chansons

Prove Yourself

Enregistrement studio : début 1992
Premier live : mars 1992
Sortie sur EP : 5 mai 1992 (Drill)
Live acoustique : 22 juin 1992 (BBC Evening Session)
Sortie sur album : 22 février 1993 (Pablo Honey)
Dernier live de la chanson : 12 décembre 1995

La chanson semble refléter le mal de vivre que les 5 connaissaient quand ils étaient jeunes ’in this town’, c’est à dire Oxford.

 

At the heart of almost all of Thom’s lyrics is a sense of alienation from his surroundings, whether it’s expressed in ‘Creep’’s whispered final line, “I don’t belong here”, or the first words of the last single ‘Prove Yourself’, “i can’t afford to breathe in this town”. They’re sentiments that come from falling between the two factions that all but dominate Oxford’s social centre: the yuppified, well-heeled types who hang around in the bars and bistros of the city’s bohemian quarter, and the massive student population. Thom hasn’t a kind word for either of them.
“The whole cultural situation in Oxford is such that you have a certain degree of power or influence or money to be admitted to any social sphere,” he fumes.
”’Prove Yourself’ was about the feeling of rejection I got from living in Oxford. that’s how I felt all the time; this constant feeling that no-one wanted me to be there, no-one gave a f*** about me.
“In Oxford, if you haven’t got much money, you’re nothing. It’s like florence in Italy – one of those place where if you have money, it’s a wonderful place to be, and if you don’t, it’s f***ing terrible. For a long time i f***ing hated the place. And then I got some cash.”
He grins briefly, fiddling with his food, before he launches a verbal attack on Oxford‘s much maligned university students.
“What really winds me up is the fact that the student population doesn’t involve itself with Oxford at all. They just cut themselves off, living behind huge walls and barbed wire, whereas to my mind they should feel a certain responsibility to the place. And then they wonder why they get beaten up while walking down the street at one in the morning.
“It all gives me the feeling that I’m in completely the wrong place. it’s crawling with pretentious wankers.”
So are you going to move out?
“No. that’s the weird thing. Although hate a lot of people there, that’s where all my friends are. And I really like a lot of aspects of the place. paradoxical, I know, but it’s true.”
— NME, 10 octobre 1992

 

Elle parlerait presque de suicide… mais le groupe préfére relativiser. Ca les dérangeait tous ces gens qui hurlaient « I’m Better off dead »:

“A lot of our songs – the good ones anyway – come from crisis points in my life. Songwriting, for me, is therapy. most creativity comes out of some kind of crisis, and the coolest rock’n’roll bands are people who can deal with that and admit to their problems. “But,” he adds, “this is a business where you can’t be seen to be having problems all the time – so from that point of view I suppose it is a strange thing to say. It’s like announcing to the world, ‘Hello! We hate ourselves! please buy our record!”
“It’s definitely a weird thing to start off with – but i think that’s healthy. I mean, ‘Prove Yourself’ (their previous single, released in May) was strange as well. We played one gig a while ago and we had 200 people singing long to the bit that goes ‘I’m better off dead!’ i thought, ‘Hang on…’”
Phil Selway, the drummer: “At the next gig, we’re going to divide the audience into sections to sing it.”
Jon Greenwood, the guitarist: “Yeah! Come on! Louder! I can’t hear you at the back – ‘I’M…BETTER…OFF…DEAD!’
— Melody Maker / 10 octobre 1992

 

Deux lignes, dans les paroles, évoquent peut-être une chanson de Neil Young, Heart of Gold. Le groupe n’a jamais caché être très fan du monsieur. :

chez radiohead : « I wanna breathe, I wanna grow I’d say I want it but I don’t know how »

chez Neil Young : « I wanna live, I wanna give, I’ve been a minor for a heart of gold"

 

mars 1992

La chanson (que le groupe vient d’enregistrer en studio) est jouée en concert pour la première fois.

On l’entendra régulièrement dans les setlists du groupe de 1992 à 1995.

Comme ici en 1993 :

5 mai 1992

La chanson sort sur Drill, le premier EP du groupe.

L’enregistrement s’est fait aux studios Courtyard, avec Chris Hufford et Bryce Edge :

« It’s a good studio, even though there’s minimal outboard in it, » says Thom Yorke. « We recorded ’Prove Yourself’ and a couple of tracks tor the album there, and we were really pleased with the results. Before that, we used to go around doing demos for between £200-400 quid a go, and that can be a severe dent in your pocket. If you’re a live band, it isn’t that cheap. If you’re using sequencers, you can programme it all  beforehand, and all you need is a bloody DAT machine, but with a rock band, you need a big space to do it in, and you need all the right mikes and so on.
— Thom Yorke / Melody Maker, 24 avril 1993

 
22 mai ou juin 1992

C’est avec cette chanson que Radiohead passe pour la première fois à la radio nationale, sur BBC1, pendant une BBC Evening Session :

FIRST COMMERCIAL BROADCAST
“Prove Yourself”, Gary Vadies’ Happening Track Of The Week. Radio One. May ´92
— Melody Maker / 14 août 1993

 
Le groupe en joue une version acoustique assez jolie :

22 février 1993

On retrouve la chanson sur le premier album du groupe « Pablo Honey ».

 

12 décembre 1995

Dernier live de la chanson, qui disparait définitivement des setlists….

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