the last band you'd want to see live... but maybe the one that mattered most.
In the days following the terrorist attacks on New York, the Pentagon and Pittsburgh on September 11, 2001, Radiohead were not the band I wanted to listen to. As news networks broadcast raw hand-held footage shot by bystanders – film that probably cost a couple of dollars to process but looked like scenes out of Independence Day – and as surrealist montage and reportage fused into one, I had to force myself to play their last three albums. Too emotional. Too paranoid. Too aware. Thom Yorke, a singer plagued by "unborn chikken voices", the Chicken Licken of rock ‘n’ roll in fact, might’ve wondered if it wasn’t an acorn that hit him on the head but a piece of the sky, a chunk of American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston, slicing through a stitch in time.
As far back as OK Computer you could find eerie pre-echoes in songs like ‘Airbag’ ("In the next world war/In a jackknifed juggernaut/I am born again"), which might’ve been written by Jeff Bridges’ character in Fearless, a guy who walks away untouched from an air accident with delusions of immortality. In ‘Idioteque’ off Kid A, stray lines escape the cold Kubrick surfaces of the music like interplanetary SOS signals:
"Ice age comin’, ice age comin’’… We’re not scare mongering… This is really happening…