Sound — 7
Radiohead came into critical and commercial acclaim when they released The Bends in 1995. They didn't think they could be any bigger when they released OK Computer on an unsuspecting public in 1997. They were wrong. Since then it has been frequently hailed as the one of the best, if not the greatest album of the 90's. Though Radiohead went on to experiment deeper in genre-blending, trying everything from jazz to electronica to delta blues, this album is pure guitar rock, kicking off with the opening track "Airbag." From there the album veers off from somber epics (Paranoid Android, Exit Music) to melancholic pop (Let Down, No Surprises) and everything in between. However, there are some experiments like "Fitter Happier," which is probably the closest thing to a confession from a machine, and "Climbing Up The Walls."
Lyrics — 9
Thom Yorke's voice is a bit more muddled, more cryptic than on The Bends, but the vocals aren't nearly as drowned out as Kid A. Frequent themes of alienation and isolation have never been more lovable than when Yorke's sings them. He often writes about humanity's place with technology and how it responds to us. Even politics make their way onto the album on "Electioneering." The line "Riot shields/Voodoo economics" holds up to present conditions quite well.
Overall Impression — 10
I really didn't know why OK Computer was so lauded by critics and or why reviews were so unanimous until I listened to the album straight through. The songs in this album are almost track listed perfectly along side my own feelings about society and technology. This was the very first record that really was pure "angst", more so than the blues, which is often frustrated but vain in it's voice.