My Iron Lung is a 1994 EP by the band Radiohead, including the song of the same name, later released on the band's album The Bends (1995). The EP also contains outtakes from then-ongoing recording sessions for The Bends, compiling songs that were issued as B-sides on two separate "My Iron Lung" CD singles in the UK and other markets. My Iron Lung was originally released in EP form with all eight songs only in Australia but is currently in print worldwide. It is usually seen as a bridge between the simplicity of their first album, Pablo Honey, and the sonic depth and introspectiveness of their later '90s work. The "My Iron Lung" single charted at #24 in the UK, a decline from "Creep"'s eventual peak of #7. It also received little radio or MTV attention in the United States, especially as compared with "Creep".
"My Iron Lung", the song, was Radiohead's reaction to "Creep", their massive hit of 1993 which also became something of a millstone. Singer Thom Yorke described the iron lung as a metaphor for the way "Creep" had both sustained the band's life and constrained them, as evidenced in his caustic self-reflexive lyrics ("this is our new song / just like the last one / a total waste of time / my iron lung"). An acoustic version of "Creep" appears at the end of the EP.
Other songs on the EP chart a course away from the emotional grunge-pop of Pablo Honey, toward increasingly layered production and more inventive guitar parts, especially evidenced in the ethereal "Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong", and Sonic Youth homage "Permanent Daylight" whose lyrics are hidden in a wall of noise. The title track, along with fan favorite "The Trickster", almost approaches a metallic sound, while "Lewis" is musically a successor to Pablo Honey's punky "How Do You" and lyrically a precursor to "Just" from The Bends, both serving as warnings to seemingly oblivious friends on the verge of breakdown. The acoustic "Lozenge of Love" uses unconventional tonality and is inspired by a Philip Larkin poem, while "You Never Wash Up After Yourself" is another quiet, desolate track for acoustic guitar and voice; these two are the only completely acoustic studio-recorded songs the band would release commercially until the B-side "Gagging Order" in 2003.
In Britain and most of the world, this EP was available instead as two singles: the first, with a blue cover, featured the title track backed by "The Trickster", "Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong", and "Lozenge of Love"; the second, with a red cover, had "Lewis (Mistreated)", "Permanent Daylight", and "You Never Wash Up..." as B-sides. "Creep (Acoustic)" (which had also closed the earlier Itch EP) only appears on the EP release.
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