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A song to save us

Thom Yorke’s ‘Suspirium’

Thom Yorkes,“Suspirium composed for the 2018 remake of the Italian horror film“Suspiria,” carries me over intangible hurdles each time its pitiful three-fourths timesignature travels through my ear buds. After reserving his songwriting talents for a number of decades, Yorke agreed to compose his first soundtrack for Luca Guadagnino’s adaptation of Dario Argento’s “Suspiria.”  

Yorke later released a full album including songs that were not featured in the 2018 film soundtrack. “A storm that took everything,” “Suspirium,” “Unmade” and “Has ended,” are the tracks I felt centered viewers in the film and attached the more “liberal” adaptation to its original. The film follows a youthful American dancer in the 1970’s, who relocates to Berlin to audition for the World-renowned Helena Markos Dance Co.  

When she vaults to the role of lead dancer, the woman she replaces claims that the company’s female director has been involved in witchcraft. The film showcases bleeding almost in the past tense and focuses a lot on the bodies of each dancer. “This is a Waltz thinking about our bodies, what they mean for our salvation,” is how “Suspirium’’ opens, leaving room for interpretation as solely a listener but also within the context of the film which draws less horrific and more sorrowful imagery.  

When I hear this song I feel utterly alone but not lonely. Isolated with my feelings about what I did today, who I spoke to, what I chose to put energy into. I feel like the dancers portrayed in the film, alone on a stage, but not scared of the spotlight cutting its way into my senses. Although the composition is quite simple, Yorke’s voice pulls “Suspirium” away from any other melodic song.  

As the lead singer of RadioHead and now, The Smile, Yorke is well known for his intense vocals. The way his voice floats above the repetitive piano part, makes this piece one of the most existential songs I have ever faced. “All is well, as long as we keep spinning. Here and now, death still behind a wall.” Referring to the monotonous task of being a creature aware of its own mortality.  

Yorke uses this single song to define what it means to be a human and to wade through days without feeling a thing. “Suspirium” drags its knuckles down my back. When I dare to say “everything is okay just as it is.” I turn to this song. Although the entire ‘Suspiria’ (2018) soundtrack contains pieces with similar messages, the composition will never match the single flute followed by the baroque chords ladled throughout “Suspirium.” 

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