2. Paranoid Android
3. Subterranean Homesick Alien
4. Exit Music (For A Film)
5. Let Down
6. Karma Police
7. Fitter Happier
9. No Surprises
11. The Tourist
Radiohead‘s 3rd album is called “OK Computer”. This album will top many ‘best albums of’ lists. Brilliant melodies combined with gifted lyrics, great guitar work, clever engineering and experimenting and everything put in one complete atmospheric package. It literally doesn’t get any better than this.
With Airbag, Radiohead chose a good opener for OK Computer. It immediately shows where they stand at the moment and it displays where they are going to. The song has the right mix and impeccable timing. Great way to start a great album.
Next is the illustrous Paranoid Android, one of the best songs ever written by any band. Vocally breathtaking and the music complements it like a hand in a glove. Great use of sampling and engineering to accentuate the strengths of the music. With an amazing guitar solo in the middle of the song Radiohead shows that they aren’t afraid to show what they got. A band with talent and confidence.
It was a risky move to put such a great song as Paranoid Android so early on the album, because the rest of the songs might fade in it’s glory. Fortunately Radiohead found a solution. They just have more splendid songs. Subterranean Homesick Alien for example. Sit down, relax, put on your headphones and listen, really listen. You’ll find yourself in a landscape, an atmosphere. You will really experience the song, rather than just listening to it.
Exit Music (For A Film) has an appropriate title, because it would really be in its place in a movie. It breathes atmosphere. It fills up the room and it could bring extra power to a movie scene, bring it to full glory.
Let Down is one of my favorites. It is rather catchy for a Radiohead song, but it has such a great flow and melody that it just sounds right. A lot of later British mainstream rock bands will build on the foundations Radiohead is building with songs like Let Down.
The hit song Karma Police is next. No wonder this became a huge song. It rivals Paranoid Android for the best song on this album, though personally I’d still go with Paranoid Android. I’ve read other reviews that said that Karma Police is wildly overrated and that the vocals aren’t all that great. I would have to whole-heartedly disagree with these people. I think Karma Police is a doorway between music of the 60s/70s and modernday 90s alternative pop & rock. And the emotion and confidence with which Radiohead performs it just touches you deep into your soul.
Fitter Happier isn’t much more than a message on this album. It defines OK Computer as a concept album, but in reality OK Computer is much more than that.
The album continues with Electioneering which gives me a feeling of a music marriage between Radiohead & R.E.M. It’s one of the best songs on the album (which almost goes for all the songs on the album) and it has so much energy and fire in it that it’s a complete musical experience.
The next track’s called No Surprises, but I’m a little (pleasantly) surprised. Though musically it remnisces of “The Bends” slightly, it is more evolved and evidently shows Radiohead’s growth. The first time I heard No Surprises my jaw dropped a few inches.
Lucky, although it’s a great song, it’s not really one of my favorites. This song, in my opinion, would’ve been a better fit on “The Bends”. I don’t really have anything bad to say about it though, it just never really convinced me. For my feeling it’s somewhere in between Black Star & Karma Police, musically, but it doesn’t have the power that Karma Police does have.
The Tourist is the album closer. What stands out most on this track are the vocals. But don’t be mistaken. Without the music supporting, the vocals wouldn’t be half as effective. But The Tourist is a pure and open song that I welcomed with open arms.
Taking another step forward compared to their last effort, “The Bends”, Radiohead has reached a musical high that not many bands achieved. “OK Computer” is an album that is inspiring and almost spiritual when experienced. If one takes the time to let the music take over and really opens up to the songs, one will find that this is a masterpiece that will rule modern rock music for many years to come.