Saturday 13 June 2020

Arlo Parks - Creep

Yesterday I mentioned that two young artists had released cover versions of my favourite songs this week. This is the second of those.

Arlo Parks' reworking of Radiohead’s Creep is sublime.

Early Radiohead material is sometimes not particularly well regarded and whilst I agree that much of Pablo Honey was distinctly average, for me there are three songs on that record (Stop Whispering, Anyone Can Play Guitar and Creep) that stand the test of time. I also really like Pop Is Dead, the non-album single the band released in May 1993 which limped to number 42 in the UK charts, at a time when bands like Radiohead could still have singles that charted.

From this era it is of course Creep, their debut single proper and still their biggest U.S hit (it was surpassed in the UK charts in terms of position by Street Spirit (Fade Out), Paranoid Android, No Surprises and Pyramid Song) that is best known.

However, the band has had a negative history with the tune, Thom Yorke once stating that it had “sucked Satan’s cock” after its release and also suggesting that people who liked the song were “anally retarded.”

I am however quite happy to be anally retarded if it means I get to listen to Creep and this exquisite cover by Arlo Parks. Of the song Arlo has said, “Creep is simultaneously a delicate and brutal exploration of inner turmoil and human relationships. This song has acted as a refuge for me, during times of self-reflection and low mood, for many years and Radiohead as a band has deeply influenced my music.”

Arlo’s take on the song is for Shy Radicals a new short film depicting the work of artist, activist and author Hamja Ahsan.

Abandoning the angsty guitars Arlo plays the song on piano giving it an even more fragile intimacy. Together with Black Dog (which has grown to be one of my favourites of 2020 so far) it marks out Arlo as an artist who, as others have noted, is able to express real depth with a wonderful lightness and deft touch. With each song she releases an album becomes an ever more exciting prospect.

Arlo - Parks - Creep

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