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OK COMPUTER

Radiohead

Crossover Prog


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Radiohead OK Computer album cover
4.02 | 712 ratings | 119 reviews | 49% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Airbag (4:44)
2. Paranoid Android (6:23)
3. Subterranean Homesick Alien (4:27)
4. Exit Music (For A Film) (4:24)
5. Let Down (4:59)
6. Karma Police (4:21)
7. Fitter Happier (1:57)
8. Electioneering (3:50)
9. Climbing Up The Walls (4:45)
10. No Surprises (3:48)
11. Lucky (4:19)
12. The Tourist (5:24)

Total Time: 53:21

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Thom Yorke / vocals, guitar
- Colin Greenwood / bass
- Jonny Greenwood / guitar, keyboards
- Ed O'Brien / guitar, vocals
- Phil Selway / drums

Releases information

CD Capitol (7243 8 55229 2 5) UK (1997)

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RADIOHEAD OK Computer ratings distribution


4.02
(712 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(49%)
49%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
29%
Good, but non-essential (13%)
13%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)
4%

RADIOHEAD OK Computer reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars When I first listened to this album about 7 years ago, I was thinking: Oh what a great album, I never heard something like this before! In fact during this time I was not thinking about more recent Prog music at all and was not even aware that something like this is still existing in the 90s after a long period of dryness in the 80s . But somehow I came through these "desert" years by taking the substitution called "Independent" or later "Alternative" Rock which was quite ok for a while and that's how I came to Radiohead as well. But a few years later I discovered (rather late I have to admit and as well with the help of this website here) excellent bands from the 90s generation doing music much in the spirit of the 70's that is just matching my taste best. On the other hand I've to admit Radiohead is certainly more progressive in the literal sense than all those bands. And for sure all the songs on OKC are really great ones and I think very very few people can claim honestly they never heard any of them, at least the two most popular ones "Airbag" and "Karma Police" had been played over and over again in movies, boutiques, broadcasting, MTV and so on. And I can imagine as well that under the obvious surface of their music, which appears rather catchy and pop-ish on the first listen there are really complex structures hidden. The thing is just that it's not my taste anymore, so maybe I should not review this album at all??? It's in fact not easy for me to rate this album in a justified and fair way. Though I think it's certainly a very good album, nonetheless I doubt it can be considered an essential one in Prog generally since it won't appeal to any Prog fan. Hence 3,5 stars I would say!

(Edited 8/24/2006)

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#33805) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, January 16, 2005

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I am not going to go down the route as to why this is on this site. It has a semblance of conceptual music and yes, they are one of the few better bands to emerge in the late 20th century. In saying that I have never been convinced these guys from Oxford, are the real deal.The music is good and on OK Computer possibly better than others in their catalogue but the self indulgence in lead vocals reminds me a bit of Peter Hammill and VDGG. Plenty of self importance and not enough soul sacrifice IMHO.They are very talented musicians of that there is no doubt and record sales particularly in USA fully endorse that but for me too overblown to be truly credible. Hail To The Thief their last effort in my opinion much better than OK Computer. The mainstream were desperate for deeper sound when this was released and I think only the Verve managed to trult capitalise on that in a pure sense. They will never truly compete with the likes of Pink Floyd for which they laughably so often get compared too.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#33806) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, January 16, 2005

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Time to weigh in. Is it prog? RADIOHEAD themselves would likely say no, as would a huge segment of the prog fans out there. It's not the first time the band has suffered from a number of pigeonhole attempts (Billy Corgan especially could get very snide about their originality, although the SMASHING PUMPKINS are probably in no danger of appearing here). Iin my opinion "OK Computer" is a landmark album, prog or not, that keeps the embattled idea of a guitar-driven rock band fresh and dynamic.

To be honest, I don't even like every song; the widespread attraction of "Karma Police" has always eluded me, and I find "Climbing Up the Walls" and "Lucky" to drag on a little too long in exactly the wrong place on the album. However, the high points on this album are more than enough to place it in the top tier of my collection. "Paranoid Android" redeems an entire decade of lackluster rock music (though I can never quite get used to the extreme wah sound, and I wish the heavier sections lasted a little longer) and "Subterranean Homesick Alien" is both lushly atmospheric and hard- hitting...in a way that must have made Steve Wilson wet his pants. "Exit Music" is almost unendurably cathartic (yes, that's a Mellotron, and no, I don't care one bit about the film) and "Airbag" is a great opener and proves that real drums and 'Drum N Bass'-style cut-and-paste production can work comfortably together.

I could go on and on; "Fitter Happier" is eerie and thought-provoking (or should be, for anyone unafraid to reflect on our bourgeois attitudes) and "Electioneering" is a Gotterdamerung rock song that crashes and wails like a post-punk "Gimme Shelter". Both "Let Down" and "No Surprises" take a pleasing pop rock basis and infuse it with odd sonic corners and intriguingly bent but heartfelt lyrics. "The Tourist" is a mostly fitting finale to the album, but strangely I miss a sense of closure- especially after the hit-and-miss construction of the second side (or second half, anyway).

So there we are. A classic rock album that is unarguably modern. An extremely progressive rock album that's probably not 'Progressive Rock' (so at best I can only give it 3 stars in this venue). Some of its parts are much better than others, but the sum of its parts is better still. Does it belong here? Dunno, but it belongs in the collection of anyone at all interested in how much life there is yet in rock music.

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Send comments to James Lee (BETA) | Report this review (#33811) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, January 16, 2005

Review by Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Is Radiohead really prog? Who would debate more than 3 seconds about stupid questions like that? Who cares!?? It's time to get a life AND to get this album as soon as possible. Because, in a lot of songs, Radiohead demonstrates a need to push rock further. They want to make a form of rock that progresses through what they did before. Judge that by what you want, it is an album to not overlook.

It's weird, it's futuristic, it's disturbing. It's a vision of tomorrow's world by Yorke and the Greenwood brothers. This album is like stepping into a city where androids and humans cohabitates and work together. A world where robots can almost feel emotions and humans wish they felt a lot less.

Technically speaking, Radiohead has a crazy guitarist in Jonny Greenwood. He really dominated the 90's in terms of experimentation and innovation. I know what I'm talking about, seeing him in concert in 97. An instrument not to forget would be the huge keyboard work also provided by Jon. He really captured a claustrophobic and ill feeling of having trouble to breathe on the keys.

Karma Police, Lucky, No suprises and Exit Music have all the radio potential to make a fortune. Karma Police staying a gripping, moving, and absolutely addictive 4 minutes. The songs aged so well, many bands wouldn't top this production even today. But the most progressive (and disturbing) track could easily be Paranoid Android. I don't know what kind of substance would lead to this, but it has a psychiatric aura; Yorke repeating "the vomit, the vomit, the vomit, God loves his children yeaaah".

This is a lengendary rock album. An absolutely stunning art, way ahead of his time.

With David Bowie, McCarthney or Robert Fripp, Radiohead jumped in the supreme courts of the few Giants that changed rock music forever.

So intelligent it edges madness.

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#33812) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, January 16, 2005

Review by FloydWright
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Before I go further, I want to say that I do consider RADIOHEAD prog in the overall view. While I despise the "next Pink Floyd" comparisons I used to hear, I do think that's the element the two bands have in common.

This is EXACTLY what happened to RADIOHEAD.Yes, the songs on this album can be more traditional rock in places. No, OK Computer is not a perfect masterpiece. But still, I think it is worth hearing. Opinions may differ, but I do feel that RADIOHEAD has every right to be here.

In my opinion, RADIOHEAD has released a total of three noteworthy albums: The Bends, Kid A, and the album linking the two, OK Computer. Even though I believe that the current RADIOHEAD might be creatively spent by now, do not let their recent mediocre output discourage you from trying this album. Yes, there does seem to be some filler that you have to be in a specific mood for ("Fitter Happier", "Electioneering", and "No Surprises"), but even that is by no means worthless, and when you are in the mood, quite enjoyable. Overall, this is an solid album that deserves 4 stars.

My favorite songs are the beautiful "Subterranean Homesick Alien" (an ET's-eye view of us Earthlings), "Let Down", and the chilling "Climbing up the Walls". The eerie, siren-like noise at the end of that song is no synthesizer; in fact, it is several violins all slightly out of tune with each other, playing in unison. It's touches like that, that make this album what it is. Other songs, "Karma Police", "Paranoid Android", and "Exit Music (for a Film)" have come to mean more to me over time even though I was initially not seeing what all the fuss was about. This album and The Bends (their pop rock album) will probably have the most mass appeal of RADIOHEAD's three important albums, more so than their experimental masterwork, KID A, the album I recommend the most to the true proghead. I've kept this review short because I think much of what can be said about OK Computer has already been said or will be mentioned by other reviewers. My final words are--don't mind the filler; pick this up anyway if you are interested in hearing the link between their two flawless albums.

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Send comments to FloydWright (BETA) | Report this review (#33813) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, January 16, 2005

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Prog Rock for the 21st Century - only they released it in the 20th Century!!!

Radiohead are a band who, in spirit, are closer to prog than almost any band I can think of in recent years. Instead of borrowing from the old school, like so many modern so-called prog bands - a tactic which is obviously not progressive, Radiohead assimilate older styles into their own, forging a unique sound full of subtleties that can easily pass the casual listener by and fool him/her into only hearing the surface. It is absolutely clear that the entire band know how to play very well indeed.

This is a trick that Pink Floyd were particularly good at - hence the frequent comparisons. Radiohead have, with this single album, also spawned a thousand imitators - not least in the field of prog rock.

And the comparisons don't end there; OK Computer is Radiohead's Dark Side of the Moon, from the unified concept, to the 7/4 time signatures, to the rich, spacey textures. Don't believe anyone who says that there is no talent or musicianship on here - that sort of comment comes from people who think that prog should be 13/8 all the time with lightning speed guitar solos. This is not that sort of prog - this is pure, imaginative and creative genius, with plenty of talent.

Thom's voice may be a matter of taste, but it is unique, his vocal range is impressive, and the subtle nuances and emotive shades and colours in his voice put many prog vocalists to shame. His feel for a melodic idea is amazing too - the melodies on OK Computer are incredibly strong - hence the commercial success of this album - something Radiohead could not have anticipated!

Enough discussion, rationalisation and general faffing about - here's a quick dip into each piece, briefly analysing the progressive elements - but mostly wallowing in and enjoying the music from a prog point of view;

Airbag : Sets the scene immediately. This little piece is crammed with proggy goodies, and, like the rest of the album, unfolds in an organic way like the best Gabriel-era Genesis. The sweeping opening riff opens up into a cavernous space with subtle guitar and bass and keyboard atmospherics. Beautiful "upside-down" drumming counterpoints all of this very well - the track borders on TripHop, but played on real instruments. Johnny Greenwood drops in some stunningly spacey and inventive guitar work, generally avoiding the obvious and building up the soundscape. All the while, Thom's haunting vocals provide the icing on the texture, with beautiful sustain.

Paranoid Android : Requires little discussion, as its length alone ensures that many proggers accept this track as prog. The beautiful switches between textures and time signatures whilst maintaining continuity by use of ostinato rather than riffs is utterly masterful and the texture is well worth dwelling on. By making subtle changes using different instruments or different sounds on the instruments, and modifying riffs by a couple of notes, an amazing seamlessness and organic growth continues. The "Rain Down" coda that ends this piece is stunning and raises the hairs on the back of my neck due to the pure beauty of the melodies, and the brilliant vocal harmonies, many of which are quite far back in the mix - the counter tenor and bass parts are quite staggering, and put almost every prog band in the archives to shame.

Subterranean Homesick Alien is an almost perfect prog piece; an 8-second guitar piece drenched in reverb gives way to some incredibly inventive work. The building blocks are obviously quite simple, in the same way that much of "Dark Side of the Moon" is built on simple constructions. However, a simple concrete foundation is responsible for keeping many buildings standing... Again, the key to this piece is through the subtleties in the arrangement and the wide, spacey atmosphere, richly coloured with beautiful melodies in keyboards, guitars and Thom's mellow vocals. Phil Selway too, provides drumming that is exactly right, never gets over busy and knows exactly where to hold back for maximum effect.

Exit Music (For a Film) is a little prog classic! Thom's vocals are brought further forwards to dominate a soft guitar. Here he relates a story of sorts in real time. Around 1:35, a mellotron choir accompanies gorgeous change, in which we are instructed to keep breathing - the simple act of which suddenly make me feel a little breathless. The atmospherics on the next section provide tension and drive towards the "big hook" which first kicks in at 2:50. The massive fuzz on the bass contrasting with the delicate keyboard melodies and Thom's powerful vocal line combine to a symphonic sensousness that is practically tangible. The only real problem with this track is that it is too short.

Let Down clears the air after the claustrophobia induced by Exit Music. A laid back, easy start, with subtle guitar and keyboard ostinato instead of more predictable riffs creates a very soft texture that is easy to just relax into. For the first time on this album we see a kind of verse chorus structure, but it is all muddied. The double-tracked vocals are somewhat unintelligible and possibly just as well, as on the surface they are about the crushed (like a bug on a windshield) feeling you get from being Let Down. Underneath is the more uncomfortable feeling you get that you've been there...

Karma Police was a hit single, and it's difficult to hear as anything but - although there is no chorus to speak of - more an anti chorus; "This is what you'll get...". The incredible tag-line "For a minute there I lost myself" just sums this track up - it has as much charm as any on this album, but is in danger of death through over-exposure. Listen to it in the context it deserves on this album, though, and it starts to make sense.

Fitter Happier is one of those tracks. The equivalent of those alarm clocks on Dark Side of the Moon, it's a difficult track to accept - but a logical part of the complete concept. I still find the background piano and textures infinitely more listenable than the horrible computer voice - but the words are those dark angst-ridden words that are probably familiar to or at least strike a chord with the subconscious of many middle-class citizens.

Electioneering is the one track that hearkens back to Radiohead's alt-rock roots. Gloriously raucous and unashamedly riff-driven, revelling in dissonance, there is much buried beneath the surface - so don't press skip on this one; give it a few extra listens. "I go forwards, you go backwards, and somewhere we will meet.". This is as close to fun as Radiohead get on this album...

Climbing up the Walls begins is a fantastically spacey, total prog rock kinda way. This is what I'm talking about, and confirms Radiohead's place on a prog rock site. The cavernous space sound of Exit music is recreated, with a wonderful falling bass line. Thom's vocals are heavily distorted, confirming their place as a part of the instrumentation - sometimes it's hard to distinguish his voice from the melange of spacey sounds that proliferate. Johnny Greenwood punctuates perfectly with deeply sensitive guitar, leading to, of all things, a solo - but not one of noodle, instead, one of appropriate colouring.

No Surprises was another hit single and requires no introduction - but you might want to put some sticky tape on those neck-hairs...

Lucky is a bit of an effort to listen to to start, as No Surprises provides a perfect end to the album. However, make that effort, and Radiohead have something far more to say musically than No Surprises. Magnificently symphonic and sonically richer than much Pink Floyd or Barclay James Harvest, this is one that might take you a while to "get", due to the constant shifting in instrumental textures. Undeniably prog - it was "a glorious day" when this track was written!!! Walls of beautifully counterpointed melodies collapsing into stark textures, then rebuilt in a different form provide one of the single most organic pieces of music in rock's history. I would put this alongside "Firth of Fifth".

The Tourist made me laugh the first time I heard it. OK Computer is an album that is not exactly speed metal... overall it's more like the aural equivalent of mogadon. Then comes this track at the end of the album singing "Hey, man, slow down". Again, Radiohead use a rich symphonic texture for this, and it's hard to see how they could get any slower. But it remains on a par with the rest of the album - as soon as you scratch the surface and explore the textures, the cosmic beauty of this track, indeed, the entire album swims into view.

OK Computer really is a prog album in the true spirit.

The attention to detail is quite stunning, and is easily missed by a casual listen. Even the individual sounds made by each instrument have been carefully considered and honed so that the sound is pretty close to perfect. Melodically, harmonically, texturally, rhythimcally and formally it is one of the strongest and most consistent albums of all time. The only flaw I could find in it from a proghole's point of view is that, like Dark Side of the Moon, all the "real" experimentation lies in texture. But that all changes on Kid A...

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Send comments to Certif1ed (BETA) | Report this review (#33814) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 17, 2005

Review by arcer
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars OK Computer is that rare thing - a landmark recording and quite possibly the most important 'rock' record to come out of Britain in the 90s. After reaching critical and commercial highs with the polished indie rock of The Bends, Radiohead decamped to a house belonging to the actress Jane Seymour to indulge in some location recording for their third album. Several months later they emerged a changed entity and a new force in 'progressive' rock music. Weary of reliance on a standard guitar/bass/drums format Radiohead set about deconstructing and reconstructing their songwriting process. The chief protagonist here is surely guitarist Jonny Greenwood. A classically trained violinist, Greenwood stripped back the guitar parts and delbed into a huge arsenal of obscure and rarely utlised instruments - from 'prog' mellotrons to theremin, to the even more obscure ondes martinet as well as experimenting with loops, samples and a battery of weird and wonderful effects. However, Thom Yorke too pushes his own boundaries, even going so far as to begin the process of deconstructing his singing style, retreating from the melodic strength of The Bends and beginning to find a voice that reaches its full expression (a cracked, often broken but never less than passionate style) on the following Kid A and Amnesiac (where indeed, his stated wish was not to have melodies at all and to completely restrict the vocals) The sound palette the band came back with on OK Computer stretches from glockenspiels to analog synths, mellotron strings and choirs to stuttering speech synthesisers. After the lovely Airbag, the real tone is set with the simply breathtaking Paranoid Android which opens with a fluttering acoustic guitar riff and then develops into a brittle, furious guitar assault before giving way to a coldly beautiful coda of choir and harmony vocals. It's a cascade of ideas, noise, skill and wilful experimentation. A triumph which sets the tone for the whole album. From the wryly jaded Subterranean Homesick Alien, the claustropobhic tenderness of Exit Music (For A Film) to the unsettling obsession of Climbing the Walls and the chiming guitars of Lucky on to the final plaintively beautiful The Tourist, OK Computer is an album that will offer endless reward. Spiralling towards a decade since its release it has none of its revelatory impact. It has not aged a bit and sounds as fresh now as it did on its first release. Indeed, in that way it is as relevant, current, and apposite, both musically and lyrically, as Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, an album it is perhaps tied to in terms of lyrical theme. Some may doubt its prog credentials and it is true that it bears few of the hallmarks of anything coming out of England in the early '70s, but for those with a more expansive and inclusive world view, who will note it's debt to Can, Faust, Kraftwerk, as well as host of other influences, this is simply an essential purchase. It is a five-star album, which I will have to drop a star from simply because it may not entirely appeal to the ardent '70s sound' enthusiast.

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Send comments to arcer (BETA) | Report this review (#33820) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, January 23, 2005

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I don't see a reason for this great controversy about RADIOHEAD being prog or not! If you are to understand this genre in a broader terms they surely deserve a place in it. If not, and I am quite conservative in this sense, then 90 % of so-called neoprog, art-rock and prog metal would never appear in the progarchives! So this genre issue is always debatable and cannot be taken as an argument for giving merits. What is important is quality, ideas and emotions in music and for me "OK Computer" has all of that. This is a masterpiece of contemporary music!

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Posted Friday, January 28, 2005

Review by richardh
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is a prog record no doubt and an excellent one at that.Dark lyrics and atmsopheric landscapes.'Difficult' abstract music that you can't pin downThe best tracks are undoubtedly 'Paranoid Android' and the very beautifull 'Karma Police'.The only slightly offputting feature of their music is the monotonous singing of Thom Yorke.It can grate I admit.But the band are excellent and the songs are brilliant.Just open your mind a bit and you may actually enjoy it.

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Posted Sunday, January 30, 2005

Review by TRoTZ
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Ok, this is hard. Before conjecturing if it is prog or not, I've to say this is a 90's CLASSIC. Just after the grunge movement, which is the head music of the 90's, there is RADIOHEAD. And I'm proud for such a well-known band to have PROGRESSIVE inspiration. Ok, this is not a pure progressive album. SO WHAT? There are things in this world that, because of its beauty, are beyond cataloguing. I consider this album a mix of Alternative/Progressive/Pop Rock. And what do I find in it progressive? First of all, the fact that this album is a concept album which has futuristic/spacey lyrics with the intention of criticizing humanity. Second, the sonority, the feelings that it makes you feel: like in many progressive albums, I find myself to get off of this world with my mind, navigating in the spacey and/or peaceful illusional atmospheres it creates. Third, many songs don't obey to the prototype versus/chorus/versus/chorus and have some prolonged instrumental parts, though not very subtle. Beside this discussion, the album is well performed, with very good bass lines, some good guitar riffs and solos (Airbag, Paranoid Android, Electionnering), diversified drums and a beautiful piano on Karma Police.

In the top of progressive songs of this album, there is Paranoid Android. Without a doubt, it is a progressive track, there's no way to avoid it! It is constituted by three different parts: the first, Sadness, with a well orchestrated versus/chorus pattern; the second, The Explosion, in which the guitar, the bass and the drums are very well performed; and the last, The Depression with a very sad chorus which made me cry the first time I've listened to it. Following up next on the progressive wave, the atmospheric Subterranean Homesick Alien and Let Down. Exit Music (for a film) is another example, it is a 2 part track with the last being an explosion part, like in Paranoid Android, but mainly achieved by emotional vocals. The two rockers of the album, beyond the supreme Paranoid Android itself, it's the first track Airbag which presents a very catchy guitar riff and a great bass work and the almost punky Electioneering which could be a song taken from their previous albums. The album ends with the trio No Surprises, Lucky and The Tourist with the melancholic mode and the imaginative soundscaping that characterizes Radiohead.

Karma Police is one of those songs that I'm sure it will be never forgot, very dramatic, extremely beautiful, great sonority and without being the prototype of the traditional architecture of a track: it is subdivided again in 2 parts. This song disserves a paragraph just for it.

As I said, it is NOT a pure progressive rock album as GENESIS Foxtrot or SPOCK'S BEARD Snow but it has some UNQUESTIONABLE progressive derivations! In the internet encyclopedia Wikipedia, this album is considered a Progressive Rock album, and for some reason they considered it! This album disserves 5 star but I'm hear to evaluate the Progressive nature of this work. Though it is an essential for any rock collector, it does not seem to be so essential in a prog collector, so I'll give it 4 stars.

My rate: 8/10

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Send comments to TRoTZ (BETA) | Report this review (#33827) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, February 19, 2005

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Several years ago I was introduced to RADIOHEAD's debut album and thought they were excellent. "OK Computer" marks a big bold step for RADIOHEAD blending all of the right elements into a magnificent work of art. "Ok Computer" draws on elements from PINK FLOYD to PORCUPINE TREE to U2 all wrapped in a 90's psychedelia. Songs are all well written and offer some real memorable melodies and extended spacey interludes. At times the vocals are kindly distorted, the instruments warped and juxtaposed with sound effects giving the listener a wild contrast of sounds to interpret. Songs are generally very melodic and slow with some nice loud breaks in the mood to keep you on our toes. RADIOHEAD are a very talented band which offer some great guitar, bass, keyboard and percussion throughout. "Ok Computer" marks RADIOHEAD's most creative and sophisticated piece of work to date and is a real winner... This is a must have album and is highly recommended to those who love a bit space in their lives. Around the edges this album is similar stylistically to PORCUPINE TREE.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#33830) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, February 25, 2005

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I can see a few progressive rock elements in this record: at least, it surely has a very elaborated psychedelic & alternative rock style. The grunge electric guitars may remind you the King Crimson of the mid 70's. The psychedelic dimension may remind you Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree. There are 2 elements that I really do not like: 1) The electric guitars arrangements that have a gross garage sound. 2) Yorke's plaintive and irritating voice that expresses all the pain & misery one can feel during his early life. The melody and harmony are not too much present on most of the tracks! Thom Yorke sings a bit like Bono of U2. Is the way he sings a manifestation of all the pain he has lived?

The tracks are serious and depressing: maybe this record allows the deletion of internal uneases: this record does not have this effect on me. The main problem is the lack of catchiness and addiction. Plus, one has to admit that the tracks sound pretty marginal. The worst moments are definitely tracks like "Fitter Happier" and "Electioneering". "Electioneering" is a real teeth grinding track.

There are some decent moments: "Subterranean Homesick Alien" has not bad keyboards arrangements & echoed ambience. The good futuristic end of "Let Down" is unfortunately too short. The more melodic track "No surprise" actually has a surprise: some good percussions, which may make you forget the annoying rhythmic guitar! "The Tourist" and "Let Down" have catchier refrains.

If I compare to the usual alternative rock bands, then OK Computer is more interesting and sophisticated. On the other hand, I do not feel the need to keep this record in my collection. 2 stars seems appropriate.

Please, live and let live: do not tell people what to like or to not like: there is a reason that explains why people like Radiohead, and the important is that it is good for them.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#33831) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, February 26, 2005

Review by frenchie
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I've always been under the impression that this album is for British people, they seem to appreciate it the most. Every year since 1997, Q have done a best albums vote and Ok computer has always came in at number 1, practically every British media outlet say its the best modern rock album of the 90s. This may be a bit far but it certainly is a great contender. I know that if you look on rate your music website they say its number 1 album of the 90s.

Radiohead are a very unique and very British band, their music reflects British life and generally hosts a great soundtrack to your everlasting misery. Thoms vocals always reflect this brilliantly and they music is gloomy yet melodic and expansive, shining with a beam of hope in an otherwise depressing manor. That's just what life in Britain is really (to my 17 years of experience). It took me so long to build up the courage to tackle reviewing such a monster of an album because of all its praise.

This album is a direct progression from 1995's critically acclaimed, "The Bends". This album takes Radiohead even further into original concept, effects, great guitar based music, awesome lyrics and incredible songwriting altogether. It's a big step up from that album that was so good, this one is like a more mature, advanced bigger brother. Sadly, "OK Computer" is not a progressive rock album, but don't be swayed by all these negative reviews because most people are angry about Radiohead being included in the archives and take it out on their reviews by giving them poor ratings. I am not reviewing this album as a piece of proggressive rock, but as a piece of music, call it alternative rock, indie, britpop, any colour you like. Musically, this album has it all really...

originality... no other bands who are in a similar genre or sound have really managed to outdo this album, nor recreate it.

creativity... very evident in the vast soundscapes which are so multilayered that every time you listen to this album there is something new to hear or gain out of it. I have listen to it about a million times and i am always in musically bliss when i listen to it. The only thing is, i cant find it to be one of those albums that you can listen to on a regular basis, i often save it for special occasions, i am listening to it as i write this review. It feels like some amazing experience, however sad that sounds, for me it's the truth.

longevity... this album really leaves an impression behind, it kind of sums up rock music of the last decade well, its always one of those albums that you are going to want to come back to and every time it can be loved.

emotion... "Ok Computer" breathes with life and emotion, some tracks can make you want to rock (Airbag, Paranoid Android, Electioneering), some tracks will give you a nw spin on what life is really about (Let Down, Fitter Happier, Subterranean Homesick Alien, The Tourist, Karma Police, Lucky) and some tracks will make you want to cry (No Surprises, Exit Music). Every track leaves you gasping with your breath taken away by how amazing they are.

The lyrics are harsh and reflect life passionately, each with their own personal interpretation, something anyone can relate to. Musically this album stretches to all the limits whilst staying inside one basic alternate genre. Some tracks, such as "Paranoid Android", can be seen in the light of prog, as they have very different structures that people really seemed to have warmed to (most stuff like this can be pretty basic).

Best British album of the 90s? A masterpiece of music? the critics aren't lying (this time)!

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Send comments to frenchie (BETA) | Report this review (#33836) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, March 12, 2005

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Interesting and thoughtful pop/rock of the late 90's. There's even some mellotrons included on some of tracks, like "Airbag" and "Exit Music (for a film)". These both mentioned are wonderful, emotional and mystical songs. Also the other songs on the first half were very good. Not exactly my favorite music, but still very good, I recommend to listen at it!

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Posted Sunday, April 03, 2005

Review by Tony Fisher
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars OK, this isn't prog in any shape or form but so what; it's just been voted greatest album of all time by Channel 4 viewers in the UK so let's review it anyway. All I can say is that the people who voted for this have never heard real bands who can play their instruments and write songs; all but about 10 of my 800+ albums wipe the floor with this bilge. The songs are tedious, the singer manages to incorporate that dreadful whining moan which I thought Liam Gallagher had a monopoly on and the guitarist is still on grade 3. And people compare this to Pink Floyd? Well, the Barratt years maybe but The Floyd soon learned to play and write, unlike this bunch. Good moments? The end! I bought it on impulse for experimentation and it's due for the charity bag. Most overrated album of all time? Beating Definitely Maybe? Yep!

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Posted Monday, April 18, 2005

Review by Eclipse
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is Radiohead's best album, one of the most well done gems in the 90's. It's very strong musically although the same can't be said about those lyrics. "Paranoid Android" is progressive by itself, and while the "poetry" done here is very weak, it seems the guy just chose the lines in a meaningless way to fill the song with lyrics, the instrumental sections are amazing and the playing is very well done. Unfortunately, it doesn't survive well the test of time, but it is definetely one of the best alt rock records ever done.

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Send comments to Eclipse (BETA) | Report this review (#33849) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 23, 2005

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
3 stars I felt it was time for me to review a Radiohead album, especially after the turbulence created by their inclusion in Prog Archives, turbulence with which I contributed giving a negative opinion, so I will try to be fair with a band that is growing in me since a few weeks ago.

I know some people will get angry but if I want to make a decent review must start being honest, so I have to say I don't believe Radiohead is a Progressive Rock (understood as a genre) band but it's also fair to say that Ok Computer is good album that deserves to be here as much as late Styx or Asia if you're not a purist of the genre.

I find some Pink Floyd influence in OK Computer but this doesn't make them prog' because the contribution of alternative bands as Nirvana is stronger, starting with Thom Yorke who has that same "I-don't-care-about-anything-because-life-sucks" style of the late Kurt Cobain, but also must say that as well as Curt he has a very nice vocal range, sometimes a bit boring for his lack of variation but can be listened.

Don't expect radical changes except on "Paranoid Android" (The closer they get to prog), the songs are mostly close to Indie even when sometimes is easy to find some Space Prog' influence or even that classical alternative sound so common in the late 90's, but the main characteristic of this album is that you can almost always predict how each song will develop from the first chord, this is not bad "per se", it's only a common factor I find in most tracks..

But I would like to focus on some very positive aspects, Jonny Greenwood and Ed O'Brian create a very dark an atmospheric sound that I find very interesting, Collin Greenwood has very strong basslines, especially in Airbag, Pete Selway is a decent drummer, but in some moments he sounds almost as a drum machine.

The album starts with "Airbag", a strong song with a great guitar intro and a powerful bass, the vocals as in every song are dark and depressing but the chorus helps very much to the sound, in some moments reminds me of Oasis with a touch of early REM, good song.

"Paranoid Android" is IMO the best song of the album, starts with a soft oriental atmosphere in which Thom Yorke's voice is absolutely perfect, when this section is starting to get too predictable especially for the drums, the band progressively makes a change towards classic rock with heavy guitar explosions in which you can notice the skills of the band, and then again the song morphs into a very melodic and dark passage with complex and well developed vocal work, mixing low chorals and high backing vocals (probably mellotron or other digital variation) that add interest and prepare the listener for the powerful chaotic closing section where every member is simply perfect, the most progressive approach of the band in this album.

Many progheads will accept this song for the length, but in my case I couldn't worry less about that, the point is that Paranoid Android is an imaginative song with constant changes and really unpredictable, this is the kind of sound and development I would expect from a prog' band.

The next track "Subterranean Homesick Alien" works as a relief after the first two songs, nothing spectacular but interesting, in this track the guitar work is not particularly good with only a few nice works in the louder passages.

"Exit Music (For a Film)" is an absolutely melancholic acoustic track, not only Yorke's voice but the semi choral background is totally depressing, I like the song because darkness fascinates me and the presence of the haunting Mellotron is incredibly beautiful. Lovely song but not recommended if for Prozac patient or those who have suicidal tendencies.

"Let Down" sounds as taken from an Oasis album, calmed, soft, with interesting guitar work, the music gently flows from start to end with almost no interruption or surprise, nice but not great, perfect for a hit single.

A beautiful piano introduction announces "Karma Police" another very good track, different to all the previous, very rhythmic but at the same time melodic, a very nice and surprising change, especially because the piano goes in crescendo creating a sensation of expectation not always present in Radiohead and also because it's the first song in which the drumming is very accurate.

"Filter Happier" is a great but wasted idea, they pretend to be innovative and experimental but this has been done previously since the 60's and 70's by bands like Pink Floyd but of course with much more originality, the piano background is pretty decent, but that synthetic computer voice is simply horrendous, even when important for the concept because gives us an idea of dehumanization, I believe there were better alternatives to work the concept without sacrificing the musicality.

"Electioneering" is a rock oriented track, loud but not very imaginative either, seems to prepare the listener for a climax but becomes boring and lack of interest because they never reach a peak, Radiohead keeps loosing the interest of the listener as the minutes advance, just noisy but nothing else.

"Climbing Up the Walls" gives a first impression to be more on the point, but it's only a mirage, again Radiohead falls in the same mistake of the last song, becoming repetitive to the maximum extent, I have the impression that after Karma Police the band looses in great part the obscure but melodic atmosphere prevalent in the first six songs.

After this track I am more convinced that Radiohead should never be included in the Archives, mostly because one of the main characteristics of Progressive Rock is the ability to create variations and changes, something that the band seems to lack of..

"No Surprises" as the name appears to indicate is another monotone track, even when in this case they seem to have recovered at least partially the melodic sense, but that isn't enough to re-gain the attention of the audience or to pretend to be something more than an alternative band.

The next track "Lucky" starts with a nice guitar work but again Thom Yorke's voice is absolutely boring, after a short passage of mainly vocals we can find a first musical explosion that indicates this song is going to be strong and the impression is right, a very good track that could be much better if Yorke would simply gave the impression that he enjoys singing.

The album ends with "The Tourist", a very spacey song obviously influenced by Pink Floyd, the vocals sound better than in most of the album, as if Yorke would have noticed that a bit of life doesn't hurt anybody. The nostalgic atmosphere is present as in the first half of the album but you can feel Thom adds a bit of enthusiasm, another good track perfect choice to close the album.

Now comes the hard part, How to rate this album? From a Progressive Rock perspective wouldn't be too high, because Ok Computer is not a prog' album and even when some people hate labels, this is a progressive web page, but this would also be unfair, because the album is pretty good, especially the first six tracks and The Tourist, the lyrics are provocative and the concept is well developed.

So I believe that 3 solid stars would be fair, and don't believe it's a low average, because I gave the same rating to some really good progressive albums. I enjoyed Ok Computer very much but honestly don't think it's essential.

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Send comments to Ivan_Melgar_M (BETA) | Report this review (#33852) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, May 07, 2005

Review by penguindf12
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Finally, I'm getting around to reviewing this thing.

"OK Computer" begins with "Airbag", one of the best songs on here. The drumming is brilliant, and stays consistently so throughout the whole album. Of interest to progheads is the heavily delayed guitars, which are so washed in effects they sound like keyboards or an autoharp, plus the cello and instrumental buildup at the end. This is pure alternative/progressive, an alt rock song transformed with electronic effects and orchestral shadings to create one of the best tracks ever written.

But that's not the best of it right there. "Airbag" segues directly into "Paranoid Android", the track that bugs prog purists to this day. It's sheer progressiveness cannot be denied, as it features three distinct sections, a reprise, and even a short passage in 7/8. The first section opens with a strangely alien acoustic section backed by morracas and other strange percussion. It brings to mind a scene in the deserts of Roswell at night, for some reason. This is helped along by strange, eerie keyboards and haunting lead guitar work. Suddenly, the theme changes, and it slowly moves into the second section as it dispenses with the Latin percussion and then introduces the electric guitar, finally building up into full-on metal and enters 7/8 time. Then everything crashes and it goes into a somber, choral section which features a Mellotron. This goes on, until the second theme is reprised a final time before it all ends.

The next song is "Subterranean Homesick Alien," a beautiful space ballad song that once again brings to mind the alien desert highway at night. While not overtly progressive, it still shows tendencies, such as its haunting theme of escapism and hopelessness and the strange, melancholy instrumentation.

"Exit Music (for a film)" is another fairly good track, although I really don't like it a whole lot. It features a haunting acoustic guitar strumming at the beginning, slowly building as they add a mellotron, then the whole band enters. Darker and spookier than any other song here, it is actually recorded live, but the crowd stays utterly silent throughout the whole thing.

The main guitar theme for "Let Down" is in 5/8. The song actually reminds me of GENTLE GIANT's "Just the Same", because of the conflicting 5/8 guitar and the rest in 4/4 ("Just the Same" has 6/8 against 7/8). It's very lovely - the synthesizers at the end can make me weep.

"Karma Police" shows the first drop in the prog-o-meter, although it still retains some traces, and is in sort of two parts. A bit too mellow for my tastes, it mainly plods along, with it's overt theme taken from "1984" and the thought police. The second half has an abrupt change in the opinion of the singer's lyrics, like he's been brainwashed or something.

"Fitter Happier" divides the album clean it two. Everything from here on is not quite the same quality as the first songs on the album. The track itself is essentially a poem read by a computer with a piano solo in the background. The poem is strange, conformist, almost hopelessly airtight. Like something that would be playing on the telescreens in the book "1984".

"Electioneering" is a straightforward rock song with some heavy cowbell. Pretty cool hard-rock music.

"Climbing the Walls" is an atmospheric, dark song that brings to mind a maze in some strange warehouse. Utterly creepy from start to finish. At the end, it builds up then is washed away by electronic effects and strange atmospheric noises, organ, and what sounds like a haunted cuckoo clock.

"No Surprises" is a simple, simple, simple, upbeat yet strangely cynical alternative tune that kind of grew on me over time. Quite nice.

"Lucky" is a slow rocker that washes right over you. Thom sings "pull me out of the aircraft..." - it can give you chills.

"The Tourist" definitely grew on me - a ploddingly slow number in compound waltz time (9/8, but not at all like Genesis' 4+5 classic) with occasional bits of 3/8 tacked on. The chorus is great - "Hey man, slow down..."

Overall, no, it's not full-on prog. There's tendencies, but whatever. It doesn't really matter. In any case, it's a very good album nonetheless, final three tracks aside. Their next album, "Kid A" is far more experimental and "progressive", but "OK Computer" is still a masterpiece of alternative meets progressive, at least for the first five songs.

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Posted Monday, July 18, 2005

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I bought this CD because my prog mate down here advised me that this album is prog. Yes it is. At first listen I could confirm that it's a prog music. But it was not my cup of tea so I put it on my CD rack until two years ago when I watched a music DVD titled "Paris Concert for Amnesty International" where the band performed two songs "Paranoid Android" and "karma Police". Oh man . the performance was awesome - I have to admit from the bottom of my heart! I am amazed with the guitar playing performed by Greenwood - it's really great! The distortion is cool! The way Yorke sings is also cool - relaxing. In fact, with this DVD I kept rewinding the segments with these two songs plus the performance of Peter Gabriel and Youssou n Dour. Right after watching the DVD I started to replay my CD of OK Computer and I really enjoy the music. For me, this album is something new that I experience with respect to my journey with prog music as well as classic rock. I have never heard this kind of sound before. It's a new experience for me and I hope the band continues with the kind of music they deliver in this album.

"Airbag" is an excellent album opener. "Paranoid Android" is the best cut of this album. From the opening intro until finish it offers a beautiful music with excellent flow from one segment to another combined with some abrupt changes. The sound effects and distortion produced from guitar is really good. The song has a very strong melody. "Subterranean Homesick Alien" is a mellow track performed in psychedelic style with excellent soundscape. "Exit Music" (For a Film) (4:24) a nice mellow track in a dark mood. The music starts really simple with acoustic guitar and vocals and it moves slowly with great sounds and inclusion of keyboard and drums. The vocal moves steadily into high register notes. The melody of this song is excellent. Another interesting track to enjoy is : "Karma Police". It's like a ballad song with great acoustic guitar work and vocal-drone style. "Electionnering" is a rocker with straight forward structure. Other remaining tracks are also good even though most of the time I play the CD I listened to Paranoid Android and Karma Police.

Overall, it's a recommended album. Those who love Pink Floyd sounds or Porcupine Tree may enjoy this album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours, GW

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Posted Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Is this prog? barely ... but who cares when it is good music? This is an album where Radiohead did their best to make good complex, and accessible music without going as far as the genre 'Progressive Rock' (Kid A). There is a lot to like here, and while I do not believe it is not a masterpiece as people call it, It is a very important rock album that shocked the World. And while the title might fool you, it is not very electronic.

1. Airbag : An alternative rock classic, and the best song from the album. It has the feeling and style of 'Smells like Teen Spirit' but it more complex, has better drumming (that you can dance with it) 10/10 2. Paranoid Android : Easily the most prog-like song in the album. It switches moods smoothly and there is brilliant guitar work in here. A classic from the band, and I agree. 8/10

3. Subterranean Homesick Alien : this song seems to be influenced by Pink Floyd and jazz. It isa dreamy song with beautiful organ and guitar work. 8.5/10

4. Exit Music (For a Film) : A depressing song that is fit perfectly in Romeo And Juliet. If you are depressed, you should not hear this song. I like the acoustic work, and especially the haunting mellotron/synth in the second half. 8.5/10

5. Let Down : A nice but not outstanding calmed track that is a little more upbeat than the depressing Exit Music. 7/10

6. Karma Police : An upbeat melodic pop song. The piano playing here is pretty and this is the only song that sounds happy. 7/10

7. Fitter Happier : filler, yet an important part of the album. Here you can hear optimism in the lyrics. The haunting piano in the background is perfect.

8. Electionnering : It starts promising enough with the loud guitar riffs, but it keeps going and does not sound that interesting. It lacks the texture and smart music that most of the album has, making it sound like a Alternative rock song. 5/10

9. Climbing up the Walls : A good dark and creepy song with a good instrumental break. The band really excels on wanting to bring a certain mood in their songs 7/10

10. No Suprises : Well, as the title says ... it has no surprises and is not very interesting. 5/10

11. Lucky : A melancholic sounding song with very nice singing. The chorus is excellent. The instrumental break sounds like the guitar work in Homeworld's (Yes) coda. 7/10

12. The Tourist 7.5/10 : The most influenced song by Pink Floyd. It is very atmospheric and melodic. The guitar work is excellent. The vocal harmonies created by keyboards in the background fit in well.

This is a perfect album for those who want to take a break from Garden of Dreams and Starless. I think it is easily the best alternative rock album I ever heard, which may be because of the few prog elements and complexity. Go get it if you want a non-prog album

My Grade : B

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Posted Monday, August 08, 2005

Review by Blacksword
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This was the first Radiohead album I bothered with. I had heard Pablo Honey, and The Bends but had not been that impressed. OK Computer inspired me to go back and take another look. I liked what I re-discovered.

I believe Radiohead to be a prog rock band. They represent where the genre is today. Thats just my opinion. OK Computer is a collection of impressively crafted songs, with strong melodies, strange and poignant lyrics, great guitar riffs and some wonderfull spacey ambient noise thrown in for no extra cost! When I first heard 'Air Bag' my reaction was 'what the hell are they doing' but then I have thought that with most VDGG and King Crimson albums. In a way my reaction indicated to me, that the album probably had 'prog credentials' 'Paranoid Android' is one of the best rock songs, and certainly one the best charting singles to be released by any band in the 90's. It is certainly prog rock. Moving from irritable paranoia, through rage and finally into what sounds like despair. It's a daring song for a band who are supposed to be 'indie' bordering on mainstream. Sorry, but it sounds pretty prog to me. 'Subteranean Homesick Alien' is equally good, full of drifting ambient sounds, spacey guitar and Yorkes lyrical mastery. 'Karma Police' and 'No surprises' were also strong and daring single releases which among the rest of the offerings on OK computer, prove that a band can still make interesting and challenging music in cynical and 'dumbed down' times, AND put it into the charts, AND earn a fat living from it! I salute Radiohead for this.

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Posted Thursday, October 13, 2005

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars The main reason for Radiohead's inclusion in the Archives (and the centre of a huge debate and fights at the time), this very controversial (and hardly just on this site, but in every music mag) album is certainly a masterpiece, prog or not. Radiohead is a typical alternative rock group that consistently developed intelligent pop/rock (their early albums were clearly inspired of U2) capable of grabbing even the most demanding ears belonging to progheads such as us. Whether they are prog or not, is beside the question, but the immense majority of us, progheads, all agree that this album is superb, reflective, intimate and adventurous. And is this not what counts after all, challenging music?

My review coming rather late after their introduction, I will not spend time describing the tracks (there are many great reviews before and after mine) or giving you their influences, but simply tell any progheads that is not convinced yet of this album being superb, that they should give a shot. Somewhere between depressive, melancholic, reflective and intimate, most of the tracks are carefully constructed and not a single note out of place, leaving little doubt at the mastery of Yorke's ability to write catchy songs. Many sombre ambiance and a few tempo changes (Radiohead never gets wild on this album, a bit like the image of this album: self-restrained) are the first hints that they were about to move on to greater things and leave the alternative pop of previous albums.

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Posted Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Review by Melomaniac
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars One of the most accomplished albums of the 90's. In fact, I'd go as far as saying this album is the "Darkside of the Moon" of the 90's. A kind of synthesis of the best of the previous 30 years of rock. While always being original in the approach of each song, one can clearly discern influences from bands such as U2, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, etc. Every song is a gem, though my favorite is Exit Music (for a film). Bleak, eerie, bearing a resemblance with the melodic section of "A Saucerful of Secrets" by Pink Floyd. In fact, the production for this song is so close to that of ASOS, one has to wonder if research has been done to know just how they recorded it way back then. "Paranoid Android" is another great number, probably the only really progressive number of the album.

The atmospheres created on this album are magic, from light to dark, cynical, paranoid, suicidal, oppressive, peaceful, haunting... but always authentic. Credit MUST be given to the producer of this album, as I have rarely heard a production as elaborate and mindblowing as this one.

OK Computer is also vocalist Thom Yorke's finest hour in my opinion. In fact, I believe it to be Radiohead's finest hour.

Five stars without a single doubt in my mind.

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Posted Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Review by OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A very refreshing look at prog and rock in general, OK Computer is full of moving passages, and other parts which are likely to lull you to sleep. I'd say that a majority of this comes really close to post-rock, with the music focusing more on atmosphere than structure, but certainly lacking in the refinement of the elite post-rock bands.

I would equate this to Moving Pictures, in the sense that you have a few really great songs, which are extremely popular, and the rest of the album is fairly mediocre. Paranoid Android, like Tom Sawyer, are the extraordinary tracks which are masterpieces by themselves.

I'm not sure if this was intentional, but a great deal of the writing seems like it was designed to put you off. The coldness and "computerized" nature of the album is not particularly captivating. The intriguing voice of Yorke puts him right up there with Lee and Anderson in terms of uniqueness. I just wish the album had more to offer than the first three songs. Regardless, this is a great 90's rock album, a "classic" that will most likely stand the test of time.

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Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Sorry, Radiohead fans, but I just don't get it. I'm not saying it's no good in any way, only that I personally don't understand the attraction. The most obvious deficiency is in the slack drumming. It just seems lazy and lethargic to me as if "loose" meant "avant-garde." And the vocal sound is muted and very mid-range heavy. It's not that I don't occasionally enjoy hearing something that is unusual or foreign to my ears. Like modern art, I can appreciate the fact that the piece is affecting me whether I fathom it or not. There are songs that I can tolerate here, too. "Let Down," "Karma Police" and (surprisingly) "Fitter Happier" are somewhat intriguing and engaging and might warrant further listenings at some point in time. But I could go the rest of my life without suffering through "Electioneering" again. Way, way, way too noisy and grating. I'm no expert on art rock by any means but I know what I like and I like what I know and this one rates only one star on my scale. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about this group and this seemed to be rated rather highly by their fans so I gave it my best college try to wrap my head around this CD. I guess I was hoping for a lot more songs like "Creep" but it just didn't turn out that way.

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Posted Monday, October 02, 2006

Review by evenless
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars OK Computer was my introduction to the band RADIOHEAD and what an introduction it was!

The only reason I will rate this album 4 stars and not 5 it that I don't really think it's Prog, hence it can't be a masterpiece of progressive rock either. I actually was a bit surprised to find RADIOHEAD on progarchives.com, since I think RADIOHEAD has a very similar sound as band like COLDPLAY, KEANE and THE VEILS. Don't get me wrong; I really like those bands, but wouldn't consider them Prog.

Lets get back to the album: I think "OK Computer" is still RADIOHEAD's best effort till today, containing RH classics like "Paranoid Android", "Subterranean Homesick Alien" (Funny derivation from Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" I guess), "Karma Police" and "No Surprises".

There is some experimentation going on on this album, but not too much to bother me. RH's "Kid A" used to bother me at 1st by just being "too experimental", but also "Kid A" started to grow on me with each listen. Like I already said; I think "OK Computer" is RH's best effort till date, if you don't know the band yet, start with this album and please don't start with "Kid A", because this will probably lead to some disappointment.

If I would "normally" rate this album (meaning regardless of the genre), I would rate it 5 stars. Rating it as a progressive rock album I will rate it 4. (4.4 actually).

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Posted Thursday, December 28, 2006

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This was recorded in actress Jane Seymour's mansion while she was away filming Dr.Quinn, Medicine Woman. I wonder if the mansion is haunted ? I can tell you the music on this record is ! This album is less "alternative" sounding then their previous record "The Bends" and even boasts a lot of Post-Rock style guitar work and mellotron as well. This is sad, dreamy, spacey and haunting for the most part as the band started to experiment with their guitar sounds in a big way. Of course the experimentation would continue and expand even more on their next record "Kid A". I remember getting some money for my birthday in July of 1998 and going out and purchasing this cd on Saturday along with a couple of other cds, and finding out tragic news the next night that caused me to not listen to it for the longest time because I was in mourning. My world stopped.

"Airbag" opens with some heavy guitar and mellotron and the bass lines are great too. There is a Post Rock feel to the guitar playing as well. "Paranoid Android" is perhaps the best song they have ever done and it is my favourite from the band anyway. The vocals are fantastic as is the guitar. Light drums and some nice bass until 3 minutes in when the song really kicks in with some scorching guitar. It then becomes very haunting with Yorke's mournful vocals until it kicks in again at the 6 minute mark. Great tune ! "Subterranean Homesick Alien" has some more Post Rock style guitar work in this dreamy, atmospheric tune. I kept thinking it was going to explode but it doesn't. "Exit Music (For A Film)" has reserved, sad vocals in this mellotron drenched tune with more Post Rock guitars. "Let Down" is a hypnotizing song with double tracked vocals. This song is all about the vocals especially 4 minutes in.

"Karma Police" opens with piano and is quite catchy. Another great tune ! "Fitter Happier" is part of "Karma Police" like part 2 really. It is filled with statements on how to have a fitter and happier life. Mellotron in the background. "Electioneering" has a fun guitar intro that comes and goes. Hey, a happy song ! They must have been listening to the previous song or were afraid the karma police were nearby. Some aggressive guitar later. "Climbing Up the Walls" is a dark,experimental sounding song with mellotron. Violins are used to end the song with some "white noise". "Surprises" is a charming song that's hard to dislike with it's nursery rhyme- like melody. "Lucky" is a melancholic song with mellotron.The guitar before 4 minutes is good. "The Tourist" is a dreamy, laid back song with mellotron. Listening to this song is like enjoying a day off laying on the beach.

There is no question that this is one of the most influential albums of all time, and in my opinion RADIOHEAD's finest moment. 4.5 stars.

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Posted Thursday, July 05, 2007

Review by 1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Following the tepid debut Pablo Honey, Radiohead hit big with The Bends, an introspective record full of smash singles. Radiohead finally lived up to their potential. Realizing that another record looking inward would be little more than a rehash of The Bends, the band decided to write what they wanted. The result was the biggest upheaval in pop music since U2's The Joshua Tree over a decade earlier.

OK Computer is where the band starts adding all sorts of effects to the sound. It uses electronic effects and complex arrangements, yet the album has a distinct minimalistic sound. The album opens with Airbag, a song that starts with metal riffs before changing into a dance number with space guitar and drum loops. The song is about the feeling one experiences when one avoids an accident or death. It's about that elate, religious experience, and the uplifting tones match the lyrics. Paranoid Android is Radiohead's best song to date, though to be fair it's really Radiohead's three best songs. A mini-epic, the song goes from ethereal singing to Beatles to metal in a mere six minutes. The song lives up to its title, with all sorts of paranoid lyrics and philosophical musings. It's the rare kind of song that takes multiple listens to get that is actually a joy to listen to from the get-go. Subterranean Homesick Alien pays tribute to Miles Davis' Bitches' Brew and Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues. For some reason the band never plays this anymore. This quirky little tune captures the feeling of being alone in an unfamiliar world.

Exit Music (For a Film) is one creepy somber song, as it builds from near silence to all sorts of eerie sounds. Apparently, the noise is the sound of kids playing being played backwards. Let Down doesn't let up on the depression. It's considered one of the more bleak songs on the album, which surely qualifies it for the Depression Hall of Fame. It's one of the most complex songs on the album, and it can't be played live because of the difficulty to reproduce it. Karma Police is right up there with Paranoid Android in the list of greatest Radiohead songs. An diatribe against both the judgmental and corporate bosses. Miles Davis and The Beatles can be heard throughout the song, especially in the piano part. fitter happier processes the lyrics through the speech function of Yorke's Mac. The sound is essentially pieced together instead of playing like a traditional song. This is the link to Kid A.

Electioneering brings the tempo up and delivers a nice rocker with a political bent. Sadly, the song has gone overlooked in comparison to the other music on this album, but it has some of the best lyrics on the album and it's a welcome break from ethereal depression. If you thought some of the music on the album was unsettling, skip on past Climbing Up the Walls. This song is disturbing on so many levels. Inspired by his tenure working in a mental hospital in the face of Thatcher's Care in the Community program, it captures all sorts of madness. No Surprises is a bit of a throwaway pop tune, though I'll take anything after the last song. Lucky interestingly acts as a bridge between No Surprises and the rest of the album. It's starts poppy before becoming darker, though it's still a happy song in comparison to the rest of the album. The album closes with The Tourist, a song inspired by the unflinching ability of tourists to miss everything they travel to see. They simply visit landmarks to check them off the list, and never marvel at the innovation, the labor, and the cost of even the simplest man-made landmark.

Of the few detractors of this album, most complain that the album lacks soul. This album is what emo bands wish they could make. It captures a sense of depression that all those glammed up wrist-cutters try their best to fake. This album is the music equivalent to The Matrix, a piece of art made in the 20th century that really counts as the first art of the 21st century. Whereas The Matrix managed to take the work of martial arts films and John Woo heroic bloodshed film and innovate them with special effects and an original story, Radiohead took cues from The Beatles, Miles Davis, DJ Shadow, and Pink Floyd to make the first album of the new millennium three years before the new millennium. The album is a watershed for pop music and it cemented Radiohead in the minds of the world. They followed this with Kid A, when they would expand upon the sonic meddling. Kid A was yet another triumph, but OK Computer represents the peak of the band's songwriting career. No record collection is complete without it.

Grade: A

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Posted Saturday, December 08, 2007

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Beautifully composed and performed with lush arrangements and an influential tone makes OK Computer a necessary listen for every lover of rock music classic and contemporary-- even if just for the experience.

Whether or not they are progressive, and whether or not you want Thom Yorke to just shut the hell up to stop his droning, it is hard to deny that there is too much good stuff going on here to ignore. Electronic atmospherics, creative and exciting guitar work, and a genuinely emotive sound which sinks in after multiple listens all mark this one as a keeper, even for a casual fan like me who usually sticks to the darker, more progressive groups (i.e. Porcupine Tree). I won't go so far to say that Radiohead is modern rock's savior, but I will readily admit that they are probably the most important crossover band today, and are important if for their uniqueness of style alone, which shines throughout this well-produced and moody album.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

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Posted Thursday, December 27, 2007

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I'm one of those reviewers who bought this album just because of the status it has in pop history. If I got it right this is in many occasions proclaimed as the best album ever in pophistory (at least in the UK and in the Netherlands), POP and not PROG to be very clear about this. Still it's intriguing if you don't know a band or an album and it seems to be the best ever, I think it's normal curiosity to want to check it out. And it's also on progarchives so now I can even give my personal opinion about it.

When I bought it, some 5 years ago I really gave it every chance to grow on me and I played it lots of times. And I have to say, this is something special. And it's always hard to designate criterions to measure quality of albums. In this case I believe the criterions are speciality, originality and meaningful lyrics. I cannot imagine the criterion was beautiful or melodic music because that's nowhere to be found on this album. In some of the songs you get the impression the challenge was to make it as ugly as possible. A good example is Paranoid Android, believe it or not one of my favourite tracks of the album and of course one of the most famous ones. I have to say I was more or less blown away in the beginning and I still love it in a way. It's one of the most original and special songs I ever heard but it's far from beautiful or melodic.

But I think the real class of this album is the diversity, all songs are very different and I think that deserves a lot of praise. Funny enough one of my other favourites is Fitter happier (more productive), one of the few songs in musical history I appreciate simply because of the lyrics. This says everything about modern society in which being fit, happy and (therefore) more productive is very significant. The song on itself has hardly any musical value, it's a 100% lyrical track.

Other favourite tracks to me are Airbag, Electioneering and No surprises, all very different musically and good examples of what this album has to offer. I think it's a very interesting album but I have to stay true to my personal criterions and can go no further than 3 stars (3,3). Although in this case the description: Good, but non-essential makes no sense at all because it's good and very essential !

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Posted Monday, February 18, 2008

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Paranoid.

That's what listening to this album makes you. In the right mindset this album can take you on an emotional thrill-ride of monstrous proportions. The dark and dismal lyrics and music put forth by the band here blend together to make sonic waves that can turn your brain inside out. While many may argue that the band's next album, Kid A, was their more creative zenith, there is no doubt that this album took the band to new heights (more on Kid A later). Still more in the vein of rock than the electronic music that the band would go on to produce after this album, this is where it all went right for Radiohead.

Opening with the distorted guitars and drums of Airbag the album gets its pace set. Creeping in come the bass riffs as the song goes giving it a truly bizarre feel, this is the first song to give off that extreme emotion on the album. Low and dark the song pushes forwards until we come to the next track. It is then that the album is given life beyond life. ''Please could you stop the noise? I'm trying to get some rest...'' says Thom YORKE as Paranoid Android starts. Creeping background voices below Yorke's haunting (and well held) vocals give off that paranoid feel as the song courses on. As if this pace wasn't good enough the song actually explodes into motion about two minutes in. Enter a very memorable guitar riff blended with Yorke's vocals turned evil (''You don't remember!? You don't remember! Why don't you remember my name!?''). Screaming guitars take the song into the solo and back out again into a more subdued section of the song. Again with the emotional thrill ride until the song eventually comes to an end. Superb.

While the rest of the album unfortunately won't have any powerhouses like the second track, but the rest of the songs are very good by themselves. Subterranean Homesick Alien, Let Down and Exit Music (For A Film) all have a very similar feeling to one another, all very much in the same style and theme as the previous songs, these ones soothe the ears until the next big standout. Coupled with Fitter Happier, Karma Police is another track that pulls the emotional thrill ride to new heights. A subdued and peaceful acoustic guitar and piano contrast the dark rhythm and lyrics that soon come to take over the song. 'This is what you get...' says Yorke as the song comes to one of it's quiet points. Excellent. Fitter Happier is more of an outro to the song, although it's likely meant to stand on it's own. The gist of it is a robotic voice describing what will make you, ''fitter... happier... more productive''.

Coming into the end, the songs still manage to keep their themes while maintaining a unique sound to discern them from the rest. Electioneering picks up the pace a bit while Climbing Up The Walls pulls the audience back into the dark world of Radiohead. No Surprises is a surprisingly gorgeous song that could fit well on almost any Sigur Ros album with its lo-key guitar and chimes. The two closing tracks, Lucky and The Tourist do again what the rest of the album does... turn the audience reflective while still keeping up appearances with superb musicianship.

This really is the essential Radiohead album. Any album that can sting you with emotions even with no emotional memories attached to it is something very special. This album also contains one of the tracks that every prog collection should have - Paranoid Android. While Radiohead themselves hay deny the prog tag there's no doubting that here they've created a progressive masterpiece deserving no less than 5 stars. Recommended to all.

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Send comments to Queen By-Tor (BETA) | Report this review (#164804) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 24, 2008

Review by russellk
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I might as well confess to you: I have no idea what all the fuss is about. Album of the 90s? Changed the face of rock? I just don't see it.

That's probably because I wasn't listening at the time. Immersed in the dance culture, bouncing madly between Orbital, Aphex Twin and Underworld, 'OK Computer' passed me by. I didn't hear a single track off this album until - gasp - two years ago. And I have to say, what I'm hearing doesn't rock my world.

So what do we have in this revolutionary package, then? A series of competent rock songs crooned by a lad who sounds like his voonerables are locked in a vice. The music is sharp, the sounds are lovely, and I have no doubt it is excellent alt/art rock - but I'm left completely unmoved. 'Paranoid Android' perhaps deserves the extravagant praise heaped on it, and the record does flow well, but to be honest I could live without it.

So who will enjoy this? I guess for those who were immersed in the alt rock of the 1990s, this album is indispensable. But it is a long way west of heartland progressive rock. Having listened to 'Kid A' I can see what prompted the inclusion of RADIOHEAD on this site. But as much as I appreciate the artistry and care for detail that went into this album, it leaves me cold.

Brrr.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#165409) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 31, 2008

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars There seems to be a lot of controversy about this album. From one to five stars.

It's like reviews about hotels on Trip Advisors: five stars rating with incredible service, clean rooms and friendly staff and one star for rude personnel, poorly cleaned rooms, and bad food.The whole about the same hotel. How can you make your mind?

I would just like to say that this album was a milestone in the rock music industry, that it was innovative and exceptionally well crafted.

The whole spectrum of the band is available: from acoustic mellow ("Exit Music") to rock ballad ("No Surprises", "Lucky", "The Tourist"), from brilliant pop harmonies ("Airbag", "Let Down") to their most rockish tone with "Electioneering".

The band is exploring new sounds which conveys to this album an interesting angle, a definite flavour of experiments ("Climbing Up The Walls") but within the acceptable limit (to my ears). Great mellotron BTW.

And there is one song quite difficult to categorize: "Paranoid Android". A sublime and haunting track. A summary of the whole album: it gets it all. Harmony, violence, tranquility. My highlight.

I believe it is an album each proghead should listen to and make his own judgment. But give it a few spins before you do so. After all, a good rock album remains a good album! I made up my mind and rate this album with four stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#171741) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars OK Computer is the third album from experimental british rock band Radiohead. It´s one of the most influential rock albums of the nineties and it´s been sold in millions of copies. There are lots of different opinions about the progressive status of Radiohead, but I have always regarded OK Computer as a prog rock album. A very commercial one but still proggy no doubt. I can´t claim to be a real fan of Radiohead even though I was very exited about this album when it was released in 1997, but they are an interesting band who have made some good albums.

The music has changed quite a bit since their last album The Bends. It´s like every note on OK Computer is well thought out and placed where they are with a clear purpose. There are no generic parts which there was lots of on both Pablo Honey and The Bends. OK Computer has great instrumentation with emphasis normal rock instrumentation of guitar, bass and drums while keyboards are new to Radiohead´s sound. The keyboards are not dominant but help create some nice atmospheres in the songs. The focus and dominant feature in Radiohead´s music will always be singer Thom Yorke though. The man sounds deeply emotional and his pained vocal delivery is surely an aquired taste. I´m a bit biased towards his vocal style myself. I generally like it very much but it gets a bit too pathetic at times.

This is the kind of album that is best heard from beginning to end as it is an emotional ride with lots of dynamics between subtleness and more rocking parts. It´s not that the songs are very progressive or complex in structure but the sounds and the way the songs are arranged points toward a progressive approach. My favorites are Airbag, Paranoid Android, Karma Police, No Surprises and The Tourist but all songs are good.

The musicianship is much better than on The Bends. Radiohead has really learned the meaning of dynamic playing since that album.

One of the big stars on this album is the production which ranks among the best productions of the nineties.

OK Computer is without a doubt one of the classic rock albums from the nineties. It has influenced hordes of bands. I Denmark where I come from some of the most famous rock bands like Kashmir and Tim Christensen has openly admitted that this particular album changed their way of making music. I´m not as impressed today as I was back then but I must admit that OK Computer has aged very well and that it is still an excellent rock album with prog tendencies. I would have rated it 3 stars but I´ll throw in that extra star to make this a 4 star rating because of the influential status of the album. Some albums are just such big classics that I can´t defend not to give them higher than average ratings and OK Computer is such an album.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#175520) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 27, 2008

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions Team
4 stars 01. Airbag The atmosphere is claustrophobic. Indeed it is synonymous with Radiohead, but while the melody takes you by the heel and makes you get on attentive ears. A programming covers a little bit the drums of Phil Selway, and the bass line simple of Colin Greenwood is perfect, while the two guitar players of the band (Ed O'Brien and Johnny Greenwood) always build lines disconcerting. Aside from the melodic lines of that Thom Yorke is one of the most vocal of all the legal 90s, is the emotion at the tip of the tongue. 02. Paranoid Android I think it's one of the majors claustrophobic music i've know, insane it squeezes the chest, from beginning to end the feeling is almost indescribable, a line of strange guitar, vocals, breaks on all sides. The guitars always very sharp and full of 'pain'. Before doideira greater weight and a low line of very good, excellent! So here it is a beautiful coral of a Byzantine (laughter, because you refer to the church, but not sure if it is). 03. Subterranean Homesick Alien From a subtly absurd! The name referred me directly to the Underground Homesick Blues by Bob Dylan, but what we heard here is a melody to draw your breath. Those difficult people forget so soon. Remember! 04. Exit Music (For A Film) Melancholy? No! This is more than melancholy! If you have suicidal tendencies pass away (laughs), and if you don't take care it'll brings you down too. Only a voice and guitar and keyboards, macabre. 05. Let Down Strange combination! After a 'down' track what you hear on Let Down (the name fits) is a song almost-happy, almost-happy. What we have here are guitar lines that combine with each other strangely, and a base well built. It is always good to hear the bass lines of Colin very well built in music of the band. The end is full of smart 'noises' and melody. 06. Karma Police This here is the ultimate in anguish in music, starting with the original piano, through the voice of Thom that always emanate some kind of real suffering of those who feel that is really singing, not just words in a melody. For the first time a keyboard is really ugly ina a song, but build a divine melody. And in apocalyptic climax reach its end. 07. Fitter Happier This is the height of experimentalism. You've seen those computer programs for blind people that every thing you write is repeated by a robotic voice? So, is what it is. Only the background noise experience. Listen and doubt. 08. Electionnering Rock And Roll Noise! This is the beginning, a melody more 'common', which is not very common on the disc. Vocalizations [%*!#] that the bottom of the music. Guitars everywhere. 09. Climbing Up The Walls The feeling of climbing the walls here is put it in more abstract. With almost electronic percussion, and vocal badly treated. Only the middle forward that music becomes more 'human', but the tone of the disc is computadorização that is a luxury. (laughter) 10. No Surprise God that thing beautiful! The beginning of the guitar imitating a box full of music the melody of lyricism and souvenirs. It is a challenge to listen without thoroughly stir the emotional vocals of Yorke is not even more powers. Sensacional, is well to the senses. 11. Lucky Down the front, severe, with accompanying guitar fingering sensitive. And is not that the guys are good in chorus? When refrões striking, with good melodies go. A rare thing in the bands that are more experimental. There's even some jazz means bids near the end. 12. The Tourist Many may find boring, I agree that we have time to hear the sound of the guys, it is not for everyone so I can say.

Radiohead, certainly not a band at all! Take your own conclusions and leave your comments.

Source: www.progshine.com

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#204167) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 'OK Computer' - Radiohead (9/10)

In the eyes of many, Radiohead is known as one of the more creative and original bands of their era. One of the few Progressive bands that reached mainstream attention during the 1990s, Radiohead's combination of prog weirdness and pop sensibilities culminated with 'OK Computer,' an absolutely stunning masterpiece, that ranks up with the Beatles' 'Revolver' and Dream Theater's 'Images And Words' as one of those albums that has that immortal power to blow one's mind.

The weirdness kicks off from the first second onward, and you would have to be utterly blind to think that there's nothing progressive or innovative about the band, whether or not the particular sound suits you or not. While the opener 'Airbag' is weird on it's own, the album reaches its first climax with the second song, the epic suite 'Paranoid Suite,' a piece that is on par with other songs of it's ilk such as 'Bohemian Rhapsody' or 'Stairway To Heaven.' The song represents perfectly; the band's power and skill as a musical unit. Non-believers of Radiohead should give this song a listen, and potentially reconsider why they don't like the band, when they have such superb material like that.

As the album goes on, I really got a nice realization of how superior the flow is on the album, and how consistently pleasant the music is to listen to. The other song I really love (besides 'Paranoid Android') is 'Exit Music (For A Film)' an incredibly melancholic ballad that builds up into the highest emotional point of the album itself, which can't be described as anything besides gut-wrenching.

While Radiohead has arguably made more progressive stuff in the years following this album (such as the incredibly challenging 'Kid A,') in my opinion, Radiohead has never made an album with such a balance between conventional songwriting and complex composition, emotion and intensity, accessibility and progressiveness. 'OK Computer' is one of the essential albums of the 1990s, and providing that there isn't some pre-existing uncompromising hatred towards the band (as I know that a lot of br00tal progheads are very critical of Radiohead) this is an amazing piece of music, and a perfect representation of the band's unique sensibility. Five stars.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#207586) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars I still remember the WTF expression on all our faces as my friends and I saw the music video for "Paranoid Android" for the first time in a hotel room. Never mind where we were or why we were there (Charleston, South Carolina and doing some missionary work, if one must know)- but we saw a fat man in a black, spiked leather thong trying to hack down a lamp post and wind up cutting off his own limbs, then getting saved by mermaids, an obese man dancing on a table in a bar with a head emanating from his stomach, an angel flying a helicopter, an alcoholic black kid with politically incorrect lips, who apparently liked to fondle the hooters of fleshy bartenders, and so much more that words fail to describe. It was for me the first time I'd ever consciously heard Radiohead, and, while such a video might have put me off from the get go, something about the music was hypnotizing and neurotic, yet completely accessible. Normally, music must be memorable for me to appreciate it, but for some unfathomable reason, this album is an enigmatic exception. What I mean by that is that I don't remember most of the melodies, themes, or chord progressions after this album concludes. That's especially cool for me, because every time I play OK Computer, it's like hearing a new album, except vaguely and euphorically familiar. The Pink Floyd influences are present artistically and lyrically, if not musically. Imagery from Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall appear in the artwork, and likes like "When I am king, you will be first against the wall" hearken back to Pink's isolation and decent into madness, not to mention the criticism of capitalism. Also, does anyone want to hear one reason Porcupine Tree sounds the way they do since Lightbulb Sun? Listen to this album.

"Airbag" One of my favorites on the album (and one of Thom Yorke's, I understand), this song is loosely based on Yorke's involvement in an automobile accident that rendered him frightened of cars for some time. The bass is sporadic (I remember reading the bassist saying something about meaning to go back and add parts to fill it out, but never getting around to it- laziness pays off!), and the drums are electronic approximations meant to imitate DJ Shadow. I think the refrain is one of the strongest moments of the album and sets the overall tone exceedingly well.

"Paranoid Android" Perhaps my favorite song by Radiohead, this excessively bizarre song has a few distinct sections that bleed together perfectly. Again, the lazy vocals serve this piece well. The multiple guitars blend together in a masterful way, and combined with the bass and drums, create almost seven minutes of a musical high that fluctuates between both joy and sorrow (sometimes dipping into both simultaneously) in a way that few other pieces of music have been able to do. I am still shaking my head about the video though.

"Subterranean Homesick Alien" Paying tribute to the similarly-titled Bob Dylan number, this song has a wonderful guitar theme and some rather fluid effects. The refrain reminds me of U2, as Yorke even invokes Bono's gritty cry.

"Exit Music (For a Film)" One of the few films that bored me so stupidly I stopped it midway through was Baz Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo + Julet, a modern version of the classic story (with guns, basically), so I did not know until many years later that this song was commissioned for the ending credits- hence the rather literal title. The song mainly features acoustic guitar and Mellotron in choir mode, and light, breathy vocals.

"Let Down" The subtle lead guitar makes this song for me, but that is not to say that the incredible vocal melody doesn't have something to do with how much I am drawn to this. The end of the music consists of 1980s ZX Spectrum Computers creating something of a non sequitur of an ending, and yet it fits perfectly.

"Karma Police" At the risk of sounding repetitive, yes, this is one of my favorite Radiohead songs. The ingredients are there: A mellow and pleasing vocal, dark but subdued instrumentation, and that peculiar state of being both memorable and elusive. Piano and acoustic guitar dominate this track, and I love how the drums cut out during the chorus, only to jump back in at the end of it. The guitarist fed his instrument through a digital delay machine to achieve that strange closing sound.

"Fitter Happier" One may be tempted to call this filler. It's less than two minutes long, it was performed by Yorke after a period of writer's block, and he recorded parts of it (at least the piano) while drunk. Yeah, it's filler. So what if the band used this track to introduce their live shows? Yet, keeping well in line with the aberrations that inexplicably make this album timeless for me, this short track tends to work in the overall tenor of the album, or in the very least, affording me an appropriate place to take a piss without hitting pause. The focal point of this track is a list of slogans (how apropos as the new year dawns!) from the 1990s that Yorke fed through a Macintosh SimpleText application.

"Electioneering" The heaviest song on the album has a couple of gritty guitars, cowbell, and a brisk bass line. It also is one of the few songs to feature a proper guitar solo. It is comparatively my least favorite song on the album.

"Climbing up the Walls" Utilizing eerie noises, synthesized bass, and metallic-sounding drums, this song is purportedly about the bogeyman in a manner of speaking, drawing on Yorke's brief experience as an orderly in a mental ward. Distorted and quaking vocals only add to the madness-inducing nature of the piece, but it's the petrifying strings that push the song over the edge of delirium.

"No Surprises" Almost a 180 compared to what came before, this delightful song has a calming feel, an easygoing and incredible melody, and delightful instrumentation including a whimsical glockenspiel. The vocals are at their laziest here- in fact, it is almost impossible to make out the lyrics without them right in front of one's face.

"Lucky" Another not-so-aggressive song, this one offers a strong tune with some great use of dominant seventh chords and multiple rhythm guitars.

"The Tourist" Some final songs are crafted and placed to serve as explosive finales meant to leave an imprint on the listener's mind, but not this one. Yet, again paradoxically, it serves as a robust conclusion because it is so spacious and beautiful. Yorke notes that it is about idiotic Americans in Paris moving as quickly as they can through the place to see as much as they can in short span of time without ever slowing down to actually take the sights in (yes, Americans- why else would the English Yorke say "feet?").

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#258408) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Review by The Sleepwalker
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I've rarely heard an album of which every moment sounds exciting, innovative and original while at the same time being very well balanced and a pleasant listening experience from begin to end. OK Computer is one of those albums. The Bends, the band's previous release, was much more original and innovative than the debut. The change from The Bends to OK Computer was an even bigger leap, resulting in this album being an absolute masterpiece.

The album opens with the stiking "Airbag", one of the best and heaviest songs of the album. The striking intro of the song will make the listener experience something that's present on the entire album: a very complex sound. There are so many different layers to be heard on this album, of which some might even be noticed after many spins. After "Airbag" closes with electronic noises, it's time for another fantastic track. "Paranoid Android" is one of Radiohead's best known tracks and also one of their most progressive. It's made up out of 3 parts, all equally interesting. The middle part of the song shows Jonny Greenwood at his very best, giving us some agressive and grungy guitar playing. "Subterranean Homesick Alien" is much more soothing and atmospheric than the previous tracks. It features spacey, filtered guitars and has a very warm and yet again complex sound. "Exit Music (For a Film)" is the most melancholic song one the album. It is driven by a gentle acoustic guitar. However, as the song progresses the acoustic guitar gets company of different kinds of instruments. The most overwhelming being the thick distorted bass near the end of the song.

"Let Down" has a very relieving feeling to it, after the melancholy of the previous song. It is a very catchy song, and perhaps the most poppy of the album. This doesn't make it any less good though. The following song is "Karma Police", which is another catchy song. This one is much more melancholic though, and also one of the highlights of the album. The song isn't very complex, though the second half has a very interesting feel to it. It sounds delighting and full of despair at the same time, which works very well I think. Sounds of Jonny's distorted guitar running through a space echo moves us to "Fitter Happier", which many people like to call filler. I don't think it's filler though, as it creates an eery mood, which will be present in several pieces in the second half of the album. "Electioneering" is one of the most straight forward songs of the album. It's very guitar driven and again has a very complex sound. Jonny Greenwood plays the guitar very well in his distinctive style here, which is pretty agressive and grungy.

"Climbing Up the Walls" is a very dark song on the album. Also, it has a very layered and interesting sound. Thom Yorke's electronic vocals work incredibly well here. Near the end, the piece reaches what might be the most brilliant part of the album. A spine chiling climax, with an incredibly thick sounds and a haunting scream by Thom Yorke. "No Surprises" is another great piece. It is pretty minimalistic, mainly featuring clean and acoustic guitars and a fine xylophone riff. The chorus is what makes this song fantastic though, as it's incredibly haunting and melancholic. The next song, "Lucky", is more of a straight forward piece. It's pretty mellow, and has a very fine atmoshere to it. The chorus is, yet again, very catchy and melancholic, this time featuring a great guitar riff. The final piece is just like "Lucky" very mellow and slow. "The Tourist" is another piece that fits the album incredibly well, and it's a great way to close it. It gives me a feeling like "Karma Police", which is soothing and melancholic at the same time.

One of the best albums I've ever heard. From the begin to the end it's memorable, atmospheric and incredibly original. I know very few albums where I just can't find any bad moment. Therefore, this album gets 5 stars, as it in my opinions deserves nothing less.

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Send comments to The Sleepwalker (BETA) | Report this review (#263882) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Years after this album's initial release, I find the "classic rock updated for the 90's!!1!" praise often heaped upon the album somewhat odd, and I certainly don't fully get why this album made so many people look to Radiohead as the potential "saviors of rock." My best guess is that people just really wanted to hear a relatively successful mainstream, "normal" rock band consciously change itself into something "artsier," and OK Computer definitely satisfies that requirement. Plus, the general lyrical theme (essentially a late 90's version of "I'm a 20th century man but I don't want to be here") was fairly timely (and the lyrical approach tends much more towards the abstract than the anthemic mope rock of The Bends), and when combined with a higher level of instrumental diversity (not only in the guitars, but in the various keyboard sounds), the album was seemingly a ready- made classic from day one.

Personally, I don't think this comes close to an all-time great album (and it didn't save anything in rock music, that's for sure), but I sure don't buy into the inevitable anti-hype either. My main problem with the album comes not from the excessive praise it's received over the years, or the fact that its originality is largely overstated by many of the band's fans, but rather from a stretch in the middle that I enjoy less with each listen. Unless one has a heavy emotional investment in the concept of the album, and views the track as the album's keystone, I don't see how "Fitter, Happier" can be considered anything but a stupefying waste of two minutes. The Stephen Hawking imitation voice, listing all of the various good things to do to keep healthy and sane, always annoys me within fifteen seconds, and the album would be seriously improved without it. The next two tracks aren't much better, either. "Electioneering" is a go-nowhere piece of dissonant boogie rock, and "Climbing Up the Walls" just strikes me as deeply unpleasant and ugly (that it's one of the longer songs on the album doesn't help either). So that's almost a full quarter of the album down the drain right there.

I really like the rest of the album, though. I don't feel the kind of reverence towards the songs that many feel, and I don't find myself going out of my way to listen to them very often, but it would be hard for me not to enjoy and respect a bunch of songs this well arranged, produced and written. My two favorites are "Let Down" and "No Surprises," which do the dreamy guitar pop lullaby genre (if such a genre exists outside this album) proud with fantastic melodies, vocal parts that nobody else could do justice, and, in the former, some effective subtle rhythmic unrest. I'm also quite fond of "Subterranean Homesick Alien," whose guitars create one of the more beautifully bizarre atmospheres I've ever heard.

The more intense side of the band is effectively demonstrated in "Paranoid Android," which effortlessly moves from a quiet driving mix of acoustic and electric guitars (all pinned down by subtle percussion that always makes the acoustic parts sound Spanish to me, even though I have no idea why) to a more obviously powerful electric section with a fantastic riff and some good over-the-top soloing. And, of course, it then moves into the amazing "rain down" section, led by some great atmospheric vocals from Yorke, before going back in the heavier direction.

Some of the other songs don't thrill me as much as I'd like, but they have their nice attributes all the same. "Exit Music (for a Film)" is most notable to me for its heavy use of a mellotron (if it's not a mellotron, then it's something that sounds really close to it), and while I don't think it's anywhere near as beautiful or moving as lots of people think, I still find it kinda pretty in its own sad way. I think it would be far exceeded, though, by "How to Disappear Completely," on the next album. "Karma Police" is a little bit boring, but the piano part in the chorus more or less saves it. And finally, "Lucky" is almost nothing but mood and wailing Gilmour-esque guitar parts, but it does well in both of these aspects, so it's a keeper.

Finally, I want to say something about the opening and closing tracks. "Airbag," as many people like to point out, actually feels like a musical interpretation of a car crash, or rather the hallucinogenic experience of the person within the car during and after it (the actual car crashing would sound more like Metal Machine Music, I'm sure). What should stand out most in the song, though, is not so much the music, and also not the main expository line of the song, "I'm amazed that I survived, an airbag saved my life." No, what's most important is the creeped out feeling of elation that comes from it, expressed in the "in an interstellar burst, I'm back to save the universe" line. From surviving this accident comes a momentary feeling of invincibility, a newly found superpower, if you will, and the feeling that this second chance at life suddenly brings with it all sorts of meaning.

"The Tourist," then, brings the album full circle; I am very skeptical of the idea that the tourist in question is somehow not involved in the car accident that prompts "Airbag." The anthemic calls of "hey...man..sloooow down...," underpinned by a fantastic set of chord sequences, create an extremely vivid, almost cinematic set of imagery for me, and that impresses the hell out of me. Maybe the song is actually a call to the listener to slow down the pace of one's life in this busy hectic world, but my interpretation is the one that's going to make me care about the song.

So, while I may not fall in line with the general consensus that says this is one of the best albums ever, I still think it's a really nice album. Cut out the tracks I really don't like, and this could even be a weak *****. And, of course, it's still a necessity for any decent collection of rock music, no matter the era one mainly focuses on.

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Send comments to tarkus1980 (BETA) | Report this review (#279291) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 24, 2010

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars OK Computer is Radiohead's most highly esteemed album, it's daring, adventurous, refreshing and ground-breaking. It has stretched the boundaries of alternative rock and with its clever melodious catchiness it has reached across all musical genre boundaries and surpassed the pigeonholing and box thinking of all genre purists.

A remarkable achievement making them deserving of all the mass recognition they received. But guess what? This album doesn't touch me. And I'm rather clueless why. It has everything for me to like it. But somehow the rocking parts don't sound as punchy and urgent as on The Bends, and the atmospheric bits don't have the impact that some of their later music has on me. Paranoid Android for instance sounds contrived to me, the Queen-inspired song development and vocal harmonies don't help. Only a couple of songs find a spontaneous balance between melodic catchiness and pensive post-rock avant-gardism, Let Down, No Surprises, Lucky and The Tourist sound truly great.

This album is nothing short of essential, it offers an interesting and ground-breaking mix of progressive and alternative rock elements, but somehow I have a strange relation with this album, liking it very much one time and a whole lot less the next time, strange.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#280941) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, May 08, 2010

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RPI
4 stars I think I must have been preoccupied with household tasks or some other activities the first few times I listened to OK Computer, and as a result it never really grabbed me. However once I gave it my full attention I finally appreciated what I'd been missing. There are a number of styles and influences on the album but if I can throw a spanner in the works, OK Computer reminds me of Strawbs. Yep, those Strawbs! They were one of the earliest exponents of Mellotron-choir and it features heavily on several of Strawbs' classic '70s albums. Jonny Greenwood makes extensive use of Mellotron on OK Computer with EXIT MUSIC (FOR A FILM) and THE TOURIST benefiting from its ethereal choral timbre. However it's on LUCKY that I really hear the Strawbs' influence. Now, I'm not trying to claim that Radiohead sounds like Strawbs - far from it actually - but some of the instrumentation on these songs reminds me of them. Whatever it sounds like, LUCKY is simply a fantastic piece of music.

There's a sprinkling of Mellotron and other keyboards throughout the rest of OK Computer, although it's basically a guitar album. There really are no bad songs here but PARANOID ANDROID is probably of most interest to Prog fans. I wasn't keen on FITTER HAPPIER until I discovered that Thom Yorke had meant this as a checklist of 1990s slogans, and it makes more sense now that I'm aware of that fact. Radiohead have apparently denied that OK Computer is a concept album although there is coherence to the album as a whole. The sombre, dull mood of the album might be a bit wearing for some listeners but it's not a problem for me; Yorke's melancholic affect reminds me of myself on a good day. All in all OK Computer is an important and highly influential album, and a darn fine one to boot.

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Send comments to seventhsojourn (BETA) | Report this review (#284366) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, May 31, 2010

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars I've been grinding through this album like crazy after being completely mesmerized by The Bends and even though it has now become a highly enjoyable experience for me...I'll still restrain from calling it a masterpiece of any sort.

Radiohead continued pushing the boundaries of the alternative rock genre with their music and even though the shift between The Bends and OK Computer was not as prominent as that between the two previous releases, this was where the mainstream audiences suddenly decided to jump on the wagon. I guess that the combination of wide exposure on MTV and the enigma behind the band's intentions really intrigued people and once again made me believe in the idea that even the most obscure acts can become popular if they only get in tune with the society around them. This is also a very important theme on the album which seems to continue fascinate the audience even to this day. Just look at Porcupine Tree's Fear Of A Blank Planet that was released a whole decade later!

OK Computer certainly has an interesting theme and quite a few memorable moments to back up that experience. Unfortunately I still don't see it as anything more than a very competent followup to The Bends. To me, it just doesn't come off as that perfect album experience that so many critics and fans have proclaimed it to be. It was that notion that repelled me from the album the first time I heard it and continued to do so even to this day.

Even though it doesn't reach that same level of bliss for me as Radiohead's previous release, OK Computer is an important album and even my minor complains won't change that fact. This release also marks a sad moment when Radiohead pretty much reached to high point of their alternative rock career and had no way to go within the genre. What followed surprised even me, but more on that in my next review!

***** star songs: Airbag (4:44) Paranoid Android (6:23) Exit Music (For A Film) (4:24) Karma Police (4:21) No Suprises (3:48)

**** star songs: Subterranean Homesick Alien (4:27) Let Down (4:59) Fitter Happier (1:57) Electionnering (3:50) Climbing Up The Walls (4:45) Lucky (4:19) The Tourist (5:24)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#305266) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 18, 2010

Review by 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.

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Send comments to lazland (BETA) | Report this review (#347096) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
2 stars This was one of the two Radiohead CDs I purchased (used, thankfully) after hearing many people rave about how progresive they are. I guess people have different standards. There is some prog in here, but you need an auditory microscope to find it. Mostly, this is morose, whiny alternative rock.

I actually find this album a chore to listen to. Thon Yorke's voice, at the best points, sounds a little like Ray Davies. That's good, you say? Noooooooo. Because at the same time, he mixes that sound with Neil Young's whiny falsetto. To me, it's quite irritating. And the band, while obviously talented, does not do enough to get past that disability.

As I said, there are prog elements, but very few. There is a moodiness and spaciness to much of the music, and some sound effects thrown in. But I just can't tolerate that voice!

Don't worry, Radiohead fans. I'm not getting any more of their albums.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#390841) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 31, 2011

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I can appreciate OK COMPUTER for what it's worth, a massively successful indie-art rock album. Radiohead can create interesting atmospheres with the keyboards they use and all guitarists on board aren't too shabby, eschewing solos for more effect-driven texture staplings.

However, I follow this album as just a plain old indie-rock album with artsy tricks splattered all over the place. The opening third of the album holds promise with only ''Subterranean Homesick Alien'' being disposable. ''Airbag'' is a solid opener leaning towards Nirvana (Seattle band), and ''Paranoid Android'' is a good enough art rock tune that acts as an epic for Radiohead with the dynamic changes, although the comparisons to ''Bohemian Rhapsody'' are overcooked. ''Exit Music'' is the best track here for the climactic build to the end; pieces that are a big crescendo are usually my cup of tea.

After ''Let Down'', OK COMPUTER is a letdown. There are little remarkable tracks to speak of. The crescendo trick that worked on ''Exit Music'' fails on other tracks like ''No Surprises'' (title speaks for itself) and ''Lucky'' (the wah guitar at the end made me notice). ''Climbing Up the Walls'' has a padded-room effect to the sound, but never really impressed me.

OK COMPUTER is almost monotone in its sound. While loud, many times the guitars work better than turkey in terms of putting me to sleep. Yorke's vocals are rather dry and monotone that have few standout moments (with the exception of the horrible falsettos in ''Paranoid Android''). The drumming is rather stiff and unexciting, and I can't find the bass.

All indie rock fans and 90's nostalgists should have a copy of this. Prog rock fans will likely be confused by the seemingly generic rock. Maybe I'm missing something, but I can't figure out where the prog rock is on OK COMPUTER.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#408023) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, February 25, 2011

Review by Starhammer
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars "Computer says no..."

Considered by many to be a seminal release from arguably the most important band of the modern generation.

The Good: Paranoid Android.

The Bad: Everything else. Especially Fitter Happier, which is like a decomposing cow, unashamedly damming the already languid flow of the album. The rest of which is to music what hospitals are to interior design; bland, sterile and criminally unmemorable.

I have often heard OK Computer described as being both powerful and emotive, but in reality all it really gives is the impression of a man slightly annoyed at the damp weather outside. Sure it has some nice moments, but not enough of them to make the incessant whining worthwhile.

The Verdict: Stratospherically overrated.

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Send comments to Starhammer (BETA) | Report this review (#433717) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, April 14, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars This is what you get.... Open up your skull

"Ok Computer" caught my attention as one of the top ten albums on a best album's TV show, and I had not known really what to expect. I always viewed Radiohead as depressing laid back stoner alt rock. They were never truly progressive in style but there is enough on here to satiate any listener into experimental and alternative rock. The vocal style never settled well with me, but I was very surprised with this album. It is full of innovation and ambition. A sprawling project from beginning to end, every song screams of techno paranoia suburbia and drug fuelled insecurity.

Of course this album boasts two of the quintessential singles, namely the powerful 'Paranoid Android', a title derived from Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"'s metal depressed ton of bolts, a classic character that is unforgettable. The song here is equally unforgettable with a terrific ending with the very familiar "Rain down, rain down, Come on rain down on me, From a great height". Yorke sings about being haunted by the "unborn chicken noises" in his head and then explains cryptically "When I am king, you will be first against the wall, With your opinion which is of no consequence at all." Interestingly the line "first against the wall" refers to the line in Adams' novel that states the androids were a bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came, rather than their ad campaign 'your plastic pal who is fun to be with'. It is interesting too that this song sounds upbeat, though lyrically is despairing.

The other treasure on this is of course 'Karma Police' and when Thom Yorke bemoans, "this is what you get when you mess with us", we believe him. He always sound appropriately downbeat on this album as always, and injects a real sense of hopelessness that resonates with many listeners no doubt. The imagery is downright hypnotically conveyed with Yorke's slow measured delivery, "he talks in maths, he buzzes like a fridge", and "her Hitler hairdo is making me feel ill". Eventually Yorke cries out "I lost myself" and there is a real atmosphere of isolation and alienation in a faceless violent society of control. The song has a lot to say about the fear of police control, and the rise of power in techno society.

The opening songs drip down the speakers like honey, very slow and crawling patiently and inexorably to the images of airbag's, homesick aliens, and exit music. The creepy feeling of what it is like to be trapped is conveyed in 'Let Down', with tantalising visions of utter frailty; "crushed like a bug in the ground, shell smashed, juices flowing, wings twitch legs are going". The song evokes the emptiness inside the protagonist and his coke fuelled excesses, bleak to be sure but so powerfully executed.

The lyrics are pervasive and unsettling throughout the album. The space rock of 'Subterranean Homesick Alien', a title mimicking Dylan's blues classic, screams out anxiety nausea, "Of all these weird creatures, Who lock up their spirits, Drill holes in themselves, And live for their secrets." The song is about the desire to escape the world and all it's hardships, to figuratively allow an alien to abduct him in to the ship to be taken away forever. Those great lyrics are an incredible stab at fractured society and the lack of belonging "I wish that they'd swoop down in a country lane, Late at night when I'm driving, Take me on board their beautiful ship, Show me the world as I'd love to see it." There is even a ray of hope in these lyrics, that there is a way out of the turmoil, even if it means alien abduction. This hard line of cynicism threads throughout the whole album.

Yorke attacks everything from bogus business deals, 'Electioneering', to the cupboard monster 'Climbing Up The Walls'. The monster within the cupboard is of course the childhood nightmare, that impacts adult life in the form of paranoia and fractured personalities. The verses are desperate and a cry from the very heart of a damaged life, "I am the key to the lock in your house, That keeps your toys in the basement. And if you get too far inside, You'll only see my reflection."

The music is dynamic and sprinkled with ambience and hard blasts of heavy atmospheres. Glockenspiel blocks on blocks are heard on 'No Surprises', Pink Floyd's spacy nuances are featured on the final two tracks, and throughout, an almost subliminal droning guitar sound that is at times unearthly and sonically ethereal is heard. White noise competes with beauty and delicate embellishments of keyboard. The music is never allowed to drown out the vocals which are perhaps the best that Yorke has performed.

The booklet is a real master touch, totally cryptic and compelling; it seems to convey the dark shadows of madness and the blurry undefined decay of social corruption, and is totally open to interpretation. The album rightfully is heralded as the pinnacle of Radiohead, it will be found at the top of all time album lists, and will forever be etched into 1997 as one of the albums of the year.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#572265) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, November 21, 2011

Review by rogerthat
COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
5 stars Popular reviewer George Starostin said that Pink Floyd's greatest legacy lay in the way they presented their music and not so much in brilliance purely from a melodic or harmonic standpoint. It is not surprising that Radiohead are sometimes called the modern day Pink Floyd because their greatest strength too lies in the way they present their songs and not necessarily always the melodic/harmonic substance (though they can have their bright moments in that respect too). The way their songs are built and paced is what they draw their identity from. Their overall songcraft is what establishes in the view of some, including yours truly, a few degrees of separation between them and most popular rock acts of the 90s, including prog oriented groups like Opeth or Dream Theater. And, like Pink Floyd, they also invest a lot of effort in carefully producing the album to the end of extracting the most value from the studio album format.

The first indication of Radiohead's greatness is when I attempt to describe their style on this album. It defies quick and precise classification. I could loosely describe it as Pink Floyd updated for the 90s but that would not capture the exact nature of the music. Pink Floyd influences are most evident on Exit Music (For a Film) and Lucky but Karma Police has much more to do with the Beatles. The chords on the chorus even resemble Sexy Sadie, no less! And does Airbag already evoke the Krautrock elements that would be more dominant on Kid A?

Thus, the music on OK Computer covers a broad range of styles while still retaining a necessary degree of consistency to make the whole album a cohesive listening experience. Radiohead proceed to stamp their identity on the music on two counts. One is the wide array of guitar textures employed on the album that make them quite unlike many popular 90s groups. Radiohead are skilled enough to write music that accommodates tones as varied as the grungy distortion on Paranoid Android and the soft, clean figures on No Surprises and a lot in between (Subterranean Homesick Alien, for instance).

The other, which I alluded to in the beginning, is their strength in building and pacing their music. Even though they rarely get too far-out in terms of structure, Radiohead's compositions stand out because they are crafted with so much purpose and every moment counts. Exit Music or Tourist are great examples of how music that is apparently slow moving holds your attention by virtue of how well it is developed. This is also one of the reasons they evade quick classification. They avoid choices that may be generic or cliched and their approach to constructing musical moments is what truly reveals their originality. Even though you can hear where some of the pieces of this puzzle come from, you know you haven't really heard something quite like this before and that is an elusive achievement in the prevailing climate in rock music.

Lastly, I had also observed that Radiohead do not necessarily fail to shine in the melodic department. Some of the melodies are great and quite infectious and supply the hooks to Radiohead's otherwise cold, inscrutable world. The coldness comes through in the lyrics as well as Thom Yorke's bitter, whiny style of vocal delivery. But the melodic hooks form an irresistible counterpoint to the cold vocal tone and draw you into the music, creating once again a distinct experience you haven't always come across in rock. Managing a blend of conflicting elements is a mark of great composition and in a broad sense, Radiohead do achieve this to great effect on OK Computer.

Barring Fitter and Happier, this is a very consistent album. Considering its harmless length of under two minutes and the overall significance of this album and the band for modern rock music, that will not stop me giving it all five stars. A masterpiece of modern rock music.

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Send comments to rogerthat (BETA) | Report this review (#589932) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 17, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars They don't like to be associated with prog, but there's no denying that on OK Computer Radiohead went full-on art rock. Whilst I don't think it's a five-star classic - it flags a little too much in the second half for that, and Fitter, Happier is just too ludicrously over the top and juvenile for words - it does attain higher peaks than any prior Radiohead album.The album's masterpiece is, of course the pocket symphony which is Paranoid Android - beginning as a political rant, segueing into a strung-out hymn and then returning to the angry diatribe for the conclusion, and in the course of all this proving to the alternative rock crowd that there was something to be gained from cribbing from updating the ideas of the art rock heroes of the past.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#628369) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Latest members reviews

4 stars 4.2 stars. Hailed by fans and everyday music listeners as the "Dark Side of the Moon" of the 90s, this depressing, yet satisfying album is a fantastic one. This is the epitome of an album that needs to be played in order and straight through, in order to capture the full effect of Thom Yorke ... (read more)

Report this review (#726502) | Posted by bb1319 | Friday, April 13, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I've always liked OK Computer, but I don't think it's Radiohead's best album. It was a bit too overrated at the time of release and I'd have to agree with some other reiviews here, it does get self-indugent at times. It lacks warmth and isn't as sentimental as "The Bends". Having said that, it does ... (read more)

Report this review (#642610) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Monday, February 27, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Well, actually this is not a progressive band but when I see some reviews and its total review value I simply SHIVER.OK Computer is absolutely a music masterpiece having some prog influences too. I'm listening to it since it came out and it's still giving me the same sensations (sometimes even ... (read more)

Report this review (#509327) | Posted by victor73 | Friday, August 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This is not progressive rock.But if I look at it this way, forget what this album "OK Computer" is true for mim.Unfornately it means almost nothing. Layers and layers of electronic music, many trials, complex and thought-provoking lyrics, musicianship-ok, this can mean a lot to some, but not ... (read more)

Report this review (#443258) | Posted by voliveira | Thursday, May 05, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars How any one can give this highly original music less than 4 stars baffles me, Though I don't know where or how to really classify this music, It's Beatles Influenced, Influenced by Miles Davis and his jazz rock classic Bitches Brew (Yorke's own words), I'm still trying to discover that influence ... (read more)

Report this review (#410020) | Posted by darkprinceofjazz | Wednesday, March 02, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars While not their best album, the 1997 OK Computer eventually classed Radiohead as a prog band. For a lot of prog experts this turned out to be a hard nut to crack: by considering OK Computer prog, these people faced the uncomfortable task to define prog once again, and for many it is hard to ad ... (read more)

Report this review (#391116) | Posted by OT Räihälä | Monday, January 31, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars When one becomes a huge fan of a group. they tend to eventually develop personal favorites that deviate from the mainstream songs. When one is merely a "shallow" fan, they tend to enjoy their more popular songs. With Radiohead I tend to be in an incredibly awkward middle. Radiohead is NOT ... (read more)

Report this review (#372988) | Posted by thesleeper72 | Tuesday, January 04, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Radiohead is, to me, the most refreshing musical experience of recent years. The band's ethos of endless invention is highly commendable, and at times, some of the work it produces is breath-taking in its haunting wonder. Plaudits given, there is a big downside to this approach. When it doesn't ... (read more)

Report this review (#365051) | Posted by JeanFrame | Monday, December 27, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Oh yes, this one is from the period when the band was really making innovative and ground breaking music. First of all, this album is progressive. Paranoid Android is 100% progressive, and this is, after all, a conceptual album. The beauty of these songs rely on the fact that each one has its own ... (read more)

Report this review (#329911) | Posted by overmatik | Monday, November 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Can Radiohead even be considered prog? This is a question many prog fans have been asking. The definition of prog is "music beyond the standard rock or popular verse-chorus-based song structures", so in that sense, yes, Radiohead is definitely prog. Radiohead is and always has been an ever-evol ... (read more)

Report this review (#307417) | Posted by Sotiris | Saturday, October 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars How boring it is to begin every Radiohead review with the obligatory addressing of the "BUT ARE THEY PROG?" question. But who I am to flout tradition? Well, the answer was a clear no the first two times out. For album number three however, the answer edges a little towards yes. All the same, ... (read more)

Report this review (#280561) | Posted by Textbook | Wednesday, May 05, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After the monumental achievement of The Bends, Radiohead decided to make another album, and does it compare to The Bends. Actually I have trouble picking a favourite out of these two (kind of like choosing between children), but I do believe The Bends is just that little bit better. This a ... (read more)

Report this review (#279549) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Tuesday, April 27, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars No, this band isn't prog. At all. But as long as it's here, it's getting five stars from me. I mean, it's one of the best, most influential albums of the 90's. It's a very atmospheric album, creating it's own futuristic world that's believable enough to become a reality. Each song has it's own un ... (read more)

Report this review (#278778) | Posted by CinemaZebra | Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Radiohead is Prog? Like Bryan I'm not sure how valid is the assumption that Radiohead can be regarded as progressive, from my point of view has only prog influences, but nothing else, the music of this amazing band, refers more to the alternative rock ... Finally the really important about th ... (read more)

Report this review (#252557) | Posted by Diego I | Tuesday, November 24, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars (listen to this album with headphones) This album is truly one which sends you on a journey when you listen to it. Its almost as if it accounts a journey forward in time to a barren world of robots and technology ruling over humans! (thats what it felt like to me) Radiohead seemed to b ... (read more)

Report this review (#252310) | Posted by Denomolos1 | Monday, November 23, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is the kind of harrowing music Pink Floyd used to make. What THE BENDS promised in such songs as "Planet Telex," "Bulletproof" and "Street Spirit" is delivered here, in a big way: the cello-like arpeggio that opens "Airbag," the Gregorian-chant-like section of "Paranoid Android," the eeri ... (read more)

Report this review (#247405) | Posted by jude111 | Saturday, October 31, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars OK Computer has been praised endlessly by some, and dismissed by others as overrated. However, when I listen to OK Computer, I hear more than an album- it's a reflection of the sad, messed-up, unnatural state of affairs that we call modern society. Each facet of this diamond of an album shines light ... (read more)

Report this review (#237459) | Posted by Neurotarkus | Saturday, September 05, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is it: THE modern prog album for the masses. RADIOHEAD is unbelievable; they get better and better with every album they release. After the awesome but not too progressive "The Bends", they have finally escaped the clutches of becoming another footprint in the grunge rock movement which do ... (read more)

Report this review (#232285) | Posted by Col.Nuke | Tuesday, August 18, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I definetely believe that radiohead is a prog band. The songs like paranoid android and exit music set this one in stone. One of the most influential album of the 90's that dominated the charts in 1997. Im happy to say that radiohead has found this fine line between radio friendly and experiment ... (read more)

Report this review (#201170) | Posted by pianoman | Friday, January 30, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This music gives you thrills. It may have poppy elements, but it's really prog to me. The weird electronic sounds and the weird singing gives you the feeling that it is not quite pop. The vocals are weird but beautiful. Best three songs: 'Paranoid Android.' A great song with no couplet-chorus s ... (read more)

Report this review (#174948) | Posted by Foolsdrummer | Monday, June 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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