… I hate that I’m even saying this considering how much they’ve prostituted themselves over the years …
1997 was the year for Radiohead, was it not? Radiohead was a band that people who liked music happened to gravitate towards almost immediately. Radiohead released their debut album, 1993’s Pablo Honey and it was on the strength of their single, “Creep” that Radiohead really made themselves known to the world. Personally, I didn’t really start paying attention to Radiohead until they released their 3rd album, 1997’s OK Computer, and even then (and really, I hate that I’m even saying this considering how much they’ve prostituted themselves over the years) it was thanks in large part to MTV and their constantly playing the music video for the song, “Paranoid Android“.
Radiohead took the first steps into the experimental realm …
OK Computer was the first album that was self produced by the band and co-produced by Nigel Godrich. As opposed to their previous two albums, with OK Computer, Radiohead took the first steps into the experimental realm, of which they’re known for nowadays. OK Computer is a masterpiece for the band. It broke conventional ties with what was popular at the time. Radiohead already went down the grunge road with their first album. At the time, that was the trend, so the band followed said trend. Many critics wrote them off in that regard because they viewed Radiohead as a flash in the pan type of band, been there, done that and what have you. Radiohead was much more than that and they set out to prove just that. With OK Computer, they silenced the critics once and for all.
Well, pop in one of their CD’s and press play.
OK Computer produced three singles to accompany the album: “Paranoid Android“, “Karma Police“, and “No Surprises“. Of these three singles, only “Karma Police” broke into the U.S singles charts, breaking into the Top Ten of singles charts. The industry was clearly not getting it (surprise, surprise.) Radiohead was not about the singles. The singles merely scratched a small part of the surface of what was a much larger picture. Radiohead is the type of band that needs to be devoured whole. How does one do that? Well, pop in one of their CD’s and press play. It’s not enough to rely just on this band’s radio exposure. Interviews? They rarely do them. You want to get to know Radiohead, then the only way that will happen is by discovering Radiohead’s music. One cannot live off of radio alone. Radiohead is a journey one must take with a full and open heart.
… we ingest the Red pill, falling down the rabbit hole. Another song down, another realm of Radiohead gets peeled away
If you’re reading this but have no idea about who Radiohead is or are even still unaware of Radiohead’s music, then I’m jealous of you. That’s right, jealous. Radiohead is one of those band’s that once you first hear their music, you can’t go back and un-hear it (why would you want to un-hear it?) Radiohead is not pop music easily swallowed. To be a fan of Radiohead and their music is to do away with the Blue pill of a fabricated pop reality, but instead, as fans we ingest the Red pill, falling down the rabbit hole. Another song down, another realm of Radiohead gets peeled away to reveal just a little bit more of the puzzle that Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, Colin Greenwood, and Philip Selway set before us. With each new album, more of the puzzle is revealed. If I were a Radiohead newbie, I wouldn’t start from the very beginning of their catalog. Start from the 3rd album (OK Computer), work your way backwards from there and once you’ve reached the end of their debut, Pablo Honey, then by all means, move on to Kid A, Amnesiac, and every other album that came after OK Computer. It’s all good and all glorious.
You can pick up Radiohead’s OK Computer right here. Begin your journey today!!