Saturday, March 7, 2020

Certain Songs #1769: Radiohead – “Bones” | Medialoper

Album: The Bends
Year: 1995

Some songs instantly take me to a place and time, and “Bones” is one of those songs. That place is Organic Online in San Francisco and that time is the late summer of 1996.

Organic — which apparently still exists a quarter-century later (and good for them!) — was only my second web job, but, and it was so long ago that I was still slinging HTML, but it was an incredibly important job for one, a two-year period in the early dot-com era where I built primitive websites for evil multinational corporations like Nike, Sony & McDonalds and met people I’m still in touch with today.

And, more germane, it was the place where I finally got into Radiohead. As I mentioned on the post for “Prove Yourself,” I bought Pablo Honey and The Bends in a short period of time, maybe even at the same time, and while I listened to Pablo Honey first — gotta do things in order, kids! — I listened to The Bends best: underneath headphones during long late nights trying to meet some corporate-mandated deadline, figuring out with Matt how to nest tables in a way that would work across browsers.

And, at some point during all of that, the chorus of “Bones” got stuck in my head.

A song that was worrying about growing older by a dude who is now twice as old as he was when he wrote the song, “Bones” is a litany of complaints that feels ironic as hell now, I’m sure, with an opening verse sent to the shimmering, chiming guitars of Jonny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien.

I don’t want to be crippled and cracked
Shoulders, wrists, knees, and back
Ground to dust and ash
Crawling on all fours

But what I love is the chorus, the guitars exploding all around him — somebody playing a secret Chuck Berry riff — as Yorke explains.

When you’ve got to feel it in your bones
When you’ve got to feel it in your bones

Except that it’s more like this: “When ya’ve GOT to FEEL it IN your BOnes!”. And it just kills me every single time.

“Bones” was the first thing that I truly noticed from The Bends, and it led me to the title track, and then the singles that I’d kinda ignored and got mixed up, and finally, the artier cuts that opened and closed the album. By the time 1996 ended, I was fully primed for more of this weird, explosive band, having no idea where they were going next.


“Bones” live in London, 1994

“Bones” live in Los Angeles, 1996

“Bones” live in Glastonbury, 1997

“Bones” live in Paris, 1998

“Bones” live in San Francisco, 1998

The Certain Songs Database
A filterable, searchable & sortable somewhat up to date database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page


No comments: