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Radiohead's OK Computer (33 1/3) Paperback – 1 Oct 2004

2.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Continuum (1 Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826416632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826416636
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 0.9 x 16.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Griffiths portrays a thorough, academic deconstruction .no small feat for a book of only approximately 120 pages .[Griffiths] also brings his vast familiarity with records of all genres past and present, which lends undeniable credibility to his insight.' --Dan Weller, Times Leader (NE PA) 10/06/04

About the Author

Dai Griffiths is Head of the Department of Music at Oxford Brookes University.


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2.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
I generally agree with the bad reviews here; the trouble is, they're written with the assumption that the book is too 'analytical', or that "If you're a fellow 'academic'... you'll get a kick out of learning the average length of the tracks".

Nothing could be further from the truth. As an open-minded Radiohead fan with a music degree, I would have welcomed some real musical analysis of the album as a whole. Instead we get nothing but lists of key signatures, track lengths, even the lengths of individual verses. There is a difference between analysis and mere description - and this is nothing but dispassionate, tedious, and ultimately useless description. No analysis here to get a kick out of.

The book's saving graces may be the florid literary references with which Griffiths peppers his otherwise bland text, but these tend to be tangential, over-personal, and often unrelated. That is until the very end, where he does seem to be making a point - only it's not his own point, but a collection of other peoples'.

Disappointing; I'm left wondering what motivated Griffiths to write this. Doesn't sound like the Radiohead I know.
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Format: Paperback
I was of the opinion that the worst in the series was the one on Tribe Called Quest's first album... that was until I read this one.

While the one on the Tribe album is pretty dire, just being random musing from the author and nothing about the album, that was at least readable. This doesn't succeed on any level, no real insights about the album, the band, and it doesn't succeed as an academic analysis either.

This was a HUGE opportunity to have a great book on a great album, and it is totally wasted.
It sounds like the author has not even ever listened to the album before. Even if that is the case, he could have still written a solid book by cribbing from what other critics have said, interviews with the band, or just done a straightforward analysis of the music and the lyrics, but he opts for an entirely different subject altogether, which he doesn't break down well either.

Though we can't lay the blame entirely at the door of the author - whoever let this go as far to be published is at fault too.

The argument I've seen from a minority of other reviewers that we don't want to read about what the band has to say or any inside information is ludicrous. It's not band-worshiping, it's simply getting the facts from, you know, the people who actually made the album! If you're not into reading about bands and their music and how things were put together, then why would you even be buying this book in the first place?

Terrible, please for the love of God 33 1/3, please don't let this fate befall any other albums we love.
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Format: Paperback
I, unfortunately have to agree with the majority of the reviews. Kudos to those who give this book a high rating. I'm too familiar with the 33 1/3 series, so I'll only talk about this book.

Dai Griffiths is obviously a RadioHead fan. My biggest issue is his analysis of the album doesn't actually prove his thesis: that this album is one of the greatest of all times. For many readers of this book, musical analysis is nonsensical. I, however, understood relatively all of it, because I am a classically trained musician. Yet, the way I feel about the music analysis is the way I feel about the rest of the book. Just because one can analyze the music, or the album, doesn't make the music or album great. His analysis meant nothing to me.

Unless you are a huge RadioHead fan, have a basic knowledge of music theory, have an appreciation for obscure poetry like prose or beat poetry, and are familiar with both classical music and alternative rock (in which case, this is the book for you), you won't understand all the references, and you most likely won't enjoy the book.
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Format: Paperback
I'd agree with some of the more negative reviews written here. The writing in this book is academic, devoid of passion, and having read it I have no idea whether the author even likes the album or not. Lester Bangs he is not.
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Format: Paperback
Having ploughed through a number of excellent 33 1/3 books recently (Doolittle, Daydream Nation and in particular, Spiderland), I had high hopes for a book covering one of my all time favourite albums However, the things that made those other books so good (a genuine sense of the author's love for the band, recording details and an insight into the dynamic within the band and what made it tick) were lacking in this offering, and I was ultimately left feeling a little flat upon finishing it.

I have no issue with the author not wishing his book to be perceived as yet another unauthorised Radiohead biography. Nor was I (initially) put off by his analytical approach (superficial as it turned out to be). But it seemed to me that this book, rather than being an in depth study of the album itself, merely provided a platform and an excuse to explore a range of subjects that, although interesting in their own right, had very little to do with the subject matter (even these diversions might not have been a problem if it could have been demonstrated how they related to this particular album, as has been the case in other books in the series). When bearing in mind his position as a music teacher, in hindsight it strikes me that Mr Griffiths might have using the book to show off a little.

This album was an important staging post in my life (just as I left school). Having switched on to Radiohead after The Bends was released, I was ready for OK Computer, and it totally reeled me in. Having played it to death through my late teens, I haven't listened to it much in later years but it never fails to totally absorb me and stirs up a vast range of emotions every time I listen to it. Which makes it all the more disappointing that this book rather overlooked the human aspect of the album.
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