I write this review with the full knowledge that it will not hold a candle to Med's. But there is no way I can get my full opinion on this album out in the comment section. Radiohead's OK Computer
is undoubtedly one of the greatest albums on history. A mixture of emotion, distortion, rock, lullabyes, and bravado, OK Computer
became Radiohead's London Calling. In 1997, Radiohead jumped and became one of the greatest bands ever. Before OK Computer, Radiohead was a genrally accepted alt/rock band, and with 1995's The Bends, became a forefront mainstream alt rock band. After OK Computer, with odd, way out of the mainstream releases such as Kid A and Hail To The Theif, Radiohead has fallen out of common knowledge with the people, and that's sad. But for a moment, one shining moment, Radiohead was God. And that moment was 1997. OK Computer
is Radiohead's ultimate acheivement in sound and overall quality. Musical epics are found everywhere on this album. Songs just dont's get more emotional and gut wrenching than this. Thom Yorke's lyrics and give songs so much more meaning than if they were sung by anyone else. His words are often undiscernable, but the feel of the melodies he puts over top notch musical work gets the point across. His vocals often are tortured and beautifully twisted. Lyrics like "For A Minute There, I Lost Myself", "Either Way You Turn, I'll Be There/Open Up Your Skull, I'll be there", and "We Hope That You Choke" are what give Radiohead their aura. Their previous two albums, Pablo Honey
and The Bends
, never quite hit the lyrical brilliance and musical stupendousness that OK Computer
had. Radiohead being famous for it's "What'll they think of next"" albums, OK Computer
was perfect for this progression. While The Bends
was accepted as a standard adult alt-rock album, OK Computer
is an acheivement in just flat out aura. With this album, Radiohead put out the best 11 songs the earth had seen in a long time and have yet to see again. Perhaps Radiohead knew this going into the production of this album, and perhaps they wanted to add to their heavenly aura by adding a gothic church choir in the background of many songs. The egnostic themes of this album make Thom's lines such as "God Loves His Children" so ironically good, it's scary. The lyrics of OK Computer
are undoubtedly one of the top reasons it was so good.
Many of the lyrics being sung would not be as marvelous if anyone other than Thom Yorke sang them. His signature vibratto ringing over the climaxing Exit Music (For A Film)
is truly gut-wrenching, particularly over Colin Greenwood's ungodly buzz of a bass line. Yorke's voice is extremely varied and excellent. It can go from the hard rock growl of Paranoid Android
to the lullabye crooning of No Surprises
, to even, with a little help from unofficial 6th member Nigel Godrich, distorted insanity on songs such as Karma Police
and Climbing Up The Walls
. Perhaps Yorke's greatest vocal acheivement is on the album closer, The Tourist
. A song soft and tailor made for Yorke's unnaturally childish falsetto speaks of how he is a ghostly figure to many. All is quite calm until the aforementioned gothic church choir enters and Yorke wails in perfect pitch the "Hey Man/ Slow Down/ Slow Down/ Idiot/ Slow Down" over some fine Ed O' Brien/ Johnny Greenwood guitar and Phil Selway's percussion merely keeping a lazy time in the background. Yorke's vocal prowess is what makes Radiohead what it is. Many post-Radiohead bands just try to imitate his wails and falsetto. But none can match him.
is an album consisting of many a bands ambition. For example, many bands have the goal of writing the "Modern Day Bohemian Rhapsody". Some have succeeded, like Green Day with the all too punk "Jesus Of Suburbia", and other bands have just made very long songs that make no musical sense. But Radiohead is able to accomplish the long song with many perfect parts goal. Their marvelous rocker Paranoid Android
is wonderful. It opens with some lovely acoustic guitar at the start, and that signature falsetto comes in to get the song going. The details of Paranoid Android are what make it so good. When Thom asks "What's There"", there's the sounds of robotic androids in the background (Androids by the way, will be the theme of this album (See Fitter Happier
)). In addition to that, Phil Selway's excellently Latin beat and Colin's marvelously jumping bassline give them credits to their musicianships. At about the three minute mark, Johnny Greenwood shatters out a supreme guitar solo. Just when you think your rocking out though, the music drops out, and the choir enters so Thom can wail "Rain Down/ Rain Down On Me". The cathedral-y part ends while Thom pleas to god for help in his insane, baked state. We then get to rock for 40 more seconds. Credit is due to guitarists Ed O' Brien and Johnny Greenwood for their excellent work throughout the whole song.
In addition to writing the modern day Bohemian Rhapsody, Radiohead succeeds in writing the most beautiful song ever recorded. Again. The Bends
had "Street Spirit", and OK Computer
has Exit Music (For a Film)
. Exit Music is a mostly acoustic song dealing with two lovers eloping. It's another dark and magnificent number, and Ed O Brien's work in the backround can lead the song from dark to hopeful in the mere change of a chord. When the aforementioned climax is too magnificent for words, something truly to cherish. Thom turns the concept of marriage into something of revenge with lines like "And Now, We Are One, In Everlasting Piece, We Hope That You Choke". I must say this rivals Street Spirit as the best Radiohead song. Another thing Radiohead accomplishes is the "no song is bad" idea for albums. While it's true some songs are weaker, Radiohead makes every song excellent in other ways. If the song just doesn't cut it, repeated listens will make the listener find brilliance behind every song. Let Down
I did not enjoy on my first listen, but then I listened to it again and had a newfound appreciation for it. The simple spacy feel of it, with the starry electronics jumping through the background get one so lost in the outer realms. The same can be said for the lazy yet urgent somehow Subterranean Homesick Alien
. A great spacy guitar part is just plain relaxing. Thom just lazily mumbles until the pounding cry of "Uptight" gives the song the aforementioned urgency. It's great how a band can just turn something so relaxed to be so needy and fantastic. And these are the weak songs.
Radiohead are truly excellent musicians. It's obvious these guys really know their stuff. The guitarists, Johnny Greenwood and Ed O'Brien seem to have been influenced by the likes of Jimi Hendrix. It's not often you see a gentle rock band bust out an old fashioned guitar solo. Things like these are what set them apart from the rest of the world. Take that Coldplay. The solos on Paranoid Android
and The Tourist
are what dreams are made of for the amateur bands out there. Also worthy of note, the opening riff to the seemingly filler Electioneering
is a fun as hell guitar part. Innovative in the fact the top string is tuned to D, it only further proves how genius these guys were before they dropped the guitar for beautiful electronics. Colin Greenwood, the bassist, also gets his fair share of fun, such as, once again, Paranoid Android
, where his bass fills are jumpy and dig into the upper reaches of the fretboard. That's a slight exaggeration for him though, as his basslines are usually relegated to dark buzz (Climbing Up The Walls
) or gentle forward moving pounds (Let Down
). Phil Selway also gets his fair share of fun. Other than Paranoid Android, Phil gets many fun beats that can be the essence of many songs. His effect heavy drums in the opener, Airbag
give the song the driving force an opener needs. His effeciently simple beat in Karma Police
give the song the drive needed to sustain it's head-encasing feel. It just goes to show that when you put five very talented monkeys in a room, they'll produce Radiohead.
If you don't have this album, there's something wrong with you. It's the epittamy of great musicianship. Thom Yorke is a genius. By far outdoing it's first two albums, Radiohead made one of the greatest albums of all time, with a formula for song sequencing I think more bands should consider. Put a great song after a great song. When you want real music, this is what you need. Radiohead's OK Computer
is an album for the ages, an unquestioned classic.
Exit Music (For A Film)
Climbing Up The Walls
Thom Yorke's varied and signature vocal work.
Terrific music work done by the whole band.
Great song after great song.
Fitter Happier is a creepy as hell interlude, which is plain genius.
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