Despite the song being very slow and being about such an intensely emotional event (not typically what I like), Motion Picture Soundtrack is another song I love. The song starts off with a church-like organ playing. Not a surprise, but the beginning once again draws me in, I find it so calming. But when Thom Yorke’s beautiful soft voice enters the picture, the song gets twenty times better. The beginning lyrics of the song:
“Red wine and sleeping pills
Help me get back to your arms
Cheap sex and sad films
Help me get where I belong”
Red wine and sleeping pills suggest only one thing, which is suicide, death, or just absence. However, knowing a little bit about Radiohead, I know they do not really have a history of writing about committing suicide which leads me to believe this song is not about Thom Yorke or any of the band members committing suicide but someone else. Maybe the person did not die, but just does not exist in Thom’s life, perhaps a beloved ex-girlfriend. The lyric that suggests this is “help me get back to your arms”, which is obviously referring to another person. Once again, I can deeply connect with the feeling after a special someone is just not there anymore, both physically and mentally. It does not necessarily mean death, just the lack of an individual’s presence. “Cheap sex and sad films. Help me get where I belong” shows how Thom Yorke is slowly breaking down and does not know how to react. Perhaps, he is receiving cheap sex from a prostitute. The prostitute and sad films are just distractions for Thom to help him cope with his recent and unfortunate loss.
“Stop sending letters
Letters always get burned
It’s not like the movies
They fed us on little white lies”
This next set of lyrics suggests even further that maybe Thom broke off a previous relationship himself. He sounds so defeated, so close to giving up, almost fed up. His ex-girlfriend keeps sending him apology letters, but he just keeps burning them to try and get rid of that memory. The happy endings that were shown in movies were not going to happen, the letters were not going to change Thom’s mind. Another very familiar experience to me. Breaking off a relationship is just as hard as getting broken up with because no matter what there will always be that little “spark” (or at least most of the time).
Motion Picture Soundtrack is only about 3 minutes long, but the song lasts about 7 minutes long. I always thought that was just a glitch on my iPod because after the song was over, there was just silence, so I would always skip it. Little did I know, that if I continued to listen, at about 4:30 a new hidden song begins to play. The hidden song only lasts about a minute and has no spoken lyrics, just music playing, which for some reason reminds me of the “Hallelujah” song. The song has a godly sound to it.
My absolute favorite part of the song is when the background music starts to suggest a little optimism. Behind Thom’s voice, these magical-like harps start playing. Even though it does not fit into the genre at all, it fits in so perfectly with the song. Like I said previously, it has such a godly-like tone to it, perhaps trying to make the connection to heaven and that is where Thom will meet the person in their next life. Another favorite part is when the music has a slight pause and Thom’s voice hits a high note, saying “maybe I will see you in the next life”. He holds the last high note for so long. I just love the emphasis on that very last lyric of the song. So much emotion in such a simple song!
Rating 5 out of 5!