chansons

The Tourist

Ecriture : 1994 – 1995 ?
Enregistrement : 1996 (Canned Applause) – 1997
Sortie sur album : 21 mai 1997 (OK Computer)
Premier live : 24 mai 1997 (Barcelone)

Il s’agit d’une des rares chanson du groupe non pas écrite écrite par Thom mais par Jonny, qui en a eu l’idée alors qu’il était en France, à regretter que des touristes s’affairent au lieu de prendre le temps de regarder autour d’eux :

‘The Tourist’ was written by Jonny, who, explains Thom, was « in a beautiful square in France on a sunny day, and watching all theses American tourists being wheeled around, frantically trying to see everything in 10 minutes. » Jonny was shocked at how these people could be in a place so beautiful and so special and not realize it because they weren’t taking the time to just stop and look around.
— Thom Yorke / Select, juin 1997

 

La chanson est enregistrée à Canned Applause sûrement en 1996, mais c’est en 1997 que le groupe va la récupérer pour la mettre sur l’album, après quelques arrangements. Thom, notamment, va y ajouter du chant. Il a chanté sans émotion particulière, son but étant de terminer la chanson.

 

« It’s the same with a lot of the vocals on OK Computer – they’re first takes because after that I’d start to think about it and it would sound lame. I really like the vocal on ‘The Tourist’ and I don’t remember doing it. It was something we left on the shelf for months. When I listened to it again it had obviously been, ‘Go out and sing a rough vocal so we can work on it’. There’s no emotional involvement in it. I mean, I’m not emoting, I’m just, Yeah, yeah, sing the song and walk off.
— Thom Yorke / Q Magazine, octobre 1997

Au moment de choisir l’ordre des chansons du futur OK-Computer, ce fut un casse-tête pour Thom, qui a fini par penser qu’après tout le son électronique, une chanson plus minimaliste serait parfait pour clotûrer l’album :

In talking to people about this album, many of them point out the fact that it’s a ‘whole’ piece of art. It’s complete and seems to reach some kind of resolution by the last song. Did you set out to do this by design or was it a happy accident? »

Thom: « In retrospect, The Bends had a very obvious and comforting resolution, which was by accident, not by design. But this one didn’t. For two weeks before mastering the record and deciding which songs would go on it, I got up every morning at 5am; I’ve got one of those minidisc machines where you can swap the order of the tracks, take tracks off, put them back on. I couldn’t find the resolution that I was expecting to hear once you put the songs together, and I just went into a wild panic for two weeks. I couldn’t sleep at all, because I just expected the resolution to be there – and it wasn’t. There was all the trouble and no resolution. But that wasn’t really true, as I discovered later. When we chose to put ‘Tourist’ at the end, and I chilled out about it and stopped getting up at five in the morning and driving myself nuts, we did find that it was the only resolution for us – because a lot of the album was about background noise and everything moving too fast and not being able to keep up. It was really obvious to have ‘Tourist’ as the last song. That song was written to me from me, saying, ‘Idiot, slow down’. Because at that point, I needed to. So that was the only resolution there could be: to slow down. If you slow down to an almost-stop you can see everything moving too fast around you and that’s the point.

— Thom Yorke / Mylaunch, 2 mai 1998

Jonny n’en reviendra pas lui-même que sa petite chanson aie été conservée par le groupe.

Written by Jonny, the calm after the storm. Features minimal vocals and maximum mellow Eric Clapton-esque guitar.

Jonny: « I’m still amazed that everyone else in the band let it on the LP. It was a bit of late runner. We were packing up and leaving when we decided to do it. »

Thom: « What do I think of Jonny’s songwriting? Whenever I am tired, he is there and awake. »

Jonny « We just wanted a song where we weren’t paranoid about making something happen every three seconds and where we could record it with space. »

Colin: « But not record it with Space. That would never have worked, frankly. »

— Melody Maker, 31 mai 1997
21 mai 1997

La chanson fait la fermeture de l’album « Ok Computer »

 

24 mai 1997

La chanson est jouée pour la première fois en concert, à Barcelone.

Version du 19 décembre 1997 au Live@10spot

 

2001

Si la chanson est régulièrement jouée en 1997-1998, elle devient plus rare ensuite, sans vraiment jamais disparaître… en 2001, le groupe va même confession ne pas bien se souvenir comment il faut la jouer…

 

During Radiohead’s recent tours, the best picture of the band at work came during the sound checks. Yorke led these pre-show rituals with the assurance of a seasoned conductor with limited rehearsal time. He’d shout Next! » just as a song was building to its climax. All problems had to be addressed on the spot. At one point, Colin said, « That’s something we can work on later, » whereupon Yorke muttered to himself, and Colin added, a little wearily, « It is also something we can work on now. » There were moments, though, when Yorke was at a loss. Once, during a run-through of ‘The Tourist’, he forgot the final chord, and so did everyone else – including Jonny, who had written the song. « Does anyone have a copy of OK Computer? » Yorke called out. No one did. The Composer was taking a nap. A couple of weeks later, the problem still hadn’t been solved. « Shall we nominate an ending and play through it to see what it sounds like? » O’Brien said, impatiently. « What do you have in mind? » Yorke said. « D7, perhaps? » « O.K., let’s try it
— août 2001
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