April 1, 2022

Time Out's Top 50 Karaoke Songs of All Time: (#46) "Creep," in the style of Radiohead

Time Out's Top 50 Karaoke Songs of All Time: (#46)

If you're wondering what this is referring to, check out the previous posts in this series: Intro,
#50#49, #48,

Title: "Creep"
Artist: Radiohead
Album: Pablo Honey
Year: 1993

I won't lie--I've been dreading this one, for a variety of reasons. The most surprising one, perhaps, is that I am about to shit on all of my "hipster cred," if I had any to begin with:

Pablo Honey is my favorite Radiohead album. There, I said it. Man, it feels good to get that off my chest.

To put it in context, though--1993 was the beginning of my high school years. New friends, new cliques, new music to be exposed to. It's the time where I was first introduced to contemporary rock, alternative, grunge and the like, as that wasn't my thing before that. 

And, it being high school and all, "Creep" really resonated in a way I... don't think it does now, as an adult. At this point, it's more of a break up song in most people's minds, but in high school, folks are often plagued with unrequited love and longing, and this song speaks to that. Remember what a crush in high school felt like? Depressing. Exhilarating. Intoxicating. Even I felt those things, and I'm a very put-myself-out-there guy and, not surprisingly, a bit of a hey-look-at-me guy (source: karaoke).

I mean, I *do* want you to notice when I'm not around, even now.

The real thing that I love about this song, though, is the simplicity. It's not a Tin Pan Alley love song, full of clever rhyme and enjambment. It doesn't even fit in with a lot of the other tracks on Pablo Honey. I hear this song and think, "this is what Buddy Holly would have done if he wrote sad songs a lot, and made them slower." Remember that meme format I hate, comparing songs then to songs now without any context or nuance? I'm going to steal that format here for just a side-to-side comparison of two songs:

It's the songs with the simplest lyrics that often stand the test of time in pop music--the more simple, the more universal (to see an example of this in another medium, check out Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art). And there are few feelings that are more universal than heartbreak and longing.

Date Attempted: 29 March 2022
Location: The Castle Pub, Ebensburg PA

How It Went: Was it good? Oh god, no. I would never do this song on purpose. I did make the mental note to adjust the final part down closer to my range, to make into something that wouldn't get me arrested for assaulting people with sonic warfare.

Karaoke Difficulty Level: 3 or 8, no in-between (let's call it 5, though)

Here's where we have to consider what "difficulty" means in terms of doing karaoke. Is the song terribly complicated? No, not really. The main bulk of the song sticks pretty close in terms of notes and has that understated, confessional style of singing. But that ending bit... The vocal range of the song is B2 - B4, and B4 can be a stretch for someone with a voice like mine. I tried to adjust as best I could, and I came up short--I'm glad I did it early, before the place got busier.

Karaoke Fun Level: 3

Well, I was glad to be singing karaoke and getting back to blogging my way through the list. It's not a fun song in general (and, again, I do love the song). I mean, the BBC initially banned it for being "too depressing." 

Fun? No. Cathartic? Perhaps. I imagine if you've got a good range and can really belt out that high section at the end, the fun might increase for you, if not for the room. 

Does it belong?

As of right now, I think so--at the very least, top 100. But it's a song that's fading fast. It does fill a niche, though--the majority of break up / unrequited love songs on the Time Out list have female vocals, and this a reminder that guys can "be in their feels" too, as the kids say.