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OK Computer – Radiohead

Radiohead OK Computer

OK Computer

(1997), 8.5/10
All the hype of “the first great album of the twenty first century” meant that OK Computer inevitably failed to measure up to my expectations. It wasn’t until I enjoyed The Bends and Kid A that I allowed OK Computer a second chance. While the best tracks on OK Computer are far more developed than anything on The Bends, the latter scores through consistency, and there are too many throwaways here like ‘fitter happier’ and ‘Electioneering’. But at its best, OK Computer is like Pink Floyd for the 1990s, with soaring melodies, engrossing textures, and probing lyrics.

Elsewhere though, OK Computer is wonderful, containing some of the best songs of the 1990s enhanced with innovative production and complex textures. The best moments are gorgeous as Thom Yorke utilises the full emotive potential of his wonderful voice; ‘The Tourist’ is my favourite while ‘Subterranean Homesick Alien’, ‘Climbing Up The Walls’, and ‘Lucky’ are also poignant. There are two great singles; ‘Paranoid Android’ is a coherent and entertaining multi-part epic, while ‘Karma Police’ boasts a lovely chord progression.

OK Computer is often an artistic triumph, but it’s over-hyped all the same.

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