Radiohead’s OK Computer is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The album was released on May 21, 1997 and changed the landscape of rock music. Today, we look back and do a Radiohead OK Computer review of this classic album and how it has influenced musicians over the past two decades.
If you are not familiar with Radiohead, buckle in as this is going to be a long and exciting ride. Radiohead is an English rock band that formed in 1985 in Oxfordshire, England. The band consists of Thom Yorke (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, other instruments), Colin Greenwood (bass), Phil Selway (drums), and Ed O’Brien (guitar, backing vocals).
The band rose to fame in the early 1990s with their debut album Pablo Honey (1993). The success of the lead single “Creep” made them rock stars and one of the most popular Alternative rock bands at the time. They followed up the more radio friendly rock album Pablo Honey with The Bends (1995) which was nominated for the Mercury Prize. The second album saw the band experimenting with different sounds and song structures which would become their signature sound.
OK Computer (1997) was their third album and is often cited as one of the greatest albums of all time. Since the album’s release, it has won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album and was nominated for Album of the Year. Kid A (2000) and Amnesiac (2001) were released in quick succession and are often referred to as a “double album”. These two albums further cemented Radiohead as one of the most innovative and exciting bands of the 21st century. In 2021, the albums were treated with a deluxe release named Kid A Mnesia, which included both albums along with outtakes.
Since then, Radiohead has released four more studio albums: Hail to the Thief (2003), In Rainbows (2007), The King of Limbs (2011), and A Moon Shaped Pool (2016). All of these albums have been met with critical acclaim and have cemented Radiohead’s place as one of the most influential rock bands of our time.
Background of OK Computer and Departure from Guitar Rock
OK Computer was a departure from Radiohead’s previous work, which was more guitar-driven. The album featured more use of synthesisers and keyboards, and incorporated a greater use of sampling. This change in sound was due in part to the influence of producer Nigel Godrich, who would go on to produce all of Radiohead’s subsequent albums.
What made OK Computer so special?
There are a few things to consider when asking what makes OK Computer so special. I will cover just a few although Radiohead superfans could easily go track by track detailing each surprise along the way to create a full article around why the material is so special.
Firstly, it was a departure from their previous two albums, which were more guitar-driven. OK Computer was more experimental and incorporated elements of electronica, which was a new sound for the band.
Secondly, the lyrics are more introspective and deal with themes of alienation, anxiety, and existentialism. This new music was a departure from the more personal lyrics of their previous albums. With tracks like “Paranoid Android” and “Subterranean Homesick Alien”, along with several other tracks listenors were in for surprises Radiohead was able to explore these new themes in a more abstract and poetic prog way vs earlier guitar rock fun. The result was a quality album from start to finish that rivals classic albums from bands such as The Beatles and Pink Floyd.
Finally, the album was released at a time when the music industry was in flux. The rise of digital music had made it easier for people to pirate music, and CD sales were declining. This
Lastly, the album recording was revolutionary and completed at at multiple studios around the world. This gave the album a unique sound that had never been heard before. This was the start of Godrich becoming the Radiohead producer.
All of these factors combined to create an album that was unlike anything else that had been released at the time. OK Computer was a game-changer for Radiohead and paved the way for their subsequent albums.
The Sound of Radiohead OK Computer Album
OK Computer is considered one of the best albums of all time for a reason- the sound is unique and unlike anything that had been released before.
The album features a more experimental sound, with greater use of electronica and sampling. This was a departure from their previous work, which was more guitar-driven. The change in sound was due in part to the influence of producer Nigel Godrich, who would go on to produce all of Radiohead’s subsequent albums.
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What makes the sound of OK Computer so special is the combination of organic and synthetic sounds. The organic sounds of the guitars and drums are combined with the synthetic sounds of the keyboards and synthesizers to create a unique soundscape that is both familiar and alienating. This combination of sounds reflects the themes of the album, which deal with alienation, anxiety, and existentialism.
Songs like “Airbag”, “Paranoid Android”, and “Subterranean Homesick Alien” are some of the best examples of this unique sound. “Airbag” is a perfect example of the organic and synthetic sounds coming together to create a unique soundscape. The song starts with a simple guitar riff that is soon joined by drums and keyboards. The synthetic sounds of the keyboards add an element of unease to the song, which reflects the theme of anxiety.
“Paranoid Android” is another perfect example of the organic and synthetic sounds coming together. The song starts with a simple guitar riff that is soon joined by drums and keyboards. The addition of the synthesizer creates a sense of unease and paranoia, which reflects the themes of the song.
“Subterranean Homesick Alien” is a perfect example of the organic and synthetic sounds coming together to create a unique soundscape. The song starts with a simple guitar riff that is soon joined by drums and keyboards. The addition of the synthesizer creates a sense of unease and paranoia, which reflects the themes of the song.
The Lyrics on OK Computer
The lyrics of OK Computer are also unique and introspective. They deal with themes of alienation, anxiety, and existentialism. This was a departure from the more personal lyrics of their previous albums. The lyrics reflect the feeling of disconnection and isolation that many people feel in the modern world.
“Paranoid Android” is a good example of the lyrics on OK Computer. The song is about a person who is feeling overwhelmed by the world around them and turns to alcohol to cope. The lyrics capture the feeling of anxiety and paranoia that many people feel in the modern world.
“Karma Police” is another good example of the lyrics on OK Computer. The song is about a person who is being chased by the karma police. The lyrics deal with the theme of justice and how it can be elusive. Though many consider Yorke’s throwaway words on “Karma Police” (“This is what you get when you mess with us”) the song does fit with the concept of the album. “Karma Police” is one of the most popular songs on the album and has been covered by many artists.
The album’s lyrics are some of the most introspective and thought-provoking of all time. They deal with universal themes that everyone can relate to. The lyrics combined with the unique soundscape make OK Computer a truly special album.
Critical Reception of This Concept Album
OK Computer was met with critical acclaim upon its release. It is often cited as one of the greatest albums of all time and has been included in numerous lists of the best albums of the 1990s. The album has sold over four million copies worldwide and is considered to be one of Radiohead’s best albums.
Radiohead OK Computer Vinyl Record and CD Releases
Over the past 25 years, OK Computer has been released on vinyl, CD, and digital formats. The vinyl and CD releases are a must have for any music collection. The digital release is the most convenient. The digital release includes all of the songs from the original album plus bonus tracks. The bonus tracks include alternate versions of some of the songs, demos, and live recordings.
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As you probably know, I tend to lean towards analog sound vs digital and for the best sounding version of OK Computer, this release on vinyl record is the way to go. If you are a diehard fan of the band or just want to own a piece of music history, I recommend picking up the OK Computer vinyl release.
If you are a fan of Radiohead, then you should definitely check out OK Computer. It is a truly special album that is as relevant today as it was 25 years ago. The album’s unique sound and introspective lyrics make it a classic that will be appreciated for years to come
What is the difference between OK Computer and Oknotok?
Oknotok is a reissue of OK Computer that was released on June 23, 2017 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the album. The reissue includes the original 12 tracks from OK Computer, as well as 8 previously unreleased tracks. The bonus tracks include b side demos, outtakes, and live recordings. Oknotok is the definitive version of OK Computer and is a must-have for any fan of the album.
Ongoing Influences of OK Computer
OK Computer has had a lasting impact on music and popular culture. The album’s unique soundscape and introspective lyrics have influenced many artists. OK Computer is considered to be one of the most important albums of the 1990s and its influence can still be felt today.
One of the bands that I always relate back to OK Computer is Muse, especially the ‘Showbiz’ album. I remember hearing the song ‘Muscle Museum’ for the first time and being blown away by how similar it sounded to Radiohead. The song has a similar feeling of paranoia and anxiety.
Muse is not the only band that has been influenced by OK Computer. Many artists have cited the album as an influence, including Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters, and Kendrick Lamar.
OK Computer is a timeless album that will continue to influence artists for years to come. If you haven’t listened to it yet, I highly recommend doing so. It is an essential album for any music fan.
Wrapping Up Our Radiohead OK Computer Review
In conclusion, OK Computer is a truly special album that is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The album changed the landscape of rock music and its influence can still be heard today. The album’s unique soundscape and introspective lyrics make it a timeless classic.
Below are some frequently asked questions that came about during our Radiohead OK Computer Review.
What is the best sounding version of OK Computer?
The vinyl record release is the best sounding version of the album. For me, the original vinyl is the top sounding version of the album but the remasters and reissues are also top notch. The 20th anniversary vinyl is still in print and contains original studio recordings of previously unreleased and long sought after OK COMPUTER era tracks.
Is OK Computer Oknotok good?
If you are looking for the most complete version of OK Computer, the oknotok vinyl record release is the way to go. The CD and record contains the original album plus b-sides, demos, and live recordings.
How many copies of OK Computer have been sold?
The album has sold over four million copies worldwide.
What are the best OK Computer songs?
There are so many great songs on OK Computer and it is what I consider a concept album similar to several Pink Floyd albums. It is best enjoyed from start to finish in a single listening session.
There are several track highlights that stand out for me, including ‘Airbag,’ ‘Paranoid Android,’ ‘Subterranean Homesick Alien,’ and ‘Exit Music (For a Film).
What is the meaning of OK Computer?
The album is a commentary on modern life and the alienation that comes with it. The lyrics are often interpreted as being critical of technology and its impact on humanity.
Where to Find the Best Deal on Oknotok?
You can take a look at our deals on vinyl page to see if the Oknotok pops up as a daily deal.