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Radiohead

OK Computer

May 1997

Recorded in a stately home for natural reverb

Alternative Rock and Electronic

By combining classic riffs, electronica and imagination Radiohead produced the best rock album of the nineties.

OK Computer is fifty-three minutes of dense but beautiful soundscapes – four parts of eeny, meeny, miney and mo. Much of it was kind of recognisable as new rock but its alternative noises were also strangely indefinable at the same time. The sound is compressed but suits the music perfectly, letting the intensity blast through without masking all the fine details that make it such an intriguing musical collage.

I think this is the secret of the album’s longevity – you find something shiny every listen. Superbly produced by Nigel Godrich, the musical move forward from 1995’s The Bends can be heard immediately in the inventiveness and blistering guitar of Paranoid Android and the emotionally rich Let Down.

There’s a Grace like sparseness to the eerie Exit Music (For A Film) and Karma Police is one of those builders that keeps layering on sounds over an incessant drum beat.

Anger surfaces in the trashing riffs of Electioneering and Airbag – both great uncompromising songs. And that most Sgt. Peppers of tunes No Surprises cements the album’s genius with a melody that’s perfect for sad movie scenes. OK Computer finishes on a surprisingly sweet and sweeping note – The Tourist – as Yorke makes “Hey man, slow down” sound like a plea for understanding.