Bear Music #126

Posted by Flat Eric on
Category: Music42 Comments

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There is nothing we love more here at Jammy Toast than listening to some of our favourite tunes. From time to time we will post a music video from an artist or genre that we think will be enjoyable to you; our friends. We often feature music that you may not have come across before, or music that maybe you just missed the first time around. Try and listen with an open mind, you never know, you may find something you can add to your iPod. If you have any music videos you would like us to feature then drop us a line – we are always happy to listen to requests but we cannot promise to feature everyone’s favourite

“Fake Plastic Trees” marks a turning point in Radiohead’s early career, moving away from the grunge sound of their earlier hit single “Creep”. The song charted but did not make a substantial commercial impact. Thom Yorke said “Fake Plastic Trees” was “the product of a joke that wasn’t really a joke, a very lonely, drunken evening and, well, a breakdown of sorts”. He said the song arose from a melody he had “no idea what to do with”. Unlike his usual approach of either keeping note “of whatever my head’s singing at the particular moment” or forcing “some nifty phrases” he devised onto the melody, Yorke said that creating “Fake Plastic Trees” was the opposite. He said, “That was not forced at all, it was just recording whatever was going on in my head, really. I mean, I wrote those words and laughed. I thought they were really funny, especially that bit about polystyrene.”

Guitarist Ed O’Brien described early attempts to record “Fake Plastic Trees” at London’s RAK Studios as sounding “like Guns N’ Roses’ November Rain. It was so pompous and bombastic.” When recording sessions resumed at Manor Studios, producer John Leckie convinced Yorke to record a take of the song. Frustrated at being at the studio for a prolonged period that day, Yorke “threw a wobbly” in his own description, after which Leckie sent the rest of the band away while Yorke recorded a guide track featuring only guitar and vocals. Yorke performed three takes of the song and cried afterwards, according to guitarist Jonny Greenwood.

One source of frustration for the band at the time was their US record label, Capitol, which wanted a strong track for American radio to follow the success of their previous hit single, “Creep”. Surprised that the slow-paced “Fake Plastic Trees” was seen as a potential single to follow up “Creep”, Yorke realised the label had remixed the track without the band’s approval: “Last night I was called by the American record company insisting, well almost insisting, that we use a Bob Clearmountain mix of it. I said ‘No way’. All the ghost-like keyboard sounds and weird strings were completely gutted out of his mix, like he’d gone in with a razor blade and chopped it all up. It was horrible”.

The song’s music video, directed by Jake Scott, is set inside a supermarket, where the band are pushed around in shopping carts among several other characters, including clerks, children, an old man with a large beard who plays with toy guns, a woman in a large black hat, art director Stanley Donwood in basketball jersey who shaves his head with an electric razor, a young man playing with a trolley, etc. The director has said about the video, “The film is actually an allegory for death and reincarnation, but if you can read that into it you must be as weird as the people who made it.” Actor Norman Reedus, who was then a model, appears briefly as the young man playing with a trolley.

Many critics didn’t like the song, writing for NME, John Mulvey opined that the song lacked substance, and drew comparisons with the stadium rock of U2. It is one of my favourite Radiohead songs and how anyone can compare it to U2 is beyond. Critics do write shit sometimes…

Radiohead – Fake Plastic Trees

Radiohead – Fake Plastic Trees

Don’t forget, if you have any music videos you would like us to feature in the future, drop us a line. We are always happy to listen to requests from others, we cannot promise to feature any but we will try our best to find the videos if we think others will enjoy.

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About the Author

Flat Eric

Flat Eric is a star of Levi’s commercials for Sta-Prest One Crease Denim Clothing. His name comes from an idea for a commercial that included having a car run over his head and flattening it. The idea was not used but the name stuck. Flat Eric rides with his friend Angel around California, evading the police as a wanted criminal.


42 Comments on “Bear Music #126”

  1. If his songs are a sample of some of the thoughts that circulate inside his head then I am surprised he hasn’t topped himself. I am glad he hasn’t though.

    Catharsis: the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.

  2. Speaking as a non fuckin vegetarian I’m here to report that red meat ain’t bad for everyone. My lipid panel results tell me to fire up the fuckin grill and get down.

  3. I can’t sleep.

    Today I got an awful fright in the shower when I thought I saw a spider on my arm but then remembered it was my tattoo.

    I was sad for about 30 seconds because I thought I left my sunglasses in a taxi then realised I was wearing them. On my face.

    30 seconds.

    I jumped because I thought there was someone standing behind me watching me undress but it was just me in the dressing room mirror.

    Bit disappointing tbh.

  4. Eeyore led the way to a patch of thistles and waved a hoof at it. “A little patch I was keeping for my birthday,” he said, “but, after all, what ARE birthdays? Here today and gone tomorrow. Help yourself, Tigger.” Tigger took a large mouthful. “Ow!”

  5. President Donald Trump has arrived in the UK for a three day state visit. Queen Elizabeth II has asked Prince Philip to pick him up from the airport.

  6. Just seen the maintenance guy cleaning the pool and I couldn’t help but think, “I’ll probably have to go out there and pee in it later”.

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