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Radiohead - Pablo Honey CD (album) cover

PABLO HONEY

Radiohead

 

Crossover Prog

2.52 | 364 ratings

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Open-Mind
3 stars The alternating bars of 12/8 and 11/8 that drive "Pablo Honey's" opening track, "You," should have given some indication to the masses that Radiohead would not be forever content to dwell in indie rock's lo-fi world. Though a solid debut effort, "Pablo Honey" gives little indication that Radiohead would go on to influence an entire generation of bands (Coldplay, Travis, Doves, Keane, et al).

"Pablo Honey" is most famous for the hit single "Creep," a simple post-grunge pop song completely atypical of the Oxford quintet's style. In fact, the song was never originally intended for the album. As the story goes, Thom Yorke had written it years before and was strumming it in the studio, when a passing record exec heard it and insisted on including it on the record. The rest is history, as they say. Though "Creep" ranks among Radiohead's least distinctive songs, it did put them on the music world's map, for which we should be eternally thankful.

Beyond "Creep," only a few songs stand out: "You" with its driving odd meters; the heartfelt ballad "Thinking About You;" the energetic "Ripcord;" and the dynamic "Stop Whispering," which starts as a catchy pop tune but builds to a ferocious crescendo that foreshadows Radiohead's evolution towards more complex arrangements. "Pablo Honey's" performances and production values are solid but lackluster, and may disappoint those expecting the studio wizardry and technical virtuosity Radiohead would go on to achieve on "The Bends," "OK Computer," and "Kid A."

All in all, "Pablo Honey" is a decent record, far overrated by the indie mavens who disowned Radiohead after they went "art rock," and unlikely to satisfy those more familiar with their later, more progressive work. It's a worthwhile debut, but remains a curio in Radiohead's increasingly impressive and accomplished oeuvre.

Open-Mind | 3/5 |

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