This is one of those songs that hits hard.
Have you ever really listened to the words of Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees”? Have you ever watched the music video and let the visceral, disturbing images sink in? Maybe you see your life in the song, or at least something about the world you live in.
We could spend time discussing the disdain for consumeristic society being imbued through the lyrics, but that feels too pronounced.
If you ever have been impacted by this song – is it the words, the music video, or the music that gets you?
For me it is the music. I am prone to that anyway, but in this case I know it. At the same time, the lyric “it wears me out,” which definitely sums it all up, is why I believe the music connects even deeper with me. I always want to think words could be anything and I would still love the music, but this is an instance where the impact would not be the same.
The coupling of real world stuff with amazing music – yeah, that is why I love music. It communicates what can not be put into words. It takes any of the ideas embodied in the lyrics to “Fake Plastic Trees” and in five minutes helps you feel it in a way that you never had.
And then there is the music video, which can be interpreted in myriad ways. Radiohead’s Thom Yorke is riding in a shopping cart around a bright, nameless grocery store type venue. Odd characters appear to represent aspects of the lyrics. The broken, cracked polystyrene man that crumbles and burns makes me sad. He is us.
“Fake Plastic Trees” is our world. It is not going to ease up, it will only dig harder. I would tell you not to let it wear you out, but it will.
At least we have some killer music while we’re at it.