“Creep” is Back
Radiohead’s hit is making a comeback — Nearly 30 years after its release
In 1992 Radiohead released its first hit, “Creep.” It soon became an anthem for a dispossessed, disappointed, shoe gazing generation, who didn’t quite relate to the other anthem of the time, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The Nirvana hit is a product of its time and place, whose musicality, tone, and recording style are reflective of the time in which it was created. “Creep” however is reflective of a moment that changes and grows over time. “Creep” is timeless in that it reflects a mindset, not a pop cultural moment.
Now, nearly 30 years after its release, “Creep” has been slowly but surely turning up across the pop cultural sphere in a variety of seemingly unrelated places.
Recently the band Foo Fighters returned to the stage for the first indoor concert at Madison Square Garden in over a year. 2020’s lockdowns obviously forbade group gatherings. So for audiences to once again be given permission to celebrate together the end of a horrible year, the Foo Fighters concert was an emotional event. The highlight of the show was lead singer Dave Grohl bringing out his longtime friend, the comedian Dave Chappelle. Although not known for his singing, Dave Chappelle was invited to sing Radiohead’s “Creep.” He belted out the song’s refrain, “I’m a Creep. I’m a Weirdo. What the hell am I doing here?” in unison with the 25,000 fans in attendance.
Elsewhere on NBC’s streaming service, there is a new comedy show called “We Are Lady Parts.” The plot centers around an all girl Muslim punk band living in East London. The comedy shows the band, Lady Parts, as they navigate through sexism, culturalism, and racism to live their truths. The apex of the series involves the main character Amina, singing a version of the Radiohead classic, as her world falls apart around her. It is a haunting moment in an otherwise delightful and sweet show.
And if I may be so bold, the musical duo that I perform in, Fuss and Jex recently performed a virtual zoom concert. The 11 o’clock number was my bandmate, Sara Jecko, performing a solo, bare bones version of the song, in a way that left me with chills sitting five feet from her.
Why is this nearly 30-year old song suddenly having a resurgence across the spectrum? It could that after a year of lockdowns, illness, sorrow, and uncertainty there is a universal truth about the phrase “What the hell am I doing here?” A question I’m sure many of us have asked in our homes this year. The song is about longing for unattainable “perfect” life resonates with any generation, old or young.
Or maybe because it’s just a great fucking song.