Top positive review
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My favourite album of all time.
on 26 November 2015
I was 17 when I first heard OK Computer, and at first its greatness didn't hit me. I was a fan of the more simple pleasures and straight forward directness of Oasis, and Radiohead in comparison seemed lightweight and pretentious. The southern middle-class students versus the gruff northern everymen.
Then one night I listened to it on my headphones. All the interlocking textures suddenly jumped out at me; Thom Yorke's wonderfully melancholic falsetto; Jonny Greenwood's sublime guitar work; the soaring harmonies; the frosty soundscapes. I realised that OK Computer was a work of immense quality by a band who knew exactly what they wanted, and would not compromise in achieving it.
Its influences are clear; the White Album, Pet Sounds, Dark Side of the Moon, yet it also sounds nothing like them. It's beautiful and innovative, the antithesis of the derivative Britpop juggernaut that was engulfing Britain at the time of its 1997 release. The album has it all; highly accomplished musicianship, creative depth and complex lyrics, all arching around themes of alienation and modern malaise.
Radiohead's quest for musical development went even further after this release, incorporating electronica and the avant-garde on next album Kid A, but it is here on OK Computer that they truly reached their songwriting apex. The complex epic of 'Paranoid Android', conjoining at least three distinct sections; the lush dream pop of 'No Surprises'; the emotive depth of 'Karma Police'; the grand scale of closer 'The Tourist'.
OK Computer is simply an astonishing listen, and one I return to time and time again. The magnum opus of perhaps the most creative and influential band since the Beatles, and is without doubt my favourite album of all time.