Radiohead
OK Computer


5.0
classic

Review

by Ben Thornburgh CONTRIBUTOR (116 Reviews)
May 26th, 2013 | 95 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A Chemical Reaction: The Core of OK Computer

“Oh my god” you must have thought, “Someone gave OK Computer a perfect score”.

The coffee mug slipped from your hands and crashed onto the floor, you didn’t notice.

“Whom should I call first”, your internal monologue raced frantically as you fumbled for your cell phone, “I could call the mayor? The governor? Or maybe I should go right for the president!”

I get it; this album has many a word devoted to it. Endless think pieces, lists, retrospectives, skeptics wondering if its really all that, and enough breathlessly glowing write-ups to fill a library. On this website alone there is five friggin’ pages of reviews for it already. But I’m not sick of reading about it and I’m willing to bet you aren’t either so hold back your snarky comments for a second, if you want to read about how great “Paranoid Android” is you’ve got 5 pages to choose from. I’m here to talk about something different.

Lets talk about feelings.

Have you ever pulled up the GPS application on your phone, centered on your location, and just stared at it? You don’t mean to, you’re trying to find an ATM or something, but now you’re just standing and staring at that blue dot. Then you start zooming out, eyes fixed on that blue dot, as the map grows larger and larger until you’re looking at the entire world with one blue dot on it. Somewhere in those pixels is you. That’s you surrounded by millions of other blue dots. You’re a number, and you’ll be a number until you’re another type of number underground.

That’s how this album makes me feel, it makes me feel like a number.

But that doesn’t even begin to describe how this album makes me feel, that’s a big fat bummer of an emotion I just described up there but what nobody else seems to talk about is that this album makes me happy. Overjoyed even.

What this album does, that no other record I own does, is make me happy to be a number. Because in the time it took you to read this, sh*tloads of people just died and you weren’t one of them! You get to keep having good and bad experiences in almost equal measure and watch as culture evolves around you. Congratulations! I’m happy I got to survive long enough to hear this album once, let alone the thousandth millionth billionth time I’m hearing it for right now.

That’s why I still love reading about this album; everyone keeps prodding at the center of some kind of emotion this album holds in its core without hitting it directly. Most go for the easy way out, “Its about technology’s numbing effect on the soul, a vision of a future in which we all communicate through screens, where we all live together and hopelessly alone simultaneously.” I made that up off the top of me head but I’m willing to wager you’ve read something just like that about this record. To me, this album is about hope and although I truly believe that from the bottom of my heart I cannot quite explain why.

Maybe its because it was, like many of you, the first album. Not the first album I ever heard or even owned, but the one that shifted everything, the one that sent me babbling like an apostle to my peers to spread the gospel of this album’s indescribable majesty. During my freshman year of high school, on a hopeless quest to buy every album in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, I picked it up from the FYE in my local mall for the highway robbery price of $20 (Not a deluxe edition or anything!). The computer was unavailable, so I sat on my couch at home and listened to it on my Dad’s old Discman. Immediately upon completion I declared it the greatest album I had ever heard. Every time I let the opening chords flood my brain, I’m sitting on that couch again, having my future rewritten.

Maybe its because in spite of the clearly depressing themes explored here, the sadness, the alienation, the surrender, the music is so beautiful it constantly reminds your subconscious that you have the great privilege of getting to experience it almost whenever you want. Maybe its because I don’t get nostalgic over this record, wishing I could hear it anew once more, but it sounds like past and present and future colliding, everything taking place at once, every time I’ve heard this album and will hear it all playing out in front of me.

Maybe it’s because of “Let Down”.

One winter night, I loaded a car up with friends, got stoned out of our noggins, and listened to this entire album while driving down the highway. According to one of those friends, listening to “Let Down” that night was the best music had ever sounded for him in his life. I can’t quite relate, I drove that night and spent the entire time scared out of my mind but I understand. Clayton Purdom, writing for CokeMachineGlow, said that “Between those spidering guitars is an awful lot of empty space, and hope creeps its meek head through, a feeble grin spreads. And then the soaring, impudent, unregistered, hysterical closing cracks its skull on the subway floor, and the universe twinkles on, unaware and unremorseful.” More than anything than I’ve ever read about this album, this comes closest to getting at the soul of this record. Somewhere in the middle of it’s whirlwind of madness brought on by the numbness of modern life, is hope.

When Thom Yorke claims “One day, I am going to grow wings”, it sounds like a child’s desperate plea, a scientific impossibility relegated to fiction hopelessly being wished for by a man crushed underneath his own existence. But as his voice joins with his own during the bridge, ascending to the heavens in gloriously prolonged falsetto

He does.



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user ratings (6291)
Chart.
4.6
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
May 26th 2013


1628 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

People thought it was cliche when I reviewed Relationship of Command so I dunno whats going to happen here.

I took some risks so please suggest edits below!

Thanks for reading.

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
May 26th 2013


1628 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

http://cokemachineglow.com/features/listravaganza-2005-top-twelve-songs-on-ok-computer/

Here's where I got that quote, its a great list, I rek-oh-mend it

sixdegrees
May 26th 2013


17149 Comments


i'm not sure how to respond to this

Digging: 10Minimal - Aluminum World

zakalwe
May 26th 2013


8251 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"It makes me feel like a number."
Fucking sensational.

Kman418
May 26th 2013


10602 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

best album ever

Digging: Teebs - E S T A R A

Wildcatforever
May 26th 2013


441 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Beautiful review, man. Pos. The perfect album

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
May 26th 2013


1628 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It says that on my birth certificate somewhere.

jtswope
May 26th 2013


2216 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this album and this review are both fan-fuckin-tastic

hard pos

scorpiusx
May 26th 2013


131 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Awesome review. OK Computer is an album impossible to explain, but at the very least you gave a fresh perspective on a horse that has been mutilated and digested by a swarm of army ants.

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
May 26th 2013


1628 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Oh thank god, thats all I wanted to do, try and come at it from an ever so slightly different angle.

Twas a challenge but I've been writing this in my head for a long time.

amanwithahammer
May 26th 2013


453 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wow this is a really good review

facupm
May 26th 2013


7785 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

good review
most overrated album of all time


Digging: Spectral Lore - III

Chortles
May 26th 2013


17967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

really great write up

perfect album

Digging: Pinback - Blue Screen Life

cagedescending
May 26th 2013


4124 Comments


beautiful

honestly haven't listened to this in an age but this review has inspired me to change that

zaruyache
May 26th 2013


6596 Comments


Weird and good review. Have a pos. I might actually try and listen to this album now.

Digging: Natural Snow Buildings - The Night Country

YoYoMancuso
May 26th 2013


11107 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i would complain about you reviewing this if you weren't such a good reviewer

lz41
May 26th 2013


51 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Too short


tommygun
May 26th 2013


24954 Comments


good review pos album is p good

Titan
May 26th 2013


4884 Comments


interesting take and a good read........pos'd

WashboardSuds
May 26th 2013


5017 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yea nice write-up



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