Radiohead
The Bends


3.5
great

Review

by Derek Marchewka USER (21 Reviews)
March 23rd, 2009 | 22 replies


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: So it's basically Pablo Honey, but better.

Everyone knows who Radiohead are so there’s no real point in me going into vast description of their discography. The Bends is their second album, following Pablo Honey. Now Pablo Honey is easily Radiohead’s worst and for good reason; Boring structure; Bland lyrics; simple instrumentation and what have you. Now Radiohead certainly stepped their game up for The Bends, but not too much I’m afraid.

The Bends certainly is a much better album then aforementioned Pablo Honey. Probably the biggest improvement is also the simplest; the songs are just better. Where Pablo Honey suffered most of all was its lack of great hooks and catchy songs. And when a band has nothing really interesting to offer(at that point in their career) then you better have some decent choruses. The Bends is a vast improvement on that aspect. Every song has a very nice chorus that anyone would want to sing along to, and I greatly award it for that. Now earlier on in their career, at least before Kid A, Radiohead were nothing more than a rock band, at its very heart. There’s nothing to be blown away by the Bends, which is why I don’t give it a lot of credit, but as far as plain old rock albums go, The Bends is hard to beat.

The problem with The Bends is one that they didn’t really shed after Pablo Honey and it carries onto this album. Although it is a consistent effort with great rock tunes, there is a, how shall I put it, “wave” if you will, of mediocrity that permeates in these songs. There are no masterful qualities to the bulk of these songs(save Fake Plastic Trees and Street Spirit) that really show terrific musicianship. The band doesn’t push the songs to their full potential where they could really be truly inspiring anthems. The main reason I think is the constant structure that these songs are in. Now there are benefits and negativities to song structure; It can keep songs in line and going on track instead of turning into just over-done music wanking. But on the other hand, it also restricts songs and keeps them in a musical prison of strict configuration. And considering how unconventional and non-structured songwriting done later in Radiohead’s career,(which resulted in their greatest songs) it’s fair to say that The Bends suffers do to its ultimate structure.

This album is a good, conventional(predictable) album with some great, great songs. As far just writing better tunes, they exceed Pablo Honey by miles, even if the songs have the same basis and structure as on the last album. The Bends also displays the fact that at that point in their career, the band was still growing and maturing musically, and this really isn’t the epitome of Radiohead's potential or skill level. But it’s still got some fun in it, which I can dig.



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user ratings (4390)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Chewie
March 23rd 2009


4532 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

resubmitted from a while ago when the site got hacked

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2009


17944 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

aw i like this album a lot

PuddleSwimmer
March 23rd 2009


1457 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Definitely in my top 2 radiohead albums

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2009


17225 Comments


i always thought that this was their best.

Tulannical
March 23rd 2009


2051 Comments


It isn't.

Chewie
March 23rd 2009


4532 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

at all.

shindip
March 23rd 2009


3536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My favourite album next to OK Computer more mainstream than the others, but that just adds to the charm.

Douchebag
March 23rd 2009


3624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really wanna hear this. Sounds more toned down from their later stuff which sounds more up my alley.

Altmer
March 24th 2009


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

you're wrong

HazardousReview
March 25th 2009


1 Comments


This album is certainly not "Pablo Honey", but better. Horrible comparison.

Yardbirdy
March 29th 2009


13 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is their best album, way better than pablo honey!

emerson2
March 29th 2009


31 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I kind of agree with what you're saying. A lot of the songs here are just ordinary rock songs, and I don't really see how everyone else can like this better than their later albums.

Huntthequattro
July 20th 2010


66 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I stopped reading after the summary.

KILL
July 20th 2010


72131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol yay derek

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

BigHans
July 20th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Best Radiohead album, true story.

tomwaits4noman
August 27th 2010


91 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Seven great songs the rest are some what average IMO

1. Planet Telex
2. The Bends
4. Fake Plastic Trees
6. (Nice Dream)
7. Just
8. My Iron Lung
12. Street Spirit (Fade Out)

sulkenigma
March 12th 2011


62 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I would always give this album a 5/5. It is appropriate for the rating to be so high but you have to put the album into context. This album was made waaay before Kid A and since then, maybe the overall opinion of The Bends has gone down. I'm sure before this album came out, the overall impression of Pablo Honey was higher than it is now. The Bends can be difficult to judge with Radiohead's later releases complicating everything. But that's why we love them haha

luschlotz
May 12th 2011


993 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agree with you there, although there are some really good tracks here, like Street Spirit. But

RavenRock
May 12th 2011


688 Comments


This was actually #2 on Virgin's Top 1000 Albums Ever, so that's what finally got me into it. It's not bad, but I prefer OK Computer and Kid A.

But Planet Telex is mesmerizing.

demigod!
May 12th 2011


45005 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Planet Telex kicks ass. High and Dry fucking sucks

Digging: Autechre - LP5



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