You And Whose Army

You and Whose Army ? est devenue une « classique du groupe », que le public aime bien. Thom Yorke aime bien d’ailleurs s’amuser à lancer des oeillades inquiétantes au public au début de la chanson.

Le titre ne doit pas être compris au sens littéral. « You and whose army ? » est une question rhétorique qu’on pourrait traduire par « c’est ça oui… » ou « et tu vas faire ça comment tout seul ? »

Les années où la chanson a été jouée :
[gvn_schart id=”45367″]
Le moment du concert où la chanson a été jouée :
[gvn_schart id=”45365″]

[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] le mardi 27 juillet 1999 [/button]

Grâce au journal que tenait alors Ed en ligne, on apprend que le groupe a commencé à travailler sur la chanson lors des sessions d’enregistrement de Kid A :

Le travail du 27 juillet 1999 ne satisfait personne…

[quote align=’none’ cite=’a pretty frustrating day, but now we’ve been doing this for so long, you realise it can’t all be like last week. it starts well with a different version of ’how to dissapear’ and ’everything in its right place’. we then get sidetracked by a couple of loose ideas for songs (one is very like the Fall). However we have definitely lost our way with ’ you and whose army’- it was sounding great last week, so what happened today ? time to go home.’]Journal d’Ed[/quote]

[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’]  le vendredi 30 juillet 1999 [/button]

La chanson semble même un peu reléguée dans la « pile » de ce qui est laissé de côté, faute d’en être satisfait, ce qu’Ed déplore un peu :
[quote align=’none’ cite=’it would be great to have another look at « you and whose army ? » next week, and rescue it for the ’lets leave it for a while’ pile.’]Journal d’Ed[/quote]


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’]  le mardi 3 août 1999 [/button]

Ses vœux sont exaucés quelques jours plus tard :
[quote align=’none’ cite=’finish with attempting to rescue ’you and whose army’…’]Journal d’Ed[/quote]


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’]  le mercredi 1er septembre 1999 [/button]

Finalement, la chanson est revenue au sein des préoccupations du groupe :
[quote align=’none’ cite=’twice around ’follow me around’ – mmm. not great, but salvaged by ’you and whose army’ – jonny thinks that voice and guitar are all that’s needed until the end part ; and it sounds right ; or at least it’s definitely a place to start.’]Journal d’Ed[/quote]

[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’]  le mardi 7 décembre 1999 [/button]

L’idée de Thom & Jonny sur le placement de la voix a été suivie. La chanson est découpée en trois « moments ».
[quote align=’none’ cite=’looked at ’you and whose army’ again from two weeks ago. tried this ’different’ vocal idea that thom and jonny had been going on about…..three part but with a very low bass harmony, kind of inkspots-esque. this is always dangerous territory ie there would be nothing more fucking sad than this slick sophisticated 40’s vocal group sound… mind you there’s not much chance it could be slick….but you know what i mean. anyway sounds alright and the rest sounds better.’]Journal d’Ed[/quote]

Dans Spin, en juillet 2006, Thom donnera une source d’inspiration qu’ont suivie Nigel et Jonny pour l’enregistrement chanson : un groupe des années 30-40 :
[quote align=’none’ cite=’“I’m really proud of ’You and Whose Army ?’ : Jonny was listening to [’30s vocal group] the Ink Spots, and he and Nigel had a bee in their bonnet about how it should be done. And I was like, ’Are you sure about that ?’”’]Spin[/quote]

Un tube des Ink Spots :

et pour arriver à ce résultat très « années 40 », très doux et délicat, le groupe a du s’adapter, revenir aux bons vieux tuyaux, comme l’explique cet article de juillet The Wire :

  • utiliser des boîtes d’oeuf, des vieux micros
  • le programme « Palm Speakers », inventé par M. Martenot, sur la voix de Thom

[quote align=’none’ cite=’Elsewhere, Radiohead’s ’vocal science’ bypassed state of the art digitalia for antiquarian technology and the sort of ad hoc boffinry redolent of John Lennon and George Martin’s techniques at Abbey Road during the late Beatles era (Yorke confesses that Revolution In The Head, Ian MacDonald’s book detailing the recording of every Beatles song, was « my bedside reading all through the sessions for the albums »).

On ’You And Whose Army ?’, the muzzy vocal – which sounds like Morrissey sliding into a Temazepam coma – was an attempt to recapture the soft, warm, proto-doowop sound of 40s harmony group The Ink Spots.

« We hired all these old ribbon microphones, but it didn’t work because you need all the other gear, like the old tape recorders. So what we ended up using is an eggbox. And because it’s on the vocal mic, and the whole band’s playing at the same time, everything on the track goes through this eggbox. »

Radiohead also used a device called the Palm Speaker on ’You And Whose Army ?’, creating a halo of hazy reverberance around Yorke’s vocal.

« The Palm Speaker is something else that Monsieur Martenot invented, to go with the Ondes, » explains Greenwood. « It’s a bit like a harp with a speaker in the middle of it. The strings are tuned to all 12 semitones of an octave, and when you play a note in tune, it resonates that specific string and it creates this weird kind of echo that’s only on those pitches. »’]Spin[/quote]

Le groupe a vraiment travaillé sur « You and Whose Army » dans une ambiance de paix et de calme, et non de tension comme les paroles pourraient le laisser penser… Seules 4 prises ont suffi pour enregistrer la chanson.

Q, août 2001 :
[quote ]And the day that we recorded You And Whose Army ? was a very relaxed day, and that song is nor meant to be taken seriously, it’s a funny song.

We had such a good time when we did that, and we did about four takes, tried out some cool sounds, and then went home. Lovely. And that lyric is silly, surely no-one can take it seriously ? I wrote it as a joke, but then we kept it because it seemed to have some nice connotations.

Q : The lyric of that song is very threatening. R : Yeah, it’s saying Come and try to fight us if you think you’re hard enough. But it’s over the top.

Q : The great thing about that song is that you’re singing this threat very sweetly. The melody is almost a lullaby. R : Yeah, it sounds much more threatening that way, than if a heavy metal band was shouting Come on if you think you’re hard enough ! That has to do with my interest in disembodied voices : when you’re singing, you can use different voices as if you’re acting out different parts in a play. I don’t see why all Radiohead songs should be sung in the same voice. Then people would say, Oh, that’s just Thom Yorke doing his thing. I try to sing in a way that fits the lyric and the subject of the song. If we start to fuck with the sounds and with the voice, it becomes more interesting. It gives me licence to say different things.[/quote]


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’]  le mercredi 2 février 2000 [/button]

Nigel est désormais en stade de mixage :

journal d’Ed :
[quote ]sore heads all round, but things are being sorted out, i think. while we ’negotiate’ nigel has taken the opportunity to set the studio upstairs for mixing. ’you and whose army’ is put up and he starts to mix. sounds good. have to redo my guitar which is fun as it feels a little like playing live. thom continues work on going through and sampling sections from this dat of sounds that we made last night……nothing too strenuous as i think we are tiring a little. it always happens like this. some weeks seem way more productive than others and probably are but the secret is not to get freaked out…..just keep going and it will return. meanwhile jonny ’haydn’ greenwood continues to arrange his strings………[/quote]


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’]  en 2000 [/button]

Dans une interview d’avril 2001, mais parue en juin dans Mojo, Thom est revenu sur l’inspiration pour l’écriture des paroles, à savoir Tony Blair :
[quote ]Q : « ’You And Whose Army’ is about Blair, isn’t it ? »

Thom : « Originally, it was about the voices in my head that were driving me ’round the bend – to be honest (bursts out laughing). And then, once I came up with that ’You And Whose Army’ phrase, I was able to stick other ideas on there and Blair emerged as the song’s real subject matter. The song’s ultimately about someone who is elected into power by people and who then blatantly betrays them – just like Blair did. At the same time, I think he couldn’t help betraying this country. I think the man’s a fool. He’s just a product of his time, like any important public figure. I’ve become slightly more charitable towards him of late. Anyone who’s put into that position just immediately becomes like all the people surrounding him. He can’t help it – that’s just who he is. So it’s never been a personal thing. When we put that image of Blair in the Kid A booklet, it was just us saying, ’He’s just a public figure. He’s fallen from grace and he’s useless like everybody else’. The problem with Blair is that he’s surrounded by all this other stuff that will end up destroying anything worthwhile he as a human being might want to achieve. That’s why I call him ’a fool’, because a fool is just someone who plays to the court ; he’s a court jester, in other words, and that’s all he is. But that’s basically the same with most presidents these days. I’m not saying things here that most people don’t already recognise themselves, I’m sure. »[/quote]
Le 3 mai 2001, il expliquait un peu la même chose à Spin With A grin :
[quote ]Q : « What is it New Labour that particularly frustrates you ? How do you feel about the other main political parties ? Will you vote ? Young people are increasingly labelled as ’apathetic’ and criticised for not voting. What do you think about this idea ? Do you think it is irresponsible to vote for someone you don’t believe in ? Would you consider launching »You And Whose Army« as an official anti-election tune ? »

Thom : « this song is not a personal attack. but no i wont vote and havent votedfor a man willing to go along with son of star wars. its not exactly surprising that a large section of the population will not give a flying fuck about the election. everybody blames evryobody else. and new labour is happy to let filingdales be used in world war 3. they are not in touch and have blatantly betrayed all who supported them except those friendly business interests. we were involved in a campaign to encourage people to vote a few years ago in the uK. this was hijacked by labour. labour are good at highjacking and betraying. they attempted something rather similair with jubilee2000. frightening levels of paranoid bullshit. err oh dear. world war 3. »[/quote]


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’]  le samedi 17 juin 2000 [/button]

La chanson est jouée pour la première fois en live à Fréjus, en France.

Pour vous donner une idée des premières versions de la chanson, voici un live de juillet 2000 à Tel Aviv. La chanson est déjà bien proche de ce qu’elle sera en enregistrement :

et à 36’48, à Toronto, le 17 septembre :


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’]  le lundi 4 juin 2001 [/button]

La chanson figure sur « Amnesiac », nouvel album du groupe :


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’]  en 2003 [/button]

On a trouvé à l’époque de la sortie d’Hail To The Thief ce dessin sur le site

JPEG - 61.9 ko


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’]  en 2010 [/button]

En 2010, Denis Villeneuve présente « Incendies », l’adaptation cinématographique de la pièce à succès de Wajdi Mouawad. Sur la Bo du film, on trouve « You and Whose army » en ouverture, choix délibéré de Denis Villeneuve :

Télérama, 11 janvier 2011 :
[quote ]« J’aime les films qui arrachent le spectateur à son quotidien. Je voulais débuter Incendies dans l’envoûtement, l’hypnotisme. La première scène devait plonger le public dans un ailleurs immédiat, le dérouter. L’énigme posée ici crée une tension qui propulse les scènes suivantes. La chanson de Radiohead (You and Whose Army), j’y ai pensé quinze secondes après avoir commencé l’écriture de la scène : je cherchais un certain lyrisme, une mélancolie, un rapport au sacré. Et les paroles (“You can take us on / You and your army / You and your cronies” : “Vous pouvez nous prendre / Vous et votre armée / Vous et vos copains”) étaient parfaitement adaptées à ces images d’enfants soldats… »[/quote]
Dans une interview d’avril 2011, pour le Los Angeles Times, le réalisateur a précisé que dans un premier temps, il avait choisi la chanson parce qu’elle lui semblait parfaite, sans penser à l’avis de Radioheas, mais que finalement le groupe avait donné son accord pour l’utilisation de la chanson :
[quote ]« When it comes to artistic moves, I always jump. I don’t think, » Villeneuve says, adding that band members gave him the song after seeing a rough cut of the movie. « I told myself that even if it’s just a phantasm, the song will be inside the movie in spirit. »[/quote]

Previous post

Sit Down Stand Up

Next post

Say the word (aka C-Minor Song)



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


Leave a reply