#tbt Radiohead / Ok Computer (1997)

By Randy Nieto
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Picture this: It’s 1996, the Gin Blossoms and the Macarena ruled the airwaves. We still had some pretty great gems coming from bands in the independent / small label world (Pavement, Guided By Voices, to name a few), but they pretty much followed the same jangly, rock driven aesthetic. Radiohead, who’s previous hits, Creep and Fake Plastic Trees, also played by the same rules. Enter Ok Computer: Right from the opening note of Airbag, this sounds like a new band. Crisp production from Nigel Godrich and sonic landscapes painted from these 5 lads from Oxford presented us with a whole new style of record. A music fan might categorize this album as “prog-rock”, but really it’s far from it, lacking the self-indulgent jam sound many prog bands tend to veer towards. Instead, Johnny Greenwood’s masterful control of the pedal-board, spewing beautiful robot and fuzzy guitar noises (giving power to songs or gently bringing them down when necessary) lifts this album up from regular indie classic status. Every note on this album is written with calculating precision, and more thought than some people put into their dissertations. One last thing I should mention is the album is set to loop, with the lyrics from the last song The Tourist leading into the lyrics of the first song Airbag. Anybody who says they love music but hasn’t listened to this album has shamed themselves greatly. Check out “Paranoid Android” below.

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