The other days, for some reason or other, I found myself listening to Tears For Fears performing live the Radiohead, classic Creep.
Somewhat surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad.
It got to the line “I want a perfect body/I want a perfect soul”. At this point, the lead singer sang “I have a perfect body/I want a perfect soul”, whilst the women in the crowd screamed hysterically.
Whilst this could be passed off as shownmanship and the singer knowing what the audience wants, it really irked me. For clarity, I am not a Radiohead purist. I think they are great, particularly their latest stuff, but I don’t know the back catalogue inside out.
What really got to me was the realisation that changing that one word completely changes the context of the song. To such an extent, that it pretty much inverts the meaning, so it is the opposite of what it is about.
It is boastful and macho and, to my mind at least, against the Radiohead aesthetic.
You could argue bands are free to interpret songs in any manner they choose, and I agree. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Which I don’t.
The one good thing to come out of this though, is to demonstrate how flexible language is and in contrast, how difficult writing something that connects to people really is.
For those interested, below is a sound-only video of Tears For Fears playing Creep live.