Life in a Glass House
Released: June 5, 2001
“Life in a Glass House,” begins slowly and thoughtfully: Thom Yorke’s voice rings hauntingly to the forefront, carrying deep melancholy as a clarinet and trumpet float in the periphery. As the piece progresses, these instruments become bolder, finally pushing aside the vocals in the final chorus and losing all pretense of structure to reflect the raw lyrical emotion. “But someone’s listening in,” laments Yorke, bringing an end to the chaotic piece.
Artist: Iiro Rantala New Trio
Released: April 30, 2008
A guitarist, a pianist, and a beatboxer make up the Iiro Rantala New Trio, the best Finnish jazz band of which you’ve never heard. Feeling less like an actual song and more of a musical battle between three utterly distinct styles, “Shit Catapult” practically defines eclectic. Nyman’s distorted guitar and Zenger’s beat-boxing are both grounded by Rantala’s rapid-fire piano strokes. The song, starting off with an introduction of the three musicians as they each take turns shooting out jumbled notes, quickly collapses together into a joyous, instrumental masterpiece.
Turnin’ on the Screw
Artist: Queens of the Stone Age
Album: Era Vulgaris
Released: June 12, 2007
“Turnin’ on the Screw” is easily the most ‘broken’ of these songs, but in the best way possible. Starting with an almost pseudo-Gregorian chant, “Screw” quickly descends into a hodgepodge of clockwork percussion and guitar riffs, with the distortion turned up to 11. “It puts the lotion in the basket,” drones Josh Homme, foreshadowing the lunacy that’ll quickly follow. Indeed, this song is probably the closest one can get to temporarily experiencing insanity as we are treated to nonsensical solos and indistinct groaning, making this a truly abstract beauty.
Artist: Young the Giant
Album: Shake My Hand EP
Released: August 18, 2008
Ironically the most coherent of the bunch, “Schizophrenia” is representative of an early period for Young the Giant, back when they were still known as The Jakes and before the release of their first album. The song features Sameer Gadhia on vocals, breaking out with possessed fervor as he speeds through the lyrics until they become indistinguishable. This quickly becomes the tone of the piece, fully embracing its mantle of “Schizophrenia.” Wild distortions and glitches are added to the audio, unraveling the music without losing any structure under the faint, colliope-esque organs which provide the crux of the melody.