Fake Plastic Trees

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.

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4 thoughts on “Fake Plastic Trees

  1. Dude… loving it. Never saw the music video before now and I LOVE it. But I think you’re right about the music being more powerful, enhancing the lyrics. I think it was always the music itself that drew me into Radiohead in general. They make great music. And you can sort of feel their “blood, sweat and tears”, so to speak, in it. You can feel pieces of themselves in their musics. That makes me, as a listener, feel more connected to them. Hence, the lifelong fan. Its all very interesting… Very interesting…

    • Elle, awesome. I really appreciate your thoughts, and you taking time to share via commenting. Feeling their “blood, sweat and tears” – totally agree with that sentiment.

      Hope to see you soon.

      John Clore

  2. It’s the only Radiohead song that I’ve ever completely “gotten”. Otherwise, I don’t really know what all the fuss is about. This song is more straightforward and I’ve always really dug the melody.

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