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Tone in Radiohead's Music Video "Fade Out (Street Spirit)"

An examination of how the producer of this music video creates a dark, moody tone.
by

Peter Sabath

on 18 September 2016

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Transcript of Tone in Radiohead's Music Video "Fade Out (Street Spirit)"

Tone in Fade Out
aggravated
disgruntled
irritated
furious
harsh
caustic
bitter
ominous
paranoid
melancholic
ADJECTIVE
1. pensively sad: feeling or tending to feel a thoughtful or gentle sadness
ADJECTIVE
1. strong and sharp in taste: having a sharp strong unpleasant taste such as the taste of orange peel
2. resentful: angry and resentful
"a bitter smile"
3. difficult to accept: mentally painful, or very hard to accept
"a bitter blow"
4. hostile: expressing intense hostility
"bitter fighting"
5. very cold: penetratingly and unpleasantly cold
"a bitter wind"
ADJECTIVE
1. sarcastic: very sarcastic and intended to mock, offend, or belittle somebody
2. corrosive: corrosive or burning by chemical action
ADJECTIVE
1. distrustful: obsessively anxious about something, or unreasonably suspicious of other people and their thoughts or motives
2. showing characteristics of paranoia: relating to or showing the characteristics of the psychiatric disorder paranoia
NOUN
1. annoyance: a feeling of impatience or exasperation
2. act of annoying: the act of causing annoyance or exasperation
3. somebody or something annoying: somebody or something that causes annoyance or exasperation

ADJECTIVE
1. annoyance: a feeling of impatience or exasperation
2. act of annoying: the act of causing annoyance or exasperation
3. somebody or something annoying: somebody or something that causes annoyance or exasperation
ADJECTIVE
threatening: suggesting or indicating that something bad is going to happen or be revealed
ADJECTIVE
1. infuriated: extremely or violently angry
"I was furious with him for spreading such lies."
2. very energetic: involving a great deal of energy, violence, or speed
"the pianist's furious assault on the keys"
ADJECTIVE
1. difficult to endure: bleak or inhospitable and therefore difficult to endure
"a harsh winter"
"harsh prison conditions"
2. severely critical: severely scrutinizing, critical, and rigid in manner
"harsh criticism"
ADJECTIVE
1. with worsening feature: having features that make something a worse criminal offense
"aggravated assault"
ADJECTIVE
1. to make peevishly discontented; displease and make sulky
10 Tone Words and Their Definitions:
"Street Spirit (Fade Out)"

Rows of houses, all bearing down on me
I can feel their blue hands touching me
All these things into position
All these things we'll one day swallow whole
And fade out again and fade out

This machine will, will not communicate
These thoughts and the strain I am under
Be a world child, form a circle
Before we all go under
And fade out again and fade out again

Cracked eggs, dead birds
Scream as they fight for life
I can feel death, can see its beady eyes
All these things into position
All these things we'll one day swallow whole
And fade out again and fade out again

Immerse your soul in love
IMMERSE YOUR SOUL IN LOVE
Lyrics
Analysis
This song and music video are both very melancholic and ominous. The lighting is very dark, which creates a depressing mood and feeling that both generate an environment that is sad, intense, and threatening. In the lyrics the writer feels alone and empty in the world, and therefore he probably feels very melancholic and anxious that something dire may come his way. As he states in the song, he has trouble communicating his thoughts because of the strain he is under, and as he walks down a street he feels alone and almost like a lost ghost in a world governed by machines that are replacing human connection and relationships. He feels disconnected from others. The image of cracked eggs and dead birds are metaphors for how he feels so displaced and isolated from the world as he walks down a street. In the video we see this disconnect as well depicted in the actions of the characters in the video. When the director has them move in slow motion, this illustrates the feeling of being unable to move in a fluid, calm motion. They are all almost paranoid and fragmented, unable to move in clear, direct ways. At the beginning the singer is missing one of his arms, and he is always sleeping or falling down. The bloody head (or is it paint?) and the dog that is about to bite also create a feeling of something threatening and dangerous that is about to happen, or has already happened. Despite this dark, ominous tone that that lyrics and video create, there is hope in the end: only love can bring this street spirit back to life, to keep him from fading out into the darkness forever. Therefore, the author feels hopeful about life and human connection despite living in a world that is increasingly fragmented and inhumane.
Full transcript