Airbag/How Am I Driving? [EP] Review

artist: Radiohead date: 03/17/2009 category: compact discs
Radiohead: Airbag/How Am I Driving? [EP]
Released: Apr 21, 1998
Genre: Alternative Rock/Art Rock
Label: Capitol
Number Of Tracks: 7
This album includes most of the songs that had been issued as b-sides on Radiohead's CD singles from "OK Computer" in the previous year, and is effectively a sequel to that album.
 Sound: 9.7
 Lyrics: 9.7
 Overall Impression: 10
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reviews (3) 3 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9.7
Airbag/How Am I Driving? [EP] Reviewed by: thewho65, on march 17, 2009
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Released in 1998 in America, this is clearly noted on the front cover. "This mini album is aimed at the USA." The cover art seems like an extension of that found on the OK Computer album. However, this EP is not an extension of OK Computer, rather serving as a transition from The Bends to OK Computer for their American audience. Many of the songs still sound like material from The Bends (save for "Melatonin" and maybe "Meeting In The Aisle") just with some computerized sounds tastefully inserted. Some experiments like "Meeting In The Aisle" are a glimpse of things to come.

Even with the presence of programmed bleeps and processed effects, guitars are still heavy on this EP. Songs like "Pearly*" and "Palo Alto" are undeniable rockers, and are great examples of Jonny Greenwood's unconventional playing and Ed O'Brien's even more effects-laden guitar. // 9

Lyrics: Songs like "Pearly*" are just downright perplexing, whilst the short but strange "Melatonin" is quite clear. However, the lyrics are no where near as cryptic as they would come to be on albums such as Kid A. I quite like the writing on this album, the excitement that comes with "Palo Alto" ("I throw myself into my work/I'm too lazy, I've been kidding myself for so long." I can relate) and the beauty of "A Reminder". // 10

Overall Impression: A collection of B-sides from the European and Japanese singles from OK Computer along with it's first track, "Airbag", this EP was highly sought after until they reissued it recently. Rightfully so, this EP stands well on it's own. This is evidenced by the fact that it went up against full albums in the 1999 Grammys for Best Alternative Music Performance. Overall it's probably the best EP I've ever heard (along with The Pixies's Come on Pilgrim) and it serves as a good initiation to OK Computer. // 10

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overall: 10
Airbag/How Am I Driving? [EP] Reviewed by: amacno2, on march 31, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: First, let me start off saying that I am 14 years old, I love Radiohead. I picked up the last copy of this EP availible in the local music store. I had heard it was pretty good and thought I would check it out. I bought OK Computer with the money I received last Christmas and it is every bit as good as the hype surrounding it makes it out to be. Anyway while listening to the EP, I almost needed an airbag for the drive home. This EP might possibly be the best ever released. 01. Airbag: the classic opener from OK Computer, while seemingly a bit underproduced compared to the album version, still the same epic song it always was. 5/5 02. Pearly*: sick. just Sick. I love the "Darling, use me" part with Thom's awesome falsetto. One of the best B-sides Radiohead has ever created. 5/5 03. Meeting In The Aisle: Radiohead's first attempt at an instrumental is also their best (Treefingers and Hunting Bears don't come close) 4/5 04. A Reminder: again another great song. Has a build from people quietly talking in the background. Soft for the most part, Thom almost whispers the lyrics. 4/5 05. Polyetheylene (Parts 1 & 2): holy crap. Seriously, why isn't this on OK Computer. This is the best Radiohead song ever written. Yes, I just said it. Paranoid Android is 2nd of course but the way this song goes from a soft Thom acoustic number to the full band blowing the ceiling of off the studio this was recorded in is amazing. Infinity/5 06. Melatonin: and things cool down now. A soft strings and piano ballad is short but sweet. Average song, similar to Motion Picture Soundtrack from Kid A. 3/5 07. Palo Alto: this song is so sick. Combining scratchy effects with punky power chords, Thom talks of the "City of the Future." This song was originally called OK Computer apparently, could also have been on the album, but doesn't really fit that well. Great Closer 5/5 // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics on this album are exceptional, and would expect nothing less from Thom Yorke, the greatest lyricist of my lifetime. Polyethylene has some of the best lyrics he ever wrote. Thoms voice is as incredible as always, highlights are on Pearly* and again, Polyethylene... tears of joy now scare ourselves of all that you want to be just got paid and now you're going, how inside you please if i get scared I'll just call you and I'll miss your glow as I unsettle oh, and I'll always feel, I will always be // 10

Overall Impression: If the rest of the B-sides from OKC had been included, this could have been a great stand alone album. Polyethylene, Pearly* and Palo Alto are the best songs along with the single Airbag. I love the creativeness of the melodies and music, a standard that Radiohead has set for themselves. I would definatly buy this over and over if I lost it or it was stolen. The packaging is very cool with sarcastic "quesionaire" and the art is like a branch off of the tree of OKC. A great complement to the best album of the 90s. "If you don't believe me, sell your soul." // 10

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overall: 9.7
Airbag/How Am I Driving? [EP] Reviewed by: Monotov's Opera, on february 22, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Filled with heavily-distorted guitars and several faster-paced songs, this album is very reminiscent of The Bends. However, it has some elements of OK Computer in its mix, such as the use of multiple keyboards, synthesized sounds, and electronic experimentation. The combination is an extraordinary sound that needs headphones for true enjoyment. A quick overview of the songs themselves: Airbag is one of the best Radiohead tracks ever recorded, capturing the sheer joy of being alive better than anything I have ever heard. Pearly is mysterious. Its lyrics allow the listener to reach one's own conclusions as to its meaning, but the sound itself is amazing. The guitar piece, despite its relative simplicity, is excellent. Meeting in the Aisle is one of the better rock instrumentals I have heard. A familiar Radiohead brooding sound, despite no vocals. A Reminder is touching, an great song about a reminder from the past to wake up and start caring about life again. Polyethylene opens with a quiet, muddled acoustic bit, before exploding into a thundering rocker. Melatonin is ominous, brooding, yet reassuring at the same time. Weird how Radiohead does that. Palo Alto is powerful rocker, with heavily distorted guitar you can't help but want to play along with. A great song, with great sound. // 10

Lyrics: Thom's voice is astonishing, as well, and his lyrics combine mystery and strong messages. The only caveat is that Thom is sometimes difficult to understand, as in the first portion of Polyethylene. The songs Airbag, A Reminder, and Palo Alto are relatively clear, while the other songs have much more fog surrounding their meaning. All in all, excellent lyrics. // 9

Overall Impression: With songs ranging from rockers to mellow keyboard ballads and instrumentals, this mini-album is a remarkable transition from The Bends to OK Computer. This is perhaps one of the best EP's ever to be released, and could stand alone as a solid Radiohead album. Similar to some of Radiohead's other work, many of the songs are about the fact that society is all messed up. Simply said, Radiohead has done it again, and has produced a masterpiece despite having only seven songs. // 10

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