OK Computer review by Radiohead

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  • Released: Jun 16, 1997
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.3 (243 votes)
Radiohead: OK Computer
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Sound — 10
I give this album the only 5 I'll probably ever give. For the moment being anyway. It's not hard to see that today's music fan, today's young music lover starving for knowledge would likely pass up such late 90's nostalgic gems like The Pixie's Doolittle, or Bjork's Post, or this album for instance. But upon repeated listen, even the most cynical music fan would probably agree on Ok Computer being a perfect album, though they'd never admit it forehand: It's just the feeling, the vibe, there likely to recieve upon that first spin. Go ahead and look. There's not a single song on this album that even sounds remotely similar to the last one. From the distorted power chords in "Airbag" to the folk-ish stylings and storytellings of "Paranoid Android" to the beautiful lullaby, straight from a fairy tale ditty that is "No Surprises." Every song here paints a different story. Ok Computer is best described as a collection of 12 stories, from 12 different poles on Earth. While no song is better than the last, there are some exceptional ones. The acoustic goodness that kicks off "Paranoid Android" stays with you until the squealing white-spire electric leads that wake your ass up midway, the comforts you from what you just heard by introducing an acoustic track more intriguing than the first, like some kind of folk tale from a foreign country, right before becoming scaringly grimy and urban. Never has there ever been a song that has crammed 4 styles so effectively in the space of 6 minutes. Never. Ok Computer is remarkable for the fact that it introduces songs that you never forget, like "Karma Police," which sounds like a robot beating the hell out of a grand piano, while Thom Yorke tries to foil the arguing by coo-ing them to sleep. And the R.E.M. clash of "Electioneering" is just pure rocking without cause, care, or intent. "Climbing Up The Walls" includes violin chords that have never been heard in modern music. Usually soothing and classical, the violin tracks here screech in a way they should never be screeched, while Yorke's vocals-from-a-tin-can whelp adds an uncommon fear of listening to this song alone. In the dark. Laced with effects that pierce the heart, it's hard to distinguish the guitar over the machines, because the first produces sounds remeniscent of the latter, to where the lines are blurred. This is one album that will never be recreated on MTV2's Album Covers, because only Radiohead themselves have the access to the beatiful, ingenius sounds that show what happens when you explore for your sound, or sometimes create it with whatever the hell is lying around.

Lyrics — 10
Although all 12 songs here are different in sound, scope and production, they all share a common theme. Alienation. The common lifestyle of the happy life, the wonderful job, and the beatiful family. The wizard behind the curtain of Oz. The all too real place that middle-class cictizens fear, but know is always a possibility. Laced with lyrics about advertising, politics, corrupted systems, computers, alienation, payback, and extra terrestrials, Ok Computer never seems like a concept album, but it is. "Exit Music (For A Film)" is quite possibly the most lonely song ever written. You just get that image of a naked man, sitting in the snow, in pitch dark with his acoustic guitar, singing himself into insanity. "Let Down" sounds happy enough to almost seem like a revelation. Like Radiohead have realized the life worth living. But alas, it was just a dream. The lyrics are monotanous, and Yorke's vocals strain every, last, syllablle and word, until you feel them as much as he wants you to.

Overall Impression — 10
Released in 1997, it's almost strange to understand just how ahead of it's time this album was. Who besides Radiohead were releasing albums of this eerie, haunting stature, and who even does today? They changed from the beautiful pop songwriting of "The Bends" into what seems like a guilty pleasure, and an act of obsession. They weren't worried about writing "rock" songs, and the world has become a better place for it. It's hard to picture a world without Radiohead. Well, at least that's how it goes in my Matrix...

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