stellar_legs, on december 05, 2003 5 of 6 people found this review helpful
Sound: "Creep" was a great hit back in it's heyday. A psycho love-lorn ode rarely seen, you either loved it for one of two reasons: You dug the stylistic change it had on a nation's music, which opened the realm of possibilities to explore and to go beyond Grunge. Or, you just dug the "skra-kunk, skra-kunk" distorted guitar in between each Chorus. The song dismissed Radiohead as a one-hit wonder. That would prove false with the making of there incredible sophomore album, The Bends. There is no fluke here. No song better than the other. People who dismissed "Just" as another lucky hit, take heed: It wasn't just a quick hit. It was just the first single.
It almost seemed as if Radiohead changed overnight, realizing the flaws that plagued Pablo Honey, and decided to start from scratch in a new direction. Raw, murky, unclear, and disoriented, this album jumps all over the field. Radiohead's guitar buzz lurks in and out, but it's the risks they took here that make this album exceptional. Songs like "High and Dry" with it's drum clash, and droning acoustic guitar seem to follow the more traditional pathway, but there's just something in teh way Thom Yorke sings that stretched Chorus that takes the song to new hights. Yorke isn't just a vocalist; he's magic, baby.
Stone cold anthem rockers like "Just" pack enough punch and attitude to thrill any head-banger, while the many breakdowns of clean guitars and synth's will apeal to the alternative crew. And tracks like the mesmerizing "Fake Plastic Trees" will release the inner sap in anybody with half a heart. // 8
Lyrics and Singing: Grim and happy are two words not meant to be used together, but their blend is welcome here. These lyrics aren't exactly going to make you pull the gun out of your mouth, but these lyrics mix with a very jubilant, happy sounding music that is just exceptional. But even more remarkable is the change we see happen before us in vocalist Thom Yorke. It's hard to take the pressure of being dismissed as a one-hit wonder, and Yorke addresses this on "My Iron Lung" almost pissed off (Here's another song/just like the last one/a complete w.a.s.t.e. of time). He's wrong. Nothing here is a waste of time, and will completely envelop anyone who hears his heartfelt, saddened words.
But perhaps the best here is the closing track "Street Spirit (fade out)". We've travellled through an album of lost, sad, confused lyrics, and at the very end of this grim, cold prognasis, Thom Yorke bids his final words: "Immerse yourself in love." Is he being sarcastic, or trying to stay hopeful through this confused ride? Who cares, when music is this good, just sit back in awe. // 8
Impression: This is the album that established Radiohead, and the let the entire world know that they're here no matter what kind of music they make. Over the years, radiohead have taken there music in all directions, from arena rock, to twitchy electronica, to free jazz, to sounds from everywhere. It started here. This is the real debut album, and the real deal. Sort of like the roots. Any Radiohead fan owes it to himself to listen to the sound of the begginings. To much of a rocker for this stuff? Don't worry; there's some of them good vibes as well, friend. Enjoy. // 10
unregistered, on april 08, 2005 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Without doubt my favourite rock album ever! Although to dismiss it as 'rock' simply wouldn't do it justice. Radiohead have a really unique, diverse sound. Listen to 'Street Spirit', 'The Bends', 'Fake Plastic Trees' - you'll know what I mean. Their first greatest hits album. // 10
Lyrics and Singing: Weird, soothing, happy, depressing - amazing! Thom Yorke's voice is brilliant and definatly enhances the songs. The lyrics too comply to perfection. Personal favourites include 'My Iron Lung', and, as mentioned above 'Fake Plastic Trees'. // 10
Impression: Like nothing else out there and definatly worth listening to time and time again. I think the highlight of the whole LP is the final track, 'Street Spirit': great sound - great song. Apart from the slightly average 'Sulk', there's really nothing to hate in this album. Hopefully, it will never leave my possession, but if I did lose it, I wouldn't hesitate to re-buy. A masterpiece! // 10
WuTangKieran, on may 02, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Radiohead had major success with the release of "Creep" in 93', but that is nothing compared to their second release "The Bends". Compared to just post grunge fuzziness that was present on "Pablo Honey" Radiohead actually matured into a serious band that could play great rock songs. There is a wide variety of song on the album, such as acoustic numbers, part electronic, and rock anthems. Radiohead had pressure from the record company with deadlines on this album, so there was a major rush to make this album as grand as possible, and they definitely succeeded in my opinion. There are about 3 songs on the album, that I believe are weaker than others: "High & Dry", "Bones" and "Sulk". Most Radiohead fans will disagree with my "High & Dry" opinion. // 10
Lyrics and Singing: Thom Yorke is the greatest lyricist of all time. Period. Although I believe his best lyrics shine on their next release "OK Computer" he has his shining moment on this album. The lyrics on the album, in general though are great, some are introspective and some are just plain dark. Just listen to "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" and you will get the jist. // 10
Impression: This album is Radiohead's most accessible album, and for good reason. There is a song for everyone on the album, whether they like acoustic is pure rock music. The best three songs on the album I believe are:
"Street Spirit (Fade Out)"
"Fake Plastic Trees".
I would buy the album again if it was stolen. It is essential. // 10
Drifting182, on july 24, 2008 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: By the time Radiohead's second full-length album hit record store shelves, the Blur vs. Oasis Britpop battle was set in full swing. Not to be lost in the shuffle, Radiohead recruited producer John Leckie (best known for his work with the Stone Roses and the Fall) and ended up creating an arena-rock masterpiece. Though Pablo Honey showed the band were already competent musicians, the songs were plagued for the most part with a sense that anybody could have written them, given enough practice. On The Bends, Radiohead forge an identity. Thom's lyrics become far more vague, for one. This is also the first album where it feels like Thom's bombastic tenor isn't carrying most of these songs - the band manage to keep up quite nicely. Jonny Greenwood's effect-laden solos make their first appearance here. Colin Greenwood's bass lines are mixed high here, giving the songs another layer of fullness they lacked on previous efforts. // 9
Lyrics and Singing: The album kicks off with the spacey "Planet Telex," reportedly recorded while the band was drunk. Ed O'Brien and Jonny Greenwood create walls of tremolo guitar while Thom shouts lyrics about everything being broken. Though a relatively weak composition in it's own right, Leckie's production touches (delay on the keyboard lines) are really what make this song great. "The Bends" opens with a simple open chord riff that's actually very similar in feel to R.E.M.'s "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" Really, this song demonstrates how much better the band had become with straight-forward rockers since the last album. Everything, from Jonny's licks to the soft bridge just fit perfectly into place. "High and Dry" was recorded during a session for Pablo Honey but ultimately left off that album. One wonders why, given that this song would have been the best one on that album if they'd included it. Was it too good? It fits in nicely on The Bends nevertheless. A largely acoustic pop song, the lyrics here manage to be vaguely meaningful, even though Thom claims it was written as a joke. Still, Thom endowed the song with one of the hookiest choruses of the entire Radiohead catalog despite it's supposed toss-off status. "Fake Plastic Trees" is another largely acoustic number, this time with Thom singing about plastic surgery. I'll admit it took me a while to get into this song, but it was well worth the wait. The arrangement here is very minimal (just Thom's acoustic and some spooky string support, with a brief full-band mid-section), but it makes the song all the more affecting. It's truly a beautiful song that must be heard at least 4 or 5 times to begin fully appreciating it. Thom was apparently so emotionally overwhelmed by the song that he broke down in tears after recording the second and final take.
"Bones" marks the return of the tremolo guitar, and yet again it's used to mask a weaker tune. This time it works less effectively than on "Planet Telex," however. "Nice Dream" is another soft ballad, with jangly arpeggiated chords and a string section making this one of the mellower tracks this album has to offer... until Jonny's solo kicks in completely out of nowhere. Though Jonny had showed a basic mastery of the alternative guitar solo on Pablo Honey, here he manages to create something completely his own. Jonny creates his own scales here, to great effect. They manage to be melodic and noisy, a rare feat indeed. "Just" is an attempt at creating another "Creep." And for the most part, it outclasses "Creep" in every way. Jonny's lead guitar licks here follow Thom's vocals, leading to a Beatles-esque effect before launching into the straight-ahead grunge chorus. More guitar cacaphony is present here courtesy of Mr. Greenwood, as are some of the most energetic vocals Thom's put to record yet. It's no coincidence that "Just" is immediately followed by "My Iron Lung," originally included on the aptly named My Iron Lung EP in response to the fans' demands for "Creep" to be played at every show. Given that "Just" was designed to be the big single here, the band couldn't help but get their shot in here. The instrumental backing here is what I can only describe as "generic Radiohead," which isn't really a problem given Thom's truly twisted but somewhat humorous lyrics here. Lines like "suck your teenage thumb" make it all worthwhile. The album shifts into gentle mode here with the majestic "Bulletproof... I Wish I Was," a song everyone can relate to. The song itself is the simplest on the album instrumentally, but John Leckie's studio wizardry creates a song that truly haunts you for days. Thom's vocals are heavily doused in reverb, making him sound a thousand miles away as he makes a sincere cry for strength. Ed O'Brien recorded backing vocals for this track without hearing it, making it all the more eerie that they fit the song so well. This song is often overlooked (probably given it's position between the more loved "My Iron Lung" and "Black Star") and consequently underrated. Like "Fake Plastic Trees", this one takes repeated listens to fully appreciate.
"Black Star" finds Radiohead back in Beatles mode. Though the riff is very similar to that of "The Bends," here it jangles rather than roars. Thom's tells a story about his lover who he slowly loses to mental illness. It's an odd touch to match such somber lyrics with a happy pop ditty, but it works here. Thom's soaring falsettos at the tail end of the song make the whole song worth hearing again. "Sulk" was one of the band's earlier songs, and it shows. The melody is overly simple here and rather forgettable. It's worth mentioning that the lyric "just like your dad" in the chorus was originally "just shoot your gun," but was changed for this version because the band didn't want it perceived as a tribute to the recently deceased Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. The album closes out with "Street Spirit (Fade Out)." This was the song that forever erased Radiohead's status as a one-hit wonder in the UK. In the US, not so much. The song is based on a deceivingly simple arpeggiated picking pattern on an electric guitar, eventually joined by a string section (thanks again, John Leckie). Thom's lyrics about the threat of urbanism to the individual foreshadow the beginning of a new direction for Radiohead. // 10
Impression: The Bends is rightly halied as a classic of alternative '90s rock, and rightly so. Unlike most so-called alternative classics, this one is hardly overrated. Out of 12 tracks, there are only a few bummers and even those have redeemable moments. Having created a Britpop masterpiece, Radiohead would move in a completely new direction on their next album, OK Computer. Some versions include "Killer Cars" at the end of the album. // 9
benjidude945, on january 12, 2008 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: This was my first Radiohead album! And what an album it was and still is. I found it in my aunt's house about 2 years ago and so I swiped it. I heard good things about the band. I couldn't stop listening to it. It kept growing and growing on me. There isn't one thing off with this album. From the distorted openings on the beautiful Planet Telex to the ending melancholy of Street Spirit. The album took everything about Pablo Honey and amplified it and made the melodies and lyrics and hooks much better. // 10
Lyrics and Singing: Thom Yorke shows up his vocal chops in full force, screaming in Just, softly crooning in Fake Plastic Trees, or half moaning in Street Spirit. His voice is perfectly suited for every song here. And the vocals are touching and biting. Street Spirit's are heart-breaking and thought-provoking. "Rows of houses are bearing down on me, I can feel their, blue hand touching me" and "this machine will, will not communicate these thoughts and this strain I am under" seem to predict the masterpiece, OK Computer. My Iron Lung is a reactionary piece to the success of Creep (and sounds like it should've been a worldwide hit instead). // 10
Impression: The music videos are must-sees from this album. Watch Just as soon as possible is you haven't already. Street Spirit is also terrific with it's stop-motion camera. Also try your hardest to track down the singles from the album. The b-sides are fantastic! Killer Cars, Maquiladora, Talk Show Host, Bannana Co, Bishop's Robes, and the cool remixes like the LFO DJ one of Planet Telex. But those are just the unused material from one of the best albums ever made. There's nothing to dislike about it. I would buy this again in a heartbeat if I lost it. // 10
justabody, on november 11, 2006 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: The over all sound of The Bends is quite somber. The almost "twang" to a lot of the fingerpicking in many of the songs makes the guitar stick out in your mind. You can tell the emotion behind some of the guitar and drums, this can definitely be herd in "Sulk" and "Bullet Proof... I Wish I Was". it's like they are not just playing the music they are feeling it. // 9
Lyrics and Singing: Of course Radiohead has some of the most powerful lyrics of any band. The feelings of Love, Loss, Vunerablility, Smallness, Longing for a place to feel that you belong, all move you so much that you are just tied up in the lyrics and you just take it all in. // 10
Impression: Emotions run when you have this CD on. Radiohead can not really be conpared to other artists, even though many people say that Coldplay is a lot alike, I don't think so. But the songs that touched me the most are Bullet Proof... I Wish I Was, Street Spirit (Fade Out), Black Star, and High And Dry. Even if you don't like this even type of music you will enjoy The Bends. I must say it is one of the best CD's of all time. // 10
mrsgreenwood88, on april 25, 2006 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Radiohead, overall, is an amazing band. Let's just put that out there. When I first listened to them, I listened to their first album, Pablo Honey. It was poppy and good, however I wanted to hear more. The next album to listen to was this, their sophomore album. The Bends is perhaps my favorite album of Radiohead's although all have their own unique style to them. The Bends has a more rock sound, although Thom Yorke (the lead singer) has been quoted in saying that they never meant to be a rock band. But then again, he also says that they aren't progressive, and if they aren't that, then I'm not sure what progressive means. The Bends has all different styles of songs, ranging from somber (Fake Plastic Trees, Street Spirit (Fade Out)) to hard rock (The Bends, Just). What Radiohead has done with this album is that every song has variety, it isn't just "hard" or "soft," it changes up. And I have found that this is key in making an album, and not too many bands do that these days. Whenever I introduce Radiohead to my friends who are interested, I start them off with this album. Not only is it my favorite, but it seems to be the album that draws many to Radiohead. // 10
Lyrics and Singing: Thom Yorke is mostly cryptic in his lyrics, and they are always wonderfully written. Thom's vocals always mix well with the music, and he sings with emotion. Particularly on "High And Dry," Thom sings in a way that makes shivers run up and down your spine. He also can belt out the lyrics in "Bones" with such a vigor, you feel as if you want to attack everything in sight. This man clearly knows how to manipulate his listeners. // 10
Impression: The Bends ranks high among my favorite albums. Radiohead itself is perhaps my favorite band, however there are many contenders for this spot. This is the album that I pop in whenever, I can always listen to it, and every song on it is impressive. However, the most impressive songs from the album have to be: The Bends (this song was written about knowing who your real friends are. It has amazing guitar riffs, not that they are particularly hard, its just that they sound amazing. Jonny Greenwood manipulates his guitar (mostly a fender telecaster) well, especially in this song), Fake Plastic Trees (this song was written for the world of mass marketing and mass consumption. As I have mentioned above, the vocals make you shiver, along with the music), Just (this song was written about a narcissistic friend that Thom had that he felt compelled to elude. This song is by far the best on the album, especially with Jonny's amazing playing. I find myself quoting often from this song "You do it to yourself, you do, and that's what really hurts"), Street Spirit Fade Out (I can't say much about this song, only that it is perhaps one of the saddest songs I have ever heard. It is certainly a favorite of mine, and this is the song that people usually come back to me about). Overall, this CD is amazing, and everyone should own it, even if they don't like the other albums Radiohead has done. It has a song for everyone, and I highly recommend owning it. // 10
AxlRose54, on january 13, 2006 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: This is probably their best CD, even if it's not their most well known. This album, released in the middle of radioheads career, shows a great amount of variety in the style of the songs. Among the best songs on the album are: The Bends, Fake Plastic Trees (great accustic song), and Street Spirit (Fade Out). Johnny greenwood is amazing at guitar. // 8
Lyrics and Singing: First time listening to this, you might think this record is terrible. You will actually find that the lyrics are genius. Though the songs might not sound as good as some other bands, they're true pieces of art. // 10
Impression: Check out other Radiohead albums, my favorite is Kid A; Hail To The Theif is also pretty good. This is just a great album. The best songs on here are: The Bends, Bulletproof, I Wish I Was, Fake Plastic Trees, and Street Spirit (Fade Out). If you don't enjoy slow songs with great lyrics that might not sound great, this album is not for you. If it was stolen I would buy it again no question about it. // 9
Mortigi Tempo, on october 10, 2005 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Radiohead are my favourite band and one of the things I love about them is how their music has changed over the years. After making Pablo Honey which was made famous by Creep (good song but probably overrated) Radiohead made The Bends. It still is quite angsty at times with songs like my iron lung however the songs that really make the bands great are street spirit and fake plastic trees. Centred around Thom's beautiful choir boy style voice. Every song in the album is good but they sound more different than Pablo Honey. There are many melodic songs as (Nice Dream), High And Dry, Bullet Proof. I Wish I Was as well as heavier rock style ones such as just, Bones And Sulk. This is one of the greatest albums ever and it will influence you in ways you never thought music could! // 10
Lyrics and Singing: One of the best things about Radiohead is the vocal skills of Thom and the lyrics of the songs he sings. Radiohead's lyrics can be nonesensical but incredibly meaningful at the same time as well as beautiful and funny. 'They brought in the whole marines and the CIA to blow me away' shows Thom's sense of humour just listen to the end of Fake Plastic Trees at the 'if I could be' part, it's beautiful 'she said that she'd like the come help but the sea would electrocute us all' incorparates all of the things above 'suck your teenage thumb toilet trained and dumb' haah when I first heard that I was sucking my thumb drool coming out of my mouth listen to the 'scream as the fight for life' part of street spirit' these are just a few examples listen to it yourself for the rest. // 10
Impression: This was the first radiohead album I listened to and it is my favourite. I was a little apprehensive when I stared because I had been told that radiohead were very strange but I found the bends really accesible and easy to listen to. It starts off brilliantly with Planet Telex and throughout has really good songs but they are different. It is early days Radiohead so is more rock style but it is not as angsty as pablo honey. High And Dry, Just, My Iron Lung All Amazing and of course Street Spirit which is just too good for words I love the bends and would especially reccomend it to someone who has not yet heard any Radiohead albums and does not know where to start. // 10
unregistered, on december 22, 2004 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: I first got listening to Radiohead with their 'OK Computer' album, and to be honest, I thought that it was one of the greatest albums ever. I listened to it constantly. Then, one day, my brother gave me a burnt copy of 'The Bends'. He told me that it was better than 'OK Computer', and I was really quite skeptical. I wasn't sure what he was talking about; and album better than 'OK Computer'. So, I put it in, and throughout the course of 12 songs, I had made the conclusion that their was one album better than 'OK Computer' and it was indeed 'The Bends'. First off, you have to understand Radiohead's style if you're going to even listen to them. It's not like metal (I happen to be a huge metalhead) where you can just put in any band of that genre and it's pretty much all the same. Radiohead has pretty much adopted their own way of making music, whether it's techno or rock or prog rock or whatever; it's awesome nonetheless.
To put it simply: this is just a flawless album. You literally can't find a low point or a bad note or anything. It's just excellent all the way through. One thing that really stuns me and other Radiohead fans alike is the fact that they can go from 'Pablo Honey' to 'The Bends' like that. The two albums seem to have generations and generations in between them, although 'The Bends' came out not that long after 'Pablo Honey'. I just can't believe that a band can change that much and just be that good. // 10
Lyrics and Singing: Radiohead are like the Pink Floyd at lyrics. I cannot believe how clever their lyrics can get. They're dark, mysterious, and they always have some deeper meaning that only a Radiohead fan would realize (even though the lyrics do get a little awkward sometimes). Thom Yorke is such a great vocalist. I have to say that it fits well with the far out effects that the band is using. Like I say, Radiohead have a very distinctive style, and Thom Yorke certainly contributes to it. // 10
Impression: Like many other fans, I believe that 'The Bends' is definitely the best Radiohead album. It's not only an amazing Radiohead album, but a great album of the 1990's. Every generation has an album like this: in the 70's it was Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon', in the 80's it was GnR's 'Appetite for Destruction', and in the 90's it was 'The Bends'. It's just one of those albums that had such an impact on the music industry and society. I only wish more albums were like this today. // 10
>>AlbiN<<, on june 01, 2004 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: The sounds on this album are absolutely awesome. Every type of guitar effect from wah to phaser to just plain distortion, some great keyboard effects as well. The drumming is superb, the bass is mostly quite simple and holds the songs together, and Thom Yorke's voice is at its best. This album is "Progressive Rock" - basically some distortion, some clean and some electronic sounds. // 10
Lyrics and Singing: As with most Radiohead albums, the lyrics are very clever, sometimes a little strange, and very well structured. The lyrics and the music are woven together wonderfully as well. Thom Yorke, as mentioned above, has an excellent singing voice - one of the b est male rock singers ever. // 10
Impression: This was my favourite album for a long time and is still in my top 5. Every song is 5 star, tho' my favourite songs have to be The Bends, Iron Lung, and Street Spirit. // 10
number41, on february 10, 2004 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: What happened to Radiohead??? Pablo Honey came out and had a huge post-grunge hit ("Creep"), but the record all around was just alright. Nothing too special, just sounded kind of like Oasis with some grunge funneled into a record. Then, when The Bends came out they blew everything away. I remember first listening to this album and realizing that every song was good, really really good. Everything sounded different and fresh - each song held its own without copying another on the album. Some songs were meloncoly and beautiful without being depressing, while others exploded with hatred and passion. Others just rocked. It's impossible to say how they did it, but Radiohead matured so quickly that heads are still spinning almost 10 years later. // 10
Lyrics and Singing: Thom York, singer for Radiohead is considered one of the best in the buisiness. Thom's voice is beautiful, which is something I don't say very often about male vocals. He is sincere and sings from inside his body. His lyrics use symbolism and metaphors better than almost any other singer (yes even emo). His words fill the head with images, though sometimes confusing. His message is the feeling you get just thinking about the song, which is the way he probably planned. Radiohead songs are not planned around structure (verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, chorus, ect.), they are almost living renditions of feelings that will only chorus when needed and solo when it takes the song higher. // 10
Impression: This is a timeless album. One of the best of the 1990's. Any rock fan needs to add the Bends to their musical album collection if they havnt done so already. The most impressive songs would have to be "Fake Plastic Trees", just a moving, touching song that has to be heard to experience, and "Street Spirit", which is sad but hopeful as well. I love the fact that this album is hard to get tired of. I hate that I have not found a better album than this, it makes my faith in good music these days decrease. // 10