Tear Jerker: Radiohead
Radiohead is weird, disturbing... yet has a large assortment of these type of songs. Most of their albums have at least a few examples.
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- The backing vocals to "(Nice Dream):"
"If you think that you're strong enough. / If you think you belong enough."
- "Black Star." There's something nostalgic-sounding about that central riff that tugs at your heartstrings.
- The climax of "Bones."
- "Fake Plastic Trees," and "Street Spirit (Fade Out)."
- Thom Yorke himself has admitted that "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" is one of their darkest songs with no hope at the end, and says that the only way he can play it without breaking down is emotionally detaching himself from the song. Even the last line ("immerse your soul in love"), which sounds heartwarming, becomes tragic in context.
- The former is even more of a Tear Jerker in Brazil, where it was the soundtrack for a PSA on Down Syndrome.
- There's a lot of great lines in "Fake Plastic Trees" but especially heartrending is the final verse: "she looks like the real thing / she tastes like the real thing / my fake plastic love / [...] and it wears me out/ it wears me out."
- And not to mention: "And I can't help the feeeeeeling / I could blow through the ceeeee-eeeeiling / if I just turn... and run."
- "Bulletproof... I Wish I Was" can usually tug on one's heartstrings.
- Seriously, don't listen to that song in a depressive mood. It's just... overkill. That song is extremely sad.
- "Lewis (Mistreated)" has a very catchy and upbeat riff, but the depressing lyrics convey a different message. One of the lyrics is "don't do it, don't, jump." Thom Yorke even sounds like he's crying (or at least very distressed) when he sings this.
- It doesn't help that Thom pauses right before he says "Jump," which might imply he did jump.
- RAAAAAAAIN DOOOOOOOOOOOOWN... RAAAAAAAAAIIIN DOOOOOOOOWN, COME ON RAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIN DOOOOOOOOWN... ON MEEEEEEEEEE...
- "Exit Music (For a Film)." It was written for a RomeoAndJuliet adaptation, so the Tear Jerker quality is imported from a much older source. The broken-sounding, raw vocals at the end are especially gut-wrenching.
- "Let Down." Just... "Let Down." As if the subject matter isn't melancholy enough, this troper considers the "You know where you are..." bit to be one of the most heart-breakingly beautiful moments in music history.
- The lines "One day I'm going to grow wings / A chemical reaction / Hysterical and useless" also deserve special mention.
- Some people can feel melancholy from listening to "Karma Police."
- "Fitter Happier" never fails to bring certain people to tears. The line: "Baby smiling in back seat" can be especially triggering.
- "No Surprises" has sent many people into multi-day cascades of melancholy when they actually tried to reconcile the dissonance between the music and the lyrics.
- The little moment of peace at the end ("Such a pretty house, such a pretty garden") just increases the Tearjerkiness.
- The demo version "(No Surprises Please)" is just as tearjerking, considering how fragile Yorke's voice sounds.
- The lyrics seem to depict a man whose life is so unfulfilling he has resigned himself to a dull, boring life. Or worse, he has decided to commit suicide in order to escape the mundanity. It's a cheerful song.
- "Lucky" in itself has a somber, heart-rending effect, but when set to a war child video, the song takes an entirely new light.
- "The Tourist." "Hey man, slow down... slow down..."
- "How to Disappear Completely" is a good example. Thom painfully singing, "I'm not here, this isn't happening" is enough to bring many to tears. The lines were actually given to Yorke as a sort of mantra, a way to disconnect himself from a situation, avoiding discomfort, particularly with performing onstage.
- "Motion Picture Soundtrack," the final track, has an air of desperation to it. It's a sad and almost pathetic reconciliation with the rest of the world after the most alien and emotionally tangled album Radiohead has ever put out. Oh, and the angelic harps are killer. "It's not like the movies / They fed us on little... white lies."
- "You and Whose Army?" stands out especially, although it might be closer to Awesome Music.
- The beginning of "Cuttooth." It's not so much the words but the longing way Thom sings it.
- Oh sweet God, "Pyramid Song." "...and we all went to heaven in a little row boat / there was nothing to fear, nothing to doubt..."
- In the "Live in Praha Concert", Thom dedicates it to Franz Kafka before they play it. The live version featuring Jonny's bowing of his electric guitar makes it all the more haunting. ;~;.
- The computer-animated video just about matches the depressing lyrics. We're introduced to a man standing on the roof of a skyscraper in the middle of an ocean, revealing he's the last survivor of a flood that destroyed his city, and possibly the rest of the world. Suiting up, he dives into the water and observes the city's sunken ruins. In the end, he swims into what is apparently his family's house, takes a seat, and unplugs his oxygen cord so he can rejoin his loved ones. Quite possibly the most amount of emotion you'll ever feel for a CGI stick figure.
Hail to the Thief
- "There There." Thom just sounds pained at times. And was allegedly brought to tears after hearing the final mastered version of the song.
"We are accidents, waiting, waiting to happen."
- "I Will."
- "Scatterbrain" has a rather melancholy sound to it.
- Gagging Order... just listen for yourself.
- "A Wolf at the Door." While it's not as slow and melancholy as most of the songs on this list, it is sung with incredible bitterness and desperation. You can't help but feel the pain in Thom Yorke's voice.
"Let me back / Let me back / I promise to be good / Don't look in the mirror at the face you don't recognize / Help me, call the doctor, put me inside."
- During certain live performances of the song, Thom Yorke actually lies down and curls up in a fetal position during the post-chorus "no no no no no no no no"s.
- "All I Need" is definitely incredibly melancholy and apathetic.
- And try to watch the video for that song, made by them and an alliance with MTV against child labor (can't remember the name.)
- "Go Slowly" and "Last Flowers to the Hospital," off of the extra In Rainbows disc, are both incredibly melancholy and beautiful.
I cannot keep uptrodding on people's toes'snot nosed little punk'and I can't face the evening straightyou can offer me escape.
- The latter was originally written during the OK Computer sessions, during the height of Thom's Jerk Ass reputation and depression.
- "Four Minute Warning," which seems to be about the narrator's home being bombed. The desperate, self-deceiving lyrics add to the effect. "This is just a nightmare / soon I'm gonna wake up / someone's gonna bring me round..."
- "Videotape." It's been interpreted as a suicide note in the form of a song, though Thom says it's supposed to be a deathbed message. The final lines, especially, can give some listeners the sniffles:
"I can't do it face to face / I'm talking to from miles away / No matter what happens now / I won't be afraid / Because I know / Today has been the most perfect day I've ever seen."
- "Nude" is so emotional that it can be seriously tolling on the heart, especially with its having one of Radiohead's most beautiful soundscapes led by an excellently beauteous vocal display from Thom.
The King of Limbs
- "Give Up the Ghost" is rather tearjerky.
- The version from the In the Basement video album outdoes the album version's tearjerkiness by a mile.
- "Codex." Pretty self-explanatory as to why.
"Sleight of hand / Jump off the end / Into a clear lake / No one around / Just dragonflies / Flying to the side / No one gets hurt / You've done nothing wrong / Slide your hand / Jump off the end / The water's clear / And innocent / The water's clear / And innocent."
- "Harry Patch (In Memory Of)" was written as a tribute to Harry Patch, the last surviving soldier to have fought in the trenches during World War I, who has recently passed away.
- "Talk Show Host" can often leave some people feeling depressed.
- The band's music tends to get used in heartbreaking Public Service Announcements like this and this.
- The live version of "Fog." "Where did you go bad...? Did you go bad...?" *sniff*
- "True Love Waits." Oh god.
"I'm not living / I'm just killing time..."
- "Harrowdown Hill," Thom Yorke's solo song about the suicide of weapons expert Dr. David Kelly.
It was a slippery, slippery, slippery slope / I felt me slipping in and out of consciousness / I felt me slipping in and out of consciousness.
- "How I Made My Millions" is the band's most emotional outputs, considering it's led only by piano with Thom's gentle vocals on top of it.
We hope... That you choke... That you choke...