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Radiohead - OK Computer CD (album) cover

OK COMPUTER

Radiohead

 

Crossover Prog

4.02 | 695 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

lazland
Prog Reviewer
5 stars If The Bends cracked the worldwide market in terms of attention and success, then OK Computer drove a 40 ton truck through it and catapulted Radiohead into the consciousness of rock fans the world over. This album achieved phenomenal success the world over, and in Paranoid Android, the standout track, certainly for prog fans, they achieved the type of airplay and chart success that was perhaps the most unlikely since Bohemian Rhapsody for Queen twenty years before.

The other major hit single was the bleak, anthemic, Karma Police, the video for which was fascinating and looked for all the world as if it was directed by David Lynch (in fact, it was by Jonathon Glazer, who had previously directed the groundbreaking Street Spirit video from The Bends).

This is a progressive rock album in the truest sense. A band seeking to push back the barriers of conventional rock and wisdom, performed and produced in the most sumptuous terms, and hang the consequences. Even Q magazine in the UK declared it "pure prog, mate!".

We could argue about the definitions until we are blue in the face. What is important, though, is that this is unquestionably a landmark album. Futuristic, exceptionally bleak in places, and certainly featuring some of the most vital guitar work ever recorded in history by Jonny Greenwood. His performance on Subterranean Homesick Alien is simply staggering in its intensity, and what a title for a track!

I mentioned that Paranoid Android is a highlight. However, this is one of those albums which calls out to be considered and listened to as a whole. Imagine setting your iPod to random play and coming up with Fitter Happier, a two minute dirge by a computerised voice set to a simple piano, on its own, but, in the context of the album, perfectly placed and vital in its lead in to Electioneering, which rocks along and is a gloriously bitter dig at modern politicians and the lies they put to us.

Mellotron fans also have a lot to cheer about, as Jonny Greenwood utilises the instrument to create a haunting overlay to the rest of the bands intense, bitter, and dark Exit Music For A Film. Never has bleak sounded so good. "We hope that you choke" indeed.

This in turn leads in nicely to one of the more musically upbeat tracks, Let Down, on which Jonny's elder brother Colin, especially, shines in his pounding melodic bassline. The intensity of this is such that the listener is virtually exhausted after such a torrent of emotion and musical storms.

This is an album which is utterly vital, and years ahead of its time in terms of its outlook and performance. Radiohead simply led whilst their commercial contemporaries were happy to regurgitate old Mod or Beatles themes. That is what is meant by progressive, and that is why it is right that this site includes and pays homage to such an outfit.

This album is a masterpiece of progressive rock music, no more, no less. Five stars for a work which each and every discerning rock fan should own.

lazland | 5/5 |

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