Radiohead
Pablo Honey


4.5
superb

Review

by Chris Maziejka USER (49 Reviews)
June 26th, 2006 | 19 replies


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist


So the explosion of grunge music in the early nineties really did influence a wide audience. These people being not only music fans but several musicians themselves, and not only United States natives, either. Alternative smash hit Radiohead had taken an apparent liking to the genre back in 1993 when their debut Pablo Honey was released to the world, blowing up and beginning a masterful chain reaction that never strayed off or really dissapointed at any point in its duration, still going strong. Today, when you hear the name 'Radiohead' you probably think OK Computer and The Bends as musical milestones and excellently crafted albums themselves. Everybody wants to hear 'Paranoid Android' or 'Street Spirit'. Raves ramble on and on about the suave and intelligent latter pieces of work as opposed to PH. Well we all know how underrated albums, the underdogs of the bunch usually are some of the best effort the band has ever done in their entire career. Debut albums usually have that great effort laced in its music. Media and press are the ones looking for that one single that can rocket a band to instant fame, and the album that produced that particular track is wrapped up in gold and labeled a masterpiece. Sadly this has occured amongst the Radiohead lineup. Pablo Honey was not released to amazing reviews, no ravings from critics, not any real positive coverage minus possibly the popularity of the single 'Creep'. Sound familiar? Sure, a casual or just passing Radiohead listener could possibly think 'Creep' wasn't even on Pablo Honey. Maybe The Bends or Kid A. 'Cause nobody likes PH, right? Ok, thats probably a bit of an overstatement. But critical reviews state that Radiohead are innovative, and good at concepts - you know, doing things not many people have heard. Making a unique sound every new album. Well, Pablo Honey was a great concept, meshing Grunge with an Alternative, melodic sound producing harmonic rock at its best. Its not something that you hear much anymore, is it (your own CD player doesn't count)? So, why not realize this greatness?

The mass of grunge music blowing a hole in the industry at the point in time when Radiohead entered the world obviously has a pretty huge effect on the mind of Thom Yorke. I suppose he was thinking his band could catch a big break if they hopped the Nirvana train and played it out with the rest of the grunge bands. Soon enough he realized that this fad wasn't one to stay - it was noisy, trashy, heavy and incomprehensible. Nobody wants to listen to growling and pounding and ripping 24/7, even the heaviest of Metal bands throw in a ballad or two here and there. So did Radiohead. Songs like 'Lurgee', 'Thinking About You', and 'Creep' balance out the rocking moments of Pablo Honey. So you won't be subjected to In Utero, you'll have a mixture of IU and probably...'The Bends'. This album doesn't completely break off from what your used to hearing by these guys, but it won't connect too well either. Thats because Radiohead was more into playing songs in '93 rather than building them. There are no lengthy mechanical build-ups or experiments going on here. This is pure jamming in a garage, making your debut, meshing your influences and writing the best you can as a young'n.

Pop was not totally absent from Pablo Honey. You can think of this effort kind of like Nevermind, poppy rockish music was a heavy factor weighing down upon Radiohead's minds. Listen to 'Ripcord' and you'll see. Most of the songs are pretty upbeat and fast, but not very hooky - which is probably why the record didn't quickly rise to fame. The singles are the only real examples of catchiness. Some songs, although short can seem pretty proggy at points, like a brief jam session resulted in the majority of Pablo Honey's tracklist. Songs like that may not appeal to you if you lack appreciation for a work that hasn't been outlined beforehand - it sounds like Radiohead wrote the lyrics as a preamble to the song then played what they thought sounded great. Nothing too genius here, no masterful works of art, just great songs. Something that you'll enjoy listening to and not prying to pieces attempting to uncover the secret of Thom Yorke's unmatched songwriting skills. This is what makes a good album - that you'll pick it up, listen to it and enjoy, and not have to force yourself to like the songs. Its a love or hate situation, theres no 'it grew on me'.

While Nirvana (I may be exhausting their example) were the band that you could dance to with their release of Nevermind, Radiohead were and still are the band that you listen to. Another reason Pablo Honey breaks off from the latter works. Pablo Honey is the host of a slew of concert tracks, stuff that you'd actually enjoy jumping off the balcony onto the mosh pit to. Can't really do that if you've got 'Karma Police' in the background, can you? This is just further explaining how the pop-grunge of PH really makes the album what it is. It isn't hard to listen to. Its live music. I supposed if you don't hear these songs on stage you never really hear them. It's an amazing experience listening to 'Stop Whispering' or 'You' without headphones on, moving with the music alongside the others in the crowd with you.

It doesn't take much to enjoy Pablo Honey. Try not to delve into it or start listening with expectations that equal that of the musical genius of Amnesiac. If anything, listen to 'Hail To The Theif' beforehand and see if you can spot the similarity between the two. HTTT is again more about playing songs than creating them. It wasn't made in a laboratory, it was made in a studio. Sessions and sessions made this album, and hopefully you have sessions and sessions listening to it.

Credits:

Vocals/Guitar: Thom Yorke
Guitar: Johnny Greenwood
Guitar: Ed O'Brien
Bass: Colin Greenwood
Drums: Phillip James Selway



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user ratings (2644)
Chart.
2.9
good
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Two-Headed Boy
June 26th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is a very good review, but I totally disagree with it. Pablo Honey is boring, uninspired and repetetive and makes for an average listen.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 26th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is more fun to listen to than Kid A or OK Computer, but unfortunately those albums are 1 *insert nonsensical number* times better crafted than this.
Good review though.

pulseczar
June 26th 2006


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

It's a good thing Radiohead has so many boyfriends or else everyone would really know how poor this is. Nice review.

Hatshepsut
June 26th 2006


1997 Comments


kabajillion.
Great review, but i've yet to listen to this.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 26th 2006


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'd like to say this is overrated. But a good review.

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Thor
June 26th 2006


10200 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Ehh...this album didn't impress me nearly as much as any of their other albums I have. I don't really listen to it anymore.

Zebra
Moderator
June 26th 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

You did a really good job on the review, but I'd have to disagree. To me the album is boring and dull, it just sounds like your typical rock music.

The Jungler
June 26th 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like this album more than everyone else who posted here (so far) but in no way is it better than Radiohead's other albums and no way is it a 4.5.

Good review though.

francesfarmer
June 27th 2006


1477 Comments


I just feel it deserves a 4.5 because I can't really say I'm a fan of much of Radiohead's later work, sans Kid A. And I find it very fun to listen to. I love this album.

Mambuto_O'Mally
December 31st 2006


33 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think album deserves more than it gets. There are some excellent songs on here. I think seeing Live At The Astoria made me realize how good this album really is.

Also I believe Ed sang some parts on this album as well (i.e. Blow Out).

Aeaon
August 26th 2007


188 Comments


if anyone criticizes pablo honey one more time, i'm going to beat them with a fucking shovel.

UrbanGangster
November 23rd 2007


9 Comments


*Hands Aeaon a shovel* Good luck!

tcaporale
April 6th 2008


177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Take out your shovel, then. Because this album is by far Radiohead's poorest and most uninspired output to date.

botb
April 6th 2008


9718 Comments


Creep is a great single.

brandtweathers
April 6th 2008


2007 Comments


^^uninspired? blah. this was them at their youngest and least knowledgeable. i don't think thom yorke has ever been uninspired

tcaporale
April 11th 2008


177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

No, Radiohead even admit in interviews they were just going through the motions at the time.

Thom's lyrics sure don't seem like much effort was put into it.

Stop Whispering and Blow Out are the two redeeming factors of the album, in my opinion.

Ayashi
October 19th 2008


267 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album is actually good, even great. I love many tracks here. Even Anyone Can Play Guitar is good, only the lyrics suck

theTourist
August 10th 2009


99 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

some very good points, and I do think this is an underrated album, but 4.5?

NebSnurb
August 10th 2009


535 Comments


To me, the only good songs are "You" "Creep" and "Blowout"



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