TWENTY-FIVE years ago Radiohead released OK Computer, one of the most turgid albums ever played to son by dad. Here’s what’s wrong with it.
Tracks 2, 3, 6-7, 10: Thinks it’s clever
Computers were the coming thing in the 90s. Ordinary people were just starting to gaze upon their majesty. They were modern and new and the arriving future. Calling an album OK Computer in 1997 is like calling it TikTok Won’t Stop! today.
Tracks 2, 7, 9: It’s The Bends with its cock in a modem
The Bends was a truly great album that made Radiohead a huge international deal. OK Computer has at least five Bends-level songs on it, but messed about with to indicate that Thom Yorke was into glitchy electronica. We didn’t necessarily need to know that.
Tracks 7-8: Two songs are inarguably shit
A seven-course tasting menu where the fourth course is a turd: would you accept that? No? But a classic album where, right in the middle after one of the standout tracks, there’s a robot-voiced sixth-form poem followed by a shit indie-rock workout? Apparently fine.
Tracks 2, 12: It opened the door to prog rock
For all Britpop’s faults, it refocused the NME scene on short pop songs with tunes. The wizard-caped excesses of 1970s prog had been banished, until this album. Where Radiohead led, Muse shouting shit about quantum physics over ten-minute guitar solos followed.
Tracks 3, 4, 9, 12: Too many ballads
Rock bands should be careful with ballads. You start off as Aerosmith and end up only known for Crazy and Cryin’. Four ballads on one album, and a mere 19 years later we arrive at A Moon-Shaped Pool where every bloody track’s a dirge. Radiohead’s downfall is here in embryo.
Track 10: Undeniably depressing
It’s an obvious criticism but come on, a track called No Surprises about a man killing himself in a garage? It’s not a mood-lifter. If you had a shit job at a local council in the late 90s you sang it ironically all day and it still hurts every single time you hear it.