Today I came across a version of Radiohead’s ‘True love waits’ which I had never heard before. What I really love about this version of the song is that the original always seemed a bit sad to me (which I like being a bit of a sentimental person 🙂 ). Basically it is about this guy putting all his pride away and begging to his love: Don’t leave! But this version has two additional musical elements to it, which make the sound tremendously comforting and uplifting to me. And which add an almost mystical dimension to the song.
Musically, it starts with Thom on a classical guitar. This is more or less the original version of the song and it is a bit sad indeed. I tried to capture the desperate and stuck in time energy by dancing mechanically and looking around for my loved one.
Around the two minute mark, the two additional sounds slowly start to appear. On one side there is a catchy repetitive keyboard riff. And on the other side there is this high dreamy sound. Somewhere it sounds like the distant calling of a magical bird. A Phoenix perhaps? Only after a couple of times listening, I realized that this magical sound is produced by Johnny Greenwood on his guitar. Also, only after a couple of times I realized that this sound is in the song from the very start! Although very distant at first and only to really appear at the musical climaxes of the song. I tried to dance on the sound of the Phoenix by letting my left hand fly freely with its ancient cries for love. With my right hand I tried to catch sound of the repetitive keyboard riff. It felt like a straight circular movement but also with an acceleration at the end. As a result the circles which I tried to make with my right hand were 11/12th instead of full circle resulting in a retrograde movement.
Yes, this version of True love waits gives a magical addition to the original version. With this version it is not only the desperate desire for a loved one on earth. This version conveys the spiritual longing to reunite with your Holy Guardian Angel (represented by the calling of the Phoenix) as well. However, when hearing the magical call of the Phoenix it becomes apparent that it longs to be with us just as much or maybe even more than us! This is a duet between Thom and the Phoenix. But how come when both parties are longing so much, that the song is so uplifting?
This is the magical ingredient of the repetitive piano. There is such a positive vibe to it. The force of the keyboard brings both Thom and the magical flute together and bonds them. The piano riff is like the hierophant from the Thoth tarot card. It unites and blesses the Lovers in a heavenly hieros gamos.
And when they finally are married with their true love, the waiting is over. Finally, both vow and say to each other at the altar: won’t leave!