Single Review: Radiohead “Creep”

Album: Pablo Honey
Year: 1993

Out of all the bands who emerged from the grunge era, it was Radiohead who would survive. In the early 90s, Radiohead was just another Britpop band trying to build a fanbase and sell enough records to make another album. By 2000, they had reinvented themselves as abstract rockers and were dubbed the “best band of its generation” by CDNow.

According to, “Creep” is about a drunken guy who sees a girl at a party but can’t gather the courage to make a strong first impression.

Baffled guitars and drums begin the single. Thom Yorke practices his conversation before he speaks to her. He decides to he’s going to own up to his nervousness and intimidation. He will compliment her on her fair skin, sweet personality and graceful walk. He ends it by saying he wishes he could as unique as she is. (“When you were here before/couldn’t look you in the eye/You’re just like an angel/your skin makes me cry/You float like a feather/in a beautiful world/I wish I was special/you’re so f***** special.”)

Surrendering guitars reverberate in the chorus. Yorke has stopped walking towards the girl and shrugs his shoulders. He puts himself down, shaming himself for ever thinking he has a chance. He feels out of his element. (“But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo/What the hell am I doing here?/I don’t belong here.”)

He wishes to be one of those aggressive guys who hits on a girl like she’s a baseball. He could careless if it meant he would be a worse off person. He just wants the ability to speak to her without being afraid. He also wishes it she who was afraid of him. He feels the social pressures that women face: not fitting the ideal image and feeling guilty about it. He wants her to remember him. She’s a one-in-a-million girl and compared to her, he’s ordinary. (“I don’t care if it hurts/I want to have control/I want a perfect body/I want a perfect soul/I want you to notice/when I’m not around/You’re so f****** special/I wish I was special.”)

The chorus’ melody continues but in a higher pitch. Yorke sings in falsetto that she’s leaving the party with some of her friends. (“She’s running out the door/she’s running/she run, run, run, run, run.”) The surrendering guitars return to join Yorke as he lets out a heartsick cry of “run.”

In the last verse, he comments she’s living her life as she pleases, unaware of him. (“Whatever makes you happy/whatever you want/You’re so f****** special/I wish I was special.”)

The single ends quietly with the guitars and the drums comforting him. He dejectedly says tha that he’s “a creep, I’m a weirdo…I don’t belong here.”)

Although it may be hard to believe but “Creep” was played ad nauseam on the radio. I took the brilliance of music back then for granted. I assumed it would always be there and so I didn’t pay much attention. If I heard it today, the radio would still be on. Even if it was the third time I heard it. Songs like “Creep” make me miss the early 90s.


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