If you read my review of The Great Escape last week (And I hope you did), whilst looking over the track Globe Alone I mentioned Jigsaw Falling Into Place, the lead single from Radiohead’s 2007 album In Rainbows.
Believe it or not, I previously had no intention of diving into Radiohead’s discography all that much. At the end of last year, I’d bought myself The Bends and OK Computer under the impression that they were as good as it got for Radiohead, a band I believed were a bit too soppy and downbeat for my liking. Then I dug a little deeper and I have since added Kid A and In Rainbows to my collection, the latter simply off the strength of Jigsaw Falling Into Place.
I’d say this is tied with another of the band’s songs (But I’ll let you try and guess which) as my absolute favourite of their discography. Compared with a lot of their output, it is one of the most listenable singles they have ever done and despite clocking in at about 4 minutes, it feels like it goes by in half the time. The tempo of the song and Thom’s notes steadily rise, creating a frantic and frenzied atmosphere that matches the club that the song is presumably set in, as the narrator deals with a lost opportunity with a girl he just met on a night out, and over-analyses the situation whilst completely rat-arsed and hypnotised by the dance lights.
Every member of Radiohead is on fine form here but special commendation has to be given to Phil Selway on the drums. If you watch the music video for this song (Directed by Adam Buxton, of all people), you can see Phil puffing and panting as the tempo rises and he tries his absolute hardest to keep up the beat, so much so that by the end he looks like he’s just ran the London Marathon. Thom’s performance is excellent too as he seems to get into character, getting either drunk with madness or mad with drunkenness, as Jigsaw progresses, and creating a colourfully distorted image of the club with lyrics such as ‘The walls are bending shape/They’ve got a Cheshire cat grin’ and ‘Words are blunt instruments/Words are sawed-off shotguns’.
So if this song is that damn good, how come Radiohead never play it anymore? It hasn’t appeared in any of their live shows since 2009 and Ed O’Brien even forgot its title during an interview a couple of years ago (See here: https://www.highsnobiety.com/p/ed-obrien-interview-radiohead/ ). It’s a tricky song to play, trying to keep up the rhythm as it gets faster and faster, and it appears to be one that Thom struggles to sing for the first half; he always seems to be more at home in the higher notes, which don’t really kick in until about 2:15 with the repetition of the lyric ‘The beat goes round and round’. Combine that with the fact that the live performances I’ve watched of Jigsaw online don’t seem to really do the studio version much justice, and I can kind of understand why it hasn’t made Radiohead’s setlists in a decade. Or maybe it’s simply because this is Radiohead, a band built on classics, meaning that Jigsaw is just a mere drop in the ocean. It’s a shame either way, but it can’t change the fact that is one of my favourites from the band and helped me find what is my favourite album of theirs too. Listen to it if you haven’t already.