Review Summary: The choppy intertwining of redundant ideas.
The album that defined the 90s. An album regarded by many as one of the greatest records of all time. However in dealing with music and the unique entity that it is there will always be those who disagree with the majorities opinion. This is one of the many brilliant aspects of music that there is. While one person may wholeheartedly adore a band such as The Beatles
there will be always be a handful who feel that they were a popular band because of their radio friendly hits and that their simplicity places them in the ranks of present day popular bands such as Nickleback
who also enjoy mass popularity due to the fact that their music is simple and requires little thought. Looking back at the 90s it was really no surprise Ok Computer
made the mainstream impact it did. Just like The Beatles or Nickleback Radiohead managed to create what was bound to be popular, generic car tunes. Now however I would like you to keep in mind that music is subjective and there are always two sides of a story, even a story as widely praised as Ok Computer will meet those that simply despises what they've created and with those thoughts in mind I will begin my review.
The album starts off with the track entitled "Airbag". At first listen it's easy to write this off as your average alt/rock song and unfortunately that's exactly what it is. The sluggish power chords present nothing special nor exciting to the song. Even the slightly interesting drum loop employed becomes redundant at around the halfway point of the song and the band seem to rely on underwhelming spacey effects to create a better atmosphere which in the end is just as bland. It seems that in trying to give their songs a more grandiose vibe they get lost in the scope of their own creation. Even the albums most enjoyable track "Paranoid Android" gets muddled halfway through and while the song may have a nice guitar solo it doesn't distract from the fact that the song itself feels like 4 different tracks and that 3 of them are quite weak. An even more apparent theme with Ok Computer is pure boredom that glares heavily on "Exit Music (For a Film)". On this track the mediocre musical output is turned way down for a portion of the song to allow for the biggest flaw to rear it's ugly head. I am speaking of course about the vocals. In all honesty there is nothing wrong with Thom Yorkes voice except for the fact that he sounds downright lazy. Paired with the the need to mumble 90% of everything it comes as no surprise that this is a turnoff. While his vocals may be an artistic approach the vibe he presents is one of slight intoxication and utter annoyance. "Karma Police" may be the bright point of his vocal performance as they become more bearable and less irksome. However with that slight improvement it seems that Radiohead are stuck on trying to make their songs feel like broken up pieces of what could be the next song. While the unnecessary change in flow during songs may interest some to me it comes off as the band doing to much at one time and what they weren't doing very great to begin with. Most of the other songs off Ok Computer
are more or less choppy versions of a different songs they threw together and in aiming for an endless scope it seems they overshot even their own cleverness.
At times it seems that Radiohead have found solid footing in their song structure notable on the track "No Surprises". It is then a shame to discover that they don't have anything particularly interesting to offer regardless and the song ends up dragging before its halfway mark. Intertwining soft piano chimes with slow brooding bass lines is a fantastic approach but fails miserably because the band exhaust their ideas but continue to focus on that approach. It seems that throughout Ok Computer there is always something repetitive to outweigh anything slightly interesting on the album. Even if the soothing ambience of "Lucky" glimmers through it is sadly hindered by Yorke's sluggish vocals. It seems that in the end the over used drum loops and basic guitar playing deplete any excitement that could be found throughout the album. The bass remains practical and forgettable which easily mimics the vocals which are just as parochial as the technical output. The lyrics while interesting on paper are clearly put to waste by the rudimentary range placed forth by Thom Yorke. Curiously enough however the album is rather easy to get through and even though I would never play this for pleasure I can see how tracks such as "Electioneering" or "Climbing Up The Walls" would be put to perfect use in the form of needless background noise. The kind of music you'd listen to while doing tedious paperwork or shopping at a grocery store at early hours of the morning. To sum it up nicely this album is painfully bland and more of an incoherent mess than anything.
In the end though many will still find Ok Computer to be a masterpiece of sorts. The thought of this only makes me strive to listen to more music. What one person might consider to be an album of untouchable brilliance will be just as easily disregarded by another individual. For me Ok Computer was a downright awful experience. The mumbling mixed with the blandness all thrown together like leftover salad without dressing is a music I do not want to taste, or listen to for that matter anytime soon. I've experienced this album on separate occasions and even now the thought of enduring this leaves a bland taste in my mouth. I think that people in purgatory will have to listen to this over and over again because it really isn't torture but if you had a choice you'd be in heaven listening to Coheed or Godspeed. I'd rather listen to any other album just as long as it doesn't bore me to death like this one did.