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RADIOHEAD

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Radiohead biography
Formed in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England in 1985

With every new album, UK quintet Radiohead reaches ever further to expand their sound, shedding their initial classification as an alt.rock band to become one of the leaders in experimental, challenging modern music.

Radiohead's official introduction to the world was 1993's 'Pablo Honey', built of simple songs that were introspective and sometimes melancholic. Garnering massive success thanks to a huge hit single, Radiohead turned a cold shoulder to the mainstream and recorded 'The Bends', which, while still firmly in the modern-rock mold, didn't make concessions to the mainstream's expectations. Experimentation and arrangements began to blossom on this album, but only hinted at their next phase. 'OK Computer' was released in 1997 and took the world by storm, alienating some older fans while gaining a slew of new fans from all walks of musical life. This album turned the idea of the modern rock album on its head, utilizing a vast array of sounds, touching on everything from '70s progressive rock to the emerging techno/electronica movement, strengthened with a rather grandiose production job. It was an ambitious, adventurous work that will hold up decades from now. Despite spawning several hit singles, it was an immense chunk of diversity that showed Radiohead were going to be an unpredictable entity in the ensuing years.

To their credit, the band did not rest on their laurels as the mainstream's darling art rock band, pushing the envelope much further upon the release of 2000's 'Kid A'. An angular, sometimes difficult work, 'Kid A' was a perplexing shift in direction. It sometimes sounds like a band running riot in a musical equipment warehouse/museum, such is its wide array of tones and sonic dexterity. Songs become anti-songs, and you never know what's waiting around the corner. Capitalizing on this newfound freedom to go anywhere with their music, the band released 'Amnesiac' a year later, often looked at as the companion piece to 'Kid A'. 'Amnesiac' mirrored the approach of 'Kid A' while holding up strongly in its own right.

2003 brought the band's sixth studio album, 'Hail To The Thief', a 14-song monster that seemed to be the culmination of everything that came before it, with a firm eye toward a number of new realms. With a seemingly limitless arsenal of ideas and the electronic toys to make those ideas become reality, the future sound of Radiohead is an open field for the...
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RADIOHEAD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

RADIOHEAD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.52 | 394 ratings
Pablo Honey
1993
3.81 | 603 ratings
The Bends
1995
4.05 | 1013 ratings
OK Computer
1997
3.95 | 811 ratings
Kid A
2000
3.64 | 474 ratings
Amnesiac
2001
3.44 | 482 ratings
Hail to the Thief
2003
3.84 | 594 ratings
In Rainbows
2007
3.26 | 369 ratings
The King Of Limbs
2011
3.90 | 405 ratings
A Moon Shaped Pool
2016

RADIOHEAD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.59 | 105 ratings
I Might Be Wrong - Live Recordings
2001

RADIOHEAD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.18 | 28 ratings
7 Television Commercials
1998
2.76 | 21 ratings
The Astoria London Live
2005
3.21 | 23 ratings
The Best Of
2008
4.13 | 25 ratings
The Kings Of Limbs - Live From The Basement
2012

RADIOHEAD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.08 | 24 ratings
Radiohead Box Set
2007
3.33 | 27 ratings
The Best Of
2008
2.31 | 13 ratings
TKOL RMX 1234567
2011
3.75 | 4 ratings
Minidiscs Hacked
2019

RADIOHEAD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.63 | 18 ratings
Drill
1992
3.67 | 3 ratings
Creep
1992
3.39 | 66 ratings
My Iron Lung
1994
2.61 | 24 ratings
Itch
1994
3.14 | 25 ratings
Street Spirit (Fade Out)
1996
4.31 | 29 ratings
Paranoid Android
1997
3.95 | 21 ratings
No Surprises / Running From Demons
1997
3.83 | 55 ratings
Airbag/How Am I Driving?
1998
2.54 | 31 ratings
Pyramid Song
2001
2.98 | 24 ratings
There There
2003
2.68 | 19 ratings
Go To Sleep
2003
2.53 | 37 ratings
Com Lag: 2plus2isfive
2004
3.79 | 19 ratings
Reckoner
2008
3.61 | 18 ratings
Bodysnatchers / House Of Cards
2008
3.91 | 23 ratings
Nude
2008
3.87 | 23 ratings
Jigsaw Falling Into Place
2008
2.26 | 25 ratings
Harry Patch (In Memory Of)
2009
3.02 | 32 ratings
These Are My Twisted Words
2009
2.00 | 1 ratings
TKOL RMX8
2011
3.40 | 33 ratings
Supercollider / The Butcher
2011
3.45 | 30 ratings
The Daily Mail / Staircase
2011
3.65 | 20 ratings
Spectre
2015
4.00 | 3 ratings
Ill Wind
2019

RADIOHEAD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 In Rainbows by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.84 | 594 ratings

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In Rainbows
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Forum & Site Admin Group Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars "In Rainbows" is Radiohead's 7th full length studio album which was released after several years after the band's contract was fulfilled with their previous album "Hail to the Thief", which to me was a bit less interesting than the albums made around it. "In Rainbows" sees the band return to a slightly more accessible style with some lovely songs, yet the tracks are kept interesting enough with the band's sound manipulations and variations. This album ends up being an art-pop/rock masterpiece as Radiohead shows the world how it is done. It was also nice to have this slightly "lighter" album that relied more on structured melody than on improvisational melody. These are tracks that stick in your memory a lot better and are more appealing. The band's continued use of a combination of standard instrumentation and electronica is what keeps them interesting and they pull it off quite amazingly on this album.

15 Step - Thom's vocals against a background of percussion and tricky handclaps gives one the impression that this is going back to the "OK Computer" through "Amnesiac" days, but ends up landing in the "Hail to the Thief" days. It's an interesting combination of old and new Radiohead styles with enough experimental sound manipulations to keep it new, yet straightforward enough to catch your attention right away.

Bodysnatchers - Starts with a nice, fuzzy guitar lick that the entire track builds off of for a heavier sound with a driving, rocking beat. Yorke likes to compare this to a cross between "Neu!" and "Wolfmother". It does end up being a cool mixing of old and new again, but in a more rocked out style than the first track.

Nude - This was originally recorded for "OK Computer", but the band never felt comfortable enough with it at that time, so it was updated for "In Rainbows". It's a more minimal sound than the previous tracks, but in the lovely, simple/complex style that the band is well known for. It is based around Greenwood's bass line. This differs from their original idea for the track which was actually inspired by Al Green. This newer version seems to take inspiration more from Bjork, with that eerie beauty that she embodies in her songs.

Weird Fishes/Arpeggi - A nice smooth and flowing beat that rolls ahead and makes you feel like you are floating along with it. Yorke's vocals only enhance that floating sensation this track has, but his emotional pull in his voice only makes it all that much more intriguing. The jangly guitar riff seems to be based on an arpeggio riff which could be where the 2nd half of the title comes from. Mists of darkness invade the last part of the track in the form of interesting sound constructs.

All I Need - A slow downbeat brings this rare song about love and obsession (rare in the case of Radiohead). The album's version of the song uses an audience recording as the basis giving it a somewhat amateurish and dirty feel, but the chimes playing over the top brightens things up. The last part of the song becomes more dronelike in the background, which was created by a string section playing a basic scale and then blanketing the sound.

Faust Arp - Heavy strings and acoustic guitar act as a foundation to a somewhat rambling melody sung by Yorke. This one tends to be buried in the album mainly because of its brevity, but with time, it really starts to stand out.

Reckoner - This is one of those wandering melody tracks that Yorke tends to do so well with his falsetto. The piano/guitar background seems to want to fall into a predictable pattern, but instead wanders around chords in an unpredictable way and this is the thing that makes it progressive. Things break down in the middle of the track, but when the main melody returns later, it is accompanied by a string section that really beautifies the entire track. This is a track that will grow on you the more you pay attention to it's little nuances.

House of Cards - This track was originally meant to be like an R.E.M. song, but was almost completely overhauled. The melody is fairly simple and straightforward, but it's the instrumentation that keeps it original and fresh all the way through. Some sound manipulation gives the song an eerie warble in various places. It's things like this that make Radiohead's music so lovely in new, unique ways that other band's can't seem to copy.

Jigsaw Falling Into Place - After hearing several songs with dreamy, underhanded beats, it's nice to have this one in the track list where it is. The beat is more upfront here and is the driving force behind the track. Also, the way the track so effectively builds to the heavier and more intense middle section is very effective. The use of the strings building even more on the third verse is the perfect way to cap off this track.

Videotape - A good way to end the album with a simple, repetitive piano motif produced by variations of chord patterns and Yorke's mesmerizing vocals. Some limping percussive pattern joins in later along with some eerie sound manipulations give the track the variation it needs to keep it interesting.

One of the issues I have with this album is that it does tend to drag a bit towards the last half, at least in the first several listens. This issue tends to iron itself out as you become more familiar with the album and the placement of "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" also helps to brighten up the darker feel of the 2nd half. However, this is still an excellent album which falls at the right place in the band's discography. "Hail to the Thief" could have been followed by less memorable albums along that same line, however, the band, after allegedly many sessions, were able to work out the doldrums issues and produced this great album which for me brought back a lot of the original enthusiasm I had for the band through their "The Bends" through "Amnesiac" stage. The slight misstep of "Hail to the Thief" was corrected quite well by "In Rainbows".

 Amnesiac by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.64 | 474 ratings

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Amnesiac
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars It would seem here that Thom and company are trying to imitate, pay homage to, or evoke the experimental music of the 1960s BEATLES. They also seem to have become quite enamored of New Orleans music and jazz sounds, stylings, and motifs.

1. "Packed Like Sardines in A Crushed Tin Box" (4:00) interesting start but then goes wrong. (8.5/10)

2. "Pyramid Song" (4:48) Excellent top to bottom--and very experimental. Love the Beatles-like orchestration. My favorite song on the album. (9.75/10)

3. "Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors" (4:07) playing with trip hop and glitch and scratch electro-editing. I like it! (8.75/10)

4. "You and Whose Army?" (3:11) almost retro 1950s blues turning into BEATLES piano-based psychedelia. (8.75/10)

5. "I Might Be Wrong" (4:53) electronic opening joined by BUSH-like guitar. It really goes nowhere else until 3:50 when all drops out and some interesting Bayou-bluesy electronica finishes it. (8.25/10)

6. "Knives Out" (4:14) interesting interplay from the three guitarists and nice vocal melodies. (8.75/10)

7. "Morning Bell/Amnesiac" (3:14) another song that contains elements that are very reminiscent of BEATLES music circa 1967. My other top three song. (9/10)

8. "Dollars & Cents" (4:51) guitar play like some of the early electrified guitars of the 1950s or 1960s with a bit of a jazz or bassa nova feel and rhythm to it. A top three song for me. I love the playfulness of the vocals and drums. (9.5/10)

9. "Hunting Bears" (2:01) Bayou blues. Not enough to make this one viable other than as an experimental interlude. (3.75/5)

10. "Like Spinning Plates" (3:57) highly experimental sound engineering over which Thom starts whining halfway through. (8.25/10)

11. "Life In A Glasshouse" (4:34) Dixie blues-house horns! Interesting. (8.5/10)

Total Time: 43:50

I appreciate all of the experimental melding of very old riffs and sounds with contemporary innovations in electronica, but often the songs feel quite monotonous to a lyric-deaf listener like me.

B/four stars; an interesting collection of songs meeting the usual Radiohead standard for experimentation and mood. Three great songs and some other curios.

 OK Computer by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.05 | 1013 ratings

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OK Computer
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by progtime1234567

4 stars Radiohead's OK computer is a classic art rock and alternative rock album. The record has been celebrated by many people and websites, but is OK computer as great as people say it is? The answer would be yes. I am a little biased on the album though as I am not a huge fan of Radiohead and I don't listen to a lot of alternative rock, but I still really enjoyed the album. OK computer has classic songs on it such as Paranoid Android and Karma Police, which are both great popular songs. songs like Airbag and Lucky aren't as well known, but they are also great. All of the songs on the album are great, and the experimentation is there too. I will admit that I do not listen to Radiohead a lot, but they are a great band. OK computer is a classic rock album that is well worth a listen, or five.
 OK Computer by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.05 | 1013 ratings

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OK Computer
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by johnobvious

2 stars I recently came across an article about the 20th anniversary of OK Computer as well as another glowing review on PA for Talk Talk's Laughing Stock album around the same time. With neither album being something that I found particularly enjoyable, I figured I would listen back to back after seeing them sit on the shelf for many years to see if I might be wrong about one or both. Here I review Radiohead.

Some people love it but it is not universally hailed as being wonderful is what I have observed. I always liked Paranoid Android but felt the rest was pretty "blah." So what now? Nothing has really changed my overall view and I now realize that the cool parts of Paranoid Android make up but a small part of the song, with the balance being along the lines of the rest of the album. Generic angst is the overall mood I am getting, a "too cool for school" vibe that wants you to either embrace their "vision" or dismiss the whole thing out of hand and they don't really care on which side you fall. These are eclectic but straight forward rock songs for the most part with nothing leaving a lasting impression. You may have the impression or been told you need to hear this album. Trust me, you really don't. 2.5 stars.

 A Moon Shaped Pool by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.90 | 405 ratings

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A Moon Shaped Pool
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by kaiofelipe

4 stars On a sad record even for Radiohead's gloomy standards, Thom Yorke reflects, among other themes (there is room for the politicized "Burn The Witch", for example), about the end of his marriage. Even the fact that "True Love Waits" (a song that has been featured on the band's shows since 1995) finally made it onto a Radiohead album is deeply symbolic, as it was only after ending his long relationship that Yorke recorded the final version of a song that exposes love in a more open and transparent way: "And true love waits / In haunted attics / And true love lives / On lollipops and crisps / Just don't leave / Don't leave". Highlights: "Burn The Witch", "Daydreaming", "Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief" and "True Love Waits".
 The Bends by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.81 | 603 ratings

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The Bends
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by kaiofelipe

5 stars After an irregular debut, Radiohead took a huge qualitative leap in The Bends. Several factors contributed to this leap: a better producer (John Leckie, engineered by the band's future producer, Nigel Godrich), a more consistent repertoire, a better use of their influences (from U2's arena rock to Jeff Buckley's vocal style and sound dynamics) ... and, as Tom Breihan pointed out in an article about this album for Stereogum, the confidence level: "The Bends is an album from a band fully in command of its gifts, one who understands exactly what it wants to do". The first track, "Planet Telex", has a touch of psychedelia combined with a vigorous sound. The following three are all classic: the poweful title track (which contains lyrics like "I wish it was the sixties (...) I wish that something could happen"), the beautiful ballad "High and Dry" and the melancholic crescendo of "Fake Plastic Trees" ("She looks like the real thing / She tastes like the real thing / My fake plastic love"). The core of The Bends contains some not so well-known songs which are almost as melodically captivating as their hits: the rockers "Bones" and "Sulk" and the delicates "(Nice Dream)" and "Bullet Proof ... I Wish I Was". The record's final stretch is spectacular: the exciting "Just" (perhaps one of the band's most iconic songs, thanks in part to the music video), the sarcastic "My Iron Lung" (a response to the success of "Creep") , the addictive chorus of "Black Star" (their first Godrich-produced track) and the gloomy "Street Spirit (Fade Out)". The Bends is Radiohead's most hit-filled album, although it took a year (and 5 singles, including the My Iron Lung EP) for one of its songs reach on the UK Top 10 ("Street Spirit" went straight to #5 in January 1996) and the US Top 100 ("High and Dry" peaked at #78 in April '96). The recognition was gradual, but definitive: the years go by and this CD continues to be considered Radiohead's first great album.
 I Might Be Wrong - Live Recordings by RADIOHEAD album cover Live, 2001
3.59 | 105 ratings

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I Might Be Wrong - Live Recordings
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by thesimilitudeofprog

4 stars This album delivers the incredible Radiohead live show, showing off how dynamic and energetic this band is.

This version of "The National Anthem" has so much more life and atmosphere. Radiohead obviously enjoy playing this one and make it a real favorite to play live. "I Might Be Wrong" is played with much more speed and sounds more livelier than the Amesiac version. Another brilliant reworking from its original and the crowd respond really well. "Morning Bell" is quite similar to the studio version and gets a good crowd response as it is one of the best tracks on Kid A. "Like Spinning Plates" is the most different from the studio version. I love this version. The Amnesiac version was a technical racket of noise. This live version has evolved into a gentle yet exhilarating piano with tranquil vocals from Mr. Yorke. This is definitely the standout track on the album even though every track is incredible. The vocals and lyrics get their spotlight as it is a lot easier to digest than on Amnesiac. "Idioteque" was probably the best track on Kid A and it works wonders here. It is played excellently live as it is a difficult track to recreate. Obviously they gave it some tweaking to bring something new to the stage. If you listen close enough you will hear the crowd singing along to Thom's strange ramblings. "Everything in its Right Place" is extended a lot here with a strange build up intro that is new to this album. The track is everything that the studio album is and more. "Dollars and Cents" is a lot livelier and the bass sounds even better here. The last two minutes are exceptional as they progress further and further than the studio track dared to go. Then we have "True Love Waits" which is an extra special acoustic piece by Thom Yorke alone. Still one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard. Thom's voice is emotional and moving and it's probably his greatest moment as a singer and a songwriter. This is a brilliant close to a fine live album. You'll love this piece of music.

For a short live album, it is excellent and should be considered one of the band's best albums. Because of the passion of the songs and the uniqueness throughout most of the album, it is definitely deserving of your time.

 TKOL RMX 1234567 by RADIOHEAD album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2011
2.31 | 13 ratings

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TKOL RMX 1234567
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Forum & Site Admin Group Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

2 stars Radiohead's "TKOL RMX 1234567" is a remix collection released in 2011. It might seem like a strange title until it is explained. TKOL stands for the album "The King of Limbs". Thom Yorke thought this album was full of songs that could be reworked and remixed into some interesting variations, as the original album was recorded by studio experimentation, using loops and electronically enhanced sounds and sequences and he wanted to do further experimentation with them by having different artists rework them. What resulted was a series of EPs, or 12 inch singles that had either two or three of these remixes. There were a total of 8 EPs in all by the time it was all said and done. However, the 8th EP was not finished by the time this collection was put together, hence you have the remix EPs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. The 8th EP featuring 3 remixes was not included in this collection, but is available separately.

So, it has always been difficult for me to review remix albums, mostly because, unless the original track is made better, or made into an entirely different creature all together, I don't see much point in it. This double CD has a total of 19 tracks altogether, and of course, the original album didn't have that many, so you see most of the tracks here are included more than once in different versions. Fortunately, it is a bit difficult to hear the redundancy of the tracks because there is quite a bit of variation between them. And some of them definitely either improve on the original or sound completely different from the original, but there are others that are much too repetitive or boring. There is also the fact that I never found this album to be one of their best, I find it much to clinical, and that is also considering the fact that I really like "Amnesia" and "Kid A", their most electronically centered albums. There just isn't much in "The King of Limbs" that sticks with me.

That being said, I do find that I enjoy some of the tracks on this collection better than the original. For example, my favorites here are the Caribou remix of "Little by Little", the Scavenger remix of "Morning Mr. Magpie", "TKOL Altrice Remix", and the Blawan remix of "Bloom". Some of the others are not bad, but, as can be expected, some are too repetitive or don't have enough development or aren't really improvements. There is also the fact that this is a difficult album to listen to all the way through for me because of the repetitiveness apparent on a lot of the tracks and that it is very electronic sounding.

If you love remix albums, then you should check this out, because I understand that my own taste might not be yours. If you don't like electronically produced music, then you should stay away. If the source material was better, at least in my opinion, then I also might have enjoyed this more, but its hard to say. Just because its a remix album doesn't mean that I won't like it because I have found a few that I really enjoy. This is not one of them. I can't really call it poor however, but I can't see it being of much interest other than to collectors and completionists.

 OK Computer by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.05 | 1013 ratings

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OK Computer
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

5 stars After a questionable debut, taking many of the worst aspects of alt rock at the time, and their solid, more refined followup album 'The Bends', Radiohead perfected their initial sound here in their third album, 'OK Computer'. Rather than many tracks that could come off as simple, 'OK Computer' adds layers upon layers of sound to each track, giving the entire album a spacey, futuristic atmosphere, with droning electronic noise on top of distorted guitar, paving the way for some simply excellent soundscapes and atmosphere to complement the alt rock sound that the album has, pushing it far above what would be expected of such an album.

The album keeps its sound very cohesive all throughout, a constant tone that is extremely serious and at times, depressing. The first track 'Airbag' starts the album off extremely strong, with many elements that when listened to closely, almost seem as if they're playing slightly different songs, especially the bass, which plays a riff very similar to that of 'Porcupine Tree's' 'Hatesong' while the other instruments drone on, with the aforementioned electronic noises appearing throughout, all as Thom Yorke sings in his unique way, putting emotion into the music while simultaneously almost sounding as if he doesn't really care, which ends up working out in the song's favour quite significantly. 'Paranoid Android' is an easy choice for best song on the album, or by the band in general, a 3 piece song that simply builds upon itself in each section, starting off with beautiful layered riffs over a vocal melody that set up the extremely dark tone of it, complete with some breathtaking moments, particularly the hook. The song then takes on a much heavier approach, toning down the sonic depth and instead making each individual note from each instrument, along with vocals, be filled with power, all before the third section simply blows everything else out of the water, with some of the most perfect use of vocal harmonies and layering I've ever heard, with amazing use of mellotron on top of this, leading to one of the most powerful moments on the album.

After this point, the majority of the tracks can be put into one of two categories, the extremely atmospheric, relaxing songs, and the ones that are extremely tied to the alternative rock roots of the band. 'Subterranean Homesick Alien', 'Lucky' and 'The Tourist' all fit into this category for me, all heavily focusing on capturing particular emotions and tones, rather than making a catchy song, each sounding simply beautiful, with the last 2 closing off the album amazingly, with a gradual decrease in any sort of intensity, emotional or otherwise, until 'The Tourist' comes on, which is by far the most relaxing song on the album, and by the band in general. On the other end of the spectrum, 'Let Down', 'Karma Police', 'Electioneering' and 'No Surprises' all make for very solid alt rock tunes, with a lot of real depth to each track in terms of sound, even though the songs themselves seem very simple. 'Electioneering' is the exception to this, having a simple structure, but also being very simple and riff driven instead, with a fun, heavily distorted riff that simply allows one to rock out. 'Exit Music (For a Film)' marks easily the most impactful moment on the album, gradually building as everything distorts, starting off as a standard track before ending in something incredibly powerful and cathartic, as even Thom Yorke's usual droning vocals feel much more solemn here. 'Climbing Up the Walls' takes the atmosphere a step further by not making it depressing, as much as eerie, bordering on downright terrifying, with everything having a scratchy quality to it. The song has a very distant, isolated feel to it, with very sparing use of any sort of sound, with the drum beat being incredibly monotonous and simplistic, with any other noise being infrequent, bringing even more attention to the heavy vocal distortion. The other sounds begin coming in as the song progresses, constantly making everything feel more claustrophobic, with even the beautiful string arrangements simply serving to add more contrast to the unpleasant elements of the song, all ending in a chilling scream. 'Fitter Happier' is an odd track to me, because while all it provides is creepiness, I feel like it ties the album together, despite how musically poor it is, since there is very little there other than a robotic voice and minimalistic piano.

This is definitely an incredible album, no matter what genre you insist on putting it in. It's filled with powerful emotion, immersive atmosphere, and expert use of a wide variety of techniques, subsequently leading to a collection of sonically complex compositions, each sounding beautiful and simultaneously impressive when looked at closer. 'Radiohead' significantly refined and improved their sound from their previous two efforts, adding a level of complexity and atmosphere to their alternative rock roots, making for a simply incredible album all around.

Best Songs: Paranoid Android, Exit Music (For A Film), Climbing Up The Walls, Karma Police

Worst Songs: Fitter Happier

Verdict: An extremely good album with a lot of complexity to it, masked by a commercial sound, making it quite easy to listen to while also being quite interesting to analyse. Recommended to anyone who won't whine about a somewhat commercial sound.

 The Bends by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.81 | 603 ratings

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The Bends
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Forum & Site Admin Group Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Radiohead saw some major success with their first full album "Pablo Honey" and the major hit "Creep". However, they weren't about to release another album like that one, and they didn't want to be a "One Hit Wonder" band, which there were plenty of them out there. So, they re-worked their sound in order to retain interest. At first, their next album "The Bends" didn't do so well and dropped quickly off the charts. However, they opened for bands like "R.E.M" and this helped them regain their popularity, and over the years, this album has gotten the publicity and fame that it deserved.

For this album, Radiohead moved away from the grungy sound of "Pablo Honey" and even away from the alt-pop music of their previous incarnations "On a Friday" and "Manic Hedgehog". Their lyrics got more cryptic, their music became harder to define as they became more experimental, they started using more keyboards and the guitar more atmospheric and harsh. This resulted in their next step towards a more progressive sound, and you can hear the steps taken throughout this album towards that style. Many have even considered "The Bends" along with "OK Computer" as some of the best albums ever recorded.

"Planet Telex" opens the album and it has the distinction of being the only song not written before recording of the album began. It was written after a night of drinking and Thom Yorke made the vocal track while lying on the floor. The song has a much more electronic sound than most of the other songs on the album, and as such, is a foreshadowing of the direction the band would take on the next album "OK Computer". The overall sound has a warbling feeling to it. Even with the electronic processing, the music is heavy and dark and driven by guitars and a recurring piano riff.

The next track is the title track "The Bends". It is another heavy song about becoming famous and how everyone wants to be your friend, but will they be with you when you come out on the other side. This one is a bit louder than the previous one overall. "High and Dry" was the first single of the album. It is driven by a strummed riff and more calm than the previous 2 tracks. It is also written in more of a standard format. Even so, it is a nice track that grows on you easily.

"Fake Plastic Trees" is one of Radiohead's most famous tracks, and rightfully so. It is a beautiful track that even Yorke admitted that it made him cry. It is a statement against over-capitalism and how it can make everything colorless and lifeless and everyone wants to become plastic. I am sure most everyone has heard this one, but if you haven't, then you need to, it's absolutely beautiful and heartfelt, one of my all time favorite songs.

"Bones" begins with a processed echoing guitar and soon gets moving with a heavy bass line. This song is about the fear of aging. The verses are soft with a guitar-heavy chorus and Yorke starts to use his falsetto voice more effectively at this point. "(Nice Dream)" is a softer sound with strummed guitars and a lilting rhythm. There is a nice violin added to instrumental foundation. The middle section is a very exciting change of pace for the song as a wild guitar riff is introduced and things get more chaotic, then it returns to the original softness again.

"Just" is another great song about narcissism, or as Thom explains, a certain friend. It starts as a single guitar strum and then explodes into a somewhat noisy riff and immediately calms for the verse, while it is loud during the chorus. The returning ascending guitar riff keeps returning and ends up finishing the song off as it keeps ascending until it holds a screeching note and then falls apart to the single strumming riff again. This one is another favorite.

"My Iron Lung" refers to and is about the song "Creep" that basically kept the band alive before this album. They had that fear of being a One Hit Wonder. This has a great processed guitar riff that has a cool shaky feel to it. The song is also one of those that sticks with you. The noisy sections in the song allude to the loud sections in "Creep". "(I Wish I Was) Bulletproof" has a more experimental vibe to it and also acts to foreshadow the direction of the band. Yorke's vocals are on the mumbly side, but it really works well for this pensive track. There is a lot more electronic effects throughout this song, but it still retains it's melodic side, so it's not a complete turn to the experimental side yet. Thom's vocals as he sustains the word "bulletproof" are simply beautiful.

"Black Star" reminds me more of a track from "Pablo Honey", but it does have a better usage of dynamics. The lyrics deal with relationship problems and the things you can blame the problems on. "Sulk" was written in response to massacre at Hungerford, Berkshire, England where 17 people were shot. The original lyrics were changed by Yorke so that people wouldn't think it had to do with Kurt Cobain's death around the time the album was released. The album ends fittingly with one of Radiohead's darkest songs "Street Spirit (Fade Out)". Yorke considers it very dark and the band usually plays it at the end of their set list in concert because of it's darkness. However, it is still a beautiful and lush song.

So, "The Bends" might not have much to lend itself to being progressive, but it was a huge step in that direction. As far as the Prog Archives site goes, I have to at least consider it an excellent album, meaning it deserves at least 4 stars, but in a non- progressive world, it is easily a 5 star album. It is above the bar set for most alternative music in that it is more heartfelt and unique than most, and as such, it sets the bar high for an amazing and talented band.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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