OK Computer review by Radiohead

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  • Released: Jun 16, 1997
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (245 votes)
Radiohead: OK Computer

Sound — 10
From the moment the opening riff of Airbag is let loose on your senses to the final and defining chime of the The Tourist, it becomes clear that Ok Computer is something very special. Mixing a landscape of different sounds from song to song and at points changing the entire direction of the sound during a song, Radiohead's "Difficult Album" serves as the decisive breath of fresh air in '90s music, seizing those who looked for the next Achting Baby or Nevermind, In 1997 a new sense of musical direction was formed. It becomes clear as soon as Paranoid Android kicks in that this isn't The Bends, the format to the song isnt a simple intro, verse then chorus etc but instead it pulls you in every direction besides backwards, at times making you feel ever note pass through your body then captavating your soul as the multi layered voice's of Thom Yorke make you feel like your being haunted until the song ultimatly comes crashing to an end only to be succeeded by the dark yet warming introduction to Subterrenean Homesick Alien. There is no clear point you can mark on Ok Computer to be able to say there's it's peak, that would be too insulting to the album, to not listen to the whole thing and let the sound take over you, as the album brings you to the chasm's of Exit Music(For A Film) and Climbing Up The Walls to the felling of rebirth that is the conclusion of No Surprises, it becomes obvious that this is a landmark record.

Lyrics — 9
Ok Computer seemed to have marked a very distinct change in the style of Thom Yorke's lyrics even more so than the lyrical transition of Pablo Honey to The Bends, here we are being shown an alternative reality through the words in the music, a world that seems to be falling apart at the helms due to the individuals inside it e.g. the saviour of the universe in Airbag, the suicidal man who seems to have unwillingly become institutionalised inside society in No Surprises and well of course, The Tourist in The Tourist. You can't simply think that you can listen to this album and get away with some sense of meaning towards it, it's like a good film with a twist, with every time that you watch it the events or clues that lead to the twist or in this case to the understandiong of the album and it's songs become more and more apparent each time that you listen to it. By far the most recognisable and memorable set of lyrics on the album has to be the most difficult song to listen to and therefore understand, this being Fitter Happier. From the viewpoint of the mechanised voice we are being told the ideal way that the people who watch over us would prefer us to live our lives, the way in which it would seem society would deem a "normal" human being to live e.g. "A patient better driver, sleeping well, no paranoia", however towards the end even the authorative voice in question speaks the truth showing us that we need to live our lives as we see fit and not through the ideas of others.

Overall Impression — 10
Perhaps the only other album from the nineties that Ok Computer can be compared to is Nevermind, both identifiably unique in their own ways but still they seem to share some aspects. For instance it is clear that Nevermind changed the face of music forever with everyone trying to emulate the famous Smells Like Teen Spirit guitar riff but in the case of Ok Computer even the record company did'nt identify any kind of commercial benefit from the finished album or in Phil Selway's words "They didn't hear anything on OK Computer that sounded even remotely like a single, let alone like 'Creep'" but still Radiohead chose Paranoid Android as not only 'a' single but as the introductory single from the album, this goes to show to an extent what Radiohead were talking about Ok Computer that in most cases no matter how good it seems commercial benefit is never a substitute for your personal self, Paranoid Android earned Radiohead their biggest UK chart placement to date. In my opinion the most impressive song from the album is definetely No Surprises, the main reason for this is that if you listen to the album as a whole you hear that their are conflicting textures in the songs that sometomes appear straight after the song before e.g. the way in which Exit Music(For A Film) builds up into this great sound that you can't help but feel as if it has been imprinted upon your soul and then as it ends a new song, Let Down, moves into position and takes you by the hand, only with No Surprises it comes straight after Climbing Up The Walls, the firat song that Radiohead credited as "scary", and instead of taking you by the hand like Let Down does it offers you the chance, one last chance, to go on a three minute journey and see the world from the eyes of the individual in the song, the instantly recognisable guitar riff seems to float around you with the soft spoken glockenspiel accompanying you throughout the song. Truly Ok Computer is one of the only albums that can be said is the greatest of all time, maybe anohter Ok Computer will come alaong in a few years and people will use this as a landmark to that in the way that people used Dark Side Of The Moon with this, but this album will never fade away, this one stays.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    bassplayer496 wrote: I actually think nerdo might be right, the bends might just be better. I used to think this one was hands down the best, but I'm not sure now. ~Love, Dallas~
    kid a. but then again every album is so different...