Radiohead–Lift

Now that everyone’s had time to digest Radiohead’s new material, it’s the perfect time to take a look at some old stuff.  After all, that’s the way the band themselves seem to do it, often releasing songs that they’ve already been kicking around for decades.  Lift is 20 years old at this point, and while many expected it to be on A Moon Shaped Pool, the song apparently didn’t make the final cut.  The soaring pop piece, which straddles The Bends and OK Computer eras, is the sound of Thom Yorke giving himself a pep talk, urging to cheer up and come home, even though he’s “stuck in the a lift/in the belly of a whale.”  Ending with the iconic-for-Radiohead-fans line “So lighten up, squirt,” the song seemingly addresses accusations that have been leveled at Yorke since the band achieved global success.  It puts it in the interesting position of being both cynical and hopeful, private and acknowledging a public concern.  But mostly, it’s a brilliant piece of guitar rock with a killer backing vocal that speaks to anyone who’s ever needed to be pulled out of a bad place.

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