OK Computer

Attempting to get less behind on the classic albums… The next one is Radiohead’s OK Computer.

Some Historical Context

Like REM, I don’t really remember when I first heard Radiohead. I expect I was aware of things like “High and Dry” and “Creep” when they were released as I’m sure they both had lots of radio play. I know I had bought both of their first two albums before this one was released. And I’m pretty sure that I bought this soon after it was released.

I’ve carried on buying every Radiohead album since. But, to be honest, I haven’t enjoyed any of their newer stuff anywhere near as much as I enjoyed their first three albums. And I think that OK Computer is the best of the three. But I haven’t listened to it all the way through for a couple of years.

The rest of this blog post will be written as I listen to the album.

The Songs

1. Airbag

Like many of these albums, I find that when I look closely at the track listing, there are many titles that I recognise, but that I can’t associate with a song. This is a good example. I knew the title, but I had no idea how it was going to sound. That’s true of about half of the tracks on this album. But, of course, I recognise it. And I like it. It’s an early indication that we have moved on substantially from the band’s first two albums.

2. Paranoid Android

This is hard to describe. It’s a 90s version of Bohemian Rhapsody. I don’t mean that in a bad way (overplayed and impossible to take seriously after Wayne’s World). I just mean that it’s a complex song that frequently changes its sound. When I first heard it fifteen years ago, it completely blew my away. Of course it’s now very familiar. And I have to say that the familiarity means that it has lost some of its power.

3. Subterranean Homesick Alien

Another “oh, it’s that one” moment. One of the tracks I really like on the album. I should really take the trouble to learn what it’s called.

4. Exit Music (For a Film)

Another good one that I always forget about.

5. Let Down

Like this one too. Not one of my favourites, but it’s enjoyable enough.

6. Karma Police

Best song on the album. Best thing that Radiohead have ever recorded.

7. Fitter Happier

I knew what this one was going to be. It’s the Stephen Hawking one. Probably my least favourite track on the album.

8. Electioneering

This isn’t that good either. Oh, it’s better than the Stephen Hawking thing, but it doesn’t really go anywhere.

9. Climbing Up the Walls

This one pretty much washed over me. It stopped played thirty seconds ago and I can’t really remember it.

10. No Surprises

That stuff I said about “Karma Police” being the best Radiohead song ever. I might have been wrong.

11. Lucky

This is nice. Very laid back. I recognise it, but I had no idea what it was called.

12. The Tourist

A lot of the albums I’ve been listening to recently end rather weakly. And this is no exception. There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s not not a particularly strong end to the album. The album just kind of bumbles to an end.

In Summary

I still really like this album. It wasn’t anywhere near as disappointing as some of the other old favourites that I’ve been relistening to recently. But it’s still not quite as good as I remember.

Perhaps I should give some of those more recent Radiohead albums another go.


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