Weird Fishes/Apreggi – By @Benedicttatham
By Benedict Tatham
Continuing on from the task of writing ‘Works I wish I had done’ and my last blog post about Lucian Freud’s, ‘Reflection’, I am now going to talk about ‘Weird Fishes/Arpeggi’ the fourth track from the 2007 album, ‘In Rainbows’ by Radiohead.
The truth is that I could ramble on about all the songs on the album but, for the want to keep this short I have chosen one, possibly my favourite.
‘In Rainbows’ came after Radiohead decided to take a a short break, in which the two leading and restlessly experimental members Thom York and Jonny Greenwood went off to do their own solo projects.
It is perhaps this distance and freedom to let off a bit of steam that saw Radiohead return with an album made with such deft simplicity yet, cleverly orchestrated into a complex masterpiece. ‘Weird Fishes/Arpeggi’ is good example of this.
Phil Selway provides a straight up, high tempo drum beat, laying down a tight frame work for the muffled guitar arpeggios that follow. I love the the slow progression of the song, building layer upon layer, blending different octaves and expanding the atmosphere of the song.
York’s lyrics compliment the music perfectly, drawing us into his world, “In the deepest ocean, bottom of the sea.” Some suggest that this falling to the bottom of the ocean is a metaphor for depression.
However, there is also a degree of optimism here, “Your eyes they turn me” that gives him a chance to escape, “Everybody leaves, if they get the chance, and now it’s my chance.”
The song continues to ebb and flow, introducing strings and synths, raising it up to the crescendo with awesome vitality.
York seems to accept his bodies inevitable fate, “I get eaten by the worms” and “weird fishes.” However, there is still a yearning for a life beyond, “Turn me into phantoms, I follow to the end of the earth and fall off.”
It is really the musicality of, ‘Weird Fishes/Arpeggi’ that got me playing it on repeat. I love a progressive song that builds up to a killer ending, but this one in particular is so well thought out. I would love to know how long it took them to make, how many times they had to break it down and start again before being satisfied that they got the best out of that simple riff.
I think this is the difference between just a good band and a great band. A good band will inevitably have good musicians, but a great band will have good musicians plus the patience and desire to not settle for something that’s just ok, instead they push it again and again until they know they have got the best out of it.