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Saturday, January 12, 2013

CLASSIC ALBUM REVIEW: Radiohead- OK Computer (1997)

I think I'm going to try this out. Recently I've just been thinking of so many awesome older albums that I love and I wanted to find a way to talk about them. I'm going to start with one of my favorites: Radiohead's 3rd Full length album, OK Computer. It just seemed appropriate especially with the release of the new Atoms for Peace track this week.

I think this is my favorite Radiohead album. I know people will come in crashing down saying "KID A, KID A, KID A!", but I have my valid reasons. Kid A is a masterpiece in its own way and it is definitely the most innovative album from the band and one of the most influential albums of all time. But in my mind this album is so much more storied and narrative.

Radiohead's songs on Pablo Honey, and The Bends were straight up rock songs. Heavy lead guitars, screechingly passionate vocals from Thom Yorke, but there were always some aspects of this eerily techno side on these two albums.

On OK Computer, the band fully embraces this style and mesh it together with the alternative rock style that they already created. Throughout the LP, you hear small beeps and robotic noises which are most likely the reason behind the "Computer" theme of the whole album. The album starts off with "Airbag" which is a rather mellow song with some nice guitar tones and some really mashy drum sounds. But then comes Paranoid Android. Easily the best Radiohead song, this near 7 minute epic switches moods from soulful to angry to melancholy and then back to enraged. The vocals from Thom Yorke are some of the best he has ever delivered, but it around the time when the guitar solo hits that I truly embrace this song. The guitar has this really strangely phased and robotic sound to it which makes the song absolutely incredible.

Some people may complain about the track "Fitter Happier" which is just the computer talking for a few minutes. However meaningless it may sound, it serves as a beautiful transition to a totally different side of the album. The first half of the album talks about alienation and isolation. The music is also rather sadder. After Fitter Happier comes the upbeat cowbell based "Electioneering". From here the album takes a whole new turn. Although it doesn't really match the meaningfulness of the first half, it is still a really awesome collection of music.

Whenever I have to sit down and do something, this album is almost always the one I listen to (Along with Pink Floyd's "Animals" and My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless"). It just flows SO beautifully and some of the sounds on here are ones that will never be heard again. Also, this is Radiohead's best album in terms of utilizing their unorthodox and innovative style while still mixing in good rock music.

Bottomline. This album is a classic and EVERYONE should check it out.