Near Misses... this is what inspired one of the greatest albums off all time and definitely one of the best from this band. What I mean by near misses is how many near car crashes Thom York and the rest of his band have almost been in.
What separates this from other Radiohead albums"
This is a good question, but I think the main reason is Johnny Greenwood instrument playing, this guy not only proved that he could crack in guitar jams [Airbag, Paranoid Android] But he can do the soft acoustic song perfectly as well [Exit Music, No Surprises]. Another thing you have to look at is the improvement of song writing, this band started out as just a band that was doing the casual pop punk song now they are moving into much more serious things as this album proved.
I'll start out by covering the first track Airbag, Airbag was inspired by DJ Shadow who in a night club in Las Vegas, after Radiohead had performed a 3 track set from Pablo Honey, he told the band that they needed to improve instrumentally and lyrically. The band talks about how their music is revived and born again throughout the song, this song really symbols the start of a new radiohead era, a more serious era if you will. This song reminds me a lot of planet telex, except the fact that the instrumental work is a lot better. This is not necessary the best track on the album, but it deserves a 9/10
The next six and a half minute epic, is a song titled paranoid android, and it basically if you look at the lyrics covers the rise and fall of the roman empire, this is what makes this album go from good to classic in my opinion this song, has the lyrics, and the instrumental work is just brilliant. This song can go from fast to slow in any second, which makes it such a notable track, Thom sings a very simple one-line chorus but it works to perfection. It really becomes a classic song with the end, the combination of the spooky noises, and crazy guitar riffs strum out and the song ends with beautiful and meaningful lyrics that make this a classic song. 10/10
The calm after the storm was the song originally called "uptight”, but ended up being called "Subterranean Homesick Alien", the instrumental work is sub par to the other songs, but this song really needed to take place in the 3rd track position in my opinion, it's not a great song, but it's really a breathe of fresh air after a 6 minute epic, the song really formulates when it gets to the chorus and Thom York says "I’m alright, just uptight" 9/10
Exit Music [For A Film], their is no way this song could be the Exit Music for any movie, unless it was a real great horror story that could make everyone stay and watch the credits. It's so beautiful its sad, and it's so sad it’s beautiful, this song was never put in the Bends or Pablo Honey so this could be a once in a lifetime song. It was definitely a once in a 90's song, this song is so brilliant their had to be something weird about it and the weird thing is that it is inspired by William Shakespeare, but it's kind of fitting because this song will speak to you like poetry. 10/10
A lot of people underrate the next song "Let Down", which was inspired by Thom being pissed in a club and wanting everyone to hang from bottles, really this could only come from his mind, the song moves slow at first but speeds up toward the end and is a great all around effort. 9/10
Karma Police is the climax to the album, and was inspired by people messing with Radiohead and telling them they couldn't make it, Wow. The lyrics in this song are unbelievable, and the instrumental work that was done was great as well. The song is so beautiful and well done that every time you listen to it you want to give one of the Radiohead members a pat on the back, and ask, "How did you do it"" 10/10
Thom created the voice for Fitter Happier on his computer, and it sounds robotic poetry lead interlude, that makes no sense to me, but I think Radiohead did the best with what they had, and sense they had no musical beat to the song they made it a poem, nice job. 7/10
Electioneering is a great song, no seriously the instrumental work [Johnny Greenwood see top of page], sets this apart from any work, the combination of the electric guitar and drums is brilliant, and makes you think of this as a new Radiohead, because the beat is so sick, and so is the chorus, Which Thom York describe as preaching to people through a microphone, AMEN! 10/10
The next song "Climbing Up The Walls” is a masterpiece. It sounds flat out scary at first and you think their is no possible way they could play this grasshopper sounding beat using instruments, well they just did, Johnny Greenwood uses 16 different violins playing quarter tones apart from each other. Brilliant. And so are the lyrics, driven by Thom days and working in the mental hospital, the lyrics are superb. There really is no chorus to this song, which makes it the only song I can think off to be so great without a chorus. 10/10
The next song I think is another perfect "Calm After The Storm" song put on this album, it is personally one of my favorites on the album, becauses of the lyrics and the instruments flow perfectly together like nothing I have ever seen, The song describes Thom's frustrations with his girlfriend, which end up making a really great sound and feel to this song. 10/10
"Lucky" was originally a happy go lucky song, that was featured on the HELP! EP, but it was changed around to feel the need that their are no really happy songs on OK Computer, the song is another quiet-loud song, but it works out awesomely, and leaves you with the question what’s next" 10/10
"The Tourist" is a slow down, relaxing song, which is about Thom philosphy to take it one day at a time and "Slow Down, you idiot, Slow Down", as the chrous repeats I think it fits the closer spot on this album well even though it doesn't do the album justice, it's not a bad song.
Resources Used: www.greenplastic.com/lyrics
The Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums
To put this album in perspective it was compared to Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon, and was ranked in the 500 greatest albums of all time, after this album came the in what some consider disappointing KID A, but if you considered disappointing #1 in the charts then you need to buy the album, which Radiohead has turned into an electric band.
Good Instrumental Work