Thom Yorke: Open Again

All Atmosphere, No Substance

Edwin Svoboda, Writer for The Scoop

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Thom Yorke, frontman for the legendary alternative rock band Radiohead, has released yet another single, “Open Again”, from his forthcoming solo record Suspira which appears to also be the soundtrack for the Luca Guadagnino film. Yorke, without the writing influences of his exceptional band mates has created a track with little in the way of substance, instead relying on the atmosphere the song provides.

Yorke through his time with Radiohead has certainly become a master at crafting songs that can elicit strong emotional responses. In “Open Again” this is no different. The song opens up with the sound effect of tape rolling before having a crescendo of a noise which sounds almost alien, but not in a campy corny way. Instead the song keeps a grounded depressing tone throughout. This is further built upon with the minor guitar arpeggio which floats under Yorke’s droning vocal arrangement. The last third of the song is an orchestra of white noise and more of the almost alien-esque sounds from the beginning. This aids in creating a building tension near the end of the song which can make the reader feel almost haunted. A perfect fit for a song released close to Halloween.

Despite the strong ambience presented within “Open Again” it fails to have any real substance or innovate upon Radiohead or Thom Yorke’s formula. Radiohead and by extension Yorke, have been known for their masterful ability to create a dreary ambience within their music, so its no surprise that they were able to get that right. However, at only two minutes and fifty seconds and only ten lines of lyrics this song is lacking in substance, leaving me wanting more. The first twenty seconds of the song are the ambient white noise with the aforementioned alien crescendo, and just under the last minute of the song is also a mix of white noise with a strange crescendo building throughout. This only leaves a minute and forty seconds of music, and the music we get fails to innovate or intrigue. While the arpeggio which flows through track has a nice progression, it lacks any diversity which Yorke usually demonstrates through the guitar work on his tracks. Even more troubling is the lack of lyricism. Instead of we’ll through out commentary or allegories we are treated to a haunting set of lyrics seemingly about rebirth.

However, overall I’m conflicted about this song. On one hand it has great ambience, yet still nothing super impressive by Radiohead and Thom Yorke’s standards. Yet, on the other hand it fails to have a strong base to further amplify the ambience. I feel this could possibly aide it as a song which is essentially the soundtrack to a movie, yet harm it as an actual song. These are the reasons that “Open Again” by Thom Yorke is only worth a 6/10 as it has many interesting concepts but fails to ground many of them with a strong base.

“Open Again” is available to be streamed on Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play and may be purchased once the rest of the Suspira album is released.

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