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02.01.21 Radiohead: Ranked by Encomium05.25.19 Kanye West: Ranked by Encomium

Radiohead: Ranked by Encomium

After years of trying to get into Radiohead and being unable, something finally clicked with me and I've been listening to them non-stop. Here is my personal ranking AKA the worst Radiohead ranked list you've ever seen.
Hail to the Thief

Okay, okay, okay, look! Let me explain. Though the general consensus is that The King of Limbs is the outlier in Radiohead's discography, in which they kinda just took a detour and immediately abandoned it thereafter. However, I feel this is true about HTTT instead. In my opinion, Amnesiac feels like much more of a bridge between Kid A and In Rainbows whereas this just feels like...a collection of mostly boring electronic tracks with some interesting ideas. "2 + 2 = 5" and "A Wolf at the Door" are undeniable highlights that stand as the best in the band's discog, but wow...I don't really care for any of the other stuff! Sure, "Myxomatosis", "There, There" and a few others make for interesting moments, it's nothing I find myself eager to return to as much as other Radiohead highlights. As a cohesive record, it's a monotonous slog to listen to. Thom Yorke's shortened tracklist is a bit of an easier pill to swallow but I still think it stands as one of the band's lowest moments.
The King of Limbs

Most Radiohead fans are of the mentality that the Live from the Basement version of this album is much superior, and while it certainly showcase the band's talents as a live unit, I genuinely prefer the loneliness of the original record. I don't know what it is about this one, but I just enjoy it so much more than HTTT. Perhaps a shorter tracklist? It's definitely a plus side. I think it also makes for a great breather between In Rainbows and AMSP and to me it's perfectly fine if the band isn't necessarily doing anything groundbreaking here. Because the end result is a quality over quantity record with 8 solid tracks, including some that are my absolute favorites in their discog ("Lotus Flower", "Codex", "Give Up the Ghost").
Pablo Honey

As someone who generally prefers louder alternative rock to tranquil experimental/art rock, Pablo Honey was destined to find its way this high on my list. I think this is an incredibly cohesive record and I honestly believe it's aged pretty well. It's 90s as fuck, but not in a way that's cringeworthy even with the context of the band's later achievements in mind. It goes without saying but if you love some tasty riffs and catchy hooks, this is a record you're destined to love. And "Thinking About You" is such a sweet little love song. My favorites are "How Do You?", "Stop Whispering", and "Anyone Can Play Guitar".
A Moon Shaped Pool

My biggest gripe with Radiohead's latest is the fact that it feels more like a collection of songs rather than an album with a singular theme. Not that an album necessarily needs that, but it does sort of strike me like Radiohead has no sonic ground left to cover. Still though, AMSP is solid through and through. The more I listen to it, the more I fall in love with it. To be honest, the tracklist being in alphabetical order kind of makes it hard for me to distinguish which track is which but I do love a lot of these songs here. Of course, "True Love Waits" but "Present Tense" is a damn banger. Jury's still out on "Identikit" which is admittedly the catchiest cut on the record but I can't tell if the "broken hearts make it rain" refrain is cheesy or not.

It's kind of wicked to me how HTTT is often seen as superior to this. This is...significantly better. Sure, it benefits from a shorter tracklist but there are just way more highlights here than on that album. "Pyramid Song" alone proves that, but I love every single damn song on this. To me, this is Radiohead After Dark. Like I know Kid A is kind of that, but because of the blueness of Kid A's cover, I often think of it as more of a hazy bluish winter night as opposed to pure darkness. This, in contrast, is a sleepless, black night. And because of that, the album has a very careless, flowing demeanor to it. But more often than not, the results are genius. I even love the instrumental "Hunting Bears" and though Kid A's version is more "finished", the version of "Morning Bell" that appears here is just soooo Amnesiac. Really, really love this one and some days I might prefer it to #4.
The Bends

Like I said about Pablo Honey, as someone who generally enjoys alt rock more than experimental rock, The Bends finds itself very high on my list. Maybe higher than most Radiohead fans. But yeah...I pretty much have nothing to fault about The Bends, except maybe "Bullet Proof"...which is still like an 8/10 at worst. I love the grittiness and despondent nature of this album and just the pure alt rock energy the boys give off. I hate Radiohead fans who think they're too cool for stuff like "High and Dry" and "Fake Plastic Trees", which still stand out as some of the band's best singles. And what a fucking closer! Radiohead has perfected the art of the closer but I still think "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" is one of the band's very, very best.
OK Computer

"OK Computer" is, obviously, the "Sgt. Pepper" of my generation. As a record so critically lauded, it makes sense that someone like me might listen to it and wonder what's so great. I honestly can't remember if it was this or The Bends that I first listened to (because I've tried to get into Radiohead so much over the past...10 years, give or take). What I know though is that OK Computer was very much an album I had to sit with and let grow on me. But now...what the fuck was I thinking? This is as perfect as music comes. And while it may not be my favorite Radiohead, I cannot deny the acclaim its gotten over the past 20-some years. "Paranoid Android" has always been one of my favorite songs of all time, but I'm so glad I can now finally appreciate the genius of "Exit Music", "Electioneering", "Climbing Up the Walls"...I could list the entire fucking tracklist. Ironically though, it's the singles that I maybe like the least. I'll just leave it at that. What a remarkable record.
In Rainbows

Like most Radiohead fans, my favorite album of theirs really just depends on what mood I'm in. I'm sure if you're a Radiohead fan, you've likely already seen Middle 8's video about how this was Radiohead's "free album" but if you haven't, check it out. It sums up better than I could how flawless this record is. It's just wicked how this band, after so many years, could put out a record this beautiful. They had nothing to gain and everything to lose, and still came out with another classic. I don't wanna beat a dead horse here, but "All I Need", "Reckoner" and "Videotape" are just some of my favorite tracks. I love the atmospheric, dreamlike quality this record holds and the more I talk about it, the more I'm convinced it deserves the top spot. But...
Kid A

I know that OK Computer is *technically* the turning point at which Radiohead became the most important band in music, but I think Kid A deserves the top prize strictly for being even more boundary pushing. I'm sure at this point I don't need to talk about how jarring this was for Radiohead fans to first listen to, but it's nonetheless such a bold statement of a record. And 21 years on, it still sounds just as fresh and lush. This basically deserves the top spot alone for containing 2 of my 3 favorite Radiohead songs ever: "How to Disappear Completely" and fucking "Idioteque". GOD! IDIOTEQUE! I know people want to fault the album for moments like "Treefingers" and "Kid A" but I adore the ambiance of these tracks and I think the album would honestly lose quite a bit without them. Such a fantastic record - but you already knew that. I'm glad to finally be welcomed to the party.
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