Today’s Track Of The Day takes us back in time to a classic, must-know song.
The year is 1995 and Radiohead have released The Bends. “Just” is seventh on the album, along with “High And Dry”, “Fake Plastic Trees”, “My Iron Lung” and the ever amazing “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”. From its unmistakeable introduction onward, “Just” lyrically grabs us by the scruff and points toward our metaphorical elephants in the room.
“Just” tells a rough tale of being haunted by mental/emotional demons, that may come out of nowhere (‘like a comet’) and leave us feeling personally victimised (‘suckered you but not your friends’).
With its infamous and addictive chorus, “Just” seems like a nudge toward personal responsibility, for whatever is going on for each of us individually. And as the chorus indicates, that bitter pill both hurts to swallow, and it also hurts to see someone suffering, apparently at their own hand.
“You do it to yourself, you do
And that’s what really hurts
Is that you do it to yourself, just you
You and no one else”
Even if in agony to the point of self harm, the truth that Radiohead seem to be sharing is that we can’t escape ourselves. We can’t lock ourselves out (‘Change the locks three times, still come reeling through the door’) or hurt ourselves enough to make ourselves go away. That bitter pill of responsibility inevitably continues on.
It could be this futility that renders everyone in the “Just” music video to lay motionless in the street in defeat, ‘doing to themselves’ their grey suited 9-5 existence, or worse.
Regardless of exact meaning, the riffs of “Just” are timeless and their stair-climbing escalation and impressiveness add an enjoyable shine to the otherwise weighty message. “Just”‘s sunshiney melodic vibe is littered by gritty guitars from the bridge onward, feeling more and more raw as frustration takes centre stage.
Soak up “Just” with its music video below, but I highly recommend listening to the whole of The Bends.