Songs like Radiohead’s Creep?
February 11, 2019 12:16 PM   Subscribe

What other songs are like Creep by Radiohead in terms of subject matter? My general preference is that they not be songs about how you are getting laid a lot but are also lonely. (Ahem, Drake). PURE LONELINESS ONLY, THANKS.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em to Media & Arts (52 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
maybe Echosmith's Cool Kids kind of?
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:20 PM on February 11

REM, "Country Feedback."
posted by entropone at 12:21 PM on February 11

I may be biased because it's the record I've loved the most in the past few years, but you may like Spanish Love Songs' schmaltz. Very similar themes. Start with the first song "Nuevo," then the transition to "Sequels, Remakes, & Adaptations", and if you can stop listening, I'll accept that I'm wrong. But if that's the case, you should skip ahead to "The Boy Considers His Haircut" because it's one of the most incredible songs ever written and extremely timely.
posted by General Malaise at 12:24 PM on February 11

P.S. I should mention that it's about more an existential loneliness, not a romantic loneliness for the most part.
posted by General Malaise at 12:26 PM on February 11

If it helps, I think “Peach Plum Pear” by Joanna Newsom fits the bill. (“We speak in the store/I’m a sensitive bore/you seem markedly more/and I’m oozing surprise/but it’s late in the day/and you’re well on your way/what was golden went gray/and I’m suddenly shy”)
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 12:26 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

Lots of Pink Floyd - Time, most of The Wall.

Eleanor Rigby.
posted by wellred at 12:36 PM on February 11 [3 favorites]

Bleu, Something's Gotta Give
posted by thelonius at 12:39 PM on February 11

The Smiths, How Soon Is Now?

I am the son, and the heir, of a shyness that is criminally vulgar
I am the son and heir, of nothing in particular
You shut your mouth
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way
I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does

posted by ejs at 12:48 PM on February 11 [12 favorites]

Lykke Li - Everybody But Me
posted by eponym at 12:51 PM on February 11

Are you into standards at all? There are plenty along those lines.

But Not For Me
posted by Smearcase at 12:56 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

"goodbye to love" originally by the carpenters but also covered by american music club.
posted by noloveforned at 1:07 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

Summer in the city by Regina Spektor
posted by Lotto at 1:09 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

And yet more Smiths:

I Know It's Over

(Actually, come to think of it, a pretty decent number of Smiths songs are about loneliness...)

Portishead's "Roads"? "Sour Times" is pretty miserable, too.
posted by Master Gunner at 1:14 PM on February 11 [5 favorites]

Loser by Beck
All Apologies by Nirvana
posted by mermaidcafe at 1:42 PM on February 11 [3 favorites]

Lonesome by Doctor Dog
Back on the map by Kacey Musgraves
A thread cut with a carving knife by Stars (not the first verse but the other two)
Meaning to write by Brendan Benson
posted by bleep at 1:58 PM on February 11

Kate Bush - All The Love
posted by brushtailedphascogale at 1:59 PM on February 11

The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely (the entire album)
posted by augustimagination at 2:06 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

The Hollies : The Air That I Breathe.
It's so similar that Radiohead got sued and had to add two of the Hollies to the credits as writers.
posted by w0mbat at 2:06 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]

Lana Del Ray - Get Free
So similar to Creep that she got sued by Radiohead (oh the irony).
posted by w0mbat at 2:08 PM on February 11

Teenage Dirtbag
posted by St. Peepsburg at 2:14 PM on February 11

Also Somedays by Regina Spektor.
posted by monologish at 2:15 PM on February 11

The Shins, A Comet Appears. (Lyric Video).

We can blow on our thumbs and posture
But the lonely are such delicate things
The wind from a wasp could blow them
Into the sea
With stones on their feet
Lost to the light and the loving we need

posted by sockpup at 2:19 PM on February 11

Joy Division's "Digital"?

Feel it closing in
Feel it closing in
The fear of whom I call
Every time I call
I feel it closing in
I feel it closing in
Day in, day out
Day in, day out

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:21 PM on February 11

Bobby Vinton - Mr. Lonely
Nick Drake - Day is Done

Arguably also:

Dismemberment Plan - The City
King Crimson - Starless
Neil Young - A Man Needs a Maid
posted by saladin at 2:52 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

Elvis's Heartbreak Hotel?

Bill Withers: Lonely Town, Lonely Street - very good lyrics
Chris Whitley: Phone Call from Leavenworth
posted by runincircles at 3:14 PM on February 11

(These may be darker than what you're looking for...)

I will never not recommend the Swans' God Damn the Sun in these questions.

...So I gained an addiction
To drink and depression
(they are mine
My only true friends
And I'll keep them with me
Until the very end)
I'd choose not to remember
But I miss your arrogance
And I need your intelligence
And your hate for authority
But now you're gone
I read it today
They found you in Spain
Face down in the street
With a bottle in your hand
And a wild smile on your face
And a knife in your back...

Richard Buckner 22

...I was only 22
All undone and overdue
My friends burned all around me
And the smoke was full of you
But let's stop here for a prayer
For what happened there
And let us have a beer
For anyone who's still here
I didn't leave a letter
I just wrote my baby's name
On the mirror all steamed over
With water, heat and shame...

posted by bendy at 3:47 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

Richard and Linda Thompson, “Walking on a Wire,” from an album that’s about a marriage (Richard and Linda’s) that’s falling apart. “Too many steps to take / Too many spells to break / Too many nights awake / And no one else.”
posted by 2or3things at 4:49 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

Came here to also recommend Starless And Bible Black but someone already did, so here's a cover with a totally different feel
posted by twoplussix at 5:22 PM on February 11

Love Will Come To You - Indigo Girls
Judy And The Dream Of Horses - Belle and Sebastian
Oh L'amour - Erasure
Ordinary World - Duran Duran
Blackbird On The Wire - The Beautiful South
On My Own (from Les Miserables)
posted by MysteriousSympathy at 5:42 PM on February 11

Bangles - Following
Stina Nordenstam - He Watches Her From Behind
Cat Power - He Turns Down
Scott Walker - Through A Long And Sleepless Night
The Wrens - 13 Months In 6 Minutes
posted by rhizome at 5:42 PM on February 11

Charles and Eddie “Wounded Bird
Donna Summer “Last Dance”
posted by oh posey at 6:49 PM on February 11

The Velvet Underground - After Hours
posted by spaet at 6:58 PM on February 11

Kill for Love
posted by invisible ink at 7:03 PM on February 11

Erasure - When I Needed You (especially the Melancholic Mix)
posted by JMOZ at 7:07 PM on February 11

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, particularly the first two albums (put together as a single release on Bandcamp). Lo-fi, lonely songs. So sad that Mr. Casiotone, Owen Ashworth, was crying in a coffee shop when he performed in the early Aughts (but don't worry, he cheered up a lot later, when I saw him performing with a little group in a bar a few years later). He has since ended that musical persona, and now performs as Advance Base, which he describes on his Bandcamp page as "Depressed, nostalgia-obsessed, lo-fi pop made out of electric pianos & drum machines," so it's CTFTPA under a new name ;)

Similar lo-fi pop: James Figurine's "Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake" (Bandcamp), which opens with an ode to T9 :P

Which made me think of Former Ghosts (Wikipedia -- polished like James Figurine, but more depressed in the very best synth-pop/ post-punk/ coldwave way), who don't have a website, but are on MySpace (who now link music through YouTube, so here's a YouTube search for FG).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:09 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

If you’re asking for more than just “a song expressing loneliness” — if you want something that captures the same kind of envy/fascination/disgust at the distant object of affection mixed with exhausted self-loathing — then I think the song that fits the bill best is from about ten years earlier: Nik Kershaw’s “Wouldn’t It Be Good.”

The song has the same mix of quiet moody verses and suddenly erupting choruses, and the same unexpected switching between major and minor keys. Similarly to “Creep”, too, it takes an emerging-dominant pop style of the day (synth-pop here vs grunge/alt-rock for Radiohead) and does something decidedly more interesting with it.
posted by sesquipedalia at 8:53 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

Lover I Don't have to Love by Bright Eyes.
posted by miles1972 at 9:22 PM on February 11

No-one’s mentioned Elliott Smith yet?
posted by mymbleth at 11:49 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

Almost all of Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville is about angst and loneliness despite sex.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:03 AM on February 12

Oh God, Frightened Rabbit. Although there's a healthy amount of tracks that include your Drakeish sentiments of loneliness in the midst of getting laid (Keep Yourself Warm features the incredibly blunt "It takes more than fucking someone you don't know / to keep warm"), I've recently taken a shining to Boxing Night; an incredible peaen to drinking alone on holidays that also contains the lines "I can't call you all mine anymore / Oh I can't call you fullstop / But you know you can call me up any time / call me whatever the fuck you want," which show a gripping lack of assuredness in one's own self worth.

Many other Frightened Rabbit songs touch on a deep sense of loneliness and not being worthy of something, and they can fuel quite the wallow, so use with care (Personally, I put myself on limited rations during the winter months here in the PNW). The lead singer is no longer with us, and his loss was often telegraphed in his lyrics, so be aware of the added weight that comes along with that.
posted by redsparkler at 3:30 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]

If you're looking for sad/bitter/pithy songs about loneliness and not feeling good enough, Paul Westerberg is your poet laureate. Start with The Replacements and then go into Westerberg's solo stuff after that.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:59 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]

Almost anything by Malcolm Middleton - Solemn Thirsty is a good starting point.
posted by Middlemarch at 6:00 AM on February 12

Grouper - Alien Observer
The Microphones - The Moon
Mitski - Your Best American Girl
posted by naju at 8:07 AM on February 12

I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry - Hank Williams
Snowbird - (covered by tons of people but originally by Gene MacLellan)
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:48 AM on February 12

Reel Big Fish - Dateless Losers

Also possibly A Little Doubt Goes A Long Way and I'll Never Be. Frankly there's a lot of self-doubt in Reel Big Fish songs.
posted by Tehhund at 8:24 PM on February 12

Nobody - Mitski
Lovely - Billie Eilish
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 4:36 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]

« Older What is teamwork again?   |   The house foundation is cracked. It's winter. What... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments