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Radiohead - The Bends CD (album) cover

THE BENDS

Radiohead

 

Crossover Prog

3.81 | 397 ratings

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Prog Sothoth
3 stars Radiohead were starting to dip their toes into the pond of creativity here, but for all intents and purposes, this really was just another alt-rock grungy album with a familiar mid-90s vibe that had a few decent ideas thrown in the mix. It's not a bad album at all; in fact it has some very cool individual tunes, but I find it a chore to sit through this entire album...man does it start to drag like an amorphous mass of gelatinous substance after awhile.

To say this album was just derivative of the mid nineties rock without being an influence on other bands would be absolutely dead wrong. Of course, the bands I've heard that were clearly influenced by this album are in no way progressive. Coldplay's entire discography for their first few albums is basically numerous variations based entirely around the song "High And Dry". It wasn't until their fourth album when Coldplay decided to step out of their comfort zone by combining that Radiohead song with The Joshua Tree era U2. Creativity on a popsicle stick. Another band is Snow Patrol, who's success is entirely owed to Fake Plastic Trees.

So, the album is influential for better or worse, but what makes it stand on its own as a hugely popular album that is more revered than a vast majority of albums that came out in 1995? Well, there are some catchy melodic tunes besides the two I already mentioned, including the rockin' "Just" and the highly regarded "Street Spirit (Fade Out)", which I also consider quite stellar (despite hearing it so often over the years). (Nice Dream) has a bit of a cool space vibe to it, although that style would be improved upon for their following release. The album as a whole generally bounces along between mellow and loud tunes with tight musicianship but some banal chord progressions (the title track is utterly awful in this regard) and a foot firmly planted in the rather sluggish brand of grunge and alt-rock.

The Bends is generally a 'safe' album; if a group of people are coming over to hang at your place for a small party, it's perfect background music that still carries a bit of "the guy hosting this party is pretty cool" air, but Radiohead would completely change things up for the better on their next effort.

Prog Sothoth | 3/5 |

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