Jan 052024
cigarettes after sex motion picture soundtrack

One of Radiohead‘s most unique and distinct songs from Radiohead’s Kid A, “Motion Picture Soundtrack” is a ballad that stands out in their oeuvre both for its unusual arrangement and for how long it took the band to release it. Written before they ever released anything, they had demoed it at least once for a previous album. For Kid A, their turn-of-the-millennium departure from guitar-based rock, they created the song around a pump organ, a instrument they never used before. Guitarist/arranger Johnny Greenwood claimed that the harp-dominated backing arrangement was influenced by ’50s Disney films. This is a long way from “Just.”

Cigarettes After Sex are a Texas dream-pop band who have released two albums and an EP in the last decade. They have tackled both AOR and alternative rock covers in the past, so something like a strange Radiohead ballad feels right up their alley.

They eschew the original’s theatrical arrangement, aand instead stick to a typical dream-pop instrumental palette: guitars, bass, drums and a distant keyboard. Lead singer Greg Gonzales’ delivery is laconic and far less wrought than Thom Yorke’s original.

As the song progresses, the mix gets denser but never as over-the-top as the original. Whereas Radiohead’s version drops out for a hidden track on Kid A, Cigarettes After Sex add a vamp and an additional refrain, stretching out the song to something like double it’s original length. It’s a pleasantly straightforward and mellow cover of one of Radiohead’s least Radiohead-sounding songs.

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