21.3.11

Short #2: Radiohead, I Might Be Wrong (Amnesiac)

 While 'I Might Be Wrong' might have become a live favourite with a harder edge and a racing heart, the album version retains a grace that doesn't seem to translate to the stage. The scene opens with a slow-motion, booming arpeggio, up and back down, each successive note held to form a deep vibrating chord underpinning first the guitar, then the beat and finally Thom's voice as he wails the opening, titular line, his "wrong" sustained in resonant organum harmony, before the chord fades out. The whole thing is built on a looping modular structure, with Jonny's jagged blues riff and Phil's beat pulled taut and dry, together drawing the steady straight line the track unwaveringly adheres to. Layers are constantly added. Additional percussive loops shake, slide and pull at the edges of the central beat, threatening to unravel or smother it. Various keyboard motifs thicken the whole, mirroring the rhythmic pattern of the guitar riff while multiplying the harmonics. The bass line doubles its notes, long extended droning notes soar low, the tension mounts until at 3:48 it all just dissipates, leaving Jonny to tease out a tune so soulful, so unexpected - like John Frusciante in the agony of Niandra Lades - before the beat and the buzzing gristle return and Thom swoons, high and lonesome. It is a moment of suspension you never wish to end.

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