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on 2 April 2010
It's very much of its time, as it's very post-Nirvana, post-Pixies generic alternative rock. If they had more than one actual song they might even have been a bland but competent mid-level band back then. As they only had the one song ("Creep", but what a song) their first album is a seriously weak mess built around a great single.

It sounds like early band rehearsals or demo tapes, not like a major label debut. The music is quite heavy and mushy sounding, almost verging on the soft end of the metal spectrum. I don't know if it's badly mixed, or that's how they wanted the songs to sound, but the audio quality is murky to the extent that a lot of the noisier songs come across as tuneless dirges. Which they might actually be.

I've always been inclined to give Pablo Honey the benefit of the doubt and assume that it's not too bad, and that it's my fault for not giving it the attention and number of plays it requires to get good. I now realise that the album is a lot worse than I had ever suspected.

1. "You" - 3:29 (3 out of 5 stars)
Solid rock song of no distinction. Doesn't have a single memorable lyric.

2. "Creep" - 3:56 (5 stars)
A truly great song. Great guitar crunch sound etc.

3. "How Do You?" - 2:12 (1 star)
A lot of noise covering the complete absence of a song. Pretty dire.

4. "Stop Whispering" - 5:26 (1 star)
Meaningless U2 style lyrics aimed at an unspecified middle distance. Tries to reach high emotion, misses the target by a vast distance. Soulless and rather embarrassing. There's a decent enough semi-heavy rock sound but not much in the way of a melody to make it interesting. Also it goes on too long.

5. "Thinking About You" - 2:41 (2 stars)
Very short and has a bit of a tune to it. The lyrics are decent if unremarkable. Not a bad song but a big nothing overall. The best that can be said about it is that it's not awful.

6. "Anyone Can Play Guitar" - 3:38 (3 stars)
It has a tune and the guitars sound great. Also it has one of Yorke's best vocal performances on the album. Fades out at a seemingly random place so doesn't have a proper ending.

7. "Ripcord" - 3:10 (2 stars)
Forgettable generic alt-rock that has album track written all over it.

8. "Vegetable" - 3:13 (3 stars)
Not too bad. It isn't as sonically mushy and some sort of a tune can be heard. Far from being anything notable, but okay overall.

9. "Prove Yourself" - 2:25 (3 stars)
Alright song with the title being used as a good repeated phrase throughout.

10. "I Can't" - 4:13 (1 star)
More generic alt-rock. Insultingly bereft of any distinguishing features. A song so easy to forget it's laughable.

11. "Lurgee" - 3:08 (1 star)
Generic, of no interest.

12. "Blow Out" - 4:40 (1 star)
A boring dirge. I couldn't pick out anything of merit from the noise.

I like to make an EP playlist out of some albums for my iPod. Tracks 1, 2, 6 and 9 made the cut.

A very poor 42 minute album. After listening to it for this review, I put it in the bottom of a drawer instead of back on the shelf along with all the other Radiohead albums. I have no intention of listening to it again anytime this decade.

If you want "Creep" buy the Best Of instead.
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VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 April 2009
They started off as pale Pixies clones on the coattails of the now-reviled wave of British Indie. Radiohead could so easily have ended up like Kingmaker, one hit wonders rubbing shoulders with Sultans of Ping, and endlessly playing "Creep" to half-full 1500 seaters inbetween day jobs.

On the strength of the debut, the underwhelming "Pablo Honey", Radiohead were one who, it seemed, had only a handful of good songs, an EP squeezed to LP length."Pablo Honey" is, for its time, an OK lp. But Kingmakers "Sleepwalking" was better.

And you know it.

"Pablo Honey" wears its influences brazenly on its sleeves. It wants to be The Pixies, crossbred with Dinosaur Jr and a touch of Steve Albini. But it isn't. Some of the songs simply put, are nothing but juvenalia. "Ripcord", "Vegetable", and others are forgettable, scant, empty, shallow impersonations. They are, in a word, rubbish.

Inside Radiohead, lay a pretty good debut. Sadly, great songs such as "Banana Co" and "Yes, I Am" were relegated to B-sides, and the versions and recordings chosen for the album were bland and monotone. Not only that, but the sequencing is all over the place. There's some good songs here, but not enough to justify an album.

Thankfully, EMI have chosen to exercise their contractual rights and exploit the work. This reissue is certainly far more useful than the recent 'Best of'. The second disc captures every B-side and some radio sessions in order of release. And whilst this completely lacks any narrative - its just a bunch of good songs in a random order - the songs themselves here, some of them are fabulous. The aforementioned "Banana Co" is simply a fabulous song, head and shoulders with any of their other work.

And some are rubbish : the middle section consists of a slew of live tracks, largely chosen to pad out multi-formatted releases of 12" singles. They weren't much good then and they aren't now.

Thankfully, the DVD offers much better value, with all the promo videos from the era, and most of the "Live At The Astoria" DVD. In total, though, it is a fabulous package for a Radiohead nutter : every song from their earlier era, alongside some tasty and unreleased radio sessions and a brace of live stuff on a DVD. It is a value package that tidies up most of the early years in about 55 songs of joy, most of which you may have never heard before.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 August 2017
I rarely bought anything new from 2000 onwards, being happy with my large music collection amassed over the previous 30 years+ and especially as little 'new' really enticed me.

However, some 10 years after my last Radiohead acquisition, the astounding and utterly memorable 'OK Computer', I was enticed into getting the Radiohead album 'In Rainbows' album and recently, after hearing about a 20th anniversary release for 'OK Computer', I was provoked into trying out earlier albums of theirs.

So, after a VERY disappointing listen to 'Kid A' the next I got was their debut 1993 album, 'Pablo Honey'.

What a revelation this album was, which shows that the band initially performed almost 'normal' types of music (especially when compared to some of the 'sound-effect' type music on 'OK Computer' and 'In Rainbows' !), with wonderfully rhythmical music and prominent vocals/guitar contributions.

The album opens with a strong track, 'You', which has all the notable Radiohead elements and for me bares some resemblance to the equally excellent 'Mansun' song, 'Wide Open Space', but 'You' pre-dates it by some 4 years....

Then we have 'Creep', which is apparently the song which catapulted Radiohead into the musical popularity arena and was the basis for their 'challenge' to do as well with their follow-on album to continue the roll...

Those and the remaining tracks are all accomplished and, for me, in many ways belie the fact that the group was just starting their commercial musical career.

Happily, the quality of this album didn't prove to be a 'one-off' as I then got their next album, 'The Bends', which for me is even better than 'Pablo Honey' and showed Radiohead rose to 'that' challenge.

So, I recommended that you consider not only getting 'Pablo Honey', but also 'The Bends' and then (if it has somehow passed you by, to complete my Radiohead 'set') 'OK Computer', either with the original album or the recent 20th anniversary release.
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on 20 March 2013
I think there are 2 distinct camps when it comes to Radiohead, you either prefer their newer music or their older music.

I am unashamedly in the 2nd camp! I love older Radiohead (by this I mean up to and including OK Computer)

It took me a long time to finally buy Pablo Honey but it was totally worth it - not quite as good as The Bends but still a proper slice of Brit rock!

Do yourself a favour and buy it today :)
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on 29 December 1999
I was introduced to Radiohead through their album "The Bends" which I initially thought was a load of noise interspersed with a male vocal that I found myself unable to switch off from. I was not even a rock fan at the time - a load of noise, lots of shouting, so what on earth was all the fuss about?
I then bought a second-hand copy of Pablo Honey - unable to justify spending the full album price on something I was so unsure of. Well, all I can say is, who on earth was stupid enough to let this album go out of their collection? From the first time I listened to the opening track "You" I was hooked. Thom's voice is magnificent and this album has to be owned by anyone who has a collection that includes Radiohead. It's wrong and a sin to own their other work without adding Pablo Honey. The track "Vegetable" sums up my feelings every day. "Leave me alone world" at least Thom of Radiohead understands the pressures I'm under. Thank God someone takes the time to think about life and put their thoughts into a format to which people can relate. I subsequently own all the Radiohead albums and will own the 2000 album on the day it is released.
I was fortunate to see them play live in a relatively small venue just before OK Computer became cult listening. They were absolutely superb. I adore Radiohead, their limited edition stuff, all their b tracks and every word they care to utter. Buy Pablo Honey - but please don't stop there.
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on 28 August 2005
I am SICK TO DEATH of all these fans complaining that this album is "about a million miles away from the bends" etc. When did Radiohead ever say this was their best?
Take it for what it is. An incredible indie rock album, not OK Computer, which is one of the greatest albums of all time.
Think of Radiohead as an evolving animal. It started with this raw (and in my opinion powerful) album and grew into bigger and better things.All it is is an excellent debut and a thrilling listen.
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on 5 June 2011
I think i am in agreement with a few other commentators and have often wondered why Pablo Honey gets such a hard time from Radiohead critics and indeed, Radiohead. For me its a great debut and the precursor to one of the finest albums ever made - The Bends (which Radiohead also grumble about because they were asked to produce an album of 'Creeps' as opposed to being able to express their own artistic freedom). Pablo contains many gems and in fact i don't believe has any naff records on it at all (although you could argue some are fillers). This is adrenaline fuelled guitar rock - layered and complemented with Thom's beautiful voice being put to great use. 'You', 'Thinking about you', Vegetable', 'I can't', 'Anyone can play guitar' and 'Blow out' are great stand out tracks aside from the anthemic 'Creep'. However, a whole new treasure chest of songs is uncovered on this special edition second disc. 'Inside my head', 'Million Dollar Question', 'Killer Cars (Live)', 'Pop is dead', 'Banana Co.' and the awesome 'Nothing touches me' provide amazing high's and dazzling sing-a-longs that will be sure to get you tapping your hands and feet whilst maybe reminiscing about the type of atmosphere you have experienced among small crowds that jump around ecstatically, spilling their drinks and hanging on to every punk-esque gesture.
This is Radiohead young, angry, energetic and aspirational. Most of all this is Radiohead as a true guitar band making records that compliment the bands finest characteristics (inventive guitar, angelic vocals and contagious melodies). The sounds are inviting and passionate probably designed for people of a similar age who also aspire to be rock stars if only in imagination.
Later, the band would get what they want and get express their artistic freedom by tinkering with drum loops and casio keyboards. The remainder of the band would frequently sound redundant in what often would feel like some glamorised solo project which spits out cold, soulless sounds they try to pass of as songs. Thom's incredible voice would be seldom be put to good use but their enigma would grow as would the interest from across the Atlantic. This is Radiolhead pre-pregnant with some KID A, this is Radiohead pre-pretenious. Enjoy!
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on 25 February 2002
Creep is probably Radiohead's most well known song, and is undoubtedly brilliant, with Thom Yorke's devastating emotion enough to make even a 12-year old question their love for S-Club-7! It was the reason I bought the album, and at first it was all I listened to.
But gradually, I started to quite enjoy the other tracks, and now I am almost obsessive about the Best British Band today!
Creep is fantastic, but no better than any of the other tracks on the album;there is no song that could be called a filler!
Every song has a memorable line or a dozen that astound you with their subtlety and sympathy.
"Thinking about you" is a classic, and "I Can't" breaks your heart! "Lurgee" is addictive and unbearably true: "..Tell me something I don't know; tell me The One Thing...let it go..."
Pablo Honey is not ground-breaking like the albums it preceedes. It takes a good 5 listens to appreciate the individuality and cleverness of each song, but it is really worth it! It is a beautiful, haunting album, though it won't keep you awake in the middle of the night like Kid A!
It is softer, sadder as opposed to angry and you will identify with it.
A good start from Radiohead, and it deserves recognition as a fantastic album in it's own right, and the beginning of an amazing musical story: buy the other albums too!
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on 8 November 2012
My product still has not come and that is twice now.I will upgrade the rwview when i actually get my product.
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on 12 June 2013
For anyone who's first taste of Radiohead has been via OK Computer, Kid A and the like, they could be forgiven for thinking the debut album Pablo Honey is a rather turgid affair, and indeed some fans would rather this one be brushed under the carpet and never spoken of again.

However, having been there from the start, I can appreciate it for what was, and is. It holds many a fond memory for me, my life during the superb early to mid 90s of British music, and played all these years later it is still a cracking good album. Creep obviously, is the one song everyone agrees is the best of the bunch, but there is so much more to it than that. Ripcord, Thinking about You, Lurgee, Stop Whispering - they're all great.

Staring up at the shelves in my local Our Price store in 1993 (yikes, where have those 20 years gone!) I bought three CDs that day. Everybody else is doing it... by The Cranberries, Duran Duran's Wedding album, and Pablo Honey. All decent in their own right, but it is Pablo Honey that has been with me through thick and thin, and the one which started my life-long love of their music.

It is very different to the Radiohead of today, but is it any worse? I'd say not - it's still Radiohead at the end of the day. If you're a fan of Radiohead but have been put off buying this due to the poor reviews, you are missing out.
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