Song Of The Day 9/1/2015: Marvin Gaye vs. Radiohead – “Sexual High”

M*A*S*H*U*P Week '15 – At long last, the man who’s arguably the most sensuous man on the roster of early Motown going up against the band who killed sexuality in pop music! Aw, now, I’m just playin’ with you, Radiohead. Not flirting. I am absolutely not flirting with you.

Here we have Marvin Gaye’s most outwardly scabrous hit single commingling with Radiohead Mach I, the saturnine, pre-golem heap of wires who appeared to be vanishing under the weight of their own flappy verticality. That’s not a judgment on “High & Dry,” which I agree is beautiful in its somaesthesia. It’s more a statement that I didn’t start loving Radiohead until they embraced their inner Coupland and squeezed themselves through the Wells machine. (And I absolutely loved Kid A, but I was high on cough syrup when I first heard it.) (Because I had a cold at the time.)

So the not-that-great vocal reproduction on this track, which sounds a bit tin-canny, may actually play in favor of the greater Radiohead narrative. It’s the beginning of sexuality’s long, drawn-out seppuku in the arena of rock music, the erosion of erotica until it resurfaced at the VMA’s in the form of inflatable Donald Duck rafts and climbing harnesses. Thanks, McDonnell Labs! Not the most demanding mashup you’ll hear this week – no verbal interaction between Marvin and Thom Yorke, an awkward dialogue I’d love to have seen – but conceptually, it’s a pretty interesting proposition. Slosh down some Robitussin and let me how it works for you. If you have a cold, that is. Only if you have a cold.

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