A few weeks back we learned Thom Yorke had written a new song called “Daily Battles” for Edward Norton’s new film adaptation of the book Motherless Brooklyn. Today, that song is out, along with an alternate version by Wynton Marsalis.
To recap: Norton’s film is set in 1950s New York. Yorke, his friend from way back, agreed to send him a song, which Marsalis then reimagined as a ’50s jazz tune Miles Davis might perform. Yorke’s version of “Daily Battles,” a jazzy piano ballad that I imagine will go over very well with fans of Amnesiac, features a horn arrangement from Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, Yorke’s bandmate in the seemingly defunct Radiohead side project Atoms For Peace. The Marsalis recording of the track features Joe Farnsworth, Russell Hall, Isaiah J. Thompson, and Jerry Weldon, and it further clarifies the resemblance to jazzier Radiohead songs like “Life In A Glass House,” “You And Whose Army,” and “Pyramid Song.”
As for the content of the song, Norton told Rolling Stone, “Thom is so good at weaving together personal anguish and the crushing politics of the time.” After quoting “Paranoid Android” and referencing Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” Norton added, “The way that you get the sense in his songs of the difficulty of holding on to your own spirit within times that feel oppressive, and that is so much the straddle that is taking place in this film, which is loneliness and institutional depression and racism.”
Both versions of “Daily Battles” are available now on a split 7″. You can also hear them below.
Get the “Daily Battles” EP here.