Thom Yorke: Suspiria
On his first two solo LPs, Thom Yorke ditched the art-rock majesty of his main gig, Radiohead, to indulge in the strain of glitchy electronica he’s been tinkering with since Kid A . Curiously, it took a horror movie soundtrack to bring out his more emotional side. Suspiria , like Radiohead’s 2016 album, A Moon Shaped Pool , is defined by its humanity: choral harmonies, orchestrations, piano balladry. Even the more obvious score-like sections— the art-jazz dirges and Tangerine Dream-styled synth textures—carry a direct warmth that both The Eraser and Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes lack. It’s a fitting approach for Suspiria , Luca Guadagnino’s organic, slow-burn remake of the classic 1977 Italian film. After all, the director’s previous project, Call Me by Your Name , also thrives on naked emotion—pure romantic angst distilled into images. The Suspiria double-album finds Yorke channeling the movie’s bleak horror imagery—witchcraft, haunted ballerinas—into some of his most soulful songwriting. On “Unmade,” his quivering falsetto wafts over an eerie choir and vintage synth-pad; the baroque daydream “Suspirium” could pass for a Sufjan Stevens collaboration, with Yorke meditating on the meeting ground of dance and salvation. No doubt, Suspiria is still creepy in the traditional horror way, from the dissonant 5/4 synth ambience of “Volk” (a touch of Mike Oldfield via The Exorcist ) or the hypnotic Krautrock strut of “Has Ended.” But the sound that sticks with you is Yorke’s raw tenor, which still haunts in a totally different way.