Sowing’s Songs of the Decade #61

Published: July 03, 2019

Radiohead – “Ful Stop”

A Moon Shaped Pool is sort of the antithesis of 2011’s The King of Limbs.  The album takes a much safer, warmer approach than its electronically-infused predecessor.  The results were disappointing to some who hoped that the band would continue to push a more experimental direction, but to the rest, it represented something of a Radiohead Best-Of – this resume-to-date that sounded like a collective of their best traits sans any failed or boring experiments.  From the lush, piano driven ambience of “Daydreaming” to the hook-laden, rock-oriented “Identikit”, the record sees the band pull it all together for a single experience that could be presented to just about any newcomer as the definitive Radiohead experience.

Although the album isn’t lacking for gorgeous gems – namely the beautiful and emotionally detached “Glass Eyes” or the sweepingly orchestral “Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief” – the song to represent the decade for this generation-defining band ultimately came down to either “Daydreaming” or “Ful Stop”.  The former is stunning in every way imaginable, but “Ful Stop” eeks it out; on an album full of all things shimmering and pretty, it’s the track that brings something rougher…rawer…more aggressive.

When the drums kick in it feels like you’re being sucked into a black hole.  The entire song echoes this spiraling sensation; a dizzying atmosphere espoused with equally disorienting lyrics – a repeated “…truth will mess you up.”  The longer the track goes on the more dissonant and alienating it becomes.  Discordant falsetto wails against lost-sounding chord progressions, synths and horns drone on in the background like a radio finally picking up on the desperate cries of a planet damned millennia ago…too little, too late.  The song fizzles out abruptly and all of its clashing sounds float harmlessly into space, like wisps of smoke from a chimney.  The song feels like a self-contained universe; this cyclical and never ending existence with a sinister edge.  To be trapped in your full stop…

Read more from this decade at my homepage for Sowing’s Songs of the Decade.

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