Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Radiohead:Pyramid Song

When I come across new ways in which artists expressed themselves, I get truly excited. One good example of this was when I heard Radiohead's 'Pyramid Song'. It opens with a piano riff that falls away at the end, as if the player is aiming for perfection but fails every time.

It is also a natural response to the song to try to link the musical imagery with the title. According to one theory, the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids in order that the pharaohs could be transported into the heavens and achieve immortality. It is believed that the pyramids pointed to particular constellations of stars and that this positioning was vital.

This of course, is a notion connected with the Persian Tower of Babel. The tower was built so that humans could find a way into heaven. According to the biblical story, God was not best pleased. So he decided to disperse humanity and created many different tongues, so that humanity as a whole could not conspire in such a way again.

We see within these stories a desire for eternity. The building of the tower and the pyramids, is an expression of this human tendency to want to remain permanent and to avoid death. The tragic aspect is that humans will inevitably fail, despite their desire and the immense intensity of work that this can inspire.

To return to the song, one can then interpret the way the musical chords are played on the piano as an expression of such failure. It is also a reflection upon the modern day striving for immortality through fame and celebrity.

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