chansons

Paranoid Android

Inspiration pour la chanson : 1995
Travail en studio : 1996
Premier live : 6 juillet 1996 (Torhout)
Sortie sur single : 26 mai 1997 (Paranoid Android CD1 & 2)
Sortie sur album : 27 mai 1997 (OK Computer)
Clip : 1997
Premier live acoustique (Thom Solo) : 27 octobre 2002 (Bridgeschool Benefit Concert)

 

Description de la structure de la chanson sur wikipedia :

« Paranoid Android » has four distinct sections, each played in standard tuning, and a 4/4 time signature, although several three-bar segments in the second section are played in 7/8 timing. The opening segment is played in the key of G minor with a tempo of 84 beats per minute (BPM), and begins with a mid-tempo acoustic guitar backed by shaken percussion before layered with electric guitar and Yorke’s vocals. The melody of the opening vocal lines span an octave and a third.

The second section is written in the key of A minor and begins about two minutes into the song. Although the second section retains the tempo of the first, it differs rhythmically. Ending the second section is a distorted guitar solo played by Jonny Greenwood, which lasts from 2:43 to 3:33.

The third section was written entirely by Jonny Greenwood, and reduces the tempo to 63 BPM and changes key to C minor/D minor. This section uses multi-tracked, choral vocal arrangement and according to Dai Griffiths, a « chord sequence [that ordinarily] would sound seedy, rather like something by the band Portishead ».

The fourth and final section begins at 4:58, and is a coda that resolves to the tempo, key and musical patterns of the second movement. After a second solo, a brief guitar riff is introduced, which Jonny Greenwood says « was something I had floating around for awhile and the song needed a certain burn. It happened to be the right key and the right speed and it fit right in. » The song ends, as does the second section, with a short chromatically descending guitar motif. »


en 1995  

C’est une aventure assez désagréable arrivée à Thom dans un bar d’Hollywood, avec une femme habillée en gucci qui lui donne l’idée de cette chanson. L’aventure a été racontée sur radiohead.com en 1997, et est évoquée dans le clip de la chanson.

paranoid android. in a bar in hollywood* the centre of the western universe, standing at the bar (social drinking) after doing the talk show bit. do you want to know this? this is what we aspire to is it? it is dark, there is a woman opposite me o is as sociably anorexic as her poodle, she looks desolate in her make up and lost eyes, next to her her husband boyfriend is persuading a younger fleshed half his age stewardess to come back to the hills to their mansion to sample his wine. she looks t him like he’s a character in a hammer house horror. one of our friends spills a glass of wine over a vacuum packed gucci outfit complete with matching white hand bag. the witch goes crazy, we think it is fuunny. until we see the evil in her eyes. m friend is asked to leave. the gucci creature is the closest thing i have seen to the devil. the woman is possessed. i cannot sleep that night asking what we’ve got our selves into. voices talking like fax machines, hissing and spitting like demons, this is the master race. and now im part of it. anyway you didnt want to know that.
— Page waving or drowning sur radiohead.com

Une autre page de radiohead.com en 1997 fait référence à la chanson :

paranoid android* get busy with the shakers while im fast asleep could you stop the noise im trying ta get some rest this the place it wont hurt ever again
— Page stuck in a frozen lake sur radiohead.com

Un article du NME le 21 juin 1997 relie aussi la chanson à différentes influences, confirmées ou non par Colin :

AS THE afternoon wears on and the booze kicks in, Colin starts reminiscing about the band’s days at school together, and somewhere down that path remembers that himself and Thom once took part in a school dramatisation of the TS Eliot poem, The Wasteland, and that his mate was “really into all of that”. You find this interesting because the poem’s punchline is “the horror, the horror”. ‘Paranoid Android’ tails off with “the vomit… the vomit”.
Both pieces are stridently modem, like nothing that’s been before, and are told via a series of fractured viewpoints, under great duress. Both call out for God’s burning rain to come down and wash away the anguish and suffering that’s so visible all around. Both The Wasteland and ‘Paranoid Android’ are the result of laborious editing ; splicing together a series of very different sections. But of course you might discard that idea and run with the line about the, “kicking, squealing Gucci little piggy” and relate it to Charles Manson and the Tate murders, “piggy” being one of the cult’s buzz words. The line also recalls the ritualised schoolboy sacrifice in The Lord Of The Flies.
— NME / 21 juin 1997

:

First single, a sprawling epic that contains everything bar the kitchen sink. ’When I am king, you will be first against the wall’ sneers Yorke over the songs schizoid mood changes.
— Music Week, 1 mai 1997

mais bon, c’est surtout de l’humour…

source inconnue :

In the same regard, much has been made of ’Paranoid Android’, its recurring sections and the Orwellian tinge to the cyclical rise and fall of « the Roman Empire » Thom claims to portray in this song.
Thom says, « We had really good fun doing this song, so the video should make you laugh. I mean, it should be sick, too. The whole thing about the lyrics is that they’re very twisted, but, because of the way we played it, it permitted me to write something I wouldn’t normally write : humor. »

Le titre semble être une référence à « Marvin the paranoid android. », un personnage d’un roman de science-fiction de Douglas Adams, qui inspirera aussi un titre du groupe Marvin de 1981. Thom le dit lui même dans une citation un peu plus bas, c’est de l’humour :

Thom a expliqué à Jam le 2 juin 1997 que le titre

« was chosen as a joke. It was like, ’Oh, I’m so depressed.’ And I just thought, that’s great. That’s how people would like me to be. And that was the end of writing about anything personal in the song. The rest of the song is not personal at all. »

 

en 1996  

Au début de l’année 1996, le groupe entre en studio pour enregistrer quelques morceaux pour le futur album « OK Computer ».

Pour ’Paranoid Android’, ils assemblent différents fragments joués pendant les sessions dont ils ne savaient pas bien quoi faire d’autre…imitant ainsi ’Happiness Is A Warm Gun’ de John Lennon, les Pixies ou ’Bohemian Rhapsody’ de Queen.

Selon le Guira World d’avril 1998, c’est Jonny qui a écrit la partie ’rain down’.

Guitar World, septembre 1998 :

It really started out as three separate songs and we didn’t know what to do with them. Then we thought of Happines (Is A Warm Gun) – which was obviously three different bits that John Lennon put together – and said, ’Why can’t we try that ?’

Select, juillet 1997 :
Basically an excuse to weld loads of half-finished songs together, ’Abbey Road’ style. It’s Radiohead pissed and having a party. I wasn’t there when it was all stuck together – I’d been sent to bed to sleep it off. What’s it about ? The fall of the Roman Empire.

Melody Maker, 31 mai 1997 :
Hyper-complex vaguely prog-rock multi-mood epic, ranging from acoustic angst to pure white noise, yet perversely chosen to be the first single from ’OK Computer« . Perhaps because all those clearly defined segments make it a »Bohemian Rhapsody« for the Nineties. Allegedly.

Ed : »Well, when we wrote it, one of the references was ’Bohemian Rhapsody’. But the other was the Pixies.’
Jonny : ’It’s not actually complex enough to be « Bohemian Rhapsody » — there’s only really two different bits there. Plus it’s way too tense.«
Ed : »It’s not a « Bohemian Rhapsody » for the nineties— it’s just a handy reference point. It’s like « Creep » was meant to sound like Scott Walker…it just didn’t come out that way. But « Paranoid Android » is the song we play to people when they want to know what the album’s like, cos it should make them think, « What the f*** is going to happen on the rest of the album ?’ »
Colin : « Plus it’s so long, we have time to make them a cup of coffee while they listen to it. »
Ed : « It’s not about the press, if that’s what you’re thinking. Thom wouldn’t be that specific. »
Thom : « Everybody has an opinion. People make professions out of it. Most of it is white noise. It is not personal, OK ? ’Opinions are like arseholes, everybody’s got one’. What liberates ’Paranoid Android’ is a sense of humour — Marvin the paranoid android. The bleakest things can be said with jokes — re, ’The Fast Show’ : it’s funny. »


Ed, NPR, 25 août 1997 :
Ed : “We did most of the working out of the song in rehearsal. We spent a lot of time rehearsing. We basically had three and a half songs and we wanted to put the into one song. We did a condensed six and a half minute version it and… you know, it’s basically really three parts.
Part one is basically verse-chorus-verse-chorus. Part two is a kind of a… it’s ’Gucci little piggies’. And part three is the ’rain down’ section.”

Colin, NME, 21 août 1997 :
Colin : “With ‘Paranoid Android’, what happened was that we recorded the first bit and we were really into it. Each of the other bits had to be as good as what had been before. It was like the record in miniature – really exciting, but it just raised the stakes each time and piled the pressure on.”

 

le samedi 6 juillet 1996  

La chanson est jouée pour la première fois à Torhout, lors du festival :

Les paroles de cette version sont encore approximatives (des « halelujahs » se cachent parmi les « rain down »), on n’y trouve pas la guitare à la fin, remplacée par une improvisation de Jonny à l’orgue.

Gavin Hayes raconte dans une review pour le NME que Thom aurait présenté la chanson en ces termes :

http://www.nme.com/reviews/tv-on-th…

« [i]f you can have sex to this one, you’re fucking weird. »

 

le mercredi 14 août 1996  

La chanson est à nouveau jouée trois fois en août 1996, alors que Radiohead assure les premières parties d’Alanis Morrissette.

Les paroles ont déjà un peu évolué, mais l’orgue sur la fin y est toujours.

Voici une autre version, celle de Mansfield (à partir de 29’37 environ)


Colin se souvient de cette période en juin 1997 dans le NME avec plein d’ironie :

Meanwhile Alanis Morissette audiences were getting a ten-minute version of ‘Paranoid Android’ during last summer’s tour, as the band tested out a wiggy organ outro. “Luckily,” says Colin, “those fans were all in their teens, so with the trauma of adolescence and stuff, they’ll forget about it. It was the Ronnie Corbett moment in the set. Time to go to the toilet.”

Une autre citation dont la source est inconnue :
when we started playing it live, it was completely hilarious. There was a rave down section and a Hammond organ outro, and we’d be pissing ourselves while we played. We’d bring out the glockenspiel and it would be really, really funny

 

le mercredi 30 avril 1997  

Un mois avant la sortie du single et de l’album, BBC1 décide de passer la chanson à la radio.

 

le lundi 26 mai 1997  

Les 2 singles « Paranoid Android » sortent la vieille de l’album.

CD1 :
1. Paranoid Android
2. Polyethylene (parts 1 & 2)
3. Pearly*

CD2 :
1. Paranoid Android
2. A Reminder
3. Melatonin

C’est un véritable choc pour la presse ! Un single, avec une chanson qui dure plus de 6minutes, ça semble carrément de l’hérésie ! En plus, le groupe n’a pas voulu proposer une version plus courte qui pourrait passer à la radio…

Select Magazine, décembre 1997 :

Q : « Aside from all the reviews, it was very striking the way Radio 1 took ’Paranoid Android’ to their hearts. That it was being played 12 times a day while people worked in typing pools… » Thom : « I think it was a dare [laughs]. The amount of typing mistakes that must have been going on… I never imagined it. »

et pourtant, ça va passer à la radio !

 

 le mardi 27 mai 1997  

Sortie de la chanson sur OK Computer

 

le samedi 7 juin 1997  

Le single « Paranoid Android » (Parlophone CDODATA 01) atteint cette semaine son meilleur classement des ventes avec la 3e place.

http://www.officialcharts.com/artis…

 

1997  

W.A.S.T.E. vend un tee-shirts « aux couleurs » du nouvel album avec la fameuse phrases « kicking squeeling gucci little piggy ». La description de l’objet semble avoir été rédigée par Stanley Donwood:

Ah. Gucci never said anything about this. Nor did the National Pig Association, or indeed the Association of Chief Police Officers. Just a t-shirt, just a t-shirt.

guccilittlepiggy

en 1997  

Jonny demande un clip dans le style d’un dessin animé qu’il avait entrevu et qu’il aimait bien :

Colin, 21 août 1997, NME :

He [Jonny] loves the video for ‘Paranoid Android’, using the animator Magnus Carlsson and the Robin character.
Unfortunately, the TV stations aren’t quite so accepting…
“It’s been censored by MTV,” he laughs. “They’ve taken out all the nipples. And yet they leave in the stuff where a man’s sawing through his own limbs, which is peculiar. Whereas if we’d had a beachful of babes in bikinis, grinding away that would have been fine.”

19 février 1998, Australie :
Thom : “When we did ’Paranoid Android’ [the video], I couldn’t find anything that… anybody’s work that I thought in anyway came close to the mood of the song. Except for this… while we were finishing off the album, I had like a collection of Magnus Carlson’s Robin cartoons, right ? And we just watched them all the time and it was just totally where our heads were at. In the end I jut sort of asked him to do a Robin cartoon, because that was it. And the weird thing was the way he interpreted it was… it was so uncanny, because he didn’t want the words to the song, right ? He doesn’t understand these things very well. And he listened to it all day on repeat on his CD player. And then writing down images that he was seeing in his head and putting them together and faxed it back to us. And it was just… weird. It was like the whole story of the actual song anyway.”

 

en 1997  

A la période d’Ok Computer, sur le nouveau site radiohead.com, on trouve de nouvelles pages en relation avec paranoid android :

dont celle-ci, qui explique le « Gucci little piggy » : http://www.radiohead.com/Archive/Si…

paranoid android. in a bar in hollywood* the centre of the western universe, standing at the bar (social drinking) after doing the talk show bit. do you want to know this ? this is what we aspire to is it ? it is dark, there is a woman opposite me o is as sociably anorexic as her poodle, she looks desolate in her make up and lost eyes, next to her her husband boyfriend is persuading a younger fleshed half his age stewardess to come back to the hills to their mansion to sample his wine. she looks t him like he’s a character in a hammer house horror. one of our friends spills a glass of wine over a vacuum packed gucci outfit complete with matching white hand bag. the witch goes crazy, we think it is fuunny. until we see the evil in her eyes. m friend is asked to leave. the gucci creature is the closest thing i have seen to the devil. the woman is possessed. i cannot sleep that night asking what we’ve got our selves into. voices talking like fax machines, hissing and spitting like demons, this is the master race. and now im part of it. anyway you didnt want to know that.

ou la page « stuck in a frozen lake » : http://www.radiohead.com/Archive/Si…
paranoid android* get busy with the shakers while im fast asleep could you stop the noise im trying ta get some rest this the place it wont hurt ever again

 

le jeudi 7 octobre 1999  

Dans son journal en ligne où il raconte l’enregistrement de l’album qui prendra la suite d’OK Computer, Ed fait référence à la période d’enregistrement de Paranoid Android :

‘Optimistic’ is possibly my favourite ‘band’ song [that] is played together live in a room. Sounds fucking great. We do about 9 versions, in most there are some amazing moments. The penultimate take would seem to be the one. As it’s Thom’s birthday today recording takes a backseat in the evening – but we do manage to have a small reunion of the conga’s on percussion at about midnight – they do add their customary sound to ‘Optimistic’ – their last gig was on ‘Paranoid Android’ at St. Catherine’s. Brilliant day.

le 27 octobre 2002
Thom joue pour la première fois la chanson en solo acoustique, lors du Bridgeschool Benefit Concert et c’est toujours aussi chouette !

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  1. 17 août 2010 at 12 h 40 min —

    A noter, la version acoustique (seulement Thom) du morceau ! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2zwKH4g2xE

  2. 15 octobre 2011 at 18 h 10 min —

    Je pense que ça vaut le coup d’archiver ici le très bon article du NME sur Paranoid Android, élue meilleure chanson des 15 dernières années (article incluant les souvenirs de Colin pour l’occasion) : http://www.nme.com/list/150-best-tracks-of-the-past-15-years/248648/article/248787#article

    Et tant que j’y suis voici la early version, avec l’organ outro, en 1996 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kimc8cak-c

  3. 26 mars 2012 at 13 h 53 min —

    Bonjour / Bonsoir

    Das la licence où je suis , j’ai une matière qui est Histoire des Musiques Actuelles , on nous demande de choisir un morceau qui nous semble important dans l’histoire des musiques populaires / actuelles et d’expliquer pourquoi , de le présenter à l’oral sous la forme d’un exposé et d’élaborer un axe qui en fait donc un tite important .
    J’ai choisi Paranoid Android et donc j’en suis au stade du pouquoi , j’ai quelques pistes mais il me faudrait pour étoffer mon propos quelques élement purement musicaux , histoire de ne pas dire nimporte quoi ; genre le riff de guitare ou la ligne de basse , j’ai la partition mais comme c’est issu d’un bookin Américain , je ne comprend pas tout ..

    Merci d’avance –
    ( tous les commentaires seront les bienvenus , c’est pour demain matin ! )

  4. 30 décembre 2012 at 15 h 54 min —

    Dans une interview récente ([GQ avril 2012->http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/entertainment/articles/2012-04/13/radiohead-interview-will-self-meets-thom-yorke], par ailleurs très intéressante), Yorke parle d’un côté « gag » de ce morceau, qui n’a pas vraiment été compris, les gens prenant le morceau très sérieusement:

    {« Paranoid Android », I just thought it was really funny, but everybody was talking about it, hm, like serious song, and I was c’mon, it’s a fucking joke! Anyway… »}

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