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Radiohead - The Bends
Radiohead are a funny old band. They've gone from fairly frequent interlaced guitar work with a grunge flavour to a more experimental sound. I mention this in case you've heard a track from their initial "Guitar" period such as Creep, or The Bends or High and Dry and assume their later stuff is going to be similar. Apart from a brief return with the Album Hail to the Thief, It is not.
If you have heard any of the aforementioned songs and thought to yourself, "I'd like a bit of that", then the best Album to buy remains 1995's "The Bends". This follow up to Pablo Honey would be cited by the Observer as one of "the 50 albums that changed music".
Mind you, they also claimed that without Radiohead, Coldplay would not exist. I consider this a foul slur and believe that Coldplay exist purely to spread tedium, mediocrity and smugness throughout the world in accordance with their master, Beelzebub's plan.
What's in the tin
The Bends contains 12 tracks, of which none are duds. That achievement alone is a great one. Planet telex, Bones and Just provide the rawest rockiest tracks on the album. Hitting the middle ground are the toe-tappingly good The Bends, High and Dry, Black Star and Nice Dream. Moving onto slower ground, we have the outstanding arpeggio in Fade Away and the insane Fake Plastic Trees.
It is this coverage of three distinct areas that helps keep this Album fresh for me. Too often, you will listen to an Album where tracks are too similar, where the same patterns and transitions crop up, again and again. On other occasions, you'll have a couple of banner tracks with the remainder b-side material at best. Not here you won't.
Thom Yorke's vocals would never compete with Kobain or Plant or Johnson. They're not about power, they are about expression, working their way around lyrics that speak of angst or absurdity. Melding with the music rather than dominating it.
There is a trade off here, in as much as sometimes you want him to just punch it out, but sense that's never going to happen. Not here, not anywhere. At times, dreariness does start to creep in, but never stays very long.
Johnny Greenwood's guitar work is frequently underappreciated in much the same way as Graham Cox. Although he is a multi-instrumentalist, and would go on to lead the electronic direction in the personally (i.e. for me) disappointing OK Computer, it is on the most recognisable of Radiohead's tracks that you'll hear him playing an acoustic or a telecaster.
Between Yorke and Greenwood came the vast majority of the song writing. The remainder of the bank consisted of his older brother, Richard Greenwood on Bass, Ed O'Brien on backing vocals and supporting Guitar work, Phil Selway on Drums and a couple of supporting classical instrument players on cello and violin.
The Bends can be yours new for under £7, but why not do what I am increasingly doing, and buy a used (good) CD for under £2 and rip the music to your iPod?
Radiohead are one of my favourite bands, and The Bends, in my humble opinion, is their best, although perhaps not as technically and musically brilliant as their most famous 'OK Computer'. This album is full of emotion, showcasing Thom Yorke's extraordinary voice as it changes in style and pace.
The opener 'Planet Telex' crashes around, with breathtaking guitar riffs and Yorke's vocals weaving in and out. Then there's 'The Bends', also a higher paced, rocky number which then moves onto the hauntingly beautiful 'High and Dry' and then my personal favourite, 'Fake Plastic Trees' where his voice is so crisp and clear it can move you to tears. This is seen again in the soulful 'Nice Dream' which then crashes into the spitty vocals of 'Just', by far the most raucous song on the album. 'Black Star' is another favourite of mine, it's haunting melody staying with you, which can also be said of the last song, 'Street Spirit' where the fading melodies creates a song both sad and yet beautiful.
This album is made by a band who were desperate to move on from their debut's star single 'Creep' and move on they did. Keeping their indie rock roots, they grew and developed as a band as they toured and came out with this gem of an album that only gets better and better with each listen. YOU NEED TO OWN THIS ALBUM.
Over the past year, I feel like I've come out of a deep sleep and finally have seen the real world. That's in part due to this band. Many, many times the raving people have done about Radiohead has just passed over my head. Then one day, I took notice. After hearing the well known tracks, including the obvious 'Creep' I decided to invest in their newest album 'In Rainbows' and 'OK Computer'. And then I heard 'The Bends.'
This is one of the most fantastic albums that I've ever owned, and in my opinion the best of the three Radiohead CD's that I have. I saw them at Roskilde Festival 2008 and spent the entire time basically in a trance, just trying to take in the spectacular sound that I was hearing. If I had heard of the majority of these tracks before seeing them...well I can only imagine what a show it must have been to the people who had heard them.
Radiohead are a band like no other; no other band has successfully created such an out-of-this world listening experience and (unless aliens land on the planet and create a CD) then I doubt they ever will. Maybe the only person who will ever fully understand the lyrics are Thom Yorke himself, but if you let yourself go with the music you catch the drift. Each track has incredible guitar riffs, brilliant vocals etc but there are a few I can pick out as the jewels of this crown:
- 'Bones'. My ultimate favourite. Yorke may be a few generations ahead of myself, but his vocals in this song particularly are so mesmerising, that this fact slips my mind for a few minutes, which is rather ironic considering the lyrics.
- 'High & Dry'. Again another fantastic music piece, enhanced greatly by the vocals.
-'Fake Plastic Trees'. A well known hit for a reason, a beautiful chilled out song, absolutely great when played live.
I could continue to attempt to describe the Radiohead effect further, but I think that's for you to discover. Meanwhile, I will finish my Radiohead collection and see if this band can continue to surprise me.
Well Radiohead are another band it took me a while to get into. OK Computer was the first album of theirs I bought. I was so impressed with that, a few years later I got my hands on this one. The Bends is brilliant. Some magical songs that really do stand out! So here is what I think of each and every song;
1. Planet Telex - Quite a rocky start to the album. Not anywhere near there best work of the album. Quite a weak start. 7/10
2. The Bends - Now your talking. Great sound. Quiet intro before the music explodes into life. Great lyrics, great vocals, great song! 9/10
3. High And Dry - One of my all time favorite Radiohead tracks. High and dry is beautiful. Its got a real chilled out flavor, some intoxicating lyrics and an all round wonderful sound. 10/10
4. Fake Plastic Trees - Another work of pure art. Yorke's vocals are simply stunning on this song. The range he hits is amazing, its just a great song! 9/10
5. Bones - More upbeat than most songs on the album, this one is a really powerful song. Some belting rythems and beats, excellent again! 9/10
6. Nice Dream - An unusual song. This one does not quite make the grade for me personally. Its a good song, but just lacks the bite others do. 7/10
7. Just - Excellent, I love the video for this song, although that does not influence my rating of the music. It just a good rock song that makes you wanna shake all over! 9/10
8. My Iron Lung - I love the intro to this one. Takes a while for the song to get going. When it does, it becomes a bit of a shouting match, still a great song. 8/10
9. Bullet Proof... I Wish I Was - A weak song? Maybe. It's really chilled and a little boring for me. 6/10
10. Black Star - Radiohead hit back with another classic. Upbeat, good lyrics, excellent all round. 9/10
11. Sulk - Another unusual song that just works so well. Typical Radiohead with that haunting sound. 8/10
12. Street Spirit - Can they finish big? Oh yes! Another masterpiece. Street Spirit has a wonderful guitar riff that just seems to echo through eternity! Its magic, and Yorke's vocals are bewitching! Awesome finish! 10/10
Overall a wonderful album. One of my all time favorites and really showing what the band are capable of. If you like Radiohead but do not own this album, you really need to get your hands on a copy!
My final rating 9/10
A classic Cd this really pushed Radiohead forward as a band who stood out from the crowd, with incredibly passionate vocals from Thom Yorke, the band's powerful thrash guitars combined with soaring vocals were a huge winner.
This CD really got me into radiohead and every song is brilliant, one of those delightful albums without a duff song on it. From Planet Telex through the soul-searching of 'Thje Bends', Thom's sorrowful vocal on 'High and Dry' and the wonderful 'Fake Plastic Trees', the lyrics are thought provoking, creating powerful imagery.
My favourite song, one i'll always remember is Just, it blows me away, the video, based on an old foreign film is unforgettable and made Radiohead for me. The album is depressing and some people view it as suicide music but as with all Thom Yorke's lyrics if you look hard enough there is light on the other side, and this album is a joy, something that doesn't age and I can always listen to from start to finish.
Radiohead have a bit of a reputation in some circles as producing dull music that drives people to suicide. I personally think this is a ridiculous statement, but one that I hear all too often (maybe my friends are all too old to listen to Radiohead?). Yes, some of their music is slow and Thom Yorke's voice can sound dreary and depressing, but in my opinion this only adds to the emotion and feeling in their music.
'The Bends' was their second album and is my favourite of all that they have produced to date. It was originally released back in 1995.
Songs you might recognise from it include:
'Just' - This song has been brought back to public's attention with Mark Ronson cover version. Obviously I feel the original is far superior. From the first guitar strum this song is a classic. It's rocky start dies away for a steady build up to a memorable catchy chorus.
'High and Dry' - This is a beautiful chilled out track, with an acoustic guitar base throughout. The music's gentle feel gives a perfect backing to some magically soothing Yorke vocals.
'Fake Plastic Trees' - You feel like you are climbing a mountain of emotion listening to this song. With the gentle incline at the start which gradually turns into a veritable ROCK face, ending with a well earned rest towards the end of the song.
'My Iron Lung' - This has a different feel to it than most of the other songs on the album. There is always an underlying threat that this song will erupt with atitude and it does for each of the choruses. Fantastic guitar playing, a real song to sing-a-long to and release some tension!
All of the songs are beautifully sung and the music is extremely good. It fills me with emotion every time I listen to this album, so I recommend you add it to your record collection if it doesn't have pride of place already!
The Bends is the album that completely blew me away in my teenage years, and it still holds a very special place in my heart. It is probably the best radiohead album to start with if you have been living under a rock or something and have never heard them before
From the first track - Planet Telex - Radiohead are pushing the boundaries of what a conventional rock band should sound like - tremulous guitars that sound like synths, the simplicity of the lyrics
There's real angst prevelant in the title track , The Bends, as well as the offbeat song structure (and i mean from bar to bar - it doesn't make sense)
Fake Plastic Trees is beautiful and redefined the ballad for a whole new generation of groups. Which overall is a bad thing, but it's still a beautiful song
Just and My Iron Lung still send shivers down my spine. The anger in the tracks is very honest and drags you in completely The same is true of final track Street Spirit
The only weakness on the album is Sulk - an obvious attempt at a single that could match Creep. It lacks the honesty and experimentation of the rest of the album - The Bends is the sound of a band trying to find their new sound
When 'Pablo Honey' arrived to the world in 1994, many lesser witted people dubbed Creep a one hit wonder and Radiohead little more than a stop-fill gap between the early nineties Nirvana-led grunge revolution and the mid-nineties Brit-pop era. How wrong they were.
Their second album 'The Bends' designed and moulded the band into a superpower from which they never looked back. And the most serious question asked or topic discussed about this album in years gone by?? Not the lack of 'filler' tracks or 'radio-friendly' music, but whether 'The Bends' or 'OK Computer' is not only Radiohead's best album, but one of the best albums rock music has ever produced.
Opening track 'Planet Telex' helps us on our epic journey, and acts as an excellent compliment to the following three tracks, all of which are huge pieces of music.
Title track 'The Bends' is a huge favourite of mine with Thom Yorke's creaking, wandering voice 'I need to wash myself again, to hide all the dirt and pain'. Pablo Honey showed subtle complexities in the band's work, and this song alone shows how they developed these 'subtleties' into breakdowns and build-ups in music that are hard to achieve.
The following two tracks, 'High & Dry' and 'Fake Plastic Trees' are beautiful, heart-felt tracks. Anthems for a rainy day it could be said, or anthems for a sunny day some others may argue, with their hazy, laid back rhythms that hypnotizes the listener into a state of awe with regards to this music. Furthermore, these two songs showcase Yorke's epic talent with his eerie, echoing vocals that can within an instant break hearts, and as latter songs will confirm, then shatter window panes in anger.
'Bones' starts off, in my opinion, in a REM-esque style of music. However, Yorke comfortably manages to differ between Michael Stipe's style and his own, authenticating Radiohead's own style and showing that this is brilliant, original music that we are listening to.
'(Nice Dream)' produces a harmony of backing violins and vocals, until a stop-start, enraging solo from Jonny Greenwood breaks loose, for allbeit 30 or so seconds, until this juxtaposed style rounds off with the fading out of 'nice dream' being sang.
'Just' is just simply a great song, and an example of the anger-style of vocals that I mentioned a few paragraphs back with regards to Yorke's vocal styles. The build-up of quiet verses and loud choruses is very much a trademark of rock music. And all rounded off by another provoking guitar interlude by Greenwood. And one final word on this song - an excellent video accompanies it, as I'm sure many of you are aware - why was that man lying on the ground?! One of lifes genuine unanswerable questions!!
'My Iron Lung' may be seen by a few people as being slightly weak compared to a number of tracks on the album, which is fair enough, until an obscure, but certainly attention-grabbing interlude about two minutes into proceedings appears. It's an explosion of musical passion that catches the listener unaware, making for great alternative music.
'Bullet Proof...I Wish I Was' fades in and out, with progressing ease with each listen - music for the brain to relax to. 'Black Star' holds many of these similarities, apart from a more aggressive chorus, showing the bands encouragement to chop and change tempos and rhythms without consent from anyone else, which helps show the band's confidence and maturity, regardless of this being only their second album.
'Sulk', I must confess, is a track I have probably listen to the least. This is no disrespect to the song itself - it's a more than adequate track...but maybe it has something to do with the track that follows it...
'Street Spirit (Fade Out)' is the closing track, and is something that many bands will be afraid to do - have a huge single at the end of an album. This eerie, haunting, awesome piece of music is very much an anthem of the band, but then again, as I come to a conclusion, so are tracks like 'High & Dry', 'Fake Plastic Trees' and 'Just', to name just a few, and this is tribute and proof that Radiohead are genuinely one of the biggest bands on the planet. Their consistent skill at producing epic music is second to none. With this being merely their second album as well, and knowing what came after it...it's almost frightening to imagine the amount of talent in this band...
And what was it I said about people saying 'Creep' was a one-hit wonder?!?! I beg to differ somewhat...
How do you start to review an album by such a band? How do you try and adequately convey how much you would urge everyone to get a hold of a copy of this CD or their collection is simply not complete? I actually do not know, but I will try my best here to let you know how and why.
Radiohead started its life in the late 1980's, originally calling themselves 'On a Friday' (the only time they could all arrange to meet) but didn't really get any kind of success until after they had finished their respective university courses. They then produced and released their debut which enjoyed great success over the pond and the album actually went gold. The main 'anthem' from this album was the track 'Creep' which, when writing the tracks for The Bends, was at the forefront of their minds.
After the success of Pablo Honey, the band had a gruelling touring schedule and used this to try and write new tracks for the upcoming album but found this just wasn't working for them. When they finished the tour, they hit the studio however had major problems with trying to emulate the feel and sound of 'Creep' because they in fact didn't like it all that much but wanted to put together and album of potential 'Creeps' in a way that they liked so that the fans wouldn't (as they feel) misinterpret them in the same way as they had with said song.
So, they hit the road again but this time went round Australasia and with a much less gruelling schedule, they concentrated on performing newer tracks to the audiences and this proved so successful that when they got back to the UK, they went back to the studio and had the album was done and dusted in about two weeks.
The main thing you feel when listening to this album is a remarkably mature one, especially when compared to the more basic rock feel of their first attempt. There are many reasons for this but most importantly, this is because they incorporate distinct influences from bands such as the Pixies, REM and U2. They in essence, were trying to convey their tracks in such a way that although they were essentially classed as alternative rock, they wanted other sounds to both subtly and forcefully come through in what they were doing.
This is done perfectly with the first three album tracks as each one is different while still most definitely rock. The opening track 'Planet Telex' opens up with a very futuristic sounding sample before a set of piano chords and drums simply set the theme of the song with Thom Yorke and some crashing yet simple guitar chords take over in the same structure. The song goes on in a similar manner with a few guitar riffs coming in here and there. They all mesh together to form a very 'nice' sound yet still retaining the feel of what this album is about to bring to you.
Hot on its heels, the title track 'The Bends' with a very definite guitar riff starting it off. This song fully utilises Yorkes fantastic voice and also cleverly contrasts the previous song by moving quickly into a quite first verse and gradually upping the volume and harshness of the guitars to the chorus where Yorke provides some outstanding long notes where as he does them, the style running below him changes tempo, volume and depth. All this and then it ends in the best way I could ever hope for, right down to basics with just Yorke and a guitar.
The third of these tracks is 'High and Dry', a hauntingly beautiful song that again, differs from the previous two and shows that while this is a rock album, it has variety and style. This track is very much about keeping it simple with mostly guitar chords strumming away with soft drums in the background and the very occasion riff coming in at the louder sections.
The rest of the album can pretty much be broken up to fit with these three songs with the exception of one, but more about that later. In the 'Creep' category, you have 'Nice Dream', 'Just' and 'My Iron Lung'. Each song fully utilising the musical theme of soft verses and massive crescendo's into some seriously rocking guitar work, with the exception 'Just' which is more based around a louder, more in your face sound (and a cracking good video if you ever get the chance to see it). On the softer side you have tracks relating to 'High and Dry' like 'Fake Plastic Trees' and 'Bulletproof' which show off Yorkes vocal skills magnificently and are songs that you can truly loose yourself in and the emotions running through them are incredible. The remainder of the third set of songs comprise of 'Black Star' and 'Sulk'. They really are not that similar to 'Planet Telex' to be fair, however they do have a much more calmer tempo than the other tracks in the way that there is less of the highs and lows of musicality within them. They feel calmer in a strange way even though they do have the rock feel to them with guitars playing riffs and chords all over the place.
Then we come to the odd one out so to speak. Perhaps one of Radioheads most famous songs and one that has such a hauntingly stunning sound that you never tire of. Based around a continuing, what I can only describe as circular, guitar with a stunningly simple melody expertly sung by Yorke. The only realson I have sigled it out is that it is just so different to the rest of the album, yet somehow is such a fitting end to it. It is somewhat monotone in its sound, yet a complex mix of different, yet similar musical ideas. Just what the album is as most songs tend to have the opposing soft and harsh sounds all rolled into one.
The review is not complete however without mentioning the man that pretty much saved Radiohead from completely giving up on the whole thing and quite frankly brought so much to the sounds that you hear through his production. John Leckie's use of mixing and sound techniques are evident from the very opening sample on 'Planet Telex' right through to the final track and far from making it sound over produced and to take away from the rock side of things, actually makes the album what it is - A mature offering from a genuinely talented group of young men.
So to conclude, I hope I have managed to convey how fantastic this album actually is. I wish I could choose a favourite track from the list, but its just so hard as there is not a dud track on it. At a push, I would say that it was 'Sulk' however I think that's for personal reasons and I have no doubt that others would pick other songs due to the emotions that run through this masterpiece.
Five stars from me.
It's about 10 years now since Radiohead produced their seminal album The Bends. At different periods in my life, The Bends has being there for me. A very personal journey in music, the songs both lift me up and make me think deeply about life. When in on my own, The Bends is what will come out first. On it goes from beginning to end (as evey song is a good), and I often find myself singing along at the top of my voice. (Good job I'm on my own though, as my voice cannot reach those screamingly high notes that Tomm Yorke seems to manage.)
From Planet Telex through Fake Plastic Trees and Blame It On The Black Star right on to the amazing final track (Fade Out) Street Spirit. The emotion that spills out on each any every track can make you weep at times. With screeching guitars and screaming voices, this is truly a work of raw beauty. I know that there have been 35 other reviews on this album, I just wanted to add my piece to the mix.
Ahh another old favorite ...Radiohead 'The Bends' I been digging through my music lately, giving some old faves some play-time on my music machine. 'The Bends' is in my opinion the best of Radioheads efforts for the simple reason ALL the songs are good, it's the kind of album I'll put on and listen to it all without having to skip past any crap songs because I like them all, which is rare. I will say this though it's quite strange when you go digging through your music collection, like finding old friends..bits of soundtrack from your life. Or is that just me? 'The Bends' came out in '95 and is / was the follow up to the 1994 album 'Pablo Honey'.And is still my fave of them all because don't get me wrong the others are good and have some brilliant songs on. But as albums go, this album really *goes* , the style and spirt of Radiohead is captured in this one album and there's not one dull moment. None of the albums seem to me as playable and complete as 'The Bends', and of course it does have ' Street spirt (fade out)' which is one of the most hauntingly good songs ever - when I played it again ( loud ) the intro brought out goosebumps... its such a damn fine atmospheric track. Right so then.. Radiohead.. where they from ? Oxfordshire. The lead bloke being the mad genius Mr. Thom Yorke, and they've have been around since the mid 90?s. THE BENDS.... Planet Telex From the first few seconds the strange electronic wind blowing noises to the bulid up of guitar and drums then to the amazing lyrics and as always FAB vocals of Yorke its a wonderful opening track. The Bends Nice guitar /intro to this song and its carried on throughout with some great drum work too. Great music. what more can I say? "where do we go from here? / the words are coming out all weird / where ae you now? / when I need you " about
knowing who your friends really are - and - knowing who your real friends are. High And Dry starts all slow with drum and some soft guitar builds up slowly before Yorke comes in with his slow but perfect vocals..this guy can sing. "kill yourself for recognition / kill youself to never ever stop / you broke another mirror you're turning into something you are not / don't leave me high / don't leave me dry " Risking everything for a bit of attention and recognition, the lengths travelled by some in search of fame. Fake Plastic Trees A favourite this one. Slow start with just guitar Yorke and his vocals quickly join in. Is a slow and pretty song. With Some haunting high notes from Yorke. "she lives with a broken man / a cracked polystyrine man / who just crumbles / and burns" ? an I cant help the feeling / could blow through the ceiling / and it wears me out / it wears me out " Fake plastic trees/ fake plastic world. The mass commercialisation of life. 'S all turning fake and plastic. Bones Is a bit different speed/beat but as good as the songs before. starts with distorted noise/feedback then drums join in for another FAB intro. Simple yet simply good with slightly heavier chourus. Nice Dream Intro 'builds up' similar to the tracks before it, again Yorks singing is top class, bringing feeling to the song, backed up with some well played music. Is all about a nice little dream, but just a dream. *sigh* "nice dream / nice dream / nice dream/ -in background- /if you think that you're strong enough / if you think you belong enough " - then kicks in some damn good guitar music! Just Probably one of my fave in the lot..had to explain but its another fine song. some of Yorkes singing at its/his finest. " Can't
get the stink out / he's been hanging round for days / comes like a comet / suckered you but not your friends / one day he'll get to you / teach you how to be a holy Cow " "You do it to yourself you do / and thats what really hurts / you do it to yourself just you / you and no-one else.." "changed the locks three times / still come reeling through the door / one day I'll get to you / and teach you how to get to purest Hell..." good vocals. My Iron Lung "Driving me away / you do it every day / you don't mean it but it hurts like hell.." this ones got some kick-ass banging guitar/ chourus? music which kicks in its a great song. "scratch / our eternal itch / twentith century bitch / and we are grateful for our iron lung.." ( que nice noisey bit 'o' music ! ) " SUCk / suck your'e teenage thumb / toilet trained and dumb.." "and if you frightened / you can be frightened / you can be it's ok / and if you frightened you can be frightened / its ok.." Now we come to 'Bullet Proof.. I wish I was' yet another decent song ( told you they all good !) slower guitar than those so far. A haunting track with good use of keyboard and spot-on vocals. " every day / every hour / wishing I was / ...bullet-proof " To me it a song about wishing you were ' bullet-proof' in that other people couldn't get to you, that nothing and nobody could make you hurt or feel bad. Still lets move on.. Black Star Faster than the song before yet still a mellow kind pace. "What are we coming to / blame it on the black star / blame it on the falling sky / blame it on the sattalite / that brings me home/ troubled words and troubled mind / try to undrstand what is eating you.." ok I admit it 'the be
nds' used to live in my cd-player when I was feeling down an a bit blue, but the lyrics and mellow singing go a long way to calming my head down long enough to make sense of things. This is one of those tracks that just calms and cheers me up a little. Sulk The pace through this on varies but overall is definately a relax and unwind song, with again some good lyrics to it. " each time it comes / it eats me alive " The last track and arguably the best in my opinion and I'm sure I wouldn't be alone in saying probably the best track they have done. In the opening few seconds, this track fills my head. Pure raw emotion flows from the stereo. Theres no other song I've ever heard (an I heard a few !) that comes through like this one..and the words and music, its almost if not perfect. This was a step beyond other stuff out at the time and I still say nothing tops this song even now in terms of the emotion and atmosphere. Yorkes vocals sneak in and blend like another instument. However good I describe this song it will never capture just how perfect it is. " Rows of houses are bearing down on me / I can feel their blue hands touching me " " This machine will.. / will not communicate... / these thoughts.. / and the strain I am under.." "Cracked eggs dead birds../ scream as they fight for life / I can feel death ..can see it's beady eyes.." This is another one of the extremely good yet sadly sometimes forgotten -then often re-dicovered albums in my horde. Can be found on www.amazon.co.uk for about £9.99. Or you could get lucky on eBay, I've had it for a long long time but another good bet is your music shops..I used to often be found searching through the depths of the old forgooten good stuff in a place called 'Selectadisc' which had a basment-type room packed full of goodies waiting to be adopted and enjoyed. Its worth buying if you come across it. it may be a mellow kind of album but Yorkes vocals really bring it to life and give it substance, Worth a try. Thanks for reading.
As I mentioned in my op last week there really is only one album by Radiohead that seems to be constantly on my CD player. That album is of course the follow up to the 1994 release Pablo Honey, 1995?s The Bends. Often the subject of much debate between Radiohead fans but personally this is my favourite album to date. The follow up and it?s predecessor both push it close but overall I find The Bends to be the more complete album. The Oxfordshire based band, lead by Thom Yorke have taken the music world by storm since the mid 90?s. A lot of other bands show heavy influences of Radiohead?s sound but it was this album more than any other that will be found on lists of musical influences. The debate also rages about what exactly Thom Yorke is, a musical Genius or confused and mixed up but making decent music. On that fact I?m with the former, despite a patch where I really wasn?t a Radiohead fan I?ve now really got back into them again and for me Yorke is a misunderstood genius. But onto a less serious note I?ll get on with the album. The album opens with ?Planet Telex? and from that first moment you can tell your in for a treat. It opens using a sample before the guitars and drums kick in. Building up slowly, creating a nice atmosphere to the track. When Yorke?s vocals come in the tune changes slightly and the guitar compliments his vocals well. The drums keep a good beat throughout and really hold the song together. But I think it?s the lyrics that really make it the song it is and Yorke?s vocals sound superb. The second track on the album is one of my favourite tracks on the album, ?The Bends?. Starting fairly quickly after Planet Telex, it comes in with the guitar and drum intro winding the song up till Yorke comes in with the vocals. The verse is fairly slow going with the drums stopping and the guitars fading, but the chorus picks up again. As I said this is probably one of my favourite tracks and in fact is my second favourite by the ba
nd and its all due to Yorke?s lyrics. The lyrics are complimented well by Yorke?s vocals, which in turn worked well with the guitars and drums. ?Where Do We Go From Here, The Words Are Coming Out All Weird? As the album continues onto track three we come to ?High And Dry?, another big favourite of mine. It kicks off with a slow drum beat accompanied by the guitar, slowly building up into the verse. With the guitar altering slightly just before Yorke comes in with the vocals. The drumbeat stays constant throughout and really guides the guitars through the track. The vocals sound superb and the backing of the guitar and drum fusion really makes the vocals sound superb. The tracks are all well written from the lyrics down to the guitar riffs and drumbeat. The fourth track on the album ?Fake Plastic Trees?. Another big favourite amongst Radiohead fans. A slower start with just the guitar followed fairly quickly by Yorke and the vocals. He hits some high notes but the intro really sets the scene for the rest of the track. The slow guitar sounds amazing, while the keyboard loops over the top and Yorke?s vocals are stretched to add a good edge to the track. The drums back the track nicely and although fairly quiet really make a big impact on the track. Again Yorke?s writing is incredible for one of those songs that?s slow and mellow but easy to listen to. ?But I Cant Help The Feeling, I Could Burst Through The Ceiling.? The next track ?Bones? is a slightly different tempo but still as good as the four before it. Kick off with a bit of Guitar feedback and then the drums come in, joining the guitar for a superb intro. The vocals aren?t long n joining in with Yorke?s distinctive style plain to see. The guitar backing repeats a little but still sounds superb. The chorus is a little heavier with the drums and guitars really driving it on. The track almost sounds too simple, but at the same time sounds absolutely fantastic. <
br> The slow, mellow, guitar driven pace of the album is carried on with the fantastic ?Nice Dream?. I honestly feel this album is 12 tracks where none are really weaker than any other. It starts with the guitar on its own building in a similar way to the previous tracks. The drums join in slightly before the vocals, which are a little down beat this time. The driving influence of the drums though helps the track to meander onwards, sounding fantastic. The guitars compliment Yorke?s vocals nicely again, with the track being formed almost seamlessly. The next track is one of the better known ones to anyone who doesn?t have the album, ?Just?. It starts with a short guitar intro before the drums join in and the track really goes loud. The vocals come in fairly quickly with the guitar and drums altering and losing a little of the volume for the verse before picking up for the chorus. The guitars really stand out but Yorke?s vocals are probably at their best on this track and the lyrics are sublime all in all if it hadn?t been for the last track this would be my favourite. ?You Do it To Yourself, You Do, And That?s What Really Hurts, Is You Do It To Yourself? As I was saying there really isn?t any filler material on this album and ?My Iron Lung? is another prime example of this fact. Although the album as a whole has a very mellow feel I don?t think that takes anything away from it. This track starts from a quiet slower beginning with the guitars and drums building up and Yorke?s vocals really bringing it to life. Within his vocals he has an underestimated ability of turning what could so easily be a mediocre song into a good listen. Towards the end the pace really picks up and the guitars lead the track to a faster, more upbeat finish. Track 9 sees us move onto ?Bullet Proof.. I wish I was?, which keeps the run of decent songs going. It starts with a slower guitar riff than any of the others so far. The mellow feel is
continued in Yorke?s vocals as the they come in about the same sort of time as the drums. The haunting feel of this track is highlighted using effects on the Keyboards and this really adds an atmosphere to the album. It?s almost like a small break as the vocals are calm and smooth, the guitar is gently drifting along and the drums are backing everything up. ?Black Star? is another of the real standout tracks on the album and another of my favourite Radiohead tracks. It opens with a faster guitar intro getting louder as the track starts and the drums in the background make for a good start. The vocals don?t take long to come in and in typical Yorke style his vocals really add an extra dimension to the track. The slow mellow pace of the drums and the guitars through the verse really add to the effect the lyrics have and the distinctive style of Yorke?s vocal styling?s. With only 2 tracks to go we come to ?Sulk?. A bit more upbeat but still keeping that mellow vibe it starts with a slow drum intro repeating. The guitars come in quite soon afterwards although keeping the low tempo, followed close behind by Yorke with the vocals. The pace is changing constantly with the guitars taking the track on and really making it come to life back nicely by the drums, which really shine through. The lyrics again are sublime and just leave you able to sit there, relax and really rest after a tough day. And now onto the last track and in my own opinion the best track the band have done, ?Street Spirit (Fade Out)?. From the opening chord, this track never fails to move me. The pure emotion that comes through the opening guitar and vocals intro. Then when the drums come in it just sounds fantastic. Yorke?s vocals suit the lyrics so well and with the music crafted around it the track is almost flawless. Not the longest track on the album but just the atmosphere and feeling it creates makes it seem like it is. The lyrics are just a step beyond anything else at t
he time and its tracks like this that show Yorke at his musical best. ?Rows Of Houses All Bearing Down On Me, I Can Feel Their Blue Hands Touching Me, All These Things In All Positions, All These Things Will One Day Take Control, And Fade Out Again And Fade Out Again.? To say this is one of the best albums I have in my collection would be an understatement. Despite the time where Radiohead really did nothing for me Street Spirit some how stayed in my mind as one of those songs you have to listen to. The album is fantastic and well worth splashing out on. If you don?t own a copy then buy it from www.amazon.co.uk for £9.99. If you ask me it?s well worth it.
The Bends is a beautiful album. Forget Ok Computer, forget Hail To The Thief. In my opinion The Bends is the defining album for Radiohead. I understand why Ok Computer is regarded as their finest work but there is a certain level of experimenting and emotional distance going on in that album that, for me at least, makes it not as accessible as The Bends (note I don't say its poorer than The Bends). The Bends really came out at the ideal time. Not so new that it suffered from first album shoddiness but not so established that it sounded boring, overly polished and lacking a raw edge to its sound. Why do I like it so much? Well I consider myself pretty open minded when it comes to genres and all that business, but rock music is where my main tastes lie. In particular I like rock music that has a certain unique twist to it. Foo Fighters, Oasis, Zwan, etc. They are great bands. I like their sound but they have what I would describe as a safe rock sound. Heavy and loud as it should be but lacking a unique and distinct aspect. The Bends has this unique sound in abundence. Its difficult to describe as I am not a musician but that sharp, raw guitar sound is Radiohead all over. There is the melancholy and sadness underlying each track also yet strangely it doesnt make everything depressing. Then there is Thom Yorke's voice. I have not heard an artist's voice touch such emotional, melancholic levels since Kurt Cobain (though where Kurt had a gruff angst ridden rattle, Thom drifts into angelic falsetos). Key tracks for me are the bends, fake plastic trees (beautiful), bones, just (powerful, explosive, sharp), black star and sulk (Thom in operatic chorus mode). In other words half of the album has memorable tracks that I just keep playing and that isnt to say the rest of the album is any poorer, its just my personal music tastes. If you are interested in Radiohead this is the album to go for. It may be regarded as the second best Radiohead
album but at the very least it comes a close second. Crucially it so much more accessible than Ok Computer.
The bends is without a doubt a classic album and will go down in history as one of the best ever made (fact). It is far superior to pablo honey and is a joy to listen to. So many stand out tracks on the album. Thom yorkes voice is fantastic and he is what really makes radiohead,great guitar solos ecspecially in, The bends and Just, my two favourite tracks on the album. There are melencholy pieces such as fake plastic trees which build up into a crescendo, high and dry is an obvious candidate and had main stream success but in my opinion is one of the weaker tracks on this album. I love bones, a short song great lyrics (used fly like peter pan all the children flew when i touched their hands) is memorable. My iron lung takes you on a journey and is another great rock tune which is original. And the there is black star and sulk, 2 more singalong rock tracks with that radiohead feel too them that seperates them from other bands. Oh I forgot and the last track the most well known track on the album, street spirit, haunting lyrics but in instantly recognised guitar piece. The bends is a superb album, plain and simple but it isnt as good as radioheads following album which raise the bar for other bands again to try and top Ok computer which takes a different approach and does what many people thought impossible, to be better than this album. But thats another story read my ok computer review for more details P Dogg out
"Jill Murphy asked me to write about one of my favourite things to help her celebrate her fourth anniversary of cancer-free living and to remind ourselves of all the nice things in the world. It takes more muscles to make a frown than a smile you know. If you'd like to join in, whether you've only just joined dooyoo, or you've been here ages, you're more than welcome. Just write about one of YOUR favourite things, make your title "A Favourite Thing: [your choice]" and include this paragraph at the foot of your opinion. And post before Friday, 9th August." Well, she didn't ask me to do that? But you know what, who actually cares? This girl has obviously been through a lot and I've seen family members taken by cancer so I dedicate the following to all the sufferers of cancer out there and the people who work so hard daily to find a cure. It WILL happen. Onto the op then. Well, I've decided to make this a bit different this time. Instead, of the usual track by track analysis that eventually gets monotonous and boring halfway through I'm going to write an opinion that you won't get tired or bored of- that you'll want to finish reading. So, bear with me if you find any of the following strange, funny, different or just plain weird. One thing's guaranteed, you're in for a ride... So, I come home from school on a Friday. I've done all my homework, the huge pull of exams is over and I am absolutely gobsmacked. I had thought of a free period of this for ages- a time where I could just mess around and, well waste my time doing things I couldn't do otherwise. The problem was that I couldn't think of anything to do. I had booked a ticket to Harry Potter 2 for the weekend, I wouldn't be able to bear the travesty of the Celebrity Big Brother 2 final the food was cooking in the microwave, all before 7:00 p.m. ! Dear oh dear, I thought, I'm such a boring, ord
inary person. Stripped of my Tom Cruise-style cockiness (as I was at home and it was "behaving" time), I was getting friggin' bored to death. I tried everything to excite myself- I listened to Green Day's Longview four times, I even listened to that Las Ketchup song, thinking it would want to make me hit something. But even when that goddamn annoying chorus came in for the 5th bloody time, I didn't feel the need to shout or scream or do anything at all. For the first time in my life, I was at absolute peace (funny what good exam results can do, heh heh!). I moved to the computer. I had downloaded Radiohead's Ok Computer a couple of days ago. I wrote, in my opinion, a blast of an opinion (still no crown though) and it was when I read the comments section that I realised Radiohead's The Bends. A prolific member (frequent reader too, thanks man) called Bones told me he enjoyed my op so much he wanted me to write an opinion on this. Which is why I am here, for cancer reseach and sufferers and for that dooyoo member Bones. I had owned Radiohead's The Bends for ages. I had just never thought of writing about it before. To me, it just wasn't one of those records, like Pinkerton. It was just a set of perfect, immaculately arranged and sometmes original rock numbers with ironic, satirical and world-weary lyrics. By all means, it was an enjoyable album but it just didn't stand out from the post-grunge indie crowd (i.e. Feeder, Ash, Foo Fighters) at the time of listening. And the big revelation is... (cue faux drum roll) that my opinion has changed. And the even bigger revelation is... (cue piano trills) that it's only changed very little. So, sorry to disappoint any Radiohead fans out there, after all this is my opinion and not yours, but The Bends is just... Oh, I'll just break it down like this:- (!) At its core, The Bends is a rock album. Not an indie album, or a metal album but a good o
ld-fashioned rock record that relies more on persona, look and demeanour than tunesmith and melody. On the exterior, the big Nirvana-referencing riffs like Just (You Do It To Yourself) and Street Spirit (Fade Out) may make this look like typical post-grunge fodder. However, a few more listens reveal a good-old fashioned musical agenda on this album's interior. The tunes and melodies are pitched at mid-70s glam rock, Pink Floyd strummers and (of course) post-Kurt Cobain grunge. It is, like Ok Computer, full of ideas. But where this effort loses out is in its sheer lack of coherency and how it just simply doesn't sound THAT original. What it certainly isn't is the Ok Computer of indie. The tunes are fantastic. The lovely Egyptian piano chords of opener Planet Telex meld wonderfully with singer/guitarist Thom Yorke's moody vocals, the thrash-metal of the title-track is one hundred times more effective (emotionally) than Radiohead's previous "grunge" song, Creep (shudders at the mention of the song). And while Just (You Do It To Yourself) shamelessly plagiarises the riff of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, one can see how Radioead have built on that jaded formula by hearing the juddering electronica, guitar pyrotechnics and complex arrangements that were all but missing from Kurt Cobain's masterwork (to some, in my opinion it's All Apologies). Then comes Black Star and High And Dry with their Britopping melodies and soaring, anthemic choruses that beg for your attention. But for every Just, you have a Bones and for every High And Dry you have a Fake Plastic Trees. You see, while Radiohead come up trumps with a few undeniable gems on this record- some tracks just seem unoriginal or plagiarise shamelessly. It's as if on some songs, Radiohead aren't being themselves, they're being U2 (Fake Plastic Trees), Pink Floyd (Bones) or Oasis (Nice Dream). Undeniably, the tunes on these songs are heart-renderi
ngly ppowerful but they just don't seem as original as I'd expect Radiohead to be, like on tracks like Paranoid Android, No Surprises and The Pyramid Song. It's not so bad, while Radiohead have stolen just snippets (like Cobain did on Nirvana's Nevermind), they haven't done in consistently through the course of one album (Sum-41's Does This Look Infected comes to mind). That's really my only qualm. Other tracks like the lighters-aloft emotive strums of Bullet Proof... I Wish I Was and the spasmic, jazzy/metalish My Iron Lung show Radiohead at their weird and cool peack. My Iron Lung's framework starts out. Beginning with a jazzy riff, hushed vocals I expect something ordinary. But, this is Radiohead we're talking about and no surprises (no pun intended), the song is mashed into the kind of metal that would make Queens Of The Stone Age looks like Limp Bizkit. However, to this day it is Just that impressed me the most. It's the blindingly catchy chorus of "You do it to yourself, just you". It's one of those lovely, memorable moments that you just feel cannot be topped (and on this record, it never is). Just like when Rage Of The Machine screamed "I won't do what you tell me to" or when Rivers Cuomo screamed "Goddamn those half-japanese girls", it's a heart-lifting moment of coolness that only goo music can bring. So, The Bends isn't the best album in the world but worth a listen even if it is surprisingly unoriginal (for Radiohead, that is) at times. I really hope you enjoyed this opinion. If you did (or didn't), drop me a line and tell me how I can improve etc. I always love a good chat. To end, I feel I should come back to the beginning so that this whole new radical change in opinion writing for me is brought together full circle. Kudos. I dedicate the following to all the sufferers of cancer out there and the people who work so har
d daily to find a cure. It WILL happen.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Planet Telex
2 The Bends
3 High and Dry
4 Fake Plastic Trees
6 Nice Dream
8 My Iron Lung
9 Bullet Proof... I Wish I Was
10 Black Star
12 Street Spirit (Fade Out)