Radiohead

The Kids Love It When You Pretend To Be Unhappy
*special introductory paragraph!
*Manic Hedgehog demo
*Drill EP
*Pablo Honey
*The Bends
*OK Computer
*Lost Treasures 1993-1997
*Kid A
*Amnesiac
*I Might Be Wrong LIVE
*Hail To The Thief
*COM LAG (2plus2isfive)
*In Rainbows
*The King of Limbs
*Supercollider 12"

People of my generation and slightly younger just love Britain's Radiohead. At their best, they're very adept at creating odd, depressing beauty. Or at least leader Thom Yorke is. Not sure who the other guys are.


Manic Hedgehog demo - 1991
Rating = 5

I saw the Flaming Lips perform in Central Park last night, and it touched a nerve. Here is a bulleted itinerary outlining why:

1. THE SONGS:
Transmissions From The Satellite Heart - She Don't Use Jelly
Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots pt. 1, In The Morning of the Magicians, Do You Realize??
At War With The Mystics - The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song, The W.A.N.D., Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung
Embryonic - The Sparrow Looks Up At The Machine, See The Leaves, I Can Be A Frog, Worm Mountain, Silver Trembling Hands
Other - Taps, an opening jam that's apparently called "The Fear"

2. THE SHOW:
- Wayne rolling over the audience in a big transparent ball
- Cannons on the stage shouting colorful confetti all over the crowd
- Orange-clad cheerleaders on each side of the stage, cheering on the band
- Huge circular movie screen behind drummer
- A camera on Wayne's mic stand so you could see his face in gigantic form on the movie screen
- Wayne bouncing a big orange balloon all over the place
- A man in a bear costume
- Two giant catfish costumes
- Wayne using a gun to shoot swirly flying paper out into the crowd
- A gong
- Lots of colorful lights
- Crowd noise-a-long during "I Can Be A Frog"

3. THE STAGE PATTER - Wayne is an optimist, but he's also a thoughtful realist. These quotes are paraphrased, but each of them meant a lot to me:
- "This song is about living an optimistic life. All we can do is try to live the best lives that we can, even though life can be brutal and unfair and painful, and sometimes even to smile is impossible."
- "Give love. Don't worry about whether you are being loved. Just give as much love as you can. If you can't love people, give love to animals, or trees, or insects...."
- "I don't say 'Fuck war.' I say 'Believe in peace.' Because we're the lucky ones; we're not the ones who are out there. And revenge is a very difficult urge to overcome."
- "This song is about how sometimes you have the most wonderful dream, and it's so much better than your real life that you wish you could stay there forever - but you can't. And sometimes you have a horrible dream, and you wake up and never ever want to fucking go back there again! And then there are other times when you can't tell whether you are dreaming or awake."

4. THE GUYS SELLING WHIPPETS AFTER THE SHOW
- Sleazy-looking guys with canisters of nitrous oxide were hiding along the sidewalks of Central Park, loudly blowing up balloons and selling them to brain surgeons to suck on and get a headache and five-second high

I hadn't seen a Flaming Lips concert since the Transmissions From The Satellite Heart tour and was worried that it would corn me out with all the carnival hullaballoo, but I loved it. Apparently they've been doing this same sort of show for ages, but it was new to me -- and I love that accursed Embryonic album, so that certainly helped. Afterwards I went to karaoke and sang "Blitzkrieg Bop" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash," then slept til 5:45 PM like an asshole.

Radiohead recorded this demo tape when the band was still called "On A Friday." It features early versions of "I Can't," "Thinking About You" and "You" (all later re-recorded for Pablo Honey), as well as one-chord tuff'n'dancey shoegazer "Nothing Touches Me" and pretty "Taxman"-inspired jangle rocker "Phillipa Chicken." The band wasn't anywhere near developing a unique style at this point -- mostly just playing an 'opening band'-quality mix of jangly college rock and trebly shoegaze -- but they at least put together some lovely vocal harmonies.

Which brings us, at long last, to the Flaming Lips concert I saw last night. When Steven Drozd threw a giant orange baggie of heroin out in the crowd, I thought "Wait a s

Add your thoughts?


Drill EP - Parlophone 1992
Rating = 6

Shortening their name to "On A Frida" for The Drill EP, Radiohead herein present early versions of Pablo Honey tracks "Prove Yourself," "You" (different version than the demo) and "Thinking About You" (same version as the demo), as well as a slow, quiet, passable ballad called "Stupid Car" that was intended to be a cross between the Rolling Stones' "Stupid Girl" and the entire Cars discography, but they decided against that approach because how would you cram all that music into two minutes and twenty-one seconds? It's simple - DILIGENCE. And one thing Radio "On A Friday" Head have never failed to lack is diligence.

DilDOS, sure - just check Johnny Brapp's foot locker, but diligence? My eye!

Okay, I just checked and apparently the guitarist is named "Jonny Greenwood," and not "Johnny Brapp" at all. I apologize for the single factual error in this review.

Add your thoughts?


Pablo Honey - Capitol 1993
Rating = 5

Not too many people like this album so I don't have to try very hard to defend my opinion. In simple language, this is just your basic alternative rock. Some of the songs are really great, especially at the beginning and end, but in the middle it becomes ominously transparent that the world doesn't need another band that sounds like a cross between Oasis and U2. "Creep" was a good tune though, though not as good as The Fall's "C.R.E.E.P." It is better than TLC's "Creep" though, even if not as good as a little detective man "Creep"ing around outside your apartment looking for secret clues to a magical mystery. Encyclopedia Brown! No case too small!

Back to the album. We didn't all read Encyclopedia Brown books when we were kids, and I can't sit here and pretend to understand your references to it because I don't know what you're talking about. The singer is Thom Yorke (if he married that fictional character Peppermint Patty, her name would be HAHHAHAH!!! HAHHHAHHAAH!!!!) and, although he later began sounding like Cheap Trick's Robin Zander, he at this early point sounds like a slightly less egotistical Bono. The music is straightforward guitar chording like an alternative band that you don't pay much attention to. There's good poppy melodic action goin' on in the best songs though, so it shouldn't have come as a HUGE surprise when all of a sudden they got really good. It's kind of odd to hear them being this straightforward though. No weird noises or echoey keyboard glumness. Just alternative guitar rock, like the Poster Children or Superchunk.

And that's the problem -- anybody can AND WILL play midtempo guitar chords. There is no personality in this guitarwork at all. They're REALLY frickin lucky that some of the melodies are catchy, or this would be a worthless release.

Reader Comments

Luis Aguiar
8/10

This is their debut album. Musically it has very American influences (The Pixies, Nirvana, R.E.M., Byrds), actually it feels like R.E.M. or The Byrds playing grunge. Thom Yorke's voice is very child-like which added to the lyrics makes the songs sound very fragile and unconfident almost like self-loathing anthems. The problem with this album, if it has any problem is that the thing sounds so damn predictable and boring, especially in the beginning of the second half, when each song sounds similar to the one that came before. Although after a while, when you know what each song is all about you discover that you might end loving all of them. And you probably know "Creep" which was a huge hit but don't think it's the only good song in here try listen to "Anyone Can Play Guitar" which is catchy in the extreme and you'll see that there are other lost gems hidden in here. All in all this is not the place to begin but if you like Radiohead, you must have this album.

mop37041@mail.telepac.pt (Trickster)
grunge is basic crap. pablo honey, despite not being radiohead's masterpiece, has nothing to do with grunge, undercover or not. what the fuck is the byrds playing grunge thing?! can't see anything even close to grunge in pablo honey, or in anything connected with radiohead.

NOSPOL@aol.com
Good. But cannot compare to the great stuff that would follow.I give this one a 7 out of 10. "Creep" is a ood song although I have heard it way too many times now to ever fully appreciate it again. You can probably find a cheap copy of this one somewhere. If not save your monry and buy both The Bends and Ok Computer.

ian.moss@yale.edu (Ian Moss)
Yay, Radiohead! Radiohead is almost certainly my favorite '90s band and I completely agree with Luis's assessment of them up there. This album, though, doesn't really show them off too well. I bought the albums in reverse order (well, this was before Kid A came out), meaning that I got this one last, after I had become familiar with the "Radiohead sound" that we all know and love so well. Let me tell you something: I know the "Radiohead sound," the "Radiohead sound" is a good friend of mine, and this album DOES NOT "SOUND LIKE RADIOHEAD." Well, OK, it does, sorta, but most of these songs have a definite generic quality to them that the boys thankfully would break free of later on. Besides the fact that they start half the tunes as if they're the fucking Lemonheads or something, they...well, there's no besides that, actually. They just sound like the fucking Lemonheads. And that, my small-penised friend, is not a good thing.

It still works though. I love "Creep" unlike most other fans and the band itself, and "You" is an coool, hypnotic rocker. Those two songs were that led me to buy the album, but unfortunately most of the other tracks are subpar by Raideeyohed standards. That is to say, while they do manage to inject at least an interesting moment or two into each and every song, most of it just sounds like the fucking Lemonheads. There are a couple of exceptions, besides the first two songs. "Anyone Can Play Guitar" starts off with a wonderfully cruel guitar riff reminiscent of U2's "Bullet the Blue Sky," although by the time it gets to the chorus it's starting to sound a little ho-hum happy. And then there's the last song on the album, "Blow Out"--a jazzy romp into the realms of weirdness that is the best foreshadowing of their later stuff on here. "Blow Out" may even be the best song on this album, period. Anyway, it's a little disappointing to the later Radiohead fan, but it's still worth getting. I give it a low 8.

seraphim7s@yahoo.com (Paul Walker)
This album DEFINES mediocrity. Only the first two songs and the closer are any good, the rest just pass me by completely. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing offensive or bad on here, it just pales in comparison to the albums that follow it. With the high standards that Radiohead were about to set, I'd have to give this a 5 or 6 out of 10.

soul_crusher77@hotmail.com (Mike K.)
This gets labeled "the bad radiohead cd", or at best, "the mediocre radiohead cd", and the first time I listened to this, I thought so too, but it sort of sat around on the shelf for a while until I picked it up again and ended up digging it quite a bit more. I can see why people sort of dismiss it, it's kind of easy for a fan of their later stuff to sit through the first 15 minutes or so, go "eh, boring", and then go pick up something else. but beneath the semi-predictable basic early 90's alt-rock coating that turned me off at first, there's a lot of really good melodies, and johnny greenwood gets to show off his pallette of neat guitar noises the most here. Also, it's kind of neat to go back and hear radiohead as a basic gloomy semi-quirky guitar pop band considering how weird and ambient they got later on. And a few of these songs seem particularly out of character in interesting ways. It's kind of weird to think "hey, those are the guys who did ok computer doing an uptempo sex pistols-eque rocker, complete with snotty punk rock guy vocals and doing an optimistic song about wanting to be a rock star like jim morrison". The best two songs are, in fact, when they break out of the every early 90's alternative band you've ever heard thing and give you a little taste of what was to come. If it were produced a bit differently, the jangly ballad "thinking about you" would be a fine addition to the bends, and "blowout" hints even futher to the future towards ok computer. interesting jazzy time signature, spacy guitar chords and everything. and that ending, wow. it sounds like the song is getting sucked in by a wind tunnel of distortion or something! and then of course, they ruin the finality of it all by tacking an unlisted "radio edit" version of creep on the end. Well, at least if you live with your parents and they're squeamish about that sort of thing, you can program your cd player to play the edited version in place of the regular one so they don't have to hear the f word or something.

Jcjh20@aol.com
I enjoy this album for some reason, although i agree basically they were just an average guitar rock band at this point. There are some really great songs on here though. Particularly "You", "Blow Out" (most creative on the record probably), the melancholy "Lurgee" and even though just a normal guitar rock song, "Anyone Can Play Guitar". "Creep" is a good song too, but thats pretty much it. "Vegetable" i dig tons for some reason too. I like the guitar tones in the verses. I give it an 8, although they had a long way to go!

cabbage@cakefart.com (Cabbage Fart)
Now lookee here - Ah's done resentin' de racial intonimations dat dis heah Missah Prindle be implafyin' do de general publicity. An all dis talk about de colon an' de butthole an' de penis.... Ah's believes dat dis heah Prindle man is a fudgepackin' homomasexual....

colinjaffe@mediaone.net (Colin Jaffe)
Well, I might give it a point or two more. I think the first six songs and the last song are pretty good, but you hit the nail on the head, really. A lot of generecism here. But hell, that just makes the later stuff stand out even more... I'd definitely bop each record here up a point (except for Kid A, of course, unless you've decided to go Spinal Tap and allow it to go up to 11).

robchaundy@yahoo.com (Robert Chaundy)
Prindle knows his stuff. If this record had been recorded by the Leslie Kellogg Early Nineties Rhythm'n'Indie Orchestra Experience Spectacular, it wouldn't be gracing too many music fans' shelves today... but since Radiohead recorded it, it does. Maybe this is justified, maybe not, but that's a question for tomorrow's musical philosophists, not today's pleasure victims. Whatever, the stunning Radiohead are Oxford's finest cultural export since Tolkien and Lewis assembled the Inklings, and that is worth a fair bit of praise, in my unhumble opinion.

I personally enjoy this record quite a bit. Whichever way I cut them, the first three tracks absolutely refuse to fall into the indie conformity Prindle prescribes them - they're great, guitar-heavy, bile-spitting anthems - and Anyone Can Play Guitar doesn't lag too far behind. How many spines in the western world does Creep fail to send a shiver up? Not many, I would wager. The band may have disowned the song, but it remains possibly their defining classic... listen to it and try to summon up so much as one muscle in disagreement. No chance.

But otherwise, Prindle Prindle absolutely yes. This is still a young, young band finding its young, young feet, amid a chart scene torn between Indie jangle bland-a-thons (Soup Dragons, Manic Street Preachers, Charlatans) and Euro-dance filth (Snap, Corona, Whigfield); and long-haired Thom and his boys, despite acquitting themselves just fine, were still riding principally on the back of their big hit single.

I'm sure there's a ton of indie bands who recorded equally fine albums in those dim-and-distant days, but by going on to such great things as they have done, Radiohead have won their Pablo Honey the right to greater acknowledgement, to which I say hear, hear. You tend to get what you deserve.

N.DIJKSTRA@hsdrenthe.nl
Say, this album is at least a 7. Radiohead does not deserve less than a 7. They are far to good for a 5 or even a 6.

Snapdad318@aol.com
I bough this one last, which was a good decision. Not that it's a bad album, but they've gotten ungodly better than this over the years. Its the same as comparing Dinosaur to You're Living All Over Me. Whereas Radiohead built on their song structure, Dinosaur just built on the sound of the band as a whole. Pablo Honey does have that cool indie vibe on its side. And that three guitar attack that brings sooooooo much power to the music, especially on the Sonic Youth noise attack ending of "Blow Out". And of course it comes with that shitty "Creep" song. A 5 at best.

nikus80@hotmail.com
It doesn't takes many brain cells to see that Pablo Honey is the worst Radiohead album, the same way Please Please Me is the worst Beatles album. None of these albums is bad, mind you. But I like Pablo Honey. I think it deserves more than a five. Altought I admit is kinda generic and hardly innovative, I like it. In fact, I like it better than Please Please Me.

You: I think is a good song. I really like it, the arpeggio is kinda nice.

Creep: I like it a lot. Is the best song in the album. I know it's kinda of a clich‚, but I feel very identified with the lyrics. I remember reading the lyrics in spanish in a website of a friend. I usually translate songs to spanish in my website, but I couldn't translate Creep. I mean, he translated it first. Asshole. But really, the song is really cool. And it has like four chords. In fact, when I was 14, 15 I wrote a song about a friend which had a similar chord proggression. While Creep Is G, B, C, Cm, mine is A, C#m, D, Dm. Now, I hate doing songs that look a lot that other songs. But I had never listened to Creep when I wrote that song. Fuck.

How do you: Thom Yorke sounds very weird here. Or very normal, perhaps. It's a catchy song.

Stop Whispering: I really like this song. Is very very catchy and it usually pops in my head and I start singing it. And I don't listen to Pablo Honey that often (ok, more often than any Bj”rk record, but I heard those records way too many times). This song perhaps is overlong, it's more than five minutes longs without that many variations. But is very beatiful, it doesn't bores me.

Thinking about you: A really nice ballad.

Anyone Can Play Guitar: I really, really like that song. Very, very catchy. And the lyrics are dumb, but I like that, because anyone can play guitar. When it says he wants to be like Jim Morrison, it makes me remember that Come To Pilgrim song which says "I wanna be a singer like Lou Reed". In fact, as Ed O' Brien said, they were trying to sound like a mix of Pixies with Bohemian Rhapsody.

Ripcord: I like this song, although it may be a bit dumb.

Vegetable: For some reason this is on the list of songs that no matter how much times I listen to them, I'm unable to relate the song with the title. Other songs on the list: Lucky, Bones, Bullet proof, Lewis (Mistreated), Permanent Daylight, Lozenge of Love, and many B-sides. But is weird, because I like those songs but I can't relate them like I relate, for example, Pull/Pulk Revolving Doors or How I Made My millions?. Let's put this on. Oh, really, I remember it. I like this.

Prove Yourself: It isn't bad, but... It's okay.

I Can't: Okay, I like some passages but others are kinda boring.

Lurgee: It builds up but it isn't impressive.

Blow Out: This song is great. Catchy, intelligent, calm and noisey.

So, some say this has only got any attention because it's radiohead. Maybe, but at the same time, you are throwing it away because is too bad to be Radiohead. You are underrating it because it's the same band who made Kid A, Amnesiac, Hail to the thief, Ok Computer, and The Bends (even if you don't think it's all that great). This deserves a seven, or a weak eight based on the melodies, no more because while this is good, is way too generic, and, let's say it, IT'S RADIOHEAD!

michielh@nl.demon.net (Michiel Heinicke)
Not my cup of tea... Sure, it's got "Creep" (wich is still their biggest hit song to date i guess) and i like "You", but the rest of the cd isnt that great really. Ive listened to it a few times - and most songs i don't even remember. Before Bends came out the critics called Radiohead a "one day fly". I can understand why. 6/10

sasa.podunavec@yahoo.com
It's worth for "Prove Yourself" alone. Really underrated. It's a cute little record. 6/10

invisiblesupermonkey@hotmail.com
funny review but goddamn you for trampling on my (mispent) youth you american crazy fool baldy man. U2 and oasis comparisons? what? really? okay, i agree drugs are cool...

anyway, this is not the horrible album some believe it to be, it has just not aged as well as some of their other other recorded warblings that is for sure, but it does have some charms. but hell i guess you had to to be there.

Benjamin Burch
It didn't really surprise me that Radiohead started out as kind of a grunge band. I put off this album for a long time because of all the horrible things I heard about it. Once I finally bucked up the courage, I found it's a really good album, and not deserving at all of its reputation. What really surprised me is that a couple of songs are rather straightforward pop songs. No crappy songs on here at all, best one is "Blowout."

Add your thoughts?


The Bends - Capitol 1995.
Rating = 7

It's such a pain in the ass reviewing bands that people actually give a crap about. It's not like I'm reviewing Hor or Confront James and can just write "Look at my butt!" and nobody will care. No, when it comes to Radiohead, you want my actual THOUGHT and EFFORT! THANKS FOR NOTHING!!!!

Okay, my actual thought about The Bends is that, aside from an echo-drenched, tremolo- laden intro track that runs as deep as the deepest river and showers the listener in U2- style slow religious bombast, the album is pretty much a bunch of slow alternative guitar rock. Certainly more melodically worthwhile than Pablo Honey, but still not anywhere near deserving of the title "Best Album Ever" that people seem to love throwing at it. Sure, it has more traditional melodies than their newer, more intelligent material, but most of them are pretty obvious melodies that come included when you buy a new guitar. It's basically a good album though, with some GREAT songs here and there - You'll hear the classic pretty song "High And Dry," along with some tremeloed Beatles psychedelia, a little dopey bachelor pad rock, a bit of darker- tinged rock pointing towards what their future and, more than anything else, a slew of slow, pretty, acoustic, orchestrated balladry for teenagers to fall in love to at Governors School.

And it's THIS that makes the record a little tiresome to me. It doesn't reach - it's happy being a slow alternative guitar rock record with some brilliant songs strewn here and wherein. I'm not impressed by forced emotion in music and I hear a lot of that here - the obvious "love" chords being hit exactly when teenagers need them to be hit. The sad swoops of destiny that bring a young girl who likes The Smiths into the arms of a guy who smokes cigarettes. Like the Smashing Pumpkins but with a singer that doesn't ruin every romantic moment by squealing like one of George Harrison's proverbial "Piggies."

Reader Comments

Luis Aguiar
10/10

I need to tell you about this album. This is one of the greatest albums of all-time! Just imagine, it has 12 songs and every one of them is great, every one is a classic! I'm not gonna mention all of them but i can tell you that no one could guess they could do this after their debut. The album is a mixture of rockers and ballads, until they turn the concept inside out and do both things within the same song, so we have perfect pop melodies that give place to sudden noise attacks. They are all accesible but at the same time they have details who make each one sound special and challeging spin after spin. They are embodied with emotion and power. By the way "Just" has one of the greatest video-clips of all time (you should see Radiohead's videos, they're all intelligent, mysterious and sometimes even funny).

NOSPOL@aol.com
One of the most underrated albums ever.This CD is definitely one of the best albums of the 90's. Period. 10/10

kme@deskmail.com (Kevin E.)
When Radiohead opened for R.E.M. over three years ago I was incensed; Sonic Youth were no longer touring to help support R.E.M.'s latest musical effort and Radiohead were nothing more than the band that promised us that another position in the Annals of Rock And Roll would be open for another, more talented set. They were good simply because I wasn't crushed by the weight of disappointment. Good enough to warrant a purchase of The Bends from a discount bin for $2.99. And while I'm quite certain that Radiohead are guaranteed to have a career that is nothing more than tentative, The Bends is an album that represents the all important MOMENT in the otherwise "another band" band's career. Not a great record by any stretch of the imagination. Not even that good of a record. But the record does remind me of a block of three nights in a college dorm alone, writing a very lengthy paper and preparing for a gaggle of standardized tests. That alone makes The Bends special. A moment for them, a moment for me... very, very nice.

dstreb@neo.rr.com (Daniel Streb)
Really really loud. It was like Radiohead got so sick of that "Creep" song that they just went into the studio and said, "We're gonna make a record that'll be so good it'll make everyone forget about about that damn song." And they have! Oh my have they ever! If you thought OK Computer was too artsy for its own good, try this one. It's a guitar-fest, from the electric feedback-drenched rockfests of "Just" and "My Iron Lung" to the slow acoustic ballads of "Bulletproof (I Wish I Was)" and "Street Spirit (Fade Out)". (Can you beat the "Immerse Your Soul In Love" ending? No you can't!!) Radiohead are really really great. Yeah they're definitely one of the best bands around today (along with The Flaming Lips, R.E.M. and Negativland. I also kinda like Dave Matthews, unlike just about every other person I know). Anyway, PLEASE buy The Bends.Why aren't Radiohead more popular? I mean OK Computer only got up to like #23 on the album charts? The hell's that? But they're not perfect. I still fucking hate "Creep".

cheezekurl@erols.com (KuRL)
Brilliant, seminal, amazing.. quite possibly the best album of the nineties - better than "Nevermind" and all of the other classic albums of the decade, including Radiohead's followup. This is one of those rare albums that can logically be compared to the paragon of rock records - Revolver. It's not as good (it's not even close, nothing is), but it's in the same league.

From the brilliantly sophisticated catchy rockers ("Planet Telex," "The Bends," "Bones," "Just"), astoundingly brilliant pop-like stuff ("High and Dry," "My Iron Lung"), emotional, low-key (but never boring) songs ("Fake Plastic Trees," "Bulletproof... (I Wish I Was)"), to the incredibly transcendent, indescribably brillant ones ("Nice Dream," "Black Star," "Sulk," "Street Spirit (Fade Out)"), there isn't a weak moment on the album. Every single song explores new ground, and nothing sounds contrived. Thom Yorke has one of the most emotional voices and singing styles I've ever heard (check out that range!), and Radiohead have this amazing ability to create multi-layered songs that are accessible on first listen, yet rewarding after careful study. (They'd perfect this art with their three singles from OK Computer, but that's another story.)

And those lyrics!! I'll just quote one - "I need to wash myself again to hide all the dirt and pain / 'cause I'd be scared that there's nothing underneath / and who are my real friends? / have they all got the bends? / am I really sinking this low?" Wow.

Easy 10. Very little in the '90s can touch it.

ian.moss@yale.edu (Ian Moss)
This is an absolutely brilliant album that showcases the Head at their cerebral best. So many of these songs have the power to just stick in my head and stay, stubbornly, until I go after them with a metaphorical toilet plunger in a desperate attempt to reclaim my sanity. It's really interesting to see how they took the formula from the last album and transformed it into this masterpiece. The Bends is very different from Pablo Honey, but if you look really closely you can see the vestiges of weak Lemonheads-esque songwriting lurking beneath the brilliant execution. Take "Sulk," for example. The actual melody is fairly standard, and an unobtrusive strummed guitar accompaniment is pretty much its only companion. But the high register and Thom Yorke's impassioned delivery make the song sound irresistibly anthemic (and who can't relate to the lyrics? yeesh.). You can see the same effect going on in "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" too. So you have what could have been mediocre songs saved by incredible performance, and then you have songs that are just plain incredible anyway ("Planet Telex," "High and Dry," "Fake Plastic Trees," "(Nice Dream)," "Just," and "Bullet Proof..I Wish I Was"). The last one, in particular, I wish they had developed more fully, because it's an absolutely Gore-geous song (seriously, have you ever seen his daughters??? They're all, like, inhumanly hot!). The only songs I don't care for so much are "Bones" and "My Iron Lung," but even they fit the mood and don't really detract.

The fact that I am not giving this great album a 10 is almost scary. This CD just blows pretty much every other '90s album out of the water, EXCEPT for OK Computer. When The Bends first came out, I saw Radiohead perform one of the songs (I think it might have been the title track) on Saturday Night Live, and I hated it! I had been kind of excited to hear it because I knew they had done "Creep" and I was hoping it would be like that. Well, it wasn't, and it scared me off from this album for a good four years or so. What a dum-dum I was! Don't be a dum-dum--buy this album-bum. Hummmmmmmmm...

richbunnell@home.com
I'm going to have to agree with everyone - wonderful album. The songs are all superficially rock songs, but if that makes this a "normal rock album," I'll eat my shoe after banging it repeatedly on the table in a Khrushchev-esque manner. Thom Yorke jumping out at the beginning of "Planet Telex" with "...you can force it but it will not come!" followed by the beat rejoining the echoey guitar is absolutely KILLER. My favorite Radiohead moment. My favorite song, though, has to be "Just" - out-of-control wonderfulness encapsulated into song form. The ballads, like "High And Dry," "Fake Plastic Trees" and "[Nice Dream]" are all boo-ti-ful, and "Street Spirit" is a bleak tune that musically could fit on the following album. Like Ian above, though, I can't give this a ten simply because of what lies ahead. So let's call it a -very- high nine. It's albums like this that make it strange and bizarre that Radiohead-bashers even exist.

Caleb462@cs.com (Caleb Smith)
Well, unlike OK Computer, not every song instantly grabs you... but the ones that do, damn are they good. Even the one's that don't are good. I personally prefer the more guitar-rock oriented songs here("Just"), but it's all nice.

alanhaw@hotmail.com (Alan Hawkins)
This one's just too patchy for me, there are some wonderful upbeat pop/rockers here like "Planet Telex" and "Just"(AWESOME song!)and a few georgeous, arty ballads like "Nice dream" and "Bulletproof I wish I was" - but then we get dreary, predictable crap like "Fake plastic trees" and "Street spirit" which are full of spooky atmosphere - but very low on actual melody. Overall, I'll give the album a 7 - it's certainly better than the shit I've heard from their first album.

seraphim7s@yahoo.com (Paul Walker)
Absolutely wonderful - and criminally underrated!!! Well, in the US anyway. Too many people have commented on particular songs, but I'll just urge anyone who is reading this to go out and buy the damn thing! Especially recommended for those who think 'OK Computer' is too artsy.

No1Yanks23@aol.com (Matt Reyes)
Mark, I really disagree on this one...this is truely a great album, I don't know how anyone can think Kid A is that much better then the Bends...the Bends is their best collection of melodies imo...a 9.

Jcjh20@aol.com
I love this one. I enjoy it as much as OK Computer personally. My favorite song is probably "Planex Telex", cuz i love that echoy guitar and drunken Thom Yorke vocals, but man all these songs are great! Lots more balladry and beauty then on the last album thats for sure, with "Bulletproof...", "High And Dry", "Fake Plastic Trees", "Nice Dream", "Street Spirit", and... wow, they really pumped the volume higher for some of these songs, cuz they really rock ("Just", "My Iron Lung", the title track). Fantastic, although i heard it wasn't too popular until OK Computer got successful. Bastards. I give it a 9.

robchaundy@yahoo.com (Robert Chaundy)
As I have said elsewhere, this is Radiohead's finest hour. Much though I love OK Computer and much though I respect Kid A and Amnesiac, for me this just remains The One. The record where sharp-eyed indie perspicacity collides with slit-wristed hard rock riffology in a mire of intensely human misgiving and insecurity. What I'm saying is... it just plain rules.

It probably helps if you were a UK resident circa the time when Radiohead began to make it big; any retrospective reviews such as these are going perforce to miss that Zeitgeist passion d'epoque sensation that we had the luxury of enjoying in 1995... no fault of yours, but still a deficiency and an important consideration nonetheless. Sensation is worth so much more than distant analysis.

My point is that Radiohead never recorded better SONGS than these. Compositions. Yes, their electronic misery and sheer avant-gardist minimalism grew to infinitely more imposing heights on their 1997-2001 albums, but in my book, musical warmth still counts for something, and by that standard the giddy teariness of Sulk, for example, will always do much, much more for me than Knives Out or Lucky, however brilliantly novel those songs may be (and are). Call me a Luddite, but that's just the way it is.

So, however you may dabble in Radiohead, just bear in mind that, in the last analysis, The Bends is truly their alpha and omega. Whatever musical virtuosity they may display in the coming decades will never have the merest hope of comparing to what they achieved as a genuine band, in those oh-so-special months in 1994 and 1995.

This is the one. Buy, listen and give thanks. As ten as ten can be. Honest.

colinjaffe@mediaone.net (Colin Jaffe)
Probably deserves at least an 8. This may be guitar rock, but it's some of the best guitar rock I've ever heard. Sure, there are a coupla too-generic ones (especially "Sulk"), but most of this is just so creative. I know someone who thinks this is the ultimate "classic rock" record, and I'm inclined to agree, though I don't like much of what passes for "classic rock". I might even be inclined to give this a low 9, but I guess compared to the last three LPs it probably deserves an 8.

willie8911@home.com (Willie Simpson)
Ok, I finally got through Radiohead's catalogue after I read through your reviews. I too was kind of hesitant to listen to the most hyped band of the 90s. Not that I think hype is a bad thing. (I love the Strokes.) Anyway, the Bends completly underwhelemed me. I got OK Computer first, and I sat there in a daze of phyco/head trip happiness as I was thinking about how old Sgt Pepper started sounding, a thought that has never before crossed my mind. Then, I downloaded the Bends , thinking that this genius band playing melodic guitar rock couldn't possibly be bad. Well, unlike others who are hailing this as the perfect guitar rock record, I disagree. While some songs stick out, the opener, Black Star, Bones, and the last track, the rest seems so empty. I mean come on; a truly great rock record has charm and character. This leads into my only fault against Radiohead, Yorke's refusal to sing his songs in different emotions. It's all godamned sad and spacey. While the music maybe grandiose, like U2, it lacks Bono's corny optimism, while the music may sound druggy, I'm not convinced that these guy's are on drugs, and while some of the musical arrangements may sound funny, they have nowhere near the humor the Beatles had, mainly because, again, Yorke's singing approach. Anyway for the Bends, 6/10. It sounds pretty good, but dammit I want some humanity in a rock record!

Snapdad318@aol.com
HOLY SHIT!!! What a huge leap forward for a band once known as "those guys that did that Creep song"!!! This album has everything from Sonic Youth-styled noise rockers (Just, My Iron Lung), good guitar-driven indie rock (Bones), moody masterpieces (Bulletproof, Street Spirit), and beautiful acoustic ballads (High And Dry, Fake Plastic Trees). A band that puts this much thought and effort into an album that was released after their most cheesy album ever created deserves a 9 at the LEAST!

TVEye70@aol.com
Is this the same band that recorded the killer, bizarre stuff on Kid A? I found myself falling asleep during this album, it's such a bleeding yawn. I don't need to hear some mopey guy floating in and out of the mix over the SAME DAMN SONG PLAYED 11 TIMES! Jesus. I'll pretend Radiohead just didn't exist until OK Computer.

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
A full 10 out of 10. This album blows from start to finish. Every single track here is incredible. My favourites are "High And Dry" and "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" but I love them all. A landmark album.

sirmustapha@ig.com.br (Fernando)
WHAT'S SO DAMN SPECIAL ABOUT THIS RECORD? Sorry, but I just had to vent. This album is nowhere as good as OK Computer. It's hardly as addictive and athmospheric! I agree that there are some good songs on here, but they're almost all on side A. Planet Telex is brilliant, Just is amazing, and Street Spirit is really beautiful - the three best songs on here. Fake Plastic Trees also deserves mention, Bones is very fun, High And Dry is catchy as heck, and the title track rocks in some strange way. But the rest is just too insipid. What's with Nice Dream, anyway? And Black Star? Sulk is halfway decent, and Bulletproof is only nice. My Iron Lung makes me cringe, though. Damn, this record is just so damn overrated. Sorry, but I had to say this. OVERRATED!

michielh@nl.demon.net (Michiel Heinicke)
A nice album, way better than Pablo Honey - But they were still growing musically. How can you not like songs like "Street Spirit" and "Just". But it isn't more than a good Rock Album. I heard these songs on the radio when it came out, and I really wasnt that impressed to actually go and buy their album. 7/10

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayebagha)
This is a shit record and Radiohead is the most overrated band of all time. But my guess is, it's only temporary as they won't have the same status in the future. This is before they became pretentious, when they were just pathetic.

I haven't actually heard the later albums, but this one is not a classic. I was old enough to experience this when it came out and even then I could tell that there's NOTHING REMARKABLE about Radiohead, and that's what it takes for an album to be dubbed a classic. "High And Dry" was nothing but a simple rock balad.

I don't even agree about the few brilliant songs on here...There are none. There are decent songs, and mediocre songs and that's it. On top of that, Thom Yorke is a lousy singer, I don't like him. I think his eye disease added to the "special" status that was given to Radiohead. I haven't heard all of OK Computer but the singles alone were much more interesting. This one is mediocre garbage, not worth the money, not worth the time. Somehwere between 5 and 6.

MrSlippiFist@aol.com
I would just like to say that "Hossein Nayebagha" doesn't know what he's talking about. He's dumb enough to make these accusations without even hearing the albums that made radiohead the "smart" band that everyone loves because their so original and write amazing songs. If you've only listened to one or two albums of a bands entire career, you shouldn't make assumptions like "the rest of it probably sucks". Tool.

ebalzer@HADASSAH.org
This one gets a 5 from me. Who needed more U2 style guitar rock in 1995 especially when it's "spiced" up with a bunch of dreary and generic alt-rock ballads ? All guitars and no Krautrock makes The Bends a dull album. Radiohead is probably the only instances in Rock history where a band actually improved when it went on on an electronics kick (yeah I'm looking at you Wire and U2).

thepublicimage79@hotmail.com
Umm...no. This is NOT the greatest album ever. Anyone who says that hasn't listened to music.

As a whole, it's fine. It does have some - however, only some - of the greatest songs Radiohead ever did, but there are too many songs here that just feel somewhat generic and nondescript, although every track does have a certain Senor Yorke singing, so that does make it much more memorable, since Senor Yorke is probably a better singer than most singers around right now. Also, there's just a general feeling of shallow moroseness throughout that doesn't have much gravity at all, as opposed to the kind of morose feeling you'd get with "OK Computer" and "Kid A", which, to me, gave me the mental story of a little, inoffensive, and generally nice person dissolving with fear, confusion and overwhelming internal pain in an increasingly robotic, unfeeling, and mindlessly routine world. Big difference, wouldn't you say?

The album gets off to one HELL of a start with "Planet Telex," which was one of those greatest songs Radiohead ever did that I mentioned before. Everything here works - from the massively echoed piano (apparently run through three Roland Space Echo units), to the sensitive, well-planned drumming, to the greatly melodic bass, to the distorted, exploding guitars, to Thom's vocal, which is almost strained, and completely great. Just a brilliant piece of work. The next couple songs don't come close to that. The title track's okay - it rocks, at least - but I'm left feeling underwhelmed, since Thom's misery just feels forced and abstract. His vocal also sounds like he's trying to be punky, which is something he can't do. At all. A lot of people drool over "High And Dry," but I don't - it's just lightly pleasant musically, with the standard depressive Yorke vocalizing. Boring.

"Fake Plastic Trees" is a blazing highlight. As with "Planet Telex," everything works here. It's utterly gorgeous, and painful, and sad, and Yorke just makes the track with one of his great vocal performances. In short, a Radiohead classic. Still, I have laughed at this song before - because one of the greatest "Beavis and Butt-head" jokes EVER was about this song. Beavis and Butt-head are watching the video on MTV, and Beavis says, "Sometimes when I have a boner that won't go down I listen to this kind of music." They also say that Thom Yorke looks like Ed Grimley after Butt-head slaps Beavis a couple times to make him remember who "that guy with the hair that comes up in a point on his head" is. "He looks like that guy who's into Pat Sajak..." Then Beavis kicks Butt-head in the balls for slapping him: "Bunghole! Don't slap me again!" Pure genius. You can see it on YouTube if you're interested.

"Bones" is a great song, too, if not up to the standard of "Fake Plastic Trees". The riff is really good, and Colin Greenwood's bass is fantastic. "(Nice Dream)" is very melodic, and Yorke's singing is beautiful, but the lyrics are obnoxiously depressing, yet again, and the "scary" bridge blows. Christ, man, go play soccer or something. Cool effects at the end, too - this band would lose so much without Ed O'Brien adding that kind of stuff. "Just" comes hitting back again with a great riff, a surprisingly mellow and beautiful bridge that gets completely destroyed by an O'Brien guitar detonation and a brilliant, air-raid siren Jonny Greenwood lead, with hilariously nasty lyrics, and an actually decent sneering delivery from Yorke. Sweet! Great, great song. "My Iron Lung" also rocks out mercilessly, with another instant-recall effects-soaked riff from Jonny and a great rocking bridge, with some more Ed O'Brien guitar brilliance (the fuzzy droning in the background). Thom's guitar is really good, too (the massively distorted guitar chords before the chorus; he also dominates the vicious punk bridge). Three guitars used intelligently - this is one reason I love this band when they're on. Apparently "My Iron Lung" was a live recording, with Thom's vocals overdubbed later. "Bullet Proof...I Wish I Was" is another great song, with a truly sad acoustic riff, some beautiful lead guitar at the chorus from Jonny, and a subdued rhythm section. But Ed O'Brien is the reason why this song rules. All that fantastic UFO-guitar noise waaayy in the background...it works really well. "Black Star" is extremely bombastic, but still good. "Sulk" is not good at all, says I, and that's final. The riff is average, it's completely overwrought, and it just feels flat. The lyrics also suck horribly.

"Street Spirit (Fade Out)" is another one of the best songs Radiohead ever did. Fantabulously dark and foreboding and moody, with great clean guitar picking and another great Yorke vocal.

So that's about a 7 or a low 8. I count half of the album as being some of Radiohead's best. The rest ranges from quite good, almost near greatness at times, to below-average. Even though this is quite a good album, I'm really glad that they kept improving from here.

slangking75@yahoo.com
"The sad swoops of destiny that bring a young girl who likes The Smiths into the arms of a guy who smokes cigarettes. Like the Smashing Pumpkins but with a singer that doesn't ruin every romantic moment by squealing like one of George Harrison's proverbial "Piggies."

Now that's good shit Mark, i spit my drink onto my desk from laughing. LOL

sasa.podunavec@yahoo.com
Really, really good. This is my favorite of their rock efforts. The songwriting is very strong, the overall mood is beautiful. 10/10

willsh@uchicago.edu
I know this one might hit all the right chords with teenagers or however you put it, but it's still a rock-solid guitar-rock/pop album. Yes the opening track is the best thing Radiohead has ever done, but everything else displays a great talent for songwriting. And even manipulating emotions in such an obvious way deserves some kind of credit, right? RIGHT???

Tell me there aren't a million hooks here. Hooks are hooks, yes, but sometimes that's just what you want! I'm a nineties kid but this is great stuff.

Benjamin Burch
Though not a huge improvement over 'Pablo Honey,' 'The Bends' showed radiohead to be much more than another alt rock band looking for attention. Songs are much better this time around, and more diverse. Again, all the songs are good, have a great atmosphere and the group hasn't started taking itself too seriously. The album is so consistent it's hard to single out any songs, but I guess my favorite is "Planet Telex."

Add your thoughts?


OK Computer - Capitol 1997.
Rating = 8

Wash over me, acid-drenched love music! Such poignant, heartbreaking magnificence. No empty spaces - every slot of air filled with acoustic strumming, orchestral synths and noises new to me that may be samples, synths, treated guitars, a guy singing - this is THOUGHTFUL music. Check out the high-pitch string jacking during the "Airbag" "solo" - then check out the fantastical melody the likes of which man hath never witnessed. The entire record is full of these smart ideas, new sound combinations, striking vocal and guitar melodies and extraordinarily composed creations drifting through dark window shades of echo to fill your room with cold trepidation and closed-eyed, head-bowed, clenched-fist hopelessness. Listen to the first two chords of "Subterranean Homesick Alien" - that is eXacTly the mood I'm talking about. At times a detached rock bitterness ("Karma Police"), at times a robotic sickness ("Fitter Happier"), at other times a strangely morbid, anxious take on bachelor pad music ("Paranoid Android') - heck, there's even some sad lullaby music on here ("No Surprises")! But all of it slow. Slow and suicidal. Like The Cure, creators of the depressing goth anthem "Friday I'm In Love" that made me kill myself when I was in high school. But don't worry about me! I've long since returned to the Earth as a scary ghost in a white sheet that goes "Woooooo!" and plays scary songs on a grand piano in a big dark mansion with cobwebs and a knight's armor that always smashes a battle axe down right behind any mortals foolish enough to enter my fiendish abode. A ha ha ha ha ha ha! AH HA HA HA HA HA!!!!! Now let's get back to that Radiohead review.

I know fools and their money are prone to raving about The Bends, but this is honestly the first record where they really pull it all together - the Brian Eno synthesizer soundsculptures, piles of acoustic and electric guitars run through various disorienting effects, Thom's smooth, eminently listenable, non-bombastic voice backed by wavery, echo-heavy background vocals and - most importantly - an artistic demand to do something GREATER than alternative guitar rock. Certainly there are still plenty of guitars, but they are just one component of the enchanting, disturbing and beautiful listening experience.

Did he just say "Pull me out of the aircrash"? BONUS! "Lucky" is like a Bloodrock's "D.O.A." for the nineties!!!!

End result: a huge hit that made Radiohead the "smart band" that everybody had been looking for for so long. And they DO sound intelligent now, I really do have to hand it to them. This sounds like classic music that's gonna sound really great even 20 and 30 years from now, the way old Pink Floyd does now. There are a few songs that I personally loathe though, which is why I feel compelled to lower the grade to an 8. "Fitter Happier" is WAY too fucking long for a bland computer voice experiment, "Exit Music For A Film" is similar to the rest but amazingly uneventful - and the sole faster track "Electioneering" isn't bad per se, but it kind of just boogaloos along as if it thinks it's on Pablo Honey or something. My final summation: OK Computer is A-OK, Computer Geeks!

Reader Comments

Luˇs Aguiar
10/10

Radiohead's OK Computer is a masterpiece. It's a kind of conceputal album about the pressures of modern life days, Thom Yorke's vision about a man in this late-century days. Despite this, the album is ecletic and every song sounds unlike the others... Each one has specific details and a unique sound to it... So here it goes a song by song review... "Airbag" starts with weird electronic effects and has really loud drums, the guitars are slow and drony and it has some strings too. It has a great line "in an intastella burst i'm back to save the universe". "Paranoid Android" is a 7 minute and a half opera where gentle acoustic parts and neo-classical choruses give place to streams of noise and distortion that make it really stand out and sound innovative. "Subterranean Homesick Alien" has a very early seventies sound to it with it's electric piano and some very floyd-esque guitars and the groove borrows a little from miles davis - bitches brew in the verses, the chorus has that U2 circa Joshua Tree feeling. "Exit Music" is plain beautiful it starts with a really phantasmagoric voice from thom (that will probably bring chills to your arms) and an acoustic guitar and then when the bass and the drums kick in and organs and monastic choruses make their apperance into the mix it all reach some kind of climax. "Let Down" is Radiohead making the perfect pop song if you ask me, the voice just flies and the guitars are all beautiful and ethereal, it's the kind of song that you will like in the first spins and you can introduce it to your friends in first place (radiohead didn't release it as a single! bastards!). "Karma Police" is a tradicional pop song with a piano solo in the middle of it, until it becomes weird when thom starts singing "for a minute there i lost myself" and the musis starts losing it's control. "Fittier Happier" is very soothing, it has a computer voice who throws some kind of cliches for a happy life and a beautiful piano behind it . "Electioneering" is a rock song with heavy guitars and it's perhaps the only "normal" song in OK Computer, although I like it a lot. the voice sounds angry and the lyrics are an attack on politics. Then we reach a special and delicate song "Climbing Up the Walls". The voice is scaring and the music is kind of Radiohead doing a goth song that sounds like it's going to explode in any minute (and actually explodes!). Next is "No Surprises" that is a great begining of the end (the character in the album plot starting to get old...) and is a great contender for one of the best songs of all time and it's a beautiful lullaby. "Lucky" is another brilliant song. The last one is called "The Tourist" and it's a kind of classic rock song with good guitar solos and a chorus that goes "hey man slow down" and that kind of synthetized neo-classical voices making their appearance again. All in all one this is a record that's innovative, creative and superbly melodic and can surely change your life! Buy it today!

InMyEyes82@aol.com (Zach English)
This one I liked alot at first and after repeated listening it annoyed the hell out of me. If I want noodly Pink Floyd, I'll go to the source.

streb@mail.sssnet.com (Dan Streb)
Man oh Man is this a GREAT album. The best album of the nineties, and that's really something. Every song is absolutely fantastic. No songs even APPROACHING averageness. There are so many cool parts to this albym I guess I'll just write it all out: The drum loops set loud in the mix of "Airbag", the four bleeps that segue straight into the "acoustic section" of "Paranoid Android", the way at the end of "Paranoid..." where there's this huge onslaught of electric guitars and the whole thing just stops suddenly, the ringing guitar high pitched note that comes after every line of "Subterranean Homesick Alien", the weird as hell computer ending to "Let Down", the sound of the "Karma Police" vaporizing the narrator because "I've given all I can/It's not enough", the Stephen Hawking voice of "Fitter Happier", the HUGE electric guitar riff ten times the size of Led Zeppelin that starts "Electioneering", the nice acoustic beginning of "No Surprises (in fact the whole damn SONG no surprises is just lovely), the guitar solo of "Lucky", and the ringing of the bell in "The Tourist" symbolizing the acceptance of a computer-ruled world. I think. It's either that or the tourist has crashed his car but his life is saved because of what he says in "Airbag" (I'm amazed that I survived/An airbag saved my life). So I guess the album is a never-ending cycle. Of course everything I just said makes absolutely NO sense unless you've heard the album about 500 times. What else can I say? Buy it right now. There is NO reason not to like it.

Most of Radiohead's videos are available on a video collection called "7 Television Commercials". Radiohead make some WEIRD videos, especially the "Paranoid Android" cartoon. What does the guy say at the end of the "Just" video? Why is he lying down like that?

Daayworker@aol.com
This album wasn't that great,it had a few great songs and the others were decent but a big disappointment compared to the previous album.I personally think it was a sell out album but that's just my thought.I hope with the next album they will try to get a little more innovative and a heavier guitar sound.The Bends was amazing by the way,this album can't compare to that.

NOSPOL@aol.com
THIS IS IT! An all time classic. For my money the best album of 1997. Well constructed, eerie, well writen. There hasn't been an album this great since it, and now all this teenybopper bullshit is everywhere like fleas! Get this album right now! Buy 1 copy for everyone in your family. Get it on CD and Minidisc. 10/10

Itchload@aol.com
This wasn't a sellout. Completely changing your style from catchy guitar rock songs that were very successful and yielded 2 gold albums to complicated arty experimental music is not selling out. This is further proof that Radiohead are the most important band in existence right now. Think U2 and REM in 80's, Dinosaur Jr. Sonic Youth and Pixies in the late 80's and The Replacements and Husker Du in the mid 80's. This is where Radiohead are right now.

richbunnell@home.com
I can't see how anyone can call OK Computer "a bad album." Bad?? This album has good songs in spades, and they're all woven together in a way where each song benefits from the songs that surround it. "Airbag" is a monolithic wonder, "Electioneering" is the band's best (and only) guitar rocker, "No Surprises" is a gorgeous update of VU's "Sunday Morning," and "Let Down" is the kind of smooth-flowing song that I wish more bands were making these days. These songs are just too cool for words, even though the lyrics seem almost defiantly nonsensical and Thom Yorke tends to slur his words more than he enunciates. I give the album a ten.

ian.moss@yale.edu (Ian Moss)
It just keeps getting better and better with Radiohead, who get weirder with every album while managing to remain individual and accessible. I love this album. It has nary a bad moment on't, and lots of the transcendental highs that are so rare in '90s music. My fave track on the album is the soaring "Subterranean Homesick Alien" (with that unbelievably beautiful ringing high note that everyone mentions), but I also love "Airbag," "Paranoid Android," "Exit Music"....hell, just about every other song on the album too. Except for "Let Down" and "Electioneering"--I still love them, just not as much. OK, well let me mention at least two others: "Climbing up the Walls" is so freaking creepy it gives me shudders every time I listen to it (that's a good thing in this case), and I really dig the point towards the end of "Lucky" when the guitar has a very cool riff that gets repeated a couple of times....actually, I would have liked to see it get developed further, come to think of it. And "The Tourist" continues the Radiohead tradition of closing tracks featuring very high, drawn-out Thom Yorke vocals.

I give it a 10 already, and I haven't even mentioned "No Surprises" or "Karma Police"! OK, I won't go into too much detail, but just know that the last two minutes or so of "Karma Police" are an absolute must-hear....the electronicized vocals slurring down a major third while Thom goes, "for a minute there, I lost myself"--wow. Wwo. Oww. wOw. Hey, that last one looks like the Aerosmith logo!

Caleb462@cs.com
Brilliant, and beautiful. A definite 10. Critics go crazy over it, but it deserves it. The whole album has this weird aura to it that's completely hypnotizing. How anyone couldn't like this album is beyond me.

alanhaw@hotmail.com (Alan Hawkins)
A VERY good record, the first three tracks are just unexplainably awesome - especially that beautiful mandolin-style riff during "Airbag" - and the shimmering, Pink Floyd-like "Subtterranean Homesick Alien." I also think "the tourist" is just heartbrakingly beautiful, and ends the album on a real strong note, none of the lyrics mean anything but Thom Yorke's voice is pretty powerful. In the middle of the album however, there's just heaps of effortless, dull dirges that sound like they could've been written in five minutes - a real letdown. None of it's bad, but it just does n't make much of an impression - I can understand why every-one gets so excited about this record as the best songs here are some of Radiohead's strongest yet, but I could only really give this a 7.

jason_a@earthlink.net (Jason Adams)
Album of the la-de-da, saviors of yadda yadda. Actually, yeah. This is brilliant. The little moments and musical ideas are what make it works. Radiohead are great at little clever musical ideas. And Thom Yorke's is the best rock vocalist to come along since that guy who sang "Mexican Radio". An eight.

seraphim7s@yahoo.com (Paul Walker)
The best album of the nineties. OK I admit I haven't heard all the contenders, but how can anyone not admit it's greatness? Dark Side of the Moon with actual melodies!!! Woohoo!!! And I'm a huge Floyd fan! Seriously I haven't heard very many cogent arguements against this album's Masterpiece status - and believe me I've heard a few. I cannot understand what in God's name Prindle is talking about above. 'OK Computer' is so incredibly diverse it could never be compared with 'Pet Sounds', and if he thinks it's a little slow, what about EVERY SINGLE FLOYD SONG EVER!?!? I'm truly flabbergasted. And the pathetic arguements that Rolling Stone Magazine used against this album... what complete wankers.

katsman7@hotmail.com (Madd Hunter)
Another "Dark Side Of The Moon"?

No1Yanks23@aol.com (Matt Reyes)
Ok Computer is probably the 10 in their catalog. I hate Fitter Happier too, but I love Exit Music (it's beautiful and the end is amazing) and Electronieering is probably their best rocking moment they ever did. The rest rules too!

oliver5200@hotmail.com (Adam Bruneau)
I used to absolutely loathe Radiohead, primarily because of all the media attention and...(dare I say)...hype, surrounding them. There have been just so many praises and titles bestowed upon this band, it's almost rediculous. So I stayed away from their music because, much like the film "The Lord of the Rings", hype does that to me. If I feel I can't take something in with a good enough amount of an objective viewpoint, it's almost no fun at all.

Of course, when I sat down and finally listened to OK Computer, in the summer of 2001, the hype had not really died down, but I suppose enough time had passed between this album's release and then, I felt comfortable enough. I was sitting in a car in Athens, Georgia, driving with a friend to watch Memento in a local theater and quite enjoying the first track when it started to drizzle outside the windows. Soon enough, "Paranoid Android" was at the part where a tortured Thom Yorke sings "rain down, rain down", and wouldn't you know it, the sky opened up and the heavens began to cry at that very moment. I had no choice but to like it. Hell, even love it.

That's not to say the album is the best ever written, or even the best of the 90's (we have to thank Beck for that one), but yes it really is well worth your money and is 100% better than a million other records by a million more bands from that oh-so-distant decade. Not all the songs blow my mind equally, but the highlights ("Karma Police", "Subterranean Homesick Alien", etc.) are just spectacular. And I don't think you could ever find another song as heartbreakingly beautiful and spiritually devistating as "Exit Music (For a Film)". My God, I hope they play that one at my funeral....

Jcjh20@aol.com
Agreed! Radiohead matures a bit, and makes a total experimental, unique album. These guys arent kids playing mediocre guitar rock anymore. These guys are indeed intelligent and they finally realized it! No 2 of these songs sound exactly the same, they all have different moods, and i think you can find one beautiful part in every song (i especially love that middle part to "Paranoid Android"). Even though "Electioneering" does indeed stick out like a sore dick, i mean, thumb, i think it rocks! And "Exit Music" is absolutely beautiful to me. At first i didnt think much of it either. I agree about "Fitter Happier" though. I give this one a 10.

robchaundy@yahoo.com (Robert Chaundy)
In England, after the warning shot of Pablo Honey and the broadside of The Bends, this record was truly The Big One. The one where Radiohead would and had to deliver. And quite frankly they did. It took us by storm. It was voted the best album of all time by the readers of Q magazine in February 1998.

Musically, there was nothing about this album that King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Roxy Music and Black Sabbath hadn't articulated way back in the 1970s; what was new here was the wide-eyed, terrified, fin-de-siecle philosophy of Mr Thom Yorke. Listening to it felt like plunging into a directionless world of missed opportunities and untouchable nihilistic possibilities, and - tribute to the man's unfathomable talent - it didn't satisfy one iota - it hurt. As much as it by every right should have done.

Airbag, for example, is a song that the simplest guitar initiate could learn to play in one minute; yet here it sounds like the end of the world. It's the best song on this album, by the way, and at the same time the mission statement/autobiography of Thom Yorke... listening to it now, in 2002, won't mean much to enthusiastic American audiences; but listening to it in January 1998 in the wake of an Oxford rejection meant too much to be true. Exit Music (for once, ignore Prindle) is an equally unbearable emotional swell, and if you aren't moved to some kind of desolate introspection by Subterranean Homesick Alien and the gorgeous Let Down then there might well be something wrong with you. Surrender.

Fitter Happier, meanwhile, is anything but bland: it is the merciless, uncomprehending voice of inhumanity which gives the whole album its raison d'etre, and sits right at the crux of the beast itself, which ends with the phantastic waltz of The Tourist; it will likely take many, many listens to sink in, but oh, once it does... hide those razor blades.

I could go on saying good things about this album till the cows come home. But the point is simply this: that we still don't realise what a gift we were given back in the summer of 97; and that the very idea that this album deserves anything less than a nine is just wrong.

ikomagreg@hotmail.com (Greg Slack)
I'll be the first on this page to admit I haven't bought into the "Radiohead craze" that depressed youngsters seem to be buying into. I remember when I listened to the Smashing Pumpkins all the time- it was so damned depressing, and looking back on it, I wasn't very happy. I feel the same way about Radiohead, but I just can't "get into them". None of their rockers make me "wanna rock", so-to-speak, all their little sad ballads don't do anything and just end up as window dressing, and for some strange reason, i can only find something to salvage in No Surprises and Kharma Police, their hits! This is the only radiohead album i've got, because my brother told me he liked it a lot, and I guess I can see how the music is deep and layered enough to be found interesting, but jesus (!), that Thom Yorke just doesn't rub me the right way.

colinjaffe@mediaone.net (Colin Jaffe)
Well, like all the albums here, I'd give this a point higher than Prindle. I can understand why you'd pick on "Fitter Happier", "Exit Music" and "Electioneering", though. "Fitter" kind of grows on you, though, as does "Exit Music", I really like the way that one builds. And people definitely need to give "Electioneering" a few more attentive listens. The guitar interplay on that song is understated, but amazing. I'd probably give it a 9, because even though it's not quite as challenging as Kid A, it's no worse, really. Just kind of Kid A with guitars, basically. Just as complex and interesting, with tons going on. If you think it's an 8, give it another listen on good headphones.

Tangentially, I think someone else mentioned this on the site, but 1997 was a really good year for music. You had amazing records like OK Computer, Zaireeka, and Dispepsi, plus a lot of just-great records like Time out of Mind, Up, The Mollusk, and ...The Dandy Warhols Come Down. Has anyone reviewed the Dandys yet? I have to get on that...

Muggwort@aol.com
O. k computer was my first radiohead album, I got it after hearing all of its rave reviews, I still think that it is a cool, beautiful, catchy and atmospheric album, but it is my least favorite radiohead album, a high 8.

willie8911@home.com (Willie Simpson)
Like I said before, I got this one first, and I was blown away. Subterrian Homesick Alien is perfect. Airbag has one of those knee locking melodies that turn you to goo. Not much to add, but you know a record is great when you start to question some of your favorite great untouchable bands while listening. For me, this there 10/10.

Snapdad318@aol.com
This and Kid A are, in my opinion, two of the most creative albums to ever hit the earth. OK Computer was the first album where they experimented with electronica rhythms and kewl messed up robot voices and shit. The melodies are phenomenal. There's nothing quite as beautiful as the opening of Subterranean Homesick Alien. The multi-sectional rock of Paranoid Android leaves you drenched in guitar effects, Thom Yorke's beautiful sadening vocals, and you end up wanting so much more. Then your left with the beautiful closer of Tourist, which has the most beautiful chord progression ever made, and it ends perfectly with the drums and the bassline when all of a sudden the sound of a "bing" bell-ish noise ends the song, sending a chill through your spine. Damn these guys got good fast.

erikjohnson@paulhastings.com
Ain't that somethin'. I probably spent 95 through 99 telling people that Radiohead was a forgettable English band full of whining, Limey art school poufs. Unsmiling, faggy soccer players. The last parts may in fact be true, but the music is real and super well crafted and deep. It's like (god forbid I ever, EVER use this analogy again...) the Beatles. Really. I, being a typical guy will never, ever admit to being wrong. In fact I have been wrong only one time to my knowledge (certain flawed people I have kept company with might disagree). The exciting thing? I have listened to OK Computer everyday for two months and from reading your reviews, they have other records out that might be as good! That is worth saying I'm wrong for...

GL3453@aol.com
I think this album deserves to be in every Top 10 of the best albums of all time lists..not only does it deliver clever instrumentation, deep and thoughtful lyrics, but it also features one the best melodies in Rock History...Let's start off with "airbag"...not only does the riff stay in your head for days after you hear it for the first time, but the drumming by Phil Selway is so different than anything else i have ever heard...this song also shows us how incredible thom yorke's voice is, especially in the chorus (which is alone a melodic highlight)..."paranoid android" alone makes this album a masterpiece...the mysterious atmoshphere of the song really adds even more interest from the listener...the melody in the first verse is so breathtaking, you could listen to it forever.....the "rain down on me" part of the song is the best moment in rock in the last 20 years...it shows us that yorke gave everything he had in this song...the third part of the song features interesting riffs by Jonny Greenwood and a couple of sound effects...after a decent (by Radiohead standards) track 3, "Exit Music" is a very sad but yet, in the climax of the song, a very uplifting and hopeful song. (although Prindle hates it) The way this song was recorded almost makes the listener feel like thom yorke is in the same room singing quietly...but then everything explodes in the climax at the end where the drumming by Selway is again in the forefront...Yorke again delivers a vocal highlight where his outstanding voice is showing its never-ending limits...thom yorke said that this song is very personal to him and you can feel it by the way he sings it..."Exit Music" goes right into "Let Down"...All three verses have basically the same melody although every verse is different..Yorke just puts more passion in each verse...the start of the third verse which goes "you know you know where you are with" is so beautiful, it's beyond words..."let down" is almost never performed live..(possibly because the vocals are very challenging)...then comes "Karma Police"...it features nonsense lyrics but with a very cool piano part...the "this is what you get" chorus is very beautiful..definately the highlight of the song..."fitter happier" is not even a song but listening to the entire album without "fitter happier" wouldnt be right..the "song" really fits with the music and with the concept of the album..."electioneering" is a very Pablo Honeyish song..i agree with Prindle on that one..but it's still a decent song...which shows us that something can be made out of nothing...although the lyrics are very good..."climbing up the walls" doesnt stand out melodically or musically but the atmosphere alone makes this song good...then comes "No Surprises"..a suicidal lullaby...again...the melody is perfect especially when Yorke sings "a heaaaaaaaaaaaaart that's full up like a laaaaaandfill a job that slowly kiiiiiiiiiiiils you, bruises that won't heeeal"...brilliant...the chorus is very sad...(no wonder, the entire song is about suicide)...Lucky is another Radiohead highlight..with cool lyrics...especially when yorke sings; "the head of state has called for me by name, but i dont have time for him"...it means that whoever calls him (even the head of state)..he'll still stay with his girl..."the tourist" was written by Jonny...the vocals by Thom are incredible on this song...only he (and maybe Bono) could this song this way...a great album closer......(maybe this is more of a review than a comment, but i really wanted to write down what i really felt about this album)...this album gets 10/10

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
A near-perfect album. More experimental than the previous one. I still can't decide which is better (this album or The Bends). Again, a 10. "Paranoid Android" and "No Surprises" are the best here, and even the worst tracks ("Fitter Happier" and "Lucky") are great. Oh what a creative band! I still haven't heard Kid A or Amnesiac. I can't believe myself. If you are new to Radiohead, please start with this album.

carrett@uclink.berkeley.edu (Garrett McLean)
If I could have only one album, it might well be OK Computer. Every song is fucking awesome. More awesome then bombing Saudi Arabian Jews (God bless America). Seriously though, even though "Exit Music for a Film" is sort of clich‚d and obvious (and slow) I still find it's climax to be the best kind of musical orgasm. And "Fitter, Happier" is too interesting to be too long. Thom Yorke is amazing and the album kicks. "Electioneering" is a great song. It should've got at least a 9 (I can definitely understand the 10 for Kid A). Rock on.

okeydoke0@yahoo.com (Barrett Barnard)
for teenagers this is the perfect soundtrack for life.well fuck that.if youve ever had a crush this album is a soundtrack for life.ill be the first to admit that the songs by themselves are only deserving of say an the 8 that mark gave em but that plus the production and the delivery that thom gives em is worthy of a 10 easily.other than "nevermind" by nirvana this is the best album of the 90s.how did they get this good in a such a short time?

onto the songs.the first thing to remember is that is really just a pop album as the members of the band have said themselves.its just more,production wise, complex.the songs themselves are just the same minor key melodies that bands like r.e.m. and the cure perfected long ago.but they use them so well.like the song "exit music (for a film).those chord changes could have fit on "pornography"easily but when applied to a dark side of the moon type production it sounds brilliant.

well im too lazy to write more so ill just say my favorites are paranoid android, let down, exit music, elictioneering, the tourist,the title track(just fucking with you), and chocoalte cake.fuck you.

vrijheid_en_gelijkheid@hotmail.com (Tjeerd G)
I'll tell you what I really hate.

Let's start with an example. A band comes up with some interesting songs, among them are songs that are called "Creep", "Fake plastic trees", "Street spirit" and "High & dry". The albums featuring those songs, however, are of too little interest to buy. You praise the invention of internet, start up your illegal(ly obtained) software, burn a cd with some extra Suede, Oasis and the Verve and live happily ever after.

A year or two later, on a dull day, you watch MTV and see a video. And that video is fucking brilliant. Astonishing. And by the way, what a nice song this is! Hooks and dynamics and riffs and uneven time signatures. And a familiar voice singing unfamiliar lines, hey wait, the song data appears...

It's Radiohead! My, have they gotten better or what? And the song is called "Paranoid Android". One memory tattoo gained.

Shortly after you're presented with the equally brilliant "Karma Police", featuring a tearjerking video. Okay that's enough. Get me this Computer, OK? This'll be a great investment. Finally. A new album to love. Ah there it is, finally. Let's play.

Track 1, "Airbag", is great. Beautiful guitarness. Typical opener. We already know "Paranoid Android, so we can just skNEVER SKIP "PARANOID ANDROID", the album won't be the same without it (as we'll see later on)(what? you're not reading anymore? go to heck.). Next is the insanely georgeous "Subterranean Homesick Alien". Shivers down spines while lounging and listening. And the epic "Exit Music (For A Film)" is great also. Yeah, it is too. Really. Just get carried away from Breathe... keep breathing... until the integer end. Track 5. "Let down". Umm. What. The. Fuck is THIS?!?!!?! I'LL YOU WHAT IT IS! IT IS A STUPID SONG! STOO-PID STOO-PID STOO-PID and BO-RING BO-RING BO-RING! Relief is oncoming though, for bathing in the "Karma Police" always gets you clean and satisfied. "Fitter Happier" is cool and puts me to sleep.

Hey wait. I woke up and the cd was over. How the fuck is that possible? Have there not been any hooks anymore to wake me up and keep me awake? Let's try that again. From track 8, "Electioneering".

And after an awake listen to the second half of Oh Compukayter, we notice that although "Electioneering" is a rock song, it never really gets you. That is also the case with the next three songs. They are nice, decent, good compositions, but too uninspirationally performed. "The tourist", however, might be the best song on the whole record, along with "Paranoid Android" and "Subterranean Homesick Alien". The sloth, lazyness, pretty lead guitar and wonderful vocal lines perfectly evolve into a heartwarming climax, followed by a subtle closing of the album.

To make a long story even longer: this example proves that I really hate it when albums with brilliant songs on it also feature bad and/or mediocre songs, preventing it from being a piŠce de resistance. Fortunately, this is not the end. The thing of resistance will surely be found among later releases.

I'll give it an 8. Actual grade would be a 7,6. It hurts my heart, though.

sirmustapha@ig.com.br (Fernando)
Now THIS is brilliant - athmosphere, sense of melody and mood in the good old tradition. This is the album that restores my faith on music. Everything is not lost. I believe in Radiohead, they're good. OK Computer is brilliant! Along with Kid A, it's an album that I can call *perfect*. The weakest songs on here beat the hell out of the minor tracks on The Bends (compare Climbing Up The Walls with Black Star), and the others are just unique. Paranoid Android is absolutely amazing, Subterranean Homesick Alien, Let Down and The Tourist are gorgeous, Airbag is unbelivably cool... and so the list goes! No Surprises is one of my favourites on here - such a straightforward, lullabyish, depressing song fits so perfectly well with the rest of the material! How would this sound like if it were on The Bends? Great album, a definitive 10.

michielh@nl.demon.net (Michiel Heinicke)
I really started to dig the band hearing "Paranoid Android" and "Karma Police" on the Radio. OK Computer is ranked as one of the best albums ever, i think that's slightly overrated - since I think they got even Better after this one. Still this one got me interested in the band, and for a short time i didn't think it could get any better, that is until i got used to Kid A and Amnesiac. But this album has got perhaps their best song ever, "Exit music for a Film". The song just gives me shivers... in a good way. "Filter Happier" is pretty pointless though. Oh and you gotta check out the singles they released in this period. Some of B-sides are better than anything here, like "Polyetheline" "Pearly" and "How to be a millionaire". 8/10

MatthewByrd@hotmail.com
Well, I might just have bad taste........... but, I really hate this album. I can't just outright say that it's bad, but I can say that it always manages to make me physically sick. I always get piercing headaches................ but, that was it was like with Blonde On Blonde at first(Which I absolutely adore now)so I'll give it a few more listens.... and now I will enlighten you on a list of my FAVORITE albums-not the ones I think are the greatest or best.

1.Abbey Road - The Beatles
2.Blonde On Blonde - Bob Dylan
3.Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen
4.London Calling - The Clash
5.Beggar's Banquet - The Rolling Stones
6.Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon And Garfunkel
7.Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan
8.Let It Bleed - The Rolling Stones
9.Armed Forces - Elvis Costello
10.Darkness On The Edge Of Town - Bruce Springsteen
11.1999 - Prince
12.Rust Never Sleeps - Neil Young
13.All Over The Place - The Bangles
14.Rubber Soul - The Beatles
15.Low - David Bowie
16.Heroes - David Bowie
17.Exile On Main Street - The Rolling Stones
18.Physical Graffiti - Led Zeppelin
19.Around The World In A Day - Prince
20.Imperial Bedroom - Elvis Costello
21.IV - Led Zeppelin
22.Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles
23.Graceland - Paul Simon
24.Born In The U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen
25.Rain Dogs - Tom Waits
26.Some Girls - The Rolling Stones
27.The Wild, The Innocent And The E-Street Shuffle
28.The Beatles - The Beatles
29.Bringin' It All Back Home - Bob Dylan
30.My Aim Is True - Elvis Costello
31.At Folsom Prison - Johnny Cash

Ok, Ok, these are a few that I would consider the BEST out of what I have heard..... there are few albums here........... few albums are completely adequate and work prefectly with what the 'artist' wanted to do..........

1.Purple Rain - Prince ................uhhhhhhhhhhhhh, what the hell could be wrong with this album? I don't have it even listed on my fovorites list......... only because it grows old and boring quickly for me...... BUT there are few, if any, BETTER albums ever produced, everything works
2.The Wild, The Innocent And The E-Street Shuffle - Bruce Springsteen .............I LIKE Born To Run more, but I can never say that it is better.......... even though my definition of better is hazy...... so, basically don't listen to me
3.Blonde On Blonde - Bob Dylan
4.Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dyan
5.Let It Bleed - The Rolling Stones

........... and, I'm through for now. These are the few albums which, if I felt REALLY picky, I could ever give 5 stars to.

DArmstrong@bryson-architects.net
Radiohead are shite

erfinagerfin@hotmail.com
I do like this album, I whole lot in fact. Maybe a bit overrated, in fact I agree with you and would say that Kid A is better, but there is one song on here that has perhaps more emotional impact on me than any other song I've ever heard. The song is "Lucky" and has a deep significance to me.

It was New Year's Eve last year, when my Dad invited me over to have dinner. It was snowing and there was a LOT of ice on the road, but driving home didn't cause me any problems so I figured I'd make it. I drove only one block...going less than 25, and trying to stop for a stop sign, my brakes locked up. The terrible part was there was this huge truck coming through on the lane further away from me on the two-lane one-way I was going on to. I was scared for my life, seeing how the truck was seemingly going the perfect speed to NAIL my side of the car, going 40-45 MPH, right as I was going to coast into the second lane. I froze up, not knowing what to do...I could only yell "Come on! Stop!" at my car like it could hear what I was saying while my foot was constantly pressing the brake. I had these terrible visions...I thought to myself, "this isn't happening!", realizing I was so close to death in this instance. I might have survived the impact, but my car was small, with no airbag, and this truck would have barrelled me down the road, maybe not being able to stop himself. I had visions of all this happening in my head as I slid into the first lane. But suddenly my car caught some traction and stopped, and I watched stunned as the truck came not more than a foot or two past the front of my car. I was stunned. I honestly had this horrible thought that I was about to die and came a few feet away from it happening.

The song playing during this was "Lucky"...and really it's hard to imagine a better song to play during all that. Afterwards, no song had the emotional attachment to me as this one. Every time I hear it, it seems like I'm back there in the car, but of course I'm safe in my room so it's just this incredible emotional experience for me. Imagine if I had been listening to Sparks instead!

ddickson@rice.edu
Wow. This is quite a masterpiece, here. But it is NOT the sixth-best album of all time, for gosh's sakes. That would be either Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness or the Beegees' Odessa.

Yeah, yeah, go ahead and laugh. Throw exploding bananas at me. I can take it.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPUTASOCKINYOUFAC!!!!!!!!

Ouch. I think this album is probably in the top twenty of the 1990's, and it just might be the second or third-best of 1997. It's got great melodies and cool lyrics, but the arrangements and production are 80% of the reason why it rules. Which is why I think Yankee Hotel Foxtrot one-ups it--that LP's songs can stand on they own two feet. Still a great album, though. I love the way that this band--y'know, they DON'T JUST ACT LIKE A ROCK GROUP, y'know? Or a pop group. Or an indie group. More than almost any band I've ever heard (except late-'60's Beegees DON'T LAUGH DAMMIT), they seem more interested in making great ART, great MUSIC, regardless of its genre, than being. . . well, a rock band. They don't SOUND like a rock band, dig? Not even on The Bends. Or on this one. They sound like a particularly emotional movie soundtrack played with mostly rock instruments and with a drunk British dude singing on top of it. And you know what? That actually RULES.

Best song on the album--"Exit Music," one of the darkest-sounding ballads yer likely to hear from the N-Sync era.

Masterpiece, yes. But best of the '90's?? Come now, take a deep breath, folks. There is so much good music in that decade, OK Computer can't even be in the top five. Top ten, maybe. It's good, though. Real real good. I give it a 92!

matthewbyrd@hotmail.com
whoever said "Radiohead are shite" earlier, I agreeeeeeeeeeee totalee

but what the hell do I know? I'm enjoying the hell outta phil collins song at the momement!!! It IS In the Air Tonight, which is, tha shiz

Wes Paxton
OK Computer. What the fuck is with everyone sucking this album's dick? Sure, "Lucky" is pretty good, but what is this 'buzzes like a fridge' and 'back to save the universe' bullshit? That's the kind of forced eccentric middlebrow horseshit masquerading as highbrow art that the most insipid fringe elements of the braindead public will eat up as long as it is littered with all kinds of heavy-handed cries about the ongoing loss of humanity in the human psyche and metaphysical chicken-little cries of impending doom. Could there be any less subtle a statement than that goddamn "Fitter Happier" track? Jesus, at least pretend to be able to make an understated commentary without veering back into your standard psychological-breakdown schtick. So all the while this album is playing, beating you over the head with these overly emotive pleas for sanity, this intellectual and physical midget Thom Yorke is cracking these brackish, cloying, out-of-tune, high notes all over the place with little sense of decent melody, dripping with this disgusting slime of overwrought neurotic anguish. Gawd, you wouldn't believe how much this makes me want to forcibly sodomize the whole band one-by-one with an unlubricated crowbar in a back alley. A friend of mine called this album "the best $15 [he] ever spent." Shit. The best $15 I ever spent was probably on that crow bar.

sasa.podunavec@yahoo.com
Stupendous! Go Radiohead!

Mcshane123321@aol.com
As my introduction to Radiohead, many would expect this to be my favourite, but it's really not -- it's so far from the unquestionably perfect, untouchable '90s masterpiece that the likes of Pitchfork have hailed it to be. I actually disagree quite strongly with what I regard as mediocrity on here: "Let Down" is the first and most prominent dud, a lame pop-rocker with a completely average (annoying as hell, too) melody -- I tend to skip it. "Karma Police" and "Electioneering" are decent "rocky" sort of songs, but they really don't do anything for me; for me, they don't fit how I listen to the album, which I'll explain later.

Apart from those three I mentioned, I think the rest is excellente! I can certainly understand your gripes with "Fitter Happier," but I think I listen to this album differently from you: personally, I see it not only as an example of clever '90s alt-rock, but also a musical depiction of how modern technology and culture can crush the good bits of the human psyche. Like that, "Fitter Happier" becomes the crushee's (is that even a word?) desperate submission to the life that they were so reluctant to live but that they've been forced to take up, else risk further anxiety and mental upset, now that they've realised that this is all they could get -- the sort of thing I'd imagine myself relating with if I didn't find it near impossible to make any emotional connections with music. With that in mind, I consider the best songs here to be the first four, with "Paranoid Android" being the album's peak, since they're the ones that best capture the album's mood (as I see it).

The rest is still great, too. "Lucky" may just be the greatest rock anthem for that defiant optimism you find in people dealt the worst hand in life. The lyrics to "Climbing Up The Walls" are probably the most intense on here: "I am the key to the lock in your house / That keeps your toys in the basement / And if you get too far inside / You'll only see your reflection." Dude, I'd guess it as being schizophrenia, but God knows what Thom actually means by it.

I can certainly see why it's regarded as highly as it is, though: one of the only examples of "clever" alt-rock from the '90s that really enjoyed any commercial success, and it was stylistically similar enough to what Pink Floyd were doing a couple decades before to pull the classic rock fan into the fan base, if not completely. "No Surprises," the mega-hit single that never was, the one song I heard before I was properly aware of who Radiohead are, also helped, I guess.

It's a definite improvement over the last two, but they still aren't there yet. I'd give this one a high eight personally, but even I'd say that's pretty generous. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence will acknowledge that Kid A is their true masterpiece, and significantly superior to this one.

Benjamin Burch
Easily radiohead's best album. Every song is excellent, and this is unfortunately their last album to make it all the way through. Not as straightforward as the two that came before it, and is therefore not as accessible. Though not my favorite album of all time, it's pretty damn close. My favorite song here is "Karma Police," but I'm also extremely fond of "Paranoid Android," "Airbag," "Electroneering," "No Surprises," and "Lucky."

Madan Mohan
Just a bit about the Pink Floyd influence that's frequently cited with respect to this band. Rather in pyschedelic noise or the textures, it's most evident in the way Radiohead pace their songs, especially on this album. Pink Floyd were masters of pacing above all and Radiohead are worthy successors in that regard. The seemingly complacent genteel balladry never gets dull because it's so well paced, makes every note count and builds tension, anguish, suspense among other moods and emotions brilliantly. In spite of Yorke's vocal abstraction, OK Computer is one of the most expressive 'modern' rock albums I have heard.

Add your thoughts?


Lost Treasures 1993-1997 - EMI UK 1998.
Rating = 6

Double-CD, 35 songs for the Radiohead FANATIC. "Headheads," as they're called. Includes six songs from 1993 (pretty basic pop and rock, one of which sounds like The Jam and is therefore resting in my large intestine waiting for release onto a prostitute's chest - this section gets a 3!), 6 from 1994 (getting spacey and good, with "Lozenge Of Love" and "You Never Wash Up After Yourself" introducing that acoustic git - moody lead thingy that The Binds expounded - this section receives an 8!), 6 from 1995 (Bends remix into a couple of OK Computer alternate versions that aren't anywhere near as magical as the correct versions - I'll give this section a disappointed 4), 4 from 1996 (all acoustic - including a short cover of Oasis' "Wonderwall" in which Thom Yorke, the singer for popular British band Radiohead, appears to be "taking the piss" -- a British slang term for "having a bit of fun" with one's "mates" by removing the urine from their kidneys with a spigot - this section obviously receives an 8) and finally a heaping helping of 13 1997 tracks, ranging from awful OK Computer, Got Any Gum? remixes to a PINK FLOYD COVER!!!!!!! to some other things and whatnot - I'll give it a strong, solid 5 of which any album would be rightly proud).

So there you have it - a 3, an 8, a 4, an 8 and a 5. Add them up and you get 28. Divide that by 5 and you get 5.6. Round up to the nearest whole number and you get a 6. You see the magic of my scale? It's really quite wonderful, isn't it?,

So yes, there are some great lost tunes here, as well as some not so great ones. TWO versions of "Killer Cars"? Possibly the worst song they ever wrote? And how about "Palo Alto," "How I Made My Millions" and "Melatonin"? THOSE sure are pretty inconsequential little nothing-tunes, aren't they?

Oh I guess you wouldn't know if you haven't heard the album.

Reader Comments

No1Yanks23@aol.com (Matt Reyes)
I've never heard this collection but it just appears to be a ton of bsides. But wasnt Polythene on there or Permenant Daylight? Two great songs that could have fit on the albums they were bsides for (ok computer and the bends). Killer Cars? That song rules...and if you are talking about the electric one and the acoustic live one...they both rule dude! Is this an offical cd even? There are rumors of a bsides collection coming out this year...

Jcjh20@aol.com (Joe H.)
Agreed, some of Radiohead b-sides that aren't as good as the songs that made the albums, but there's at least an album's worth of great material, IMO. "How I Made My Millions" is my favorite song of all of them, as it is extremely beautiful, and it was also made up on the spot and recorded by Thom at his house. Amazing for a song he just made up on the spot! I also love how lonely and sad the song sounds. "Polyethelyne", "The Trickster", "Permanent Daylight", "Talk Show Host", and "Lull" are also really good. Also the songs that sound totally like filler i still really like, like "Melatonin" (which sounds like something i'd try to record with my keyboard at 3 am), and "You Never Wash Up After Yourself" (kinda reminds me of "House Of The Rising Sun", except i like this one better). Stuff like "Palo Alto", "Killer Cars" and "Inside My Head" hardly do much of anything though. Not sure what i'd rate this particular collection since i don't know the tracklisting, but there are some great, even amazing, Radiohead b-sides out there.

john_warner_uk@hotmail.com
I think this album is great, however i will clear up the bad first: some of the altenate song versions on this album are, simply put no where near as good as finished versions of the album. And there are also some songs on the album, which seem to be fairly simple, slightly boring even. HOWEVER, the mentioned above consists of around 5 of the 35 tracks, leaving 30, what now seem to be incredibly rare, incredibly magical songs. The range of songs on this album is very large, many of the songs have that "bass guitar battling out with the acoustic guitar" feeling about them, which is always a welcome change from some of the more morose songs that radiohead have produced, there is a considerable range however, there are also some very soft and emotional songs on this album. Basically, if you like radiohead, especially the bends, you will love this, and the pink floyd cover of "Wish you were here" is absolutly amazing. Oh and one final drawback, - you must remember this is largely unrealeased music and as a result a few songs ( just 4 or 5) are slightly unfinished. How I Made My Millions seems to have the clunk of the piano pedals (or something) in the background, Polyethelene is in two parts, linked with "one two three fooouuur" and India Rubber dies out into a children laughing, which is obviously unfinished. However in a way this adds atmosphere to the album, its not a partically bad thing. If you see it, pick it up - its getting rare.

Add your thoughts?

* Kid A - Capitol 2000. *
Rating = 10

To be honest, I can't get past the first 5 seconds without giving the CD a 10. "Everything In Its Right Place" features one of the most hopeless, frightened atmospheres I have ever come across in music. I don't know how much Thom Yorke actually thinks about suicide, if at all, but this song is the PERFECT soundtrack for somebody whose life meaning has been destroyed. The soft echoing keyboard tones, Thom's pleading vocals set in perfect coordination with the four-chord rising self- annihilating ring of the music. The world is enormous and you are tiny in it. It's all too much to handle. The stress and loss and constant boredom and pain. I felt it when I was a teenager, and this song fucking BRINGS IT ALL BACK!!!

But then the album continues. Okay, so this is the album that everybody called "difficult" when it came out. What this means is that it is "creative," "non-traditional" and "interesting," and normal "modern rock" radio listeners aren't prepared to be, or interested in being, challenged. I don't mean to sound bitter - I just find it disappointing that "modern rock radio" claims to be on the cutting edge, yet all they play is bands that perfectly fit into pre-established popular genres. It's about ad sales and keeping your job, and I understand that, especially in this economy (my company had 130 people six months ago; now we're down to 13. YET I'M STILL THERE!?!?!?!?!). But I digerrs.

There is very little guitar on this album. It's built on synth sound backgrounds, bass lines, moods, chimes, sounds of unclear origin and Thom's beautiful voice. It's not ALL sad by any means. "The National Anthem" (NOT THE ONE BY FRANCIS SCOTT KEY!!!! THIS IS A DIFFERENT ONE ALTOGETHER!!!!) books along on a cool-as-shit bass line and jazzy horn section, "Motion Picture Soundtrack" is just a pretty little church organ choir-ey close, and. mmm. Well, hold that thought. "How To Disappear Completely" IS TAKING ME BACK TO THOSE AWFUL TEENAGE YEARS AGAIN!!! GODDAMN YOU, THOM YORKE!!! HOW DO YOU DO IT SO PERFECTLY!?!??!?!?. These are songs of complete emotional isolation. He claims in interviews that his lyrics of "I'm not here; this isn't happening" were inspired by a dream in which he was floating outside of his body, but with the repetitive sinking bass line and violin-orchestrated tears of pain wafting over his words, it's impossible for me personally to not consider it to be the words of a lost soul in the midst of unbelievable suffering and confusion - trying to convince himself that it's not real. His girlfriend died next to him in a car accident; he watched the World Trade Center collapse with his wife inside - whatever you wish. To Thom, maybe it's transcendental - to me, it is a perfect execution of the "tortured soul" motif without a hint of self-pity coming through. Luckily I'm not an official song critic, because I'd be WRONG on this one!

I have a friend who says this album sounds just like Eno, but to my ears, only the ambient drones of "Treefingers" really fit that mold to a tee. The rest of the songs are varied in instrumentation, production and mood, but all just MAKE IT. All of them work perfectly, giving you a package full of sadness, cool- as-shit 6/4 guitar twiggling ("In Limbo"), four extremely sorrowful chords repeating over and over above booming, distorted drums ("Idioteque"), prettiness atop loud tap-a-tap rat- a-tat drumming ("Morning Bell"), and even that other one! I'm not naming it! That is my rebellion.

But okay - in short - COOL SOUNDS THAT YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO TELL WHAT THEY ARE, ARRANGED INTO BEAUTIFUL, PERFECT PACKAGES OF UN-GENRE- SPECIFIC MUSIC. REPEATING BACKGROUND VOCALS, HUGE SMASHES OF DIDDLING NOISE, BACKWARDS SUCKLING - HOW TO CREATE SOMETHING AMAZING OUT OF NOTHING AT ALL.

I wish all bands were this good. This album is fantastic! Smart as hell and full of emotion too. Buy it and listen to it a whole bunch of times. Then fuckin kill yourself thanks to no one but fuckin me.

Sorry about that - I've been practicing my "Oscar The Grouch" impression all day. Big audition coming up.

Just to clarify - Oscar The Grouch is that really big bird, right?

Reader Comments

savage1561@juno.com (Evan Streb)
Awesome, wonderful, album of the year. I liked it mainly because it's just so darn weird and uncommercial. Say! Speaking of uncommercial, did anybody know that this album was released with no singles or videos and it still got up to number one? THAT is quite a feat! Wonderfully weird Saturday Night Live performance too. Thom was acting really manic and spastic flying all around. Pretty cool.

alanhaw@hotmail.com (Alan Hawkins)
EXCELLENT album!!! if the last couple of records hinted at it, then this album confirms it - Radiohead are trying to be a progressive rock band for the new millenium! and they do it so well! Where as the previous album was basically a straightforward pop/rock album with an arty sound, Kid A is nothing BUT art, rather than going for individual songs, they've created an album that is obviously meant to be listened to as a whole. This approach is not only exciting - but there's some clever stuff going on here too, layers and layers of different sounds that are impossible to take in on one listen,(the intense, mantra-like "Everthing in it's right place," the strangely catchy, shapeshifting title-track, and the instrumental "Fingertrees," which is both errie and moving) there's some odd time signatures, (the weird drumbeat that opens "Morning bell" and the disorientating arrangement of "In limbo")aswell as moments of sheer beauty (the very subtle yet clever interplay between Yorke's voice and a string orchestra during "How to disappear completely.") And for any-one wanting some of the "old" sound, there's a really cool, dark rocker called "Optimistic"! There's only a couple of duds this time, the noisefest "The national Anthem" and the techno-y "Idioteque" are both dull, and maybe the final song isn't that great either, but the rest of the album is fantastic. I give it a very high 8, it's their most consistant album so far - and if they keep going in this direction, I'll be a huge fan! and they've got a new album called Amnesiac coming out in June!

jason_a@earthlink.net (Jason Adams)
It's hard to put my finger on what exactly is so good about this album. Each song has a very subtle effect that you have to really listen to enjoy. Not exactly punk as fuck, but it will have to do. A nine.

ian.moss@yale.edu (Ian Moss)
Dude, total non-letdown!!! I was a wee bit scared of this album at first, because I've never really appreciated rock bands' forays into electronica (see U2 for a rather horrid example), and the first couple of times I listened to Kid A, I thought my fears were confirmed. But then I listened some more, and I thought, "wait--that keyboard thingie that opens the album is really nice....and 'the National Anthem' has a really spiffy groove...and those two songs on the second half are fucking quality!" Then I listened some more and I finally got why Thom and co. released this album--they actually thought it was good! And it is!!! I can't express how excited I am that they're not washed up already. That their well-meaning experiments aren't exercises in futility. That they're still reaching an audience (Jesus, they even got nominated for a Grammy! Not that that means anything, but, I mean, Jesus! What would you do?). Anyway, I love "Optimistic," "In Limbo" and "How to Disappear," but all of the rest are really good too, except for "Idiotheque" which is annoying. Also, neither the "Motion Picture Soundtrack" nor its asinine "secret track" companion really do anything for me. What's with Radiohead's obsession with movies, anyway, especially to close albums? I mean, on The Bends you had "Street Spirit (Fade Out)," on OK Computer you had "Exit Music (for a film)" and now this on Kid A. They should just start writing film music already--they'd certainly be great at it. 9.

sandlwillis@aol.com (Stuart Willis)
Indulgent, deliberately anti-commercial tosh. Why would a band actually want to sound bored - why would they write meandering, repetitious and slow songs designed to bore their listener? Especially when we're talking about the same band previously responsible for two of the finest albums of the 90s. KID A sees Radiohead succumbing to their own hype, buckling under the weight of critical acclaim and the suggestion that they must be the post-millenial equivalent to the prog rock bands of the 70s.

But this is turgid. Boring, lacking in any of the guitar dynamics that made the band popular in the first place, and Yorke sounds bored shitless. Honestly, if an obscure band released this as their debut you'd give it an honest review and admit it's shit - and record companies would not sign a band up on the strength of this. A career low from a band that were great, but desperately in need of putting their feet back on the ground.

Thatcoolbrotha@aol.com
As I write this I am listening to Amnesiac for the second time. I believe that Amnesiac is a good album but, to put it simply it is a redux of Kid A but with more "accesible elements" which means more guitar. There are a few songs that shunt the Kid A style for something entirely different but other than that it's just a really good group of whirrs, cracks and blips, an 8. Which brings me to my next point. Radiohead have put themselves into a creative rut. The weird stuff that they've done is pretty good but people are getting tired of it. SandlWillis hated from the start, and partly he's right. If this stuff wasn't Radiohead I would have even picked it up. But being a successful recording artist does give you the right to experiment and do things that wouldn't be successful from anybody else. The whole reason they did Kid A was to shunt ideas of a OK Computer 2. And when it was sucessful they decided "Hey, since they public like it so much let's do it again!" and you can feel the backlash coming. Entertainment Weekly gave it a C+ , and Spin, who usually foam at the mouth over Radiohead, gave it a 7 which means GASP! It worse than a Destiny's Child album (Shame on you Spin, A 9!?) sure I liked Amnesiac but the Sandlwillis's of the world will lead the backlash with the rock magazines and Radiohead must lurk in the corners until they can find a new form of music that they can exploit. They've gone to far of course, they either have to return to more normal freaky rock and roll or keep mining the electronica stuff or break up. Or they can do a Bootylicious Destiny's Child album. Can you imagine Thom Yorke, short, flat-assed englishman, singing the music of nice-assed, sexy black girls? "MYYYYYYYY BODY'S TOOO BOOOTYLICIOUSSSSSSSSSSS!" I Shudder my friends, I shudder *brrrr*.

Jcjh20@aol.com
Yeah, so basically they took OK Computer's weirdness, and ambience and brought the level much higher! With amazing results of course, i can absolutely see how you'd give this a 10. I love it that much too. It's funny how you mention about the feelings of a teenager coming back to you, cuz certain albums (including some songs on here) do that to me too! I thought i was just weird or something. Anywho, "Optimistic", "Everythings In its Right Place" and "National Anthem" rule, and i like "Motion Picture Soundtrack" the most, i think, cuz its one of the most depressing songs ive ever heard. Especially that line "I will see you, in the next liiiiiiifffffeeeee". "How To Disappear Completely" is a beauty too. "Idioteque" was surprizing cuz its mostly electronic, and i dont like much electronic music, but damn Radiohead could make it amazing! Overall i give it a 9.

colinjaffe@mediaone.net (Colin Jaffe)
Not much to say on this one that Prindle didn't already say. Just an amazing, tight, flowing masterpiece. I think "Treefingers" is a little dopey, actually, and slow as all hell, but it is interesting if you can bring yourself to pay attention to it, and it makes a good break between "How to Disappear Completely" and "Optimistic". I had a lot of trouble myself deciding on the ten among the last three records, but this one is a bit more challenging than OK Computer and just a little more consistent than Amnesiac, so it gets the perfect ten.

Muggwort@aol.com
wow mark me and you can have similar tastes sometimes, i too think that kid a is a masterpiece! "everything in the right place" is a creepy little song, but the title track blows me away with that music box melody and weird lyrics, "Optimistic" is catchy as all hell, "treefingers" is groovy ambiance, and that dance number is great for shaking your ass! this music shows that there are infinite ways to put notes and rhythms, their most truly inspirational album, a 10

willie8911@home.com (Willie Simpson)
A really cozy listen. This softer album is as brilliant as the last. The experimentalism is really present, but subdued due to the sparse arrangements. Cool as fuck to listen to though. Not as scary sounding as the others too, but surprises to be found on each corner. I love the closer, it's like the Beatles "Good Night" fully realized. The opener rules as well. It's hard to remember all of the song names, as Radiohead music exsists as moments rather than confined songs. Again, Radiohead's second heavenly album. Nothing much to add. Or is that no thing? 9/10.

philipb2@yahoo.com (Philip Blaiklock)
Yes, yes, yes, absolutely essential. Took a while for me to get into it, though. Not all of these songs are excellent, but they somehow gel together making this album more than the sum of its parts. Kid A is a cold, distant masterpiece. 'How to Disappear Completely' still tears me apart each time I listen to it. 10.

Bizzkit00@aol.com
This is the first techno album that I consider to be a masterpiece. This actually came out before I even remotely liked Radiohead. I started liking them after I saw the SNL performance with National Anthem and Idioteque. I was just watching SNL as usual when I noticed that the musical guest was Radiohead. I merely rolled my eyes and said, "I bet they're gonna play some stupid Creep type crap." BOY WAS I WRONG!!! First they did National Anthem. It started off with that kickass bassline that immediately grasped my attention. The next thing you know there's this guy on the floor playing this messed up finger-keyboard-thing and hes also screwing around with some awesome vocal effects while Thom's singing. While the band's playing, Thom starts to either have an epilleptic seizure or gets WAAAAAAAYYYYYY too into the song. His head's bobbing back and forth and he keeps hitting the mic repeatedly. And when it was all over, my jaw was dropped and I was practically speechless. All I could say was "What the hell was that? That was the coolest thing I've ever seen!" That was my first good experience with Radiohead.

That's how the whole album moves me. This could be the most unique sounding album I've ever heard. I guess the concept of this album was to signify the life of a human clone which is named Kid A. The cool thing with this album is that the mood changes with each song. Everything In Its Right Place is a mellow, creepy song which contains a 5/4 time signature and lyrics that hint at mental illness. Kid A is one of their intelligent techno Aphex Twin type songs where the human clone is singing to himself in a confused manner. National Anthem is the best Radiohead song. I can't even explain its sound because it's so unique. It's like a techno song but with real drums and real instruments. It just rocks. How To Disappear Completely is a late-day Pink Floyd type tune about a dream Thom had about flying and he couldn't tell if it was really happening or not. Treefingers is an instrumental that sounds exactly like what you'd hear at the planetarium. Optimistic is their return to the normal three-guitar attack. In Limbo is another Pink Floyd-ish tune where Thom mumbles things in the background and in the end his voice is doubled three million types and fades away with major echo. Then there's the other intelligent techno song Idioteque. This has the coolest beat I've ever heard and some of the coolest vocals ever. Techno doesn't get much better than this. And it's just RADIOHEAD!!!!! Then there's Morning Bell which has another 5/4 time signature and I'm guessing the lyrics are about robbing someone's house or something. Then there's the beautiful closer Motion Picture Soundtrack. A kickass ending to a kickass album.

michielh@nl.demon.net (Michiel Heinicke)
"Everything in it's right place" Scared the hell out of me the first time I heard it, it's such a good opener for such a good album. Yeah, this album seemded a bit weird on the beginning, since we were used to OK computer. Took me about a year to fully appreciate the music, and now this is perhaps my favourite Radiohead album. "The National Anthem" has a killer bass line. Some weird songs too, but it works for me.

slb23@shaw.ca (S.B.)
It's funny (weird-funny) that when I first listened to it, I thought "WHAT IS THIS??!!", I hated it. I told that to the CD shop guy behind the counter. He said "usually after the 5th listen you'll like it." So I reluctantly bought it. And I did what he told me to do . . . and what do you know, I like it!

Another weird-funny thing is that after about 2 years of listening to it, I think that it sounds old. Not old from listening to it too much, but old as in out-dated. Which is really odd. I still like it, though. There's almost no guitar on it, compared to The Bends, though.

Anywho, my favourites are:

"Kid A" : a neat bouncy drum pattern, nice mallet percussion, a few washes of synth strings, and it's over. Short and sweet.

"The National Anthem" : this is a cool song! Love that distorted bass riff. I hated the chaotic horn section part at first, but now I think it's really neat.

"How to Disappear Completely" is my favourite Radiohead slow-type song. [my other fav. is "Street Spirit (Fade Out)"]. It's so sad.

"Idioteque" is a disjointed somewhat-dancable-techno-song. It's so cool. They were on SNL and they performed this, and it was wild! Thom danced like he was having convulsions, every band member locked groovin'-movin' state, it was Crazy with a capital C, I tell you!

"Morning Bell" : a neat-as-hell drum pattern, passionate vocals from Thom, a lament-type song.

"Motion Picture Soundtrack" is mournful, and optimistic at the same time. But i don't like that damned harp! agh! There's a hidden track about two-or-so minutes after "Motion Picture Soundtrack" fades away. Then two-or-so minutes of more silence. Then the CD stops.

okeydoke0@yahoo.com (Barrett Barnard)
this record really isnt that difficult.at least not to comprehend.there are many more bands out there who are wierder, spacier, and more experimental than radiohead but for some reason this band comes up with the most beautiful melodies, lyrics, atmospheres, and instrumentation of any band i can think of.the keyboard in everything in its right place is like rain drops falling in yer mouth.optimistic is the aural equivalent of an aneurysm.idioteque may have the saddest 4 notes ever put together in the history of pop music.the lyrics to how to dissapear completely are like plumbing the depths of alienation.

but even after all of that bullshit its just a great record period.past emotional involvement the hooks in these songs are HUGE.most of them are only 4 or 5 notes but they hook you just as well as the beatles or nirvana could.its just different.im not putting this band on that level but its possible that one day they could be on that level.well fuck that even if its not this a great record that is accesible as fuck.and if you dont likeradiohead youre kidding yerself.

sirmustapha@ig.com.br (Fernando)
Did I say OK Computer is a definitive 10? Screw it, I just can't decide which one is the best between OK Computer or Kid A. They're both brilliant! This one is not as athmospheric, but it's very disturbing! All songs here are good. All of them. Highlights? The National Anthem (stunning), How To Disappear Completely (stunning), Optimistic (rocks), Idioteque (brilliant) and Motion Picture Soundtrack (wonderful). The others are excellent, too. I understand your praise for Everything In Its Right Place - very mind-disturbing, indeed! I love those little "electronica" gimmicks - the album is chock full of them! (I love the "fffwwWWWOOOOOWwww!" at the end of National Anthem, and the noises on In Limbo) Kid A is very computer-y and pleasant, Treefingers is a brilliant piece of ambience (made with guitar!), and I love Morning Bell so much! A 9, certainly. I *would* give it a 10 if this was George Starostin's site, though. :)

AND I REMEMBER RADIOHEAD PLAYING IDIOTEQUE AND THE NATIONAL ANTHEM ON SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE! Shame that by that time, I didn't know who the heck Radiohead were, but I found Thom so damn funny... and I still do! He looks like a nerd! NERDS! YOU'RE ALL NERDS, RADIOHEAD! AND YOU TOO, RUSH! Strange, I love both these bands...

nikus80@hotmail.com (Nicol s Iv n Perez Santoro)
I live in argentina, you know. Here, there wasn't any Radiohead hype. I used, long time ago, before I Meet The Beatles, to see MTV. That said, I kept constantly changing the channel if there wasn't any good video. It happened often.

I've got MTV again, and I still see some parts of it, but that's another story. The thing is, the only thing I knew about Radiohead was that it was a band who made some kickass videos. They were great. But the music seemed anemic to me. There wasn't any energy, and I hated Thom Yorke singing. I enjoyed watching Paranoid Android, but because the cartoon was cool. Just gets my vote for best video ever, even if I saw it only once, and I didn't saw it in its entirety.

My favourite band at that time was Metallica, and I see it was a thread. Many friends of mine thought that it was the best band ever. I guess some of them still do. It's a good band, that's a fact. But it isn't the best band ever.

So, my cousin always liked Radiohead. I remember clearly saying to her that Radiohead was TOO damn slow.

That's it, I hated Radiohead.

Did you noticed I said "hated", not "hate"? I kept listening to the singles, High & Dry, Karma Police, No Surprises, Paranoid Android, and I ended up liking them. So I borrowed from my cousin all Radiohead records, except Hail to the thief (she didn't had it).

I went to school the next day, or the next two days, and I told my techno-lover friend I got all Radiohead records. He said "Radiohead is a shit" (in spanish, of course). I told my hardrock/heavy/powermetal/¨prog?-lover friend, and he told me the same. I told my rhcp/somebeatles/mostlyargentinemusic-lover friend, and he told me the same. I didn't bothered with my grindcore/blackmetal/punk-lover friend (but he said he likes There There! and he likes COLDPLAY!), so nobody liked it. I put on Packt like sardines in a crushd tin box at my birthday, and everybody said it sucked.

What's my point, then? My point is very simple: Some people say you can't have an unbiased opinion of Radiohead, having read all the critics and hearing the hype. I didn't. I just read a very short critic of Kid A, which had 4/5 points. I mean, evaluating music is a subjective matter, but I was completely unbiased. Remember I started HATING radiohead.

My fav. 4 bands/artists (in alphabetic order): Beatles, Beck, Charly Garcˇa (a 50-yo argentine musician), and Radiohead. I like a lot of musicians, but these are the top 4. Some scratch it very well, like Pixies, but that's the top 4.

Kid A is a difficult record. I mean it seriously. I belive that, in order to fully apreciate Kid A, you must sit down and hear it. You MUST PAY ATTENTION to the music. Some people simply can't do this. They can't sit down and for forty minutes, do nothing but to appreciate the music. It is easy for them to listen to, let's say, Guns 'n' Roses or Die Toten Hosen. I like those bands, but if you listen to them while you are cooking a cake, you can appreciate them almost as good as if you are doing nothing else.

Kid A is a great record. No throwaway tracks. I mean, how can you choose your favourite track? It's like on Abbey Road or the White Album. Too many choices. Ten choices. Ok, I guess nobody will find Treefingers as this album masterpiece, but I wouldn't pickup Because as my favourite Abbey Road song, but it isn't bad.

I mean, all tracks are great. Great. No, great isn't the right word. Essential, like they say on some review website.

Perhaps my favourite is the title track, but not with a good margin. Just because is the less conventional of the tracks (ok, tied with Treefingers), and the music seems to transport me to another world. I feel like in some room next to a music box, like a song about some old guy which likes to rape childrens. I mean, perhaps the song isn't about that, but the feeling it gives me is amazing. The only lyric you need to listen is "Rats and children follow me out of town"

How To Dissapear Completely is a winner in the same way, the music transmiting a feeling. Optimistic does something similar: Listen to the chorus, Thom may be singing about being optimistic, but the music (and the way he sings) gaves a resignation feeling.

And so I could rave with all songs: Motion Picture has sadness, The National Anthem has anarchy, Treefingers makes you feel like you're traveling some place and it would make wonderful ambient music, too,In limbo really feels like you're In limbo, lost at a sea, Idioteque seems like if you are running without stopping and you are being chased, Everything in its right place uses imagery with a good effect ("There are two colors in my head"), for some strange reason I feel like I could sense the colors in the music, I can't explain it, but it is, looks like a black background with some pink and green. PLEASE, don't ask me why.

Then we get to morning bell, which also uses the lyrics (and thom voice) in a good way, when Thom says "Releeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaseeeeeee meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee", or "Cut the kids in haaalf".

My point? Kid A is great, it sounds great and it gives a feeling. If you don't like it, is because you don't get it, you can't get the feelings on the music.

The only flaw in Kid A, is that repeatened listens will depress you. If that happens, buy some Coldplay CD. Or listen to the Ramones.

michielh@nl.demon.net (Michiel Heinicke)
The first time I heard it i was like "what the hell....where's all the guitars???" I really hated it when it came out. Divine Intervention caused me to listen to it again, and now i LOVE it. See, what's so great about this album is that the experimentation just blends beautifully with their music. Sure, a lot of bands have done it... but just take one listen to U2's Discotheque and realise that Radiohead is the one of the few band that truelly masters this. And I LOVE IT, How can you say that OK Computer is their best album??? It's not, Kid A and Amnesiac are!!! See - I totally agree with Mr Prindle about the haunting "Everything in it's right place". I often just rewind the song to listen to those opening notes...eerie...just eerie. 10/10

associationist@hotmail.com (Philip Prescott)
Pretty good album - check out the record that inspired it - Autechre's "Chiastic Slide".

saul9@frontiernet.net (Jack Markowitz)
My friend and I were talking about Radiohead. He still agrees OKC is the best album ever, but he seems to be loosing his respect for this band anyway. He said Kid A was JUST good. He then said that Pink Floyd is better than Radiohead. And I really started thinking about that I love both bands, but could anyone tell me which is the better band, and why? I really think Radiohead is better, at least so far. I'm not factoring in the fact that Pink Floyd has so much more material because I'm considering that Radiohead at least has 3 more cds to make up. Well, I was looking at it, and Radiohead has the best album ever in okc. And then I also think that Kid A is just about as good as WYWH or The Wall. Am I wrong in thinking this? Can someone knock some sense into me thinking that Radiohead is better, or that I should even care about this?

nator9999@comcast.net (Nathan)
I always felt dissapointed that I couldn't get into OK Computer. I could sort of see how people loved it so much, but I just didn't really get it, and the only song that really blew my mind was Paranoid Android. Then one day, on a whim, I bought Kid A. Holy shit...it blew my mind! I can't agree with Mark more. despite what people say, OK Computer wasn't that unconventional (a little too much U2 for my tastes), but this...I've never heard anything like this before. Sure, go ahead and compare it to Eno, Aphex Twins, Talking Heads, or whatever---of course they probably were influenced by all these people, but there is nothing else that sounds quite like this album, and I just love that. The flow is so great, the atmosphere is even better than on OK Computer, and most of my favorite Radiohead songs are on here too. The opener and 'How to Disappear Completely' are both classics, along with the catchy 'Optimistic.' My personal favorite though is 'Idioteque,' it sort of reminds me of Talking Heads from Remain in Light, but Yorke beats Byrne at his own quirky/paranoid game. The part in 'Morning Bell' where you're expecting the grandiose, sweeping climax, and then all the instruments vanish suddenly and Yorke is whispering "cut the kiiiiids in half" definitely gets my vote for best moment on the album. It's SO creepy!!! The whole album is creepy! And look at the pictures in the sleeve of the cd case. That's EXACTLY what the music sounds like!

I may just be overrating this because it's the first album from my own lifetime that I've seriously gotten excited about (born in 1988), but it really is very unique and interesting...a true modern classic.

thepublicimage79@hotmail.com (Mike Noto)
Well, Kid A...very, very good album, probably Radiohead's worst(best). It's either one. Mostly I think it's their best, partially because the electronics make me feel like I'm floating in a warm isotonic chamber of loveliness...except with all those other tunes away from "Kid A" itself and "Treefingers" (which, suspiciously enough, are turning into my favorite tunes on the album! Why?!?) But first, some myths to break! Yay!

1) This is nowhere near as weird as everyone says it is. This is not difficult music. Captain Beefheart, Pere Ubu, early PiL (definitely an influence on said proceedings), Neu!, Can, Autechre, Mingus - this is a pointless laundry list, except that it makes a point. Experimental it may be, but listener-unfriendly? Oh, please - go listen to Linkin Park.

2) There is far more guitar on this than practically anyone says. "Everything In Its Right Place", "Kid A", and "Motion Picture Soundtrack" are the three, out of 10, songs that truly do not have any guitar on them. The rest do. "The National Anthem" has double-tracked Ondes Martenot (an early synth-like instrument that's like a keyboard and theremin that Jonny Greenwood plays throughout the album) and one track programmed, effects-soaked guitar (by Ed O'Brien, who plays more guitar on this album than anyone else in the band, and who was doing this type of stuff as far back as "The Bends" - background whooping noises in "Bullet Proof..I Wish I Was"? That's Ed). "How To Disappear Completely", aside from the obvious acoustic guitar, has a high, gliding line that is again Ed on programmed guitar - sounds like a whale singing or something). "Treefingers" is ALL programmed guitar by Ed, with a little synth from Thom. "Optimistic" is obvious, and has Jonny and Ed playing guitars, but there are some difficult to pick up acoustic guitar strums that are Thom. "In Limbo" has that cool guitar twiddling (from Jonny - Ed plays the keyboard on that song) in 6/4. The weird sounds in the outro on "Idioteque" are again Ed on programmed guitar. "Morning Bell" has two guitars played by Jonny and Ed over Thom's Fender Rhodes. Okay? There is A LOT of guitar here!

Anyway, the album, to me at least, is really good, probably their best. I don't think it's especially underwritten, but some numbers are a little underdone ("Motion Picture Soundtrack" originally had a third verse that had no reason to be cut out, "Idioteque", while one of the group's best songs, has a synth line lifted from Paul Lansky and sounds far too much like a stripped down PiL, and the hidden track is just plain self-indulgence) and a couple are not long enough (the aforementioned "Motion Picture Soundtrack", and "Morning Bell" could have risen to an even more stupendous emotional climax if Jonny and Ed had seen fit to do some atypical guitar heroics). But I like it very much - even though absolutely everybody hates it, I love the title track. That keyboard sounds so beautiful, and makes me want to luxuriate in a hot tub.

dompenguin88@sbcglobal.net
Following the example of that one guy on the Metallica page who condensed Lightning, Puppets, and Justice into one super-album, I have attempted to artfully fuse Radiohead's two masterpieces - OK Computer and Kid A - into one listening experience so amazing that, upon hearing it for the first time, you will immediately fall to your knees and give all of your possessions to me. Or to Radiohead, I guess, since they actually wrote the music, but I need them more.

1. Airbag
2. Paranoid Androind
3. Everything In Its Right Place
4. Exit Music (For A Film)
5. The National Anthem
6. Karma Police
7. Optimistic
8. In Limbo
9. Electioneering
10. Climbing Up The Walls
11. Idioteque
12. How To Disappear Completely

On a tangentially related note, I think that Kid A is the first album I've ever heard with a second side that's clearly superior to its first side. Most records, of course, are the other way around; I've heard albums that are consistently good all the way through, and albums with debatedly or slightly superior second sides, but with Kid A I can't imagine anyone preferring side 1, even though it has the best song on the album ("The National Anthem").

(Note: If any of you do, in fact, prefer side 1, and are seriously offended by my stereotyping, please don't write me a long, angry email about it.)

invisible_now@mail.com (Dan)
I agree that this is the best album in the Radiohead catalog. Compared to previous albums, it's concise, every song is enjoyable, or at the very least, intriguing. What makes this better than OK Computer? No, not the sound, but the fact that the last three tracks on it don't sound identical to each other. That album just drags on (and on and on) at the end.

Their subsequent albums, Amnesiac and Hail to the Theif, just feel like more of the same old blippy-bloppy electronica, with stark lyrical imagery, and the occasional guitar line or piano ballad. Yeah, I know Amnesiac was recorded at the same time as this album. That doesn't make it a great album. Amnesiac suffers from the same problems as OK Computer: too many go-nowhere songs. And Hail to the Thief? A whole album of 'em.

Anyway, back to Kid A. It's a classic, even if I begrudgingly admit it.

My only complaint would be the "concept" of the album. I've been subjected to far too many debates on whether it is about a robotic child in a post-apocalyptic hallucination or if the key to understanding the album is through eating nothing but wheat grass for 7 days (starting on the vernal equinox) while depriving yourself of sleep, and wearing the hide of a three legged mountain goat.

I think, by now, we are all painfully aware that it's about the journey of a paranoid, lazy-eyed Englishman through a world of analogue circuitry and gay discos, and the toll this journey has taken on his increasingly lazy eye.

End of discussion.

ddickso2@uccs.edu
STRAW! I just realized something. You know "Everything in its Right Place"? You know "Pyramid Song"? Same chord progression, same instrument. Different key, slightly different melody, slightly different keyboard tone. So. Even the mighty Radiohead aren't immune to self-plagiarism.

(They're not exactly Uriah Heep, but STILL)

I like this album. But I don't think it's the masterpiece OK Computer was, even though side 1 might be the best side they ever recorded. It kind of trails off into boredom on side 2. Oh sure, the last five songs are all creative and so forth, but they seem more "clever" than "fun" or "resonant." Come to think of it, I'm going to have to ditto the All Music Guide's review of this album, word for word. Same for Amnesiac.

But if they'd culled the best songs from both albums onto 1 CD. . . aw, fuckin shit bitch tits, now we're talkin'.

God. I feel so filthy having used such nasty language in a Radiohead comment. Words like "fun" and "resonant" makes baby Jesus cry.

To absolve myself, I will watch some clean, family-friendly Fiery Furnaces videos.

(TEE-HEE-HEE! They're so indie and CUTE!)

OK, all better now. Good album(s).

MBerry@orlandosentinel.com
i finally got around to picking up Radiohead's Kid-A. You're right - it's fantastic.

princess_vachtangov@yahoo.com
Just to clarify - since everybody in the world but me is an idiot (especially Barack Obama who sucks dick): the four sorrowful chords in Idioteque are taken from a German opera called Tristan and Isolde, which has about 2 million sorrowful chord sequences in it and is the greatest piece of music ever written. But you wouldn't understand that, since you probably like Barack Obama and are therefore sheep.

Sincerely,
Joe Biden, 4 days ago

edm1213@msn.com
there's not much that can be said about Kid A or OK Computer... two of those "important" alternative records of the late 90s/early 2000s, much like Flaming Lips' Zaireeka-Soft Bulletin-Yoshimi midlife crisis perfection or U2's Pop and All You Cant Leave Behind or Smashing Pumpkins' Adore and Machina (ok, I'm totally taking the piss out with the U2 and Pumpkins there, as one I never liked and the other I havent liked since Siamese Wetdream, but whatever).

The atmosphere on Kid A won me over and even had me checking out The Bends and OK Computer more than i had during the period when they were new, and i can always count on Kid A to put me to sleep, in a good way, if that makes sense. 9/10

Speaking of albums that should of been Kid A/OK Computer or Yoshimi/Soft Bulletin huge, Thought Industry's Short Wave On A Cold Day (released in 2001) totally sounds like a cross between Radiohead and the Lips with late-period Pumpkins done right (aka not totally Mellon Collie, Adore and Machina cheesy lame) thrown in for good measure. Of course it's been heard or bought by exactly 3 people beside me, all of whom got it from already being familiar with TI's early 90s prog-thrash metal period. Short Wave... is out of print now (thanks Metal Blade) and the band is no more, but if you can find it used on Amazon for 1 cent or higher, it's a must if you like Radiohead, recent Lips or all the above.

Benjamin Burch
This is where radiohead kind of starts to lose it. Sure its full of great songs, but this is the start of their "electronic" phase. I do like this album, but I don't think of it as a masterpiece or anything. My favorites are "Everything in its Right Place," "The National Anthem," "How to Disappear Completely, "Morning Bell" and "Idioteque."

Add your thoughts?


Amnesiac - Capitol 2001.
Rating = 8

I think I may have contradicted myself. I think I said something earlier about how I'm not impressed by songs that toy with your emotions, and then I went on to rave about some songs that toy with my emotions. Don't question this. Consistency is the hobgoblin of global supremacy.

Which reminds me of a hilarious joke I made up earlier today. This dumbass piece of shit woman at the dog run has two dogs that she named (I'm gonna gag just writing this) "Music" and "Major." And she just keeps calling them - "Music!" "Major!" So as we were leaving, my lovely wife said to me, "That's so pathetic. You know she just did that so people would walk up to her and say, "Oh! Were you a music major?" To which I hilariously replied, "I know! I'm gonna buy two dogs and name them '12 Inches' and `When Flaccid'!" H ahhww! DH!!! AHHH! EH!!!!

I seem to recall that when Kid A came out, the record company promised, "Oh, don't worry! This is a weird experimental release, but they'll be putting out a normal music release later this year.

NOPE! Amnesiac is their weirdest one yet - completely offputting and full of "songs" that seem purposely unfinished, like a work of modern art that is just a bunch of random colors thrown against a canvas. It may look pretty, it may not, it may interest certain people, it may bore others. When it works, it's generally by an accidental collision of artistic ingredients. This CD is aural "modern art," man! Not as much as ridiculous "New York Downtown" dicking around free jazz experimental electronics nonsense, but certainly out of place in the normal "modern rock" circle in which they have placed themselves through smash hits like "Creep" by The Fall and TLC, "High and Dry" by the Ventures, "Creep" by TLC, "High and Dry" by the Rolling Stones and "Karma Police" by Culture Trick.

A couple of these songs are kind of reworkings of ones on the last album, if memory serves (I actually don't even know the titles of these songs, and I feel that that's the most appropriate way to "critique" a piece of work that might as well be called Untitled #5, at least according to my halfassed "modern art" analogy.) So continuing on, let me be more specific so you can understand exactly what you're getting into if you decide to purchase this cold, unfriendly album. Track 1 starts with a clangy bell sample just like The Fall's "Birmingham School Of Business School," but turns not into a catchy dance number but into a cool voice that wavers and sticks and somehow sings over a backdrop of programmed drums and a simple childlike keyboard. Track 2 is a piano that goes up and down in a repetitive chilly manner with violin sounds and singing and track 3 is kinda dancey almost but the voice is synthesized to hell so you can't hear what it's saying and then there are bits of squirmy notes that come in and out, and track 4 is kinda gospelly and gentle with semi-Hawaiian guitar strumming and everything all muffled, and #5 is reminiscent of Beck's "Loser" kinda with its Western guitar lick and mad, phat hop-hip beats and track #6 is very similar to stuff on OK Computer - a complete song with a guitar line and excellent soaring, sadness-drifting vocal ("Look into my eyes - I'm not coming back."). Oooh! It's called "Knives Out"! This song is fuckin great! Was this a hit? It should have been. Man, this band excites me. I can't believe it took me so damn long to realize how smart they are. I LOVE smart rock bands! So moving on, the rest do different things - horns, oboes, backwardws organs, a classic rock riff mic'ed so that you can hear all the scrape noises as the fingers move up and down the strings between chords (Just like the Ramones' "Pinhead"!) and one with a cool walking bass and strummy guitars. Basically it has MORE guitars than the last one, and maybe three normal-ish songs, but the rest are bizarre. Not even sad or pretty, so much (except "Knives Out" and track 7, which may or may not be a re-recording of "Morning Bell" from the previous record). Most of the songs are just kooky is all. Songs that normal people would have.umm. COMPLETED.

Reader Comments

abattoir@9inchnails.net (Shannon Burge)
10/10

There's still no review per se for the new album on this site. For shame! Here's my two tarnished Canadian pennies. Last year, as Kid A was being released, there was a buzz that another album's worth of material had already been recorded for release in the new year. This material, it was said, would be be more conventional and coherent than the avant-electro-jazz of Kid A.

Bullshit.

And I say that in the nicest possible way. I enjoy Amnesiac immensely, even though it is every bit as experimental as Kid A. Nothing wrong with that. Even Yoko Ono couldn't ruin this band.

After the twitchy, minimalist "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box" (which recalls "Idiotheque"), we get the first single, the moving "Pyramid Song", in which Thom sounds too sad to even be bothered to open his mouth when he sings, god bless 'im. Chock full of hypnotic computer grooves, and with a cute little cartoon mascot! It's got everything!

dai_the_flu85@hotmail.com (Mike Burrus)
Before I bought this album I knew that it was recorded during the same time as Kid A which brought me to the conclusion that this was an album of nothing but outtakes. So I wasn't expecting it to be anywhere near as good as OK Computer or Kid A. But it was Radiohead, so that meant it had to be good. So I bought it, and I was blown away at how unbeleivably great it is. It's very very good. All of the songs except for the stupid instrumental expirement, "Hunting Bears", is a masterpeice. About all the hype that it will be either electronic and Kid A oriented, or guitar-laden and OK Computer oriented, I say both perspectives are true. Chances are, if you expect it to be like one album, you'll think it sounds more like the other, cause here's what they did: Other than the last two, All the odd numbered songs are more electronic or trippy and could be compared to Kid A, and the even-numbered ones are more guitar or piano-oriented and could be compared to OK Computer, which means the keyboards and sound loops are used in the background or for atmosphere. and the last two? COMPLETELY different than anything they've ever done before. Gorgeous music. I give it a 10. I especially enjoy the tastefully ambient atmospheres on songs like "Pyramid Song", "Morning Bell/Amnesiac", and the incredible "Dollars And Cents". The guitar line on "Knives Out" is eerie and beautiful; probably the most well-written song on the album.

ian.moss@yale.edu (Ian Moss)
Yet another solid entry from those weird Brits who call themselves Radiohead. I humbly opine, Senors Prindle, Taosterman, and Aguiar, that the so-called "Pyramid Song" is one of the most sadly beautiful songs I've ever had the pleasure/pain to hear. Gotta love those weird time signatures and harmonies that nevertheless make (dollars and) SENSE.

That's an interesting observation above about the odd and even-numbered tracks. I'm not sure I quite agree, though, as "I Might Be Wrong" is pretty damn melodic (and also one of the best songs on the album), and there are other aberrations as well. I do think that this one is more similar to Kid A than to OK Computer; you can tell right from the first track that the two albums are cut from the same cloth (or master sessions, whatever).

My take on Amnesiac vs. Kid A is that the latter is more consistent, although Amnesiac's best songs are better than Kid A's best. Amnesiac has some incredible moments, but "Hunting Bears" is pretty pointless (though it does fit with the mood) and, come to think of it, each of the last three tracks are lacking in some way. Radiohead is not a '40s jazz ballad outfit and they shouldn't pretend that they are. I hope they're not succumbing to U2 disease what with the petering-out-at-the-end effect. Oh, and I do not see the point of them doing "Morning Bell" again. It wasn't even the best track on Kid A, but that version is infinitely better than "Morning Bell/Amnesiac." Come on, where's the keyboard melody? THAT WAS COOL!

Nevertheless, these are all minor nitpicks about an excellent album. Perhaps the bigger issue to note is the fact that Radiohead has now put out four consecutive top-notch CDs, all of which are artistically significant and demonstrate substantial growth from one album to the next. I still think that OK Computer is their best so far, albeit by a very small margin, with Amnesiac, Kid A, and the Bends all occupying high-nine territory. But regardless, I think with these two most recent albums Radiohead has moved beyond the level of just an interesting '90s band, and are well on their way to achieving something like legendary status. I think that, with the possible exception of Nirvana, Thom Yorke and co. deserve recognition as the most significant artists of their generation (and about Nirvana's only claim to it would be the influence that they had on other (mostly crappy) bands, and, let's face it, Kurt Cobain's death).

For me, it's a major breakthrough that when I think of my favorite bands, I now think of Radiohead alongside such giants as the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Yes, and Led Zeppelin--a '90s/'00s newcomer amidst a lineup of '60s/'70s dinosaurs. I hope they don't go soft and start putting out adult contemporary with song titles like "Love Me Baby" and "Baby I Need Your Love" and "Girl I Love You Good and Sweet." Can you imagine Thom Yorke singing that one?

alanhaw@hotmail.com (Alan Hawkins)
A bunch of Kid A outtakes - I can 't look at this album in any other way. The band are beginning to get dragged down by Thom Yorkes's own miserable pretensiousness here, and are in danger of sounding self-indulgent, with songs like "hunting bears" and the simply awful "Life in a glasshouse" really having no reason to exist.

Also, I kind of feel like I'm listening to a Thom Yorke solo record at times, there's just too much of his mopey, growling voice and not enough of the band as a whole.

It's nowhere as consistant as Kid A - even after repeated listens, this album has absolutely no flow to it at all, it sounds like a bunch of scattered, unfinished songs all stringed together and forced to sound like an actual album.

Here and there you'll find the odd gem, like the weepy and utterly mournful "Pyramid song" or the creepy, claustrophobic guitar twang of "You and who's army" (I really like "Knifes out" too, though I'm not sure why) but overall - this is a difficult one to listen to.

I can't help but feel that if the best songs from this album were combined with the best songs from Kid A - it would've made one awesome record. It give this one a 7.

amcquill@home.com (Andrew McQuillan)
This albums owns. It took a few listens to remember how the songs go but oh boy! I love the surprise beginning of Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors that cuts off Pyramid Song. The first time I listened to this, I was caught off guard by that and the start of Like Spinning Plates. There's not a bad song on here. I like it way better than Kid A (I like that album a lot too, which shows my love for Radiohead). You and Whose Army? is amazing and I love the outro, especially. I Might Be Wrong is instantly memorable. Knives Out is really great and the video is awesome, too. Like Spinning Plates sounds kind of like nuclear reactor with weird vocals. Life In A Glass House has a gorgeous, gloomy jazz sound with the memorable lines 'But of course I'd like to sit and chat/but of course I'd like to sit and chew the fat'. I'm grateful to have seen Radiohead live. I reviewed the show on one of the pages that is linked to the Prindle site called Music Junkies Anonymous.

ivanakruzelova@hotmail.com
Radiohead are absolutely fucking awful.

Jcjh20@aol.com
Doesn't sound at all to me like Kid A Part 2 or anything. Its just an awesome follow up to Kid A, and in some ways, much weirder. "Pulk/pull revolving doors" and "Like spinning plates" are bizarre songs! The most weird they've ever done probably. "Packt like sardines in a crushd tin box" is completely electronic this time, more so then "Idioteque" and i fuckin' love it! "Knives Out" is uncannily normal too. Ohh, and yeah "Amnesiac/Morning Bell" is indeed a new slow, acoustic version of "Morning Bell" from the last record. I like this one better too. I give this record a 9 as well.

johncarson@ntlworld.com
So....emmmm...are these guys like Sonic Youth? I've only heard their hits from OK Computer and the Bends which is nothing like Sonic Youth. The way you reviewed 'em though it sounds like they sound like Sonic Youth. Maybe the stuff i havent heard is like Sonic Youth. I love that name Sonic Youth.....sonic youth sonic youth sonic youth sonic youth sonic youth sonic the hedgehog

colinjaffe@mediaone.net (Colin Jaffe)
Yeah, a lot of the songs do sound unfinished, most especially "Hunting Bears" and the half-assed redoing of "Morning Bell". But it's great nonetheless, and I think it deserves a 9. It's like Kid A's odd little brother, or something. I've heard people attack it as outtakes from the last one, and it does come off that way sometimes, but even if that's true, these are some amazing outtakes. "Pyramid Song" and "Dollars and Cents" alone make this a great album, let alone the other gems here. But whatever, I can understand the 8.

Oh, by the way, anyone who doesn't have them yet (ahem, Prindle) should get the Airbag/How am I driving EP and the I Might Be Wrong live album. Probably eights, the both of them.

Muggwort@aol.com
Amnesiac used to be my favorite radiohead album, it is atmospheric and really weird, but not their best. It still has some incredible songs, I really love the first three tracks, "knives out" and "life in a glasshouse." all of it is creepy and the songs go together to form a portrait of hell, it isn't "kooky" it is "scary."

9/10

willie8911@home.com (Willie Simpson)
Just when I think the band is hitting a solid groove in mixing experimental madness with infectious melodies, along comes Amnesiac, and it feels that the band that hit its stride on Kid A, has lost itself a bit on this one. Keep in mind, this is a blazingly great record, like Prindle said, random melodic music thrown on a record as if mixing paints and tossing on a wall. The opener absolutly is a stunner, Pyramid song is genius, You and Whose Army is lush and Radioheady, and also like the alternate version of Morning Bell. Hunting Bears is a great phycedelic guitar thing, wish they put a melody to it though. And my new favourite song ever is the closer, with its fucking brilliant clarinet soloing!! Clarinets on a rock record, I never would have guessed. The rest just don't do it for me consistently. The Pull/Pulk song is hard to listen to, Knives Out irriates me for some reason, probably its all to familar atmopshere. I Might Be Wrong, I Might be Underwhelmed.

But again, that's only 2 songs or so, the rest is classic pop stuff that will have you swoonin at a senior citizen dance in a nursing home when your eighty-three. 8.5/10!!!!

Snapdad318@aol.com
This one's okay. It's basicall a side two of Kid A and you can definitely understand why some of these songs didn't make the first cut. I would like it alot more if these were at least remade into actual songs or if they added extra parts to them. To me it's all too bland to live up to the amazing Kid A. I give this one a 7.

michielh@nl.demon.net (Michiel Heinicke)
Most of the songs really feel like they're b-sides or outtakes or whatever, so it's not as good as KID A, but i have a feeling they deliberately saved "The Pyramid Song" and "Knives Out". Cuz these songs really just jump out, I can't listen to "The Pyramid Song" without letting a tear or two, it's so damn PARANOID.

michielh@nl.demon.net (Michiel Heinicke)
When I was still telling everyone how Kid A sucks, this one came out. Same thing... I hated it too. I think it was the airplay of "Pyramid Song" and "Knives out" that caused me to take a second listen to both Kid A and Amnesiac. Amnesiac isn't just a collection of outtakes from Kid A, it's just as good. If you know something about Radiohead B-sides, you'll know that their just as good as anything on the albums - if not better. Look for a bootleg collection called "Towering above the rest" it's got like 10cds full of Unreleased tracks and Live songs. I do think that "Life in a Glasshouse" doesn't fit in here..but it's still a nice song. 10/10

opeth1213@yahoo.com (Eric D.)
for whatever reason i like this a little more than Kid A... maybe Kid A has more songs that jump out at you the first time, but i'm all about the atmosphere on this record, and songs like Packt like Sardines, You and Whose Army, I might Be Wrong, and Like Spinning Plates are all great, as well as the rest of the album... 10/10 in my book.

The Bends - 8
OK Computer - 8
Kid A - 9
Anmesiac - 10
Hail to the Thief - 9

saul9@frontiernet.net (Jack Markowitz)
Alright.... THere's no way that Amnesiac, a B-sides album, gets the same grade as OK Computer.

There seems to be two groups that listen to OKC. The one group that really understands the message in 'Fitter Happier', and therefore think its one of the best albums of all time. The other group just thinks that Fitter Happier is boring. These people I've talked to just think OKC is a good album, when really, its one of the best things to ever be released.

But you're okay MarkPrindel, since you gave Kid A a ten.

jimjoecoyle@yahoo.com
Im a radiohead fan and have been since the bends. While i think kid a is half genius half shite, amnesiac is pure shite. how can anyone claim this is good music? the early albums were full of energy and the songs were full of emotion. this however completely lacks soul and balls. apart from the brilliant 'packt like sardines..' there isnt a decent hook on the whole record. its like music made by robots! sadder still, the follow up is just as bad. radiohead need to learn that their are ways to change musical direction without alienating its fan base, they pulled it off with ok computer. 0/10

sasa.podunavec@yahoo.com
This one is widely underrated. It's actually their greatest effort in my opinion. All the songs are interesting, soothing, catchy in their bizarre little way and it works great as a whole. The overall sound is great and the record deserves much more respect than it's given. "Like Spinning Plates" may very well be their best song. But it's all subjective, right? Cheers! 10/10

Add your thoughts?


I Might Be Wrong LIVE - Capitol 2001.
Rating = 9

So it's official - Kid A wasn't just a bunch of studio trickery. They can recreate the sounds, vibes, effects and overall unhappy mood in a LIVE setting too! It starts off with a couple of rockers to get the blood flowing, but then WHAMMO -- the moping goth-style depression creeps in like a worm creeping into your bellybutton and pretending that it's an umbilical cord so you think it's a sign from God or Science and superglue it to your mother's vagina even if she's dead and you have to dig her up to do it. Then you walk around with this bitch attached to you and her vagina danglin' out in public all over the place where kids can see it like an asshole.

It's GREAT!!! Sound quality = EXCELLENT. Playing = EXCELLENT. Song Selection = "The National Anthem" (with distorted bass!), "I Might Be Wrong" (which actually sounds really good on here - much darker, heavier and less Beck-like), "Morning Bell" (with that AWESOME drumline + a coda involving weird poundy, scrapy noises that I thought were my dog digging through the boxes in the kitchen, along with some other non-high-voiced guy talking shit like he's gonna kick my ass, the pussy), "Like Spinning Plates" (wowee, what a melancholy, beautiful piano song that is!), "Idioteque" (with a different drum effect - one that sounds oddly OFF-rhythm and a crazy noise attack halfway through), "Everything In Its Right Place (with awesome vocal echo and creepy distorted twisty treated samples of Thom's voice - for nearly EIGHT MINUTES!), "Dollars & Cents" (is this a new one? It starts kinda dull with a fairly basic bassline, but as it gets going, the synths shift and change against the bass, making for another classic saddening song) and finally the acoustic "True Love Waits," which I personally don't think is the best song on the record (especially since Thom's voice is so friggin loud it sounds like he hopped out of the stereo, climbed into your ear and started yelling really loud while doing a happy little Thom Yorke dance), but it has its Mentos.

By the way, I excitedly paid $8.80 on half.com for a copy of this, and Stooz Records mailed me a fucking MAXELL CDR on which they had copied the cd. Yeah, that's nice. Bootleg a brand new album and sell it at an inflated price on half.com. Classy guys. I've filed a complaint and will hopefully receive my money back. Please write your congressman about this important issue.

Reader Comments

soul_crusher77@hotmail.com (Mike K.)
no one's commented on I Might Be Wrong or acknowledged it's existence in any way yet, so I guess I'll post about it. Part of me kind of wishes that if they were going to do a live album, they'd have done a longer one that had a greater variety of material and was a bit more like their recent live sets, but the focusing almost entirely on kid a/amnesiac material concept works because most of those songs sound more than a little different live. The versions here are all either much more raw and stripped down like the title track and "the national anthem" (although without the rising horns the latter just kind of ends up ending abruptly), turned into something totally different ("like spinning plates" is turned from the weird backwards fragment thing it seemed like on amnesiac to an eerie piano ballad), or just filled to the brim with neat noisy electronic improvisations. There's a great moment in "everything in it's right place" where all the instruments have stopped playing one by one leaving this eerie sample of what sounds like a chorus of evil midget Thom Yorkes chanting "there are two colors in my head". "dollars and cents" and "morning bell" aren't all that different arrangement-wise, but they just have something about them that comes off better live, so I'm glad they're there too. And while I miss that neat keyboard line that was in earlier live versions of "true love waits", it's still a great song and it's good to have a soundboard quality version of it.

ian.moss@yale.edu (Ian Moss)
Dude, when will this band come back to earth? I'm waiting, waiting for them to miss a step or fuck up their tape loops or drown in their pretentiousness or SOMETHING, and yet I keep receiving package after package of pure musical pleasure from these British boobs. What the hell? Where's the mediocrity? The sophomore slump? The junior jinx? The senior senility? The postgraduate putrefaction? I expect inconsistency, dammit! After all, I'm trying to be a musician myself and I simply can't function properly with geniuses like these guys running around and stealing all my ideas before I think of them. Stop it, Thom Yorke! I'll sue your pansy ass for pre-cognitive copyright infringement!

Oh, sure, it's not perfect. I miss the horns & brass during the "National Anthem," and "Everything In Its Right Place" has this new jazzed-up tempo that is a little disconcerting. The album's way too short for the price, and "True Love Waits" was better with the keyboard line. But these are but(t) minor blemishes on the otherwise pimple-free rear end that is this album. Check out the tone on "I Might Be Wrong"! How about the moodiness of "Dollars and Cents"? And "Like Spinning Plates" is simply the best transformation from studio to live that I have ever heard. Leave it to Radiohead to create two studio-friendly albums and then IMPROVE on them in concert. Fuck it, I give up. It's just plain GOOD. Take your 9 and have a good night.

apesarefriends@yahoo.com (Colin Jaffe)
I mostly agree with the 9 on this one, though I'm tempted to drop it to an 8. The voice is indeed mixed too loud on "True Love Waits" (probably a result of Thom having to get his voice over the electric guitars, then switching and singing just as loud over the accoustic). Also, "Everything in Its Right Place" kind of drags after a while. I remember that being the one song I didn't enjoy when I saw them. They somehow made a good song boring...

The rest is great, though. Every other song is improved in a live setting. I did not at all expect them to be this amazing live! I would have liked the record to have been longer, but so it goes.

Oh, and I think it's really funny that Mark said "Dollars and Cents" had a "cool walking bass and strummy guitars" in his Amnesiac review, then asked if it was a new song when he reviewed this live version, and on top of that he contradicted himself by saying that the bassline was "fairly basic". Silly Mark.

And yes, I am pathetic for noticing that and pointing it out.

Snapdad318@aol.com
Why can't they record another friggin album? This is a good release, i guess, but I've heard these songs 20 million times already. The only thing worth listening to is the piano version of "Like Spinning Plates". Everything else is just the same song but played live. Thank god they finally decided to go back into the studio to record some new stuff that Jonny says will be more guitar oriented. He mentioned the Strokes and the White Stripes in an interview. I can understand the Strokes but the White Stripes are the shittiest sounding band I've ever heard. But back to the album. I have to give this one a 6.

ian@amazeent.com (Ian Rodia)
The most over-fucking-rated band ever. Complete crap. What is so great about them? I' ve heard it. I hate it.

michielh@nl.demon.net (Michiel Heinicke)
I saw Radiohead live a few weeks ago here in Holland, and it was awesome. They could pull off all the shit from Kid A and Amnesiac Live, and go even further with the electronic effects. This album gives a great impression of just how good they are live... shit, it's worth the price alone for the piano version of "like spinning plates". It kicks the shit out of Amnesiac's version! And the 7-minute version of "Everything in it's right place" is just awesome as well. The only flaw is that it's just too damn short. 9/10

Add your thoughts?

Hail To The Thief - Capitol 2003.
Rating = 9

So my trusty site maintenance provider Rich Bunkel tells me that everybody's bitching and moaning about this album. "Oh, there's no bass," they're complaining. "Oh, Lars's drum sound sucks." Well, listen up right here you assholes -- just because James is in rehab and they sued Napster is no reason to get all h

So RADIOHEAD are/is back and they've brought some MELODIES with them this time! GOOD melodies! SAD melodies! INTERESTING melodies! No more avant-gardism at the expense of a catchy piano line or guitar measure. This isn't to say that they're back doing simplistic forgettable SHIT like OK Bendy and There's Honey In My Computer -- only that they've supplemented the cold electronics of Kid A and Monorail Jenkins with guitar chords and notes, and the occasional piano tinkle (Thom has an incontinent bladder). A couple of the songs could even be considered ROCK SONGS! Great goddamned rock songs too. And let me clarify what I mean by "great" -- to me, "great" is when somebody in 2003 manages to come up with a dozen or more melodies that I can honestly say I've NEVER heard before. I'm utterly SICK TO FUCKING DEATH with negative fuckheads saying that "everything's been done before." IT HASN'T. Copycats get the most radioplay, but there PLENTY of sound combinations that haven't been developed yet. Anybody who would claim that everything's been done has a disgustingly limited imagination.

And it's not even that these songs are utter genius through and through. They're just almost-normal melodies that have been slightly skewed with unpredictable changes so that they're less predictable than most of the music you're likely to hear on the radio. Plus every tune is awash with beautiful mesmerizing ambient electronics. Half the time, I can't tell whether I'm listening to a synth or just an acoustic-style instrument or guitar run through some weirdo effects processor. I don't care though; I just love the fact that not only are the sorrowful, longing melodies endlessly listenable, but the songs reveal new layers of instrumentation with every listen.

If you know Radiohead, you'll recognize this as Radiohead. Depression abounds. The guitar lines are cold and slowly arpeggiated as if trying to impress David Gilmour, the drumbeats are as often distorted electronic pulses as they are real kit beating, the vocals are really really high and slightly quivery as if a tear is rolling down the singer's cheek and there's a nice mix of "song drivers." For example, "2+2 = 5", "Scatterbrain" and "A Wolf At The Door" are guitar-driven like old-timey Radiatorhead, "Backdrifts" and "The Gloaming" are underwritten and synth-blip based like Amnesiac (or "Monorail Jenkins," as it's more popularly known), "Where I End And You Begin" and "A Punchup At A Wedding" are almost dancey funky bass-driven suicide sirens, etc... Nothing overly frightening or surprising, with the possible exception of of the buzzy synth Kraftwerk/Trans Am sounding new wavey "Myxomatosis," whose VOCALS don't even sound like Radiohead! Thom actually has a *LOWER* register???!?! Inddeddd! Unless that's not Thom. Best not to question things that can be easily answered. Bets to let them remain mysteries forever.

BIGGEST MYSTERY: Why so many bands get record contracts and label promotion when they will never, ever be able to write even ONE song as worthwhile to the world of music as a good 11 of these 14 (and the other three are no slouch in the back either!).

Oh wait, hang on! There's a LYRICS sheet in here! Let's see what they're singing about.

"Eezeepezeeeezeepeeezee NOT." Hmm. "Cozimnot!" Okay? "(ahh diddums)" Yes. "I sucked the moon/I spoke too soon." "Somewhere I'm not/Scatterbrain/Lightning fuse/Powercut" ? "Flea-bitten? Motheaten? We suck young blood." "Funny haha funny how/ When the walls bend/With your breathing" "Why so green and lonely?/Heaven sent you to me." "Meet the real world coming out of my shell/ With white elephants/Sitting ducks/I will/Rise up./Little babies' eyes." "Hypocrite opportunist/Don't infect me with your poison/ A bully in a china shop."

So as you can see, the latest Radiohead CD is about beer and pussy.

Reader Comments

slb23@shaw.ca (S.B.)
IMHO, I think that Hail To The Thief is a mix between OK Computer and, oh what's that album's name again? I can't remember. . . . oh yeah, it's Amnesiac. :) ha ha!

The only two songs I don't really like are "Sail To The Moon" and "We Suck Young Blood". They're piano ballads (which is good - - I really like "The Pyramid Song" off of Amnesiac) but really REALLY slow. (which is bad). By now I've sensed a pattern of certain songs. It seems that Radiohead really likes to go from quiet and cresendo to loud at the end of some of their songs. Some examples: "Fake Plastic Trees", "Exit Music (for a Film)", "You and Whose Army?", and "Sit Down, Stand Up".

"the Gloaming" is just weird. Like the title.

"There There" is the longest song on the CD, but is also the single. It is probably the catchiest song on the record (perhaps a tie with "Punch up at a wedding"). Love those guitars in the intro. Have you seen the video? it's . . . well . . . uncanny and weird would be two words to describe it. 'Go To Sleep" and "I Will" are nice.

"A Punchup at a wedding" is slow funk. But good funk.

"Myxomatosis" reminds me of "Airbag" off of Ok Computer. It's also a disease rabbits get. (at least that's what I've heard).

"Scatterbrain" has an interesting intro with a neat guitar riff, but it's basically the same thing all the way through. ugh.

"A Wolf at the Door" is a unique song, in my mind. The closest thing I can come to in a comparison is if "life in a glasshouse","Karma Police" and "Knives Out" had a threesome. And had "A Wolf at the door" as their bastard child. But it's a good bastard child. A VERY GOOD bastard child. Crazy lyrics too.

I hope this album gets to #1, or at least the top 5 on the billboard chart.

I don't think it would get a nine in my books, but definately at least a 7. Most likely it'll grow on me in time. Like good ol' Kid A did.

P.S. I saw the live Radiohead New York broadcast at a local theatre, and I thought it was one of the best concets I've ever seen. Every song was either as good as the studio or better. Thom had his usual "Thom moments", example being before playing "Talk Show Host" he said that "this song is a dirty song for dirty people". I thought it was kinda funny. Also there was his usual wacky seizure type body moves in "Idioteque", etc. They played about 3/4's of Hail To The Thief. Overall a great concert. There were THREE ENCORES!! The last one was "True Love Waits".

Jcjh20@aol.com (Joe H.)
Couldn't agree more with your review and rating! There are indeed a lot of awesome melodys on this album, and that's something hardly anybody mentions about this great album ("Go To Sleep" would even probably be kinda boring without a great melody, i think).

There is a lot of really pleasant moods on this album as well, like the really sadly beautiful "Sail To The Moon", the really funky "Punch Up At A Wedding", the ethereal gorgeous Beach Boys harmony sound of "I Will", the fuzzy horror movie synth-full "Myxomatosis" and the down-right creepy "We Suck Young Blood", which i think could of fit easily on The Wall. Right down to the eccentric Roger Waters-y lead vocal!

Not one song sounds anything like another, which is also a very strong point. It's not a very flowing record overall, but just a really great collection of a bunch of really creative sounding songs. My second favorite Radiohead album! "Scatterbrain" has also become one of my favorite Radiohead songs.

AcousticPickup@aol.com
8 or 9 are adequate ratings. Radiohead really has done it again with a "New" album. "New" meaning that Radiohead actually is still growing and not just settling with being that weird electronic rock band. Although there are those funky, electronic, almost hip-hop like songs, Radiohead can still punch out another awesome rock tune. I can see Backdrifts being sampled by some rapper in the near future. What's also cool is that Hail to the Thief has a theme just like OK Computer or Dark Side of the Moon. I haven't analyzed every song, but I can tell you that Thom's lyrics are definitely political. 2 + 2 = 5, inspired by George Orwell's 1984, is all about Bush's decision of going to war. Just read the lyrics, it's all there. Sail to the Moon could be a sequel to Pyramid Song. We Suck Young Blood is also a funeral march...I've never heard a band do that before. Radiohead is also an amazing live band. There set at Field Day was mesmerizing.

PS You should update your Stephen Malkmus reviews.

levez@thehoneyoffering.net (Andrew Dean)
Sorry that this might be a little long...

I seem to like each new Radiohead album a little more than the one before it (with the exception of Kid A, which kicks serious ass and is perhaps quite possibly my favourite album ever, this morning), and I like them all quite a bit. Well, until now. I'm not sure how I feel about this one. 'Backdrifts', 'We Suck Young Blood' and 'The Gloaming' for instance have not really done anything for me yet. They're listenable but hmm, no, nothing yet. Incidentally, "The Gloaming" is an old English word for a time of day that is I believe the brief period between evening and night. Or twilight and night. Or some time around then, anyway, eh. I read it in an interview some time back. 'Myxomatosis' is indeed a disease that's deadly to rabbits. You might find it interesting to know that, according to interviews I've read of Thom, 'I Will' has something to do with watching Iraqi women on TV mourning for children killed in the war.

As for my opinion, well, 'There There' is one of their most catchy and perhaps best songs to date. I really like the lyrics, the beat, it just simply DOES it for me as an old-fashioned knees-up singalong pop song. Without the sing-along knees-up aspect, anyway. It'd be the stand-out song of the album for me, except that I could say that about 'Where I End...' which has just such simple but effective eerie tones and noises in it, and some perfectly fitting singing from Thom. Great intro too, I really dig that simple bass and drums opening (as memory servers). 'Myxomatosis' has more groovy noises and this great sick lurching feeling to it, good stuff. '2 + 2 = 5' is a perfect album opener. The part where Thom's voice breaks into a falsetto and sings 'Don't question my authority and put me in a box 'cos I'm not' before the music joins in again with him is a fantastic thing to have in your opening song. I want to see them live again (I last saw them on the OK Computer tour, when they didn't have all the groovy spooky free jazz stuff going on mid-song) if only to see that part. Besides the ones I mentioned, I really like every other song, I think, though 'Punch Up At A Wedding' is only just narrowly on my good side. I especially love 'Wolf at the Door'. It's sad, it's beautiful, it's hopeful, it's defeated, and I really wish that here, 'to keep the wolf from the door' didn't mean 'to hold back one's ejaculation, such as when during sex' because singing Thom singing about his efforts in doings so is both a discomforting image and kind of distracting from such a pretty song. I especially like how in each instrumental passage, usually entered into with his sighing, the music is so floaty, somehow very reminiscent to me of some fake movie showing sweet old-fashioned English countryside but with the camera panning up to a nuclear plant, ala the cover of that Pink Floyd album I've never heard. Animals? It's the perfect album closer, in my opinion.

It starts perfectly, it ends perfectly, and there's some damn good stuff in the middle. There are bands who I'd love to be that positive about, but for some totally unfair reason I only instead feel slightly let-down that it's not totally awesome throughout.

soul_crusher77@hotmail.com (Mike K.)
Good album, terrible title (not that I particularly dissagree with the political sentiment, it's just kind of a bad pun). Anyway, I'm somewhat dissapointed Radiohead aren't going somewhere new here (perhaps they're going to stretch out more on the b-sides, "there there" b-side "paperbag writer" is a pretty neat and somewhat unexpected journey into almost portishead-ish film noir trip hop), but this is a very solid record. As Prindle said, it is a good thing that they're letting in the more catchy, sometimes even guitar-interplay-y (that just doesn't look like a word) elements in while still keeping things weird and off-kilter enough for things to not get boring like most of the second side of Pablo Honey (except maybe "Scatterbrain", which is dull enough to fit right in there). My favorite track was the awesomely spazzy "2+2=5" at first, but now I'm starting to like "wolf at the door" and "myixamatosis" a bit more. I like how in the verses Yorke is kind of muttering his vaguely disturbing imagery like some sort of loony muttering to himself on the train, and then even when the chorus allows him to slow down a bit there's still a slightly frantic feel because he has to rush parts to make syllables fit the rhythm because there's just slightly too many of them.

Incidentally I think time's being taken on the Malkmus review update because Prindle is dreading spending his cash on another record that involves SM doing stupid "WHOA-WHOA-OH!" back up vocals and doing entire songs about Yul Brenner that forget they're actually supposed to be about Yul Brenner by the second verse. But he should be heartened to know that while I can't quite decide if the actual songwriting's better or not, the new album is decidely lacking in the department of goofy toy instruments, and happily they're replaced with some pretty nice musical interplay.

kevin.by@selby.no
hello again, Mark & Rich! i was suprised to see you being such a keen admirer of Radiohead, Mark! since you've called a gal like PJ Harvey "crapp" i was must say i'm suprised by your Thom York fancy.

now, to me Radiohead is like a band who at one moment can come up with a breath-taking unbeatable pop/rock song, then in the next moment play a dull, funeral, 6 feet under whining-piece. this record is no exception. i mean, just listen to "There There", "Myxomatosis" (i had to look that one up), "Wolf at the Door" & "Backdrifts" i get shivers down my spine! especially (here comes that awefull title again) "Myxomatosis" - how the hell did they come up with that riff? that beat, and that keyboard-line that fits so goddamn well with it! how do they do it? i could never come up with something like that and there are few others in music who could.

i'm not gonna go in depth on those dull tunes cuz i'm basically a positive guy. i like to focus on the positive things...excuse me you negative bastards! seriously though, this is basically a positive discussion forum. Mark's humour, honesty and good taste is basically what makes me constantly read the reviews written here.

anyway, to conclude here, remember Thom Yorke's wise words, "..just because you feel it, doesn't mean it's there.." (maybe you're just a paranoid m-fucka! did you think of that?? now run to the nearest mental institution before you turn into a tree!)

i'm out...

nlun7660@uni-one.nl (Tom)
I really think they should make a music video for mixomatosis and put it on single, becouse its the most powerfull song on hail to the thief.

mossinator@hotmail.com (Ian Moss)
I have several albums that I got before this that I still have yet to review, but this one just couldn't wait.

In my mind, there is not even the faintest doubt anymore that Radiohead is the most significant band out there right now. They may even be the most significant music-makers, period, in any genre. Part of the reason for this is that they so successfully mix genres, namely rock, electronica, and contemporary classical composition (aka "new music")--though the band themselves may not be fully aware of how well their music is being received in that last community. Plain and simple, this is smart, accessible music, one of the hardest combinations to pull off--and they just keep getting better.

That said, Hail to the Thief does mark a departure from the last three studio albums, in that the concept, musically speaking, is not so readily apparent or coherent. In fact, the album was actually starting to wear on me after listening to it straight through for the umpteenth time, but then recently I put it in the CD player on "shuffle" mode and it sounded as fresh and inventive as it did the first time I heard it. Though there are few standouts, nearly every song is extraordinarily solid ("Backdrifts" and "We Suck Young Blood" are the only ones I find annoying), and more importantly, each song is complete and developed (in most cases) to its full potential--something that could not be said for, say, Amnesiac.

My favorite at the moment is "Sit Down. Stand Up." Oh man, that combination of the circular piano riff with the long vocal lines is so hypnotic. "Myxomatosis" is also great, not so much for the song itself as for the timbre of that awesome keyboard line and Phil Selway's unpredictable and off-kilter but somehow perfect drumming. Lest one doubts Radiohead's compositional prowess, "A Wolf at the Door" and "2+2=5" have plenty of complex things going on...and "There There" builds beautifully into a gorgeous pop song. A late addition to the pantheon is "Scatterbrain," which took a while to grow on me but now fights with "Sit Down" for airtime in my head.

Anyway, this album is great, and I think it's time for a reevaluation of my Radiohead ratings. All things considered, I think I have to go with Kid A for the 10 (although that last track is still terrible). Bends, OK Computer, and Hail to the Thief all get 9s, while Pablo Honey, Amnesiac and I Might Be Wrong each rate an 8. Really, though, you can't go wrong. Even their fucking B-sides rule.

michielh@nl.demon.net (Michiel Heinicke)
"A great but slightly flawed follow up to 2001's Amnesiac". That about sums this album up. Tracks like "2+2=5", "Sit down stand up" and "Wolf at the Door" are better than anything they've done before, but truth is this album sounds like a bunch of songs sticked together, that is - there's not really an overall sound if you want to call it that. Pablo Honey was "Noisy", Bends was "Rocky", OK Computer was "Poppy", Kid A & Amnesiac were uh.... "Eerie" (or something like that). And Hail to the thief is.... uhhhhhh.. "Hail to the Thiefie". haha. That's why the album fails to live up expectations. But i can't blame them. After you've started experimenting you can either return to your roots or stay that way. But since they have both Bends-era fans and Kid A-era, they felt like giving both something. 9/10

opeth1213@yahoo.com (Eric D.)
After getting into Kid A and Amnesiac, I expected Radiohead to sink into regular goodness/decency on the next album... much to my surprise this is pretty much as good. My favorite is Punchup at the Wedding, which i intend to blast next time i get in a punchup at a wedding (even though it sounds like he's saying "punchdrunk at the wedding") 2+2=5 is another great album opener and I like the piano numbers too, even though they're not as good as How to Disappear Completely and You and Whose Army on the last two. The rest of the album makes this a solid 9.

tamintom@msn.com (Tami Swanson)
Love this album!!!! Didn't at 1st..... It grows on u like a cancer!!! The songs are all VERY original and the melodies seductive as the music is trancelike/infectious....yorkes voice is wat it is...omniscary omnipotent and hi....I Love his vocal style! Most of wat Mark says was dead on (and made me laugh like hell as usual) Radiohed remain a great white hope within a vast wasteland!!!!!!

poms_r_us@bigpond.com (Alan Hawkins)
I don't know why it's taken me so long to add a comment on this record, but anyway... this album rules, I totally agree with the 9 - even though it's a bit too depressing to listen to on a regular basis, I love almost every song here (except "Punch-up at a wedding" - which is kinda dull) and there's so much going on in the production! all those weird electronic noises, funky basslines and Gilmouresque guitar noodling, truly great stuff. "Sail to the moon" is even more harrowingly beautiful than the pyramid song, which I did n't think would be possible. Those videoclips were pretty cool too.

cruelmoulindoubt@yahoo.com (Annie Sinsabaugh)
At first I thought this album was my favorite by Radiohead, until i picked up ok computer again, and realized its one of the best albums ever. but yea, hail to the thief is still awesome. It's fucking amazing stoned.

spectre316@email.com (Matt F.)
I used to be an obsessed fan.

I used to talk in backseats with stoned depressed kids about how deep and meaningful "Kid A" was.

I used to troll Radiohead message boards and agree about how the last few seconds of "Motion Picture Soundtrack" mean a lot and stuff.

I also used to suck, too.

I bought "Amnesiac" when it came out, and tried so hard to like it. So, so hard. But, you know what? I COULDN'T! It was a self-indulgent piece of SHIT. It was fucking leftovers from a fucking overrated pretentious album to begin with.

I think it was leftovers. I forget.

But, it doesn't matter. This is the Most Important Band in the World, and I Don't Give a Shit. Everyone and anyone loves this band. And why shouldn't they, eh? I mean, a song that repeats "THE RAINDROPS" 47 or so times is just so fucking deep beyond words.

I bought this album and then took a piss on it. Every song (except, I must admit, the first one) just made me want to die. Especially "We Suck Young Blood." Um, do you? That's so darned interesting!

You want a REALLY SUPER GOOD reason I didn't like this CD, you Radiohead fanboys/girls/aliens? Fuck you.

And to answer your question, yeah -- it's a huge, ugly, BORING and disgustingly pretentious mess.

This band knows fans around the world consider their music the second coming. I'm pretty sure they think the same, too. Pretentious assholes.

MrSlippiFist@aol.com
Matt F doesn't know what he's talking about. When he repeats "the rain drops" 47 times he's setting a verbal atmosphere. I don't know what your definition of "meaningful" is, but this album as well as their last 3 are just about as melodically accomplished as they come. Radiohead has evolved into a superior band to all of the others, in almost every aspect. They are extremely pretentious, but they have the right to be. Amnesiac, also, is one of their crowning achievements. I'm not going to argue with anyone that uses sarcastic phrases like "um, do you? That's so darn interesting! LOL!!!!! OMFG!!!" Are you fucking serious? Do you know how to write at all? Are you 3? Are you Tom Sellick? Do you have a mustache? Jesus H. Christ.

Add your thoughts?


COM LAG (2plus2isfive) - EMI 2004
Rating = 8

"Hi, I'm a movie producer and I'd like you to watch a film short that I've just produced. This short is 90 minutes long."

There, that was my impression of Radiohead as a film producer. COM LAG isn't the so-called "EP" that they claim. It has ten songs on it! It's 36 minutes long! What is this, some world where the Beatles were just tentatively testing the market before Sgt. Pepper's? Where the Ramones didn't issue their debut LP until 1992? Come on now, Radiohead. Stop lying to the American people.

Furthermore, this is the most diverse Radiohead album ever unleashed upon man! Comprised of Hail To The Thief-era live performances, remixes and b-sides, COM LAG begins with the established Radiohead "electronic-tinged sorrow" sound, but then perversely forks off into two divergent roads housing some of the (a) most abstract and (b) most surprisingly traditional songs they've ever written.

On Abstract Road, we get the swirly, eventless "I Am Citizen Insane," which (as go-nowhere as it is) sounds like a painstakingly constructed pop symphony compared to Christian Vogel's irritating, music-free remix of "Myxomatosis." Much more pleasing are the three works dwelling on Surprisingly Traditional Avenue. "Gagging Order" is a lovely acoustic plucker, "Fog" a very pretty piano composition, and "I Am A Wicked Child" a dead ringer for a '60s blues-rock song (!), with raw distorted guitar, brooding Zombies moodiness, a great rock and roll beat -- and even a psychedelic harmonica! Who knew that the Crybaby Electronic-Pulse Radioheads even remembered how to write songs so simple yet seductive? If there are any naysayers out there who attribute Radiohead's recent success to mere electronics and angst, those folk should download these tracks post-now for proof that the band actually does have a songwriting bone in its body.

So in short, I think what we have here are two alternate versions of HTTT tracks, two remixes of HTTT tracks, and six non-LP tracks. I hear tell that some critics complained about the disc's lack of musical flow, but it's a fuck'nin compilation, for Christ's sake. That 'lack of musical flow' is probably why these great songs were left off of HTTT in the first place!

Actually, "Where Bluebirds Fly" would have fit perfectly onto HTTT. I've no clue why that one didn't make the cut.

But you know what they say about HTTT - it's HOTTT!!!

But you know what else they say about HTTT - if you piss on it, you can go on the Internet! (HTTP)

Okay, time to go home and get SHIT-FACED!

Then after Ed Asner leaves, perhaps I'll drink an alcoholic beverage.

Add your thoughts?


In Rainbows - Hilariously Self-Released Over The Internet 2007
Rating = 9

First let me make it clear that I am not a Radiohead fan in any meaningful sense of the word. I consider myself a Kid A fan, but that's the only CD by them that I ever think about. Whenever they release a new CD, I fully expect to come to my senses and realize, "Hey! These guys SUCK!" I have no interest in seeing them in concert, I have no interest in reading anything about them, I have no interest in learning any of their names -- I don't even know how many people are in the band! I only know the names of like two of their songs ("Everything In Its Right Place" and "Idioteque"), I think the singer is one of the ugliest human beings alive, I don't know what their album covers look like, I don't know what instruments they play, I don't care where they're from, they don't kick any sort of ass at all, and they aim for the same ethereal sad mood in like 85% of their songs.

Unfortunately, they are excellent songwriters.

In Rainbows is a collection of ten fully-formed songs. Several are based around clean soft guitar arpeggios, Mellotrony synth/orchestration and Thom Yorke's high, pretty voice. Most start out fairly empty and minimal, and then slowly work in additional musical elements until the song becomes an overpowering wash of different melodic and rhythmic tones. Some of the tempos are surprisingly fast, others expectedly slow. Most of the melodies are typically Radiosad, but a few actually sound optimistic for a goddamned change. Essentially what I'm getting at here is that In Rainbows is not a difficult experimental work, but a very strong collection of creative guitar-based prog-influenced orchestral emotional modern rock songs.

My respect for Radiohead is based on what I see as their three key strengths:
- Writing songs that have not been written before
- Filling their arrangements with tons of intriguing instrumental, vocal and rhythmic tones
- Creating music that is completely idiosyncratic yet also extremely emotional

Because I am a fan of music -- just music as a collection of sounds pieced together in a melodic manner -- it is impossible for me to not give this record a 9 out of 10. There is no filler; there are no weak or derivative tracks. There are a few wasted moments of dull rock noise in "Bodysnatchers," but every other song on here reminds me of the greatest (non-aggressive) music that I've ever heard. I hear late '60s Moody Blues, early '70s Pink Floyd, Joshua Tree-era U2 (particularly "House Of Cards," which even ends in "With Or Without You"-style "Hoooooo" falsettos!), but I hear these influences somehow being twisted into entirely new and more sonically interesting songs -- a true wonder this late in the history of rock music.

I don't want to oversell it, because if you're determined to not like Radiohead, nothing I say is going to make you like them. However, if you're just looking for new music - not hard rock, or metal, or pop, or screamo, but just MUSIC with interesting ideas and harrowing vocal and instrumental tones, I really must recommend picking this up. In terms of off-kilter melodies, bizarre collections of whooshy space noises and heartbreaking guitar riffs, you (etc.)

One warning: do not listen to a song for 30 seconds, go "boring" and skip to the next one. Radiohead is really big on introducing musical elements slowly throughout the course of a song, so many of the songs don't reveal all their tricks and become astonishing until a couple minutes in.

Isn't it awesome how I just went against all critical convention and gave a Radiohead album a positive review? Never afraid to go against the grain and tear down a sacred cow, that's me! Just wait til you hear what I have to say about THE BEATLES! Ooo la la!

Reader Comments

tsgraham75@yahoo.com (Tom)
Mark,

You've really pinned down the what-it-is about the album. It's nearly tender in places, and, as usual, it's completely interesting and new. The great majority of my favorite bands have long since disbanded, so I'm glad there's a band out there that is active and releasing high-quality, captivating albums instead of just growing out their hair and relying on, and rehashing, moderately decent albums they released ten years ago. I'm typing at you, Dave Grohl.

Looking forward to your return to weekly reviews. Take care.

mtlhead@mchsi.com
First ‘La Cucaracha,’ and now this.

I think that In Rainbows is their weakest since Pablo Honey. Of course, I do consider myself a Radiohead fan (yeah, yeah, they’re not particularly original, and I hate everything that the ‘90s stood for musically, but they had certain qualities that I found myself deeply drawn to, which I’ll discuss in the following paragraph), so maybe my perspective is a little different. But on the other hand, everybody else seems to love this thing, so maybe I’m just an anomaly.

With In Rainbows, they seem to be attempting a very bare, minimalist musical approach, with a very relaxed and calm atmosphere. But I don’t think that it works. The two things that I always loved most about Radiohead were their sonic instrumental arrangements, and the emotional resonance that they managed to create through an atmosphere of frantic urgency (a la Exit Music for a Film or Idioteque). Of course this album is far too stripped-down and laid-back to accomplish either of these things. They seem to be working under the assumption that the bare melodies are enough to carry the songs, but I just don’t think that any of the melodies are very strong at all. I find this to be a very weak and underwhelming (not to mention disappointing) musical experience. A low 6/10 for me.

And just for the record, don’t fret Mark – I tend to agree with you most of the time (especially on the Velvet Underground – I’ve been listening to their albums a lot lately, and holy shit are they boring), but I decided I’d only comment on reviews where I disagreed. No point in reiterating what you’ve already said, right?

jschneek@yahoo.com
Good review, but to the guy who replied before me - this album doesn't even approach the massive let down that was "La Cucaracha." Maybe it's just that I care a lot more about Ween than Radiohead, but what the fuck happened there? "Friends" is just an awful song - not funny and not fucking good at all. Ween can usually take styles of music that ostensibly suck (country) and make them interesting and funny but there's just nothing you can do with this Cher-style dance bullshit. It sucks. And you could kinda forgive that EP they released this summer as an odd mistake that was still sorta cool in a Ween-way, but the fact that they've rerecorded this song and placed it as the third track on the album that totally kills what little flow had been generated by that point - that's unforgivable. And some of the other shit - the country song, "The Fruit Man," etc - are not quite as bad but they're definitely not good. I actually like "Object" though and "Woman & Man" is the kind of cool shit I was expecting from the brothers Ween. But the rest of the album - I was just really disappointed with that shit. Major bummer.

Oh, and "In Rainbows" IS really good. I agree with the 9.

But anyway, back to "La Cucaracha" - does that album suck or what?

fatmanosman@googlemail.com
Hi Mark,

I just wanted to let you know that your review made me laugh. Thanks.

I agree too, I really like this album, even though it kicks zero bum.

rkay51@hotmail.com (Ryan Kelly)
Hi mr. Prindle,

All I want to say about your new Radiohead review is that the first paragraph perfectly sums up my feelings regarding the band as well. Fair play to you sir!

Hell, I pretty much agree with the whole thing, but especially that start.

mradamcooley@hotmail.com
I hated this album. I think it's their worst, worse than Pablo Honey even! Sure, that album was generic, but then it was also fun in a dumb-rock way. This album isn't fun, isn't funny, isn't sad, it's not very interesting at all. It seems like this entire album was an afterthought, like an "Aww, do we HAVE TO record an album?" The weird way in which it was quickly released gives more credibility to the fact that Radiohead just don't care anymore. And what's really odd is that I agree with all of your other reviews 100% -- but this album is just... ugh. It's odd, too, almost every website on the internet seems to be glowing with appreciation for this work, yet everyone I know in real life was really disappointed with this album. I'm not accusing you of Radiohead worship, Mark, because I know you don't have no reason to kiss no lazy-eyed Brit's ass -- but I think you will eventually change the rating for this album. Because do you honestly think you're going to be spinning this one as much as, say, Hail to the Thief or Kid A? I know I won't. Ugh.

Michiel@is.nl (Michiel Heinicke)
Mark, you nailed it yet again - You have till this point always lived up to my expecations. You like The Beatles and The Ramones and you think Billy Corgan is an overrated piece of shit. And also your review to In Rainbows is perfect. After the slight dissapointing Hail to the thief (wich was just toooo damn depressive) this one gets them back on track, And it's really light for a Radiohead album. Its like Kid A with the mood of the Bends. All the songs really get in your head and stay there.

And to mradamcooley:

I bet you said that KID A totally sucked ass when it came out. Because it was totally different and it really bothered you didn't it? I predict that you will beg Mark for removing your review in a month or too. Because you will love it by then, OH YES YOU WILL!

spinaltomek@hotmail.com
is it just my disturbed soul or is "videotape" about a guy who's filming his own suicide for his girlfriend as a goodbye present? anyway, great great song. this album is sad and confusing, but very beautiful. great chord progressions and very warm sounds

Mcshane123321@aol.com
9? What? It's so average. It's just like they went back and reheated The Bends and Pablo Honey and chucked some of their token "faux avantgarde" (apparently that means "pretending to be avant garde whilst actually playing mellow pop") in there. I'm giving the most over rated band in the world's new album a 7. Not a bad listen, but they can do miles better (I hope).

Oh, but I agree that Thom Yorke is an ugly piece of moaning crap. Jeezus Christ, who does he think he is; Jesus Christ?

mradamcooley@hotmail.com
In reply to Michiel@is.nl:

Actually, I loved Kid A from the moment I heard it. It was jawdroppingly good. I liked all their stuff from the moment I heard it. This album still sucks. I can sit and listen to anything, and I mean anything from Merzbow to Peter Sotos spoken word shit, and it doesn't bore me, but this album actually bores the shit out of me. It's full of generic rockers and songs that go nowhere and just kind of ... exist ... and do little more than that... just kind of float in the ether of shitiness. Just a lazy, half-assed album in every respect with no energy behind it. In Rainbows sucks.

MBerry@orlandosentinel.com
Don't it just send chills down your spine when those kids yell "yay!!" throughout "15 Step"

sasa.podunavec@yahoo.com
A good one. One really can't get tired of England's finest five.

sasa.podunavec@yahoo.com
The record does leave something to be desired, but it's really good. The melodies are soothing, the lyrics are interesting and strong and Thom's voice is beautiful. If you let it grow on you, you're gonna like it a lot. 7/10

Mcshane123321@aol.com
Given this a few more listens and it's even worse than I first thought; I think I'd drop my original 7 to a 5. Adam Cooley's 2 comments are spot-on; generic, go-nowhere rockers with absolutely no effort put into their development. It's neither interesting nor interested; inspiring nor inspired. A few years at most will be enough to peel the already flaking hype off of this turd and people will begin to realise how ridiculous the hype surrounding the album and the band is. I mean, come on, neither are all that great!!

Zoran.Kosjerina@erstebank.rs
I like your site (I make plans for my own:)) but I think In the Rainbows are too overrated (not only here!). I consider only sound improvment and songwriting but On In The rainbows there are no songs like OK Computer and expecialy The Bends. Time is on my side:) My rating is 6/10

boreviewxxx@yahoo.com
generic embarassing bullshit. anyone that likes this is an idiot. worst album of all time.

Tom Gipson
I honestly wasn't thrilled about the album until I saw that they made an HD film of them performing the whole album and put it up on youtube for free. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhgChGcCnTY&feature=fvst They are seriously nice to their fans. Sort of makes me want to pay money for their new album...

Rian Yirkah
You have retards for readers, Mark. "Worst Radiohead album ever"??? Yeah, well, go back to listening to that pussy soft rocker G.G. Allin then!!!! This album is an easy 9. Not quite a 10 but only because Radiohead managed to record three better albums (OK Computer, Hail To The Thief, Kid A). I'm drunk, by the way. YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ijsdoifsodfsofoskmnovckvpbno

Add your thoughts?


The King of Limbs - TBD 2011
Rating = 6

This album stinks.

THE ATTRACTIVE DUCKLING
By Mark Prindle

Once upon a time, there was a duckling who was very attractive. And thank Goodness for that, because if it had been ugly, it would’ve gone through life without ever being loved.

THE END

Okay, it doesn’t stink. But it’s not very good either.

TWINKLE TWINKLE
By Mark Prindle

Twinkle twinkle Larry Hag
Where’d you put my plastic bag?
I’ve looked here and I’ve looked there
Is it in your derriere?
Twinkle twinkle Larry Hag
Give it back, you fuckin’ fag

Remember a couple years ago how some people (ex. me, others) loved the straightforward melodic music of In Rainbows and others (ex. fools, the retarded) found it dull and boring and omnipresent? Well, fast forward to 2011 baby, because the roosters have come home to roost!

In other words, this album is as cold, spacey and emotionless as Amnesiac, with most of the eight tracks emphasizing new sounds and arrangement styles rather than traditional melody. It’s quite electronics-focused and full of strange loops, synths, tones, and clickity noises – as well as, for some reason, acoustic guitars. Some people (ex. NAMBLA, kids who like NAMBLA) consider this approach a refreshing return to experimental and unorthodox composition. Others (ex. me, geniuses) have no problem with the concept, but are disappointed in the material itself, which often comes across as lazy, poorly conceived or half-written.

But really, the important point here is that it’s fun to accuse people who don’t like the same music as you of being retarded child molesters.

Although every song has a set structure and rhythm, there’s a strong sense that they’re just throwing a bunch of loose ideas onto a computer with no real vision or goal in mind. As such, your enjoyment of the work will depend on whether its cryptic sounds and half-riffs please your brain in particular. Personally, mine tingles to the confusing percussion and fucked-up minimalist hooks of “Bloom” and “Morning Mr. Magpie,” as well as the solidly melodic “Little By Little” (acoustic chords) and “Codex” (sad piano ballad). But yours? Hell, yours might prefer the distant, uninteresting bass focus of “Lotus Flower” or amateurish off-key vocals and cheesy Blind Melon guitar lick of “Separator.” In fact, there are probably a few minds out there chemically deranged enough to enjoy the whooshy waste “Feral” and gross pastoral “Give Up the Ghost” (if I wanted to hear insects, birds and acoustic folk, I’d give five dollars to Stephen Stills, THANKS) . Please note: these latter brains are not ones you want in your house, oozing smelly, stupid pus all over your tablecloth.

People who know big words claim that The King of Limbs was influenced by Krautrock, dubstep, congotronics and indie art-rock, but to me it just sounds influenced by the creative drive to make music that has not been made before. They may have succeeded in this goal (having heard only a tiny percentage of the world’s recorded music, I wouldn’t know), but honestly it’s not nearly as difficult to create a bed of rhythmic, repeating noises (no matter how sonically enjoyable) as it is to craft a melodic and emotional tune that tests the time of stand. Radiohead have proven in the past, particularly on Kid A, that they have the ability to do both at once. But The King of Limbs, like Amnesiac, has no emotional core; it’s just a collection of sounds arranged into patterns and placed in your ear by a bunch of foreigners.

If you live in England, please disregard those last five words.

Reader Comments

Mark Spenson
Outside of opening track 'Bloom' there isn't much to recommend this album. Not that it's terrible; Radiohead have, for over a decade, been placed on a pedestal they don't always deserve. Kid A and OK Computer were both very good (arguably great) albums that sounded like the musical advances they're usually described as being. In Rainbows sounded like a band that could stand to listen to, repeatedly, the songs they'd written. Nobody had to listen to The King of Limbs more than Radiohead and that this album passed the muster and got a release might be a sign the group needs some inspiration.

But 'Bloom' sure is great -- the tribal/military rhythm, the slight warping of the samples, Thom's vocal performance... one of the band's best tracks. And it feels finished, like they accomplished exactly what they were after. The album takes an immediate turn after the first track when 'Morning Mr. Magpie', another old song they've re-worked, goes nowhere over 4+ minutes. 'Codex' has a nice feel but it's really just a re-write of the superior (and OK Computer-era) 'Last Flowers' replete with their patented 'horror movie' piano and stirring chorus. 'Little By Little', unspectacular lyrics aside, is another highlight. But what to do with 'Feral'? Surely it's difficult to create a track like this but, my, is it unlistenable. That it ends with R.E.M. liteness in a song called 'Separator' is my pick of sign that this is a group with no real direction. For now. Just for now. They've released a poor album and that's no crime.

Add your thoughts?


Supercollider 12" - Ticker Tape Ltd. 2011
Rating = 6

With its two synth-bass notes, minimalist electronic chording, and quiet tentative mood, "Supercollider" has no valid reason for being the longest Radiohead song to date (7:09!). However, with its haunting keyboard pulsations and typically pretty vocals, it's still more affecting than almost anything on the previous record. Unfortunately B-side "The Butcher," although boasting a cool blocky rhythm effect, mostly sounds like a contrived U2 song, full of false emotions and stock chord changes. If you're a butcher looking for a personal theme song, might I recommend either Killing Joke's "Butcher" or Happy Flowers' "Mrs. Butcher" instead?

PLEASE NOTE: Use of the latter may necessitate a sex change. As a professional butcher, this should be simple enough.

Add your thoughts?


Other Radiohead Sites

*I noticed this place online where you could buy Radiohead CDs and shit, so I thought I'd offer a link to it. The kewlest thing is that if UR looking for cheaper prices, just click on the CD covers and USED CD prices show up. I got a boner!

* Check out this nifty Radiohead site!

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