Newest Review: ... opening track as you will find on any album of recent times. 'Paranoid Android', perhaps one of the better known tracks from the band ent... more
Radiohead '97 - OK Computer
OK Computer - Radiohead
Member Name: bilbobaginz
OK Computer - Radiohead
Advantages: Lirics and Instruments work unbelievably well together.
Disadvantages: Some songs are just a tad too depressing here and there.
Radiohead had been around for more than a decade before releasing their first major UK chart topping album on the 16th of June 1997. Before the production of the album, it could be argued that the guys hadn't really stunned the UK's main media base with jaw descending classic British sound! After their 1992 release of 'Creep', leading rock/indie magasine, NME described the group as "a lily-livered excuse for a rock band", and BBC Radio 1 blacklisted the central track for the simple reason that it was "too depressing" to be played.
Sure enough though, the group did recover from those tricky early days, and the depressing feel lowered to a suttle notion as to attract a wider audience and fan base.
2. Paranoid Android
3. Subterranian Homesick Alien
4. Exit Music
5. Let Down
6. Karma Police
7. Fitter Happier
9. Climbing up the Walls
10. No surprises
12. The Tourist
The album opens with such enthusiasm and uplift that you can almost feel the regret on the faces of those NME writers who down trood theis bands style. In no way is this collection of instrument and voice a depressing sensation to the ears, 'Airbag' is as well-written and well-balance an opening track as you will find on any album of recent times.
'Paranoid Android', perhaps one of the better known tracks from the band enters into the album with acoustic guitar strums and light drumming. It builds patently into a reverb filled rock riff based power house, designed to get you singing along and really into the album as a whole. But what I love most about this song is the central chorus/verse/bit, "Rain down, rain down, come on rain down, ohh rain, from a great height, from a great height" is sensationally well sung - all the emotion you could possibly need.
'Subterranian Homesick Alien' is first off, bizzarly titled, but yet again an extremely well balance acoustic song. The melodies of voice and instrument criss-cross brilliantly in a way only a genius could choreograph. The piano/keyboard sound is particularly inspiring. "I'll show you the stars and the meaning of life"...
'Exit music' is what you would call depressing. Its drowny, simple, but effective. It reminds me a lot of 'creep' actually, and perhaps this song was a way of Radiohead 'creeping' back in some of that previous (media hated) stuff they clearly enjoyed producing themselves.
The bass guitar in 'let down' makes this track an instant hit. a rolling, deep sound which continues throughout and really gives the whole song an uplifting, positive feel. You do feel that the lead vocals relaxed approach doesn't work as well here as in other songs from the album.
'Karma Police' is I believe the most well-known track from the album, repeated so many times on radio and Tv, but that doesn't make it a poppy, every-day tune. It's a really innovative song which brings in some interesting chord changes and vocals only Radiohead would attempt to get away with. "That's what you get when you mess with us"...
'Fitter Happier' is a really truely bizzare little clippet of ranting from 'Microsoft Sam' or an equivelent electronic voice going on about human happenings and daily things we all do or should do. Now this is depressing... but does it bring up real issues? maybe.
Back to rock and roll with 'Electioneering' and some beefy guitar riffs with heavy drums and less lazy singing (not that the lazy style is anything but brilliant). The song is well lirically written, definetly one for turning right up!
'Climbing up the walls' takes the album back down a notch with some interesting sound samples, and a rolling lazy drum beat throughout. The vocals have adopted a kind of muffled effect for the song too which works incredibly well. The chorus is partically good with the introduction of some threat descending echoey electric guitar to join the various stages of the track.
'No surprises' is my personal favourite song of the album because it's just so catchy!
'Lucky' is a slow, droaning song with a similar echoey drawn out electric guitar sound used in Climbing up the walls. Its a very well balanced track once again, and the outro is particularly well put together.
'The Tourist' wraps up the album beautifully with yet another slow, semi-depressing sound from those rolling drums, reverbed guitar and muffled, droaning voice. I love how the sounds of this track blend - its almost too difficult to tell the instruments, voice and electronic samples/sounds apart, they're so well integrated.
The electric guitar breaks out into a muffled solo which also works really well with the track.
Overall It's difficult to believe that this is the same band that was slattered so badly by the UK press back in the early 1990s. Radiohead have gone from being a failed 'depressing' pop/rock band to a massively talented group of British legends; a group of inspirational musicians and writers capable of producing some excellent recorded and live sound!
Summary: A brilliant album everyone should have a listen to!