This is a nice surprise to wake up to, even though the circumstances it was written in aren’t great, obviously.
Harry Patch passed away recently and was the last survivor of the trenches of the First World War. To commemorate this passing, Radiohead have written the following track which was premiered on another great British institution, Radio 4, this morning.
In terms of Radiohead songs it’s clearly more of a production of Thom and Jonny. The composition is entirely dominated by strings, which tend to be the domain of Jonny, the classical music buff of the band, and Thom’s ghostly croon. I don’t really see where the others would come into this and I presume the Radiohead name is only there to lend greater weight behind the good cause the song supports, which is fine in my book.
It’s an OK track. The lyrics are a little clunky. I initially thought that all of the lyrics where taken from quotes made by Harry Patch, which would explain that clunkiness, but it turns out only the closing line is. Hm. I could dissect this more harshly, but it’s for charity and considering the short period of time it was written and recorded in, there wouldn’t be much point. I’m not that much of a misery.
As it’s for the charity of the Royal British Legion, a charity that supports and campaigns for ex-service personnel here in blight , I won’t be posting it here, but the song is available for streamage at the BBC, here, if you wish to peruse before you donate.
“i am the only one that got through
the others died where ever they fell
it was an ambush
they came up from all sides
give your leaders each a gun and then let them fight it out themselves
i’ve seen devils coming up from the ground
i’ve seen hell upon this earth
the next will be chemical but they will never learn”