Last week, I was killing some time before a comedy show and ended up in the Borders Bookstore next to Madison Square Garden. Since Barnes & Noble in Chelsea closed, that Borders is the closest bookstore to the comedy theater, so I end up there a fair amount. Anyway, as I walked in I recognized the music playing over the PA system as the song “Just” by Radiohead. “Wow,” I thought to myself, “That’s pretty cool.” Usually the music playing in the store is something a bit softer, like Jakob Dylan’s new album or something equally inoffensive and boring. Stuff that’s innocuous enough to not interrupt your browsing and buying.
So as I was walking into Borders, “Just” was just ending, and towards the end of the song, the final chorus dissolves into drums and one long note of screeching guitar feedback, before kicking into the solo. So picture this corporate bookstore, all the customers wandering peacefully from shelf to shelf, seeing what bestsellers are on sale this week, and it’s all interrupted by the sonic equivalent of someone screaming. The store is completely bathed in this loud, grating guitar feedback for five seconds or however long it lasts. This is par for the course in independent record stores, where the clerk will put on something completely unlistenable at a ludicrous volume (“Hello everyone, I’m Old Man Adam”), but it was kind of a treat to see in somewhere a bit more conventional. And while I realize that Radiohead, one of the biggest bands in the world, are no avant-guard German noise rock band, it was still a pretty great moment.
The cd being played was the new Radiohead Greatest Hits package that Capitol Records put together without the band’s consent or input. Even though I knew that fact, it was still cool to hear some really good music instead of the usual stuff. After “Just” came “Paranoid Android” and “Karma Police” and then another short moment of funny, as some intrepid and conscientious employee cut off “Creep” half a second before the line “You’re so fucking special,” and skipped along to the next song (appropriately enough) “No Surprises.”
So here’s the song in question, along with a pretty incredible cover of “Creep” by Prince, which also cuts out the profanity (the Purple One doesn’t use bad words anymore). Enjoy:
Radiohead – Just (Buy It)
Prince – Creep (Live at Coachella 2008) (Buy Prince music)
And the picture at the top of this post is a still from the video for “Just,” which you can watch here.
posted by Adam