Let Down

Inspiration : 1995-1996
Travail en studio : fin 1995
Premier live : 14 mars 1996 (The Troubadour, Los Angeles)
Nouvel arrangement live : 26 juillet 1996 (Dublin)
Enregistrement en studio : 1997 (St Catherine’s court)
Sortie sur album : 21 mai 1997 (OK Computer)
Sortie sur single : 1997 (cd promo US)
Clip : 1998

Les années où la chanson a été jouée :
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Le moment du concert où la chanson a été jouée :
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[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] 1995 – 1996 [/button]

En juillet 1997, Thom a détaillé sa source d’inspiration pour Let Down… une sorte d’idée un peu étrange qui lui est venue dans un bar.

[quote cite=”Thom Yorke / Select Magazine, Juin 1997″] I was pissed in a club, and I suddenly had the funniest thought I’d had for ages – what if all the people who were drinking were hanging from the bottles… if the bottles were bung from the ceiling with string, and the floor caved in, and the only thing that kept everyone up was the bottles? It’s also about an enormous fear of being trapped.[/quote]

Les autres membres du groupe insistent tous sur l’idée d’insécurité, de paranoia, de perte de contrôle :

[quote cite”Melody maker / 31 mai 1997″]Old school Radiohead song, with Thom crooning away in Bono-esque style. Despite the title, sounds resigned, rather than angry.

Jonny: “It’s like when Andy Warhol said he enjoyed being bored. It’s about that feeling that you get when you’re in transit but you’re not in control of it — you just go past thousands of places and thousands of people and you’re completely removed from it.”

Ed: “Feeling let down is just down to your insecurities and paranoia most of the time, which is why the song sounds sad rather than furious. It’s about not being in control of a situation.”

Thom: “I am fascinated by how insects are squashed, especially wasps — the cracking sound and the yellow gak, just like people. [/quote]


Tout tourne autour de la maitrise des sentiments (c’est presque de l’ataraxie !)

[quote cite=”Jonny Greenwood / Music Week, 1er mai 1997″]Jonny Greenwood opens up the song database on OK Computer.” Let Down
Sublime and ethereal, full of chiming guitars. “The theme of transport and movement and anonymity works with the music[/quote]


[quote cite=”Thom Yorke / Magazine, mai 1997″]

Q: “In ‘Let Down’ on OK Computer it says, ‘Don’t get sentimental, it always ends up drivel’. Is that you admonishing yourself?”

Thom: “Completely. Sentimentality is being emotional for the sake of it. We’re bombarded with sentiment, people emoting. That’s the Let Down. Feeling every emotion is fake. Or rather every emotion is on the same plane whether it’s a car advert or a pop song.[/quote]


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] fin 1995 [/button]

C’est vers la fin de l’année 1995 que le groupe a commencé à travailler sur Let Down, grisé par la réussite de ‘Climbing up the walls”. De la même session, sortiront No Surprises et Airbag.

[quote cite=”Melody maker / NME 21 juin 1997″]Colin dates the start of the record back to the summer of ‘95 when they supported REM on tour. He recalls playing ‘Climbing Up The Walls’ at a soundcheck at the Hershey Stadium. Peter Buck was checking their progress from the sound desk, and when they’d finished, he walked away, whistling the tune with his hands in his pockets. ‘No Surprises’. ‘Let Down’ and a different version of ‘Airbag’ were coming together.[/quote]


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] 14 mars 1996 [/button]

Le groupe joue la chanson en live pour la première fois (The Troubadour, Los Angeles). L’arrangement est encore assez simple : le premier tiers de la chanson est acoustique et juste à la guitare, la basse et la batterie n’arrive que dans le second temps. Quelques paroles sont encore à leurs débuts et seront modifiées par la suite : Au lieu du  “disappointed people” on trouve alors  “sentimental drivel” (N.D.L.R : une expression que l’on retrouve dans une interview citée ci-dessus !), et toute la partie chantée de la fin n’est pas encore là (“you know where you are with” etc.).



[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] 26 juillet 96 [/button]

Le groupe joue la concert lors d’un concert à Dublin. Les arrangements ont été changés. La chanson débute sur des arpèges de guitare que l’on retrouvera dans la version finale en studio. Le groupe entre en scène dès que Thom se met à chanter. A la fin, Thom a rajouté une partie chant, mais avec comme paroles “shell smashed”.




[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] 1997[/button]

Pour l’enregistrement d’OK Computer, le groupe avait loué le manoir de l’actrice Jane Seymour comme studio d’enregistrement et c’est à 3 heures du matin qu’ils ont enregistré « Let Down » dans la salle de bal…
Ils ont utilisé pour cela un vieil ordinateur ZX Spectrum que chacun des membres possédait dans les années 80…

Thom en avait ras-le-bol du travail sur cette chanson, au point d’en faire des cauchemars et il était temps pour lui d’en terminer :

[quote cite=”Thom Yorke / Interview australienne, 19 février 1998″]’Let Down’, for example, that song, when we recorded it… we were already just at the point when we were bored of it. And we just managed to sort of get a version down, which doesn’t quite reveal the fact that we’re almost bored of it. And then I had a complete nightmare, personally, for doing the vocal for it. Because I WAS bored of it, and you know, I couldn’t get it together, and I didn’t understand the song, and it was only because the others weren’t as bored of it as I was, that we managed to get it together, you know. And like now I think… I guess it’s a year since we finished it, or whatever… now I kind of like it, you know, because now I have a distant point, now I understand it.[/quote]


Ed le reconnait un peu plus tard, peut-être qu’ils avaient des références trop ambitieuses  (du Phil Spector sur Let Down). Alors forcément, à la fin de l’enregistrement, ça ne sonnait plus comme ils le souhaitaient, mais finalement, ça l’a fait:

[quote cite=”Ed O’Brien / Guitar World, avril 1998″]We do try to be diverse. The guitar sound on ‘No Surprises’ was supposed to harken back to [the Beach Boys’] Pet Sounds, ‘Let Down’ was a nod to Phil Spector, ‘Exit Music’ had a [composer Ennio} Morricone atmosphere, ‘Airbag’ was an attempt to do something like DJ Shadow-but because, we haven’t paid the dues, if you like, to play those types of music, we fail to get what we hope to achieve. But by going down that route, we find our own thing.[/quote]


Après le problème de l’enregistrement, il a fallu gérer celui des chansons qui figureraient sur OK Computer, dans quel autre… et ça n’a pas non plus été une partie de plaisir comme le raconte Ed en 2000 :

[quote cite=”Ed O’Brien / 16 avril 2000, journal en ligne”]never again…………that’s it, no more…………..not another drop of alcohol, in this case vintage cava, is going to pass my lips until next time…………… i’m in the epicentre of one mutha of a hangover……………. in fact the last time i felt like this i never drank gin again and that was 14 years ago………….it’s evil stuff. my father rang to tell me i reminded him of himself when he used to drink a bit………maybe hangovers are hereditary……….alcoholism probably is……… was my birthday, we took the evening off and drank….and drank. i did a run down to majestic got the booze and issued strict instructions that no one was to leave until everything was finished……………..and so it was……anyway enough of the fug.

we’ve been back a week after a two week layoff. finishing the large number of songs off is the priority…….and would you adam ‘n eve it but we’re so nearly there. nigel is booked into the studio on wednesday to mix and we start playing together/ rehearsing on wednesday week for the live shows, not knowing how the fuck we’re going to put most of these songs over live.

so what i’m actually saying is that the recording part of this record will be finished in a couple of days……but you know if we’re consistent in our behavioural patterns, then you might finally hear something in the autumn of ’01…………after arguments over track-listing, running orders, etc………who’ll be the first to suggest the quadruple album mixed in surroud sound? ………………..might throw it in there myself to stir things up a bit…..the running order for an album is so important…… i don’t think you have any idea how vital it is until you actually fuck it up which we did big time on the first record…..for ‘ok computer’ it was a nightmare, agendas had been set and at one time it was like bloody horse-trading…………. “if you want ‘let down’ on the record then it only makes sense if ‘electioneering’ is on there too”……maybe it won’t be such a torrid experience this time……..somehow i don’t think so and that’s probably right anyway.

there’s been a couple of articles recently in the press speculating what’s up with us….the one in melody maker sent a journo down to oxford to snoop around……he or she was apparently outside each of our houses on a kind of indie ‘stakeout’…. and the piece ultimately was very flattering, but you know this is a non-story…………yes we go food shopping and fucking hell would you believe it we actually walk down the street in broad daylight……..and what’s more we’ve been known to sometimes break into a smile……the other was in the grauniad on friday, entitled ‘why are we waiting?’ again very nice and for the record, you won’t have to wait too long now. but please don’t waste column inches on mere speculation about when and what the album will be like………all we’ve ever claimed is that the records will be different…… anyway if the truth be told we don’t actually know. i’ve gone on way too long in this stream of alcohol induced consciousness and i must end before i write something even more stupid like offering that melody maker journo a handbags at dawn duel – see you at shotover a week on monday with your best louis vuitton..6am be there.

viva la lucha and good luck and respect to all the anti-imf and world bank protesters in washington this w/end, in fact go to thom’s page and there are a couple of links to some relevant sites about what’s going down. [/quote]


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] 21 mai 1997[/button]

La chanson sort sur Ok Computer. On la retrouve également ensuite sur quelques maxis français et japonais très confidentiels.


A la même époque, plusieurs nouvelles pages apparaissent sur le site officiel du groupe, avec des références un peu tarabiscotées aux chansons :

– la page ‘stuck in a frozen lake’ où l’on peut lire quelques réflexions attachées au titre des chansons. Pour let Down :
[quote ]let down*in the midst of monster tour the momentum getting drunk to talk bombarded by dangerously high levels of radiation from xray machines. one day, one day…[/quote]
– la page ‘waving or drowning’ présente quelques paroles


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] courant 1997[/button]

Un promo “Let Down” est diffusé aux Etats-Unis à peu d’exemplaires (vous noterez le soin apporté au design….)


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] 1998 [/button]

En 1998, le groupe avait décidé de faire de ’let down’ un vrai single, d’abord aux États Unis, puis en Angleterre. Ils ont toujours adoré cette chanson, même si elle a été accueillie timidement. Des Cds promo furent envoyés aux radios, une vidéo fut commandée pour promouvoir la chanson à un certain Simon Hilton et a tout de même coûté la paille de 100 000£ (ça parait peut-être beaucoup non ?) que le groupe a sorti de sa propre poche…

Au final, ils ont complètement détesté le résultat quand ils l’ont vue et ils ont décidé de tout abandonner, le clip n’a jamais été diffusé… Il n’est pourtant pas si laid que ça, il pourrait presque passer pour un blip avant l’époque ! Sur fond noir, on voit des artwork aux contours blancs et gris défiler les uns sur les autres…

[quote cite=”Thom Yorke / MTV2 Subterranean, 14 novembre 2003″]

Ed: No, no, no, the last one we were actually in was “Street Spirit” but we actually, they did, there was an ill fated video for “Let Down”

Thom: Oh, dear

Ed: We should have known. *laughs* It was in some small English village in Oxfordshire and we had to go 15 minutes in front of a blue screen,

Thom: “Thank you!”

Ed: Yep, that was it. That was your video experience. Yeah, yeah. It’s good, though, it’s good not being in videos.[/quote]


Le groupe joue rarement la chanson en live, car elle ne sonne jamais vraiment de la même façon… Elle est trop différente…


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Amatrice du groupe, surtout en concert. Travaille sur ce site depuis 10 ans.


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