“suspirium” By Thom Yorke Review
When it was first announced that Thom Yorke would be scoring Luca Guadagnino’s remake of the 1970s cult horror film Suspiria, hardly anyone was surprised. Much of Radiohead’s work this century has been about crafting cinematic and emotionally devastating musical worlds. And the band’s most recent foray into film music—a shelved Bond theme for Spectre—has become a fan favorite since its release. But on “Suspirium,” the first single from the upcoming Suspiria soundtrack, Yorke eschews predictable horror motifs for a sparse waltz that paints the calm before a bloody storm. The result is one of his strongest solo tracks in years.
Recorded on what sounds like the type of upright piano you might find in the corner of an empty recreation hall, “Suspirium” drifts along with practically no production, a desolate snapshot of Yorke in his studio, quietly summoning with moody magic. “All is well, as long as we keep spinning,” Yorke croons, a direct allusion to the film’s ballet dancers but also a sentiment familiar to anyone who’s felt trapped by life and is trying to make the leap to something better. As the sepia veneer begins to melt away, Yorke’s ghostly vocals reveal a more sinister atmosphere: A single flute enters while the baroque chords carry on underneath, hinting at a glimmer of hope with each rotation but never finding resolution. “Suspirium” is perfectly creepy because it feels unnaturally neutral, like a quavering meditation induced as the darkness fully takes hold.