My Favorite's of All Time #3: Radiohead's "Creep"

Ah, Radiohead. I’ll start myself off by saying that I am very much (like with most things) a fake Radiohead fan. Outside of the maybe 8 or 9 songs that I have listened to religiously from the group, I don’t know that much about them or their music. But I cared about them enough to like their Facebook page back when FB was poppin’ like that. So that has to count for something right? RIGHT????

Like I mentioned in the Bite-sized Album Review for Juto’s Wool (2019), I have the good folks over at Odd Future to thank for my introduction to a bunch of artists and musicians, and that includes Radiohead. I was listening to Frank Ocean’s nostalgia, ULTRA (2011) during the summer of 2012. On “Metal Gear Solid,” he uses a sample of the Radiohead song “Optimistic” from Kid A (2000). I immediately fell in love with how it sounded; I was in PEAK angst phase, so my soul connected to the song almost immediately. Soon, I found myself listening to “Optimistic,” which led me to “Creep” from Pablo Honey (1993). And little did I know, my little angsty heart was gonna soak “Creep” right up.

I want you to notice
When I’m not around
You’re so fuckin’ special
I wish I was special

But I’m a creep
I’m a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here

I don’t care if it hurts
I wanna have control
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul

The song is a mainstay for any angsty-kid experiencing self-doubt and problems with self-confidence and anxiety in their teenage years. In the song, the narrator (played by Thom Yorke) speaks of his personal and internalized insecurities in his quest to get the woman he loves to love him back. He sees himself as almost monster-like and completely undeserving of the beauty of the woman that he’s pursuing. He sees in her what he wishes he could see in himself: a perfect human that’s capable of being loved. If he could only prove to her that he was deserving of her love, he could absorb some of her perfection. The fatal flaw is that he both loves her and dislikes (hate seems so official lol) himself.

So his sense of self is 100% attached to whether or not he can get this woman to love him. His willingness to do anything it takes to love her is also his desperate attempt to learn how to love himself. If he mirrors her, he can love himself easier. It’s an unhealthy and super dependent situation. And it took me until JUST NOW, while typing this that maybe that’s why I felt (and still feel) such a strong attachment to this song. Because I struggle(d) with loving myself, I tried to find that love in other people. All those unrequited crushes didn’t just hurt because I didn’t get to have my first kiss with the person (read: people lol I had a lot of crushes, y’all), they hurt because they further proved (to me) that something HAD to be wrong with me and that I was undeserving of having the love of someone I thought was so beautiful. And wow…what a self-realizing moment.

But that’s what music does for us, right? It helps us get to those places where we can fiddle around with those emotions that are too big and too heavy to put into words. So our hearts search for ways to express them, and oftentimes, especially when you listen to music often, you’ll find pieces of yourself in it. You’ll find yourself gravitating towards the songs that convey the love, fear, anger, etc. that you’re feeling yourself. It’s an absolutely beautiful thing to experience, and I’ve cried many a tear because of it lol.

“Creep” is such a beautifully tragic song. But I can’t help but have my soft little heart strings continuously pulled by Yorke’s “run, run, run” bridge. Even 8 years later.

And that’s what makes “Creep” one of my favorites of all time!


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