Twice in the past three days, I've heard this beautiful number. First some history, as to how and when I became no different than the rest of America's hip doofusis and started listening to Radiohead.
While we were all there for "Creep", many of us left shortly thereafter, dismissing them as a cheap Nirvana rip off. It was all there, blond headed singer, slow clean-toned guitar with intense power chord chorus just a couple years after "Smells Like Teen Spirit" so how could I think differently? What was I going to do, listen to the rest of album, or give the second one a chance? Besides, around that time the marijuana started kicking in and 15 minute improvisational jamming just seemed so much more worth my time.
Several years later, it wore off, and I was walking to the bank, heartbroken in the rain, establishing a new life first by establishing a new bank account. No car, no bike, just a walk-man, yes, an actual walk-man that played tapes. This was the year 2000. Two bands that helped me through the stale cloud of hippie jam band smoke and realized that there was so much more to music than decent guitar players showing everybody how good they are, were Modest Mouse (who will get there story another day) and Radiohead.
Some people never left and were treated to The Bends. Most came back with Ok Computer which seems to be everybody's darling for their best album. For me, it was Kid A. I used to spend many-a-weekend laying out by my pool alone throwing my headphones on and hearing this one (I had upgraded to a discman by 2001). It made me realize just how mad music could get. This was the first time I could relate to people hearing "Tomorrow Never Knows" for their first time. It's 95 degrees, in July Tampa, I'm baking and this tune is just perfect, a life changer.
You forget these things. So many other songs come and go, some with similar effects, some not quite as lucky, but with the musical intake of people who listen to bands like Radiohead, you tend to lose track of just how important a specific song can be to your life, and the only way you can remember how great it really is, is doing a J, and listening to it with someone unstoned, yet still quite green, full volume in that person's car stereo. That leads me to this past Saturday.
Without boring people with the details of tubing down the Rainbow River on a tube designed after the Millenium Falcon, I'll get right to the details of afterwords when I was fortunate to have a friend driving me back, who passed on the grass, was miserable from the cold, and quite hungry.
Mary was being a good sport for most of the weekend letting me play my tunes most of the trip, and feeling a bit elevated, and having a 10-15 minute window before we could grab small hamburgers or miniature chicken sandwiches at our favorite chain restaurant, I threw in Kid A. After all, selections from OK Computer seemed to have gone over pretty well the night before, but "Everything in its Right Place" I learned, is a different ball game, and this is exactly why I like Kid A more.
The stereo is bumpin' and I don't have a care in the world. The song was brand new again and I had no idea how these other ears, which definitely never had the pleasure of being freaked out by music before, especially loudly, were going to react to this song. For all I knew, I could be a second away from a "skip" and the only thing keeping it afloat was how deeply i was in to it. When it was all over, and I felt like I had my second religious experience with the song, I turned to Mary and said, "Well, how did you like it?"
"I didn't. It was creepy."
Today during my post-work run, it came on during my jogging shuffle. As I'm running past the little league park, which is littered with boys and girls baseball teams, a playground and even a little stand where you can buy treats, something real unique happened. A little girl, probably about 5 or 6, on the other side of the fence stopped playing on the jungle gym to start running along the other side of the fence with me. It's rare that I smile while I'm running (it's usually a desperate frown), but this kid was awesome, I even cracked a laugh. As a single 34-year-old man who's doing everything he possibly can to fight off becoming eccentric, it's nice to see a kid not creeped out by the sweaty jogger listening to an ipod. So here I am listening to this "creepy" song, but yet having a rare moment of innocence to the point where I thought to myself, man, maybe procreation isn't that bad if children can feed you these moments of innocence.
Then after she kept up with me for a bit, I looked at her like the race was on, picked up my pace and left her in the dust.