Radiohead Tantalizes With New, Unfamiliar Music
Sara Scribner
Los Angeles Times, April 1, 1996

Radiohead struck gold in America before being idolized by Britain's notoriously enthusiastic press, so the band was immediately suspect. The tune that put this Oxford, England-based group on the defensive was "Creep," a sullen, slacker-ific anthem that made Radiohead's puckish, tormented singer Thom Yorke look like Beck's "Loser" on 'round-the-clock suicide watch.

Friday at the Wiltern Theatre, Radiohead delivered the toughest kind of set a band can play--one designed to whet fans' appetites with new, unfamiliar songs from an upcoming album. (Yorke was even compelled to bring a music stand with lyric sheets onstage at one point.)

Hot-wired by a twitchy insolence that smacked of John Lydon, the singer made it clear that many listeners who believed that "Creep" elevated self-loathing to an art form missed Yorke's rambunctious, cynical humor. He lurched into impressive, operatic vocal gymnastics before delivering the words, "I wish I was special, you're so expletive special" while taunting the crowd with belligerent hand gestures. By doing so, he twisted the song's supposed theme of self-castigation into a bizarre indictment of his audience.

Yorke then closed the song with an emotionless deadpan: "Now ask yourself, were you convinced?" The crowd's reply would have been an embarrassed "Yes," but his question signaled that Yorke's heart is with his newly penned material.