Airbag/How Am I Driving
(EP, 1998), 7.5/10
Although I think that OK Computer is too inconsistent to be the greatest album ever made, the quality of outtakes presented in this EP is convincing evidence in its favour. While Airbag/How Am I Driving opens with the awesome ‘Airbag’, also the lead off track from the parent album, the rest of this stuff is previous released and highly impressive. These songs do feel less ambitious and less claustrophobic than those that made the album proper, but even so it’s tempting to imagine OK Computer with a couple of the best tracks from here substituted on for ‘Electioneering’ and ‘Fitter Happier’.
The standout tracks on Airbag/How Am I Driving are the awesome ambient groove of the ‘Meeting in the Aisle’, which is impressively memorable for an instrumental, and especially the amazing ‘Polyethylene (Parts 1 & 2)’, which is extremely catchy and easily one of my favourite Radiohead songs. It wouldn’t fit onto OK Computer, since it’s too blatantly straightforward and anthem-like, but it deserves a better fate than to be buried in an EP. ‘Pearly’ and ‘Palo Alto’ are neat rockers, and the closing ‘Reminder’ is also pretty; the whole EP is substantial and shaped nicely, like a miniature album in its own right.
Airbag/How Am I Driving is a surprisingly impressive release; anyone who’s a major fan of OK Computer would be well advised to pick this EP up.