Thom Yorke: “Bowie and Queen’s ‘Under Pressure’ is the perfect pop song”
Today, as we dip into the Far Out Magazine time machine to unlock more gems via our From The Vault section, we explore the very ’90s world of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke.
The release of their debut album, Pablo Honey, had not gone down well. The band collaborated with Paul Kolderie and Sean Slade—a duo who had previously worked with US indie bands Pixies and Dinosaur Jr—to produce their debut album, it didn’t produce the dream results. Branded a watered-down version of Nirvana, the album wasn’t well received and their lead single ‘Creep’ was blacklisted by BBC Radio 1 because it was deemed “too depressing”.
Despite some tame reviews, Radiohead did begin to garner worldwide recognition following the release of Pablo Honey. Despite ‘Creep’ flopping in the UK, the track did begin to pick up interest elsewhere and San Francisco alternative radio station KITS added the track to its playlist ahead of Radiohead’s first North American tour.
It was during this tour in 1993 that Thom Yorke did a short piece of press with cult publication Ray Gun Magazine from the 1990s. The interview has found its way into the library and archives of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and thus surfaced on the internet. Yorke, with his peroxide blonde hair, was asked his music was ‘pop’ to which he answered: “Yesss,” he says slowly.
“My definition of pop is tapping into something. My ideal pop song is one that says something people want to hear lyrically and that grabs them by the neck musically—and one that has some sort of depth that moves it beyond a happy tune that you whistle at work.”
Yorke added: “Songs like ‘Under Pressure’, something that makes you want to fall down on your knees. That to me is the perfect pop song.”