Getting Creepy With Ember Island and Gill Chang

emberisland_gillchang_radiohead “Creep”, everyone knows that song. It’s the angsty teenage 90’s anthem that skyrocketed Radiohead to the top of every college radio station in the country. Having been kept in constant pop culture rotation it’s a song that usually gets instantly ignored when it comes on simply for the fact that I’ve heard it since I was a teenager. However this isn’t just your typical version of “Creep”.

Gone are the simple guitar arpeggiated chord progressions of G–B–C–Cm in the verses to only turn the same progression into power chords for the chorus. Ember Island took that formula and converted it into soft frail female vocals with piano and pad accompaniment. The melody still remains the same for the vocals which is perfect. The ostinato still keeps that chromatic line that “creeps’ up and down. It’s what gives the lyrics it’s emotional involvement. As the scale moves up from the { 5 – 5# – 6, } you feel a sense of optimism only for it to be smashed with dejection as the phrase resolves with the { 6b }.

To add another layer on this cover we have Gill Chang taking Ember Island’s work and complicating it with additional drum and synth accompaniment. The verses relatively the same with added production elements that add drama to the tension, but most notably his additional synth work adds more back and forth in the emotions of the track. Playing with the augmented and diminished version of the chords exaggerate the trip between optimism and dejection and make for a different thought behind this tale. Instead of an inebriated man who tries to get the attention of his crush by following her around, and lacking self-confidence to face her, perhaps we get a truly mentally unstable stalker who ends up blocked on social media. Either way it makes this song very 2016.

Gill Chang:
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Ember Island:
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Posted By: Joseph Noctum

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