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One of my favourite things about EWB is that it is more Radiohead-sceptic than most places. I had a work meeting a couple of weeks ago when I said Radiohead were shit (it was relevant!) and it was as if I'd just said something blasphemous.

Still, I'll try to give them a fair go here.

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So. Radiohead. OK Computer. 

I guess I'll start the way I did with Abbey Road and on my thoughts and feelings on Radiohead. Maybe I am taking Metalman's views and projecting them onto EWB, but I feel like I have a warmer view of Radiohead than the average EWBer. If somebody asked me if I was a fan of Radiohead, I would probably say I was. I would not pay to see them in concert, but I would absolutely listen to any new Radiohead album. I probably have listened to every Radiohead album and I have my favorites and my least favorites. They are a good band in my view - I think what brings Radiohead down is the people who follow them and argue they are one of the greatest bands of all time. 

This weekend I listened to OK Computer three times - all times with my headphones on with varying levels of distraction. I have also listened to this album throughout the years here and there. 

The album cover for OK Computer is objectively terrible. I do not know if this is a common opinion, but if someone showed me that album cover, I would not listen to the album based upon what is on that cover. 

I actually envisioned that I liked this album way more than I actually did when I listened to it. I thought my top 3 favorite Radiohead albums (in order) were In Rainbows, OK Computer and the King of Limbs. I would say that the highs of this album are really high. But I think I actually like the King of Limbs better. I think I imagined I liked this album more than I actually did. 

There are three amazing songs on this album and the rest are good to below average. I have no idea why they track listed this album to follow up Paranoid Android with three average songs. Paranoid Android is amazing. The album starts off good with Airbag and right into an exceptional song. And I had thought the album was better throughout. But it was good, it was fine. Not top 10 albums of all time. Paranoid Android, Karma Police and No Surprises are legitimately great songs. Paranoid Android is not on my list of top 100 songs, but after listening to it again, I would probably think to include it. 

OK Computer, in my opinion, is very good. Not the greatest of all time. But very good and worth a listen. 

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Album #2: OK Computer Thoughts:

Spoiler

Shit album cover, what is it even meant to be or represent? I looked at the notes on the cover on Wikipedia and it just makes Thom Yorke sound like a pretentious knob. As RPS said, if you looked at it and judged it objectively only on the cover, you wouldn't listen to it; and to prove the point, until now I haven't,.

Speaking of Thom Yorke, fucking hell is voice is grating. I almost gave up on Airbag because I thought it was rubbish.

Paranoid Android had a bit more too it musically at least. The last minute of it kicks up a notch into something more to my liking.

The grating voice has mellowed out a bit now we're onto Subterranean Homesick Alien, but in a way I don't think it's really got much better. It sounds like a first draft of a Muse song. Overall though it's probably my favourite of the three so far. Exit Music (For A Film) wasn't bad but seemed very similar.

I actually quite liked Let Down, but it's putting me off how similar his voice is to Matt Bellamy. If I was listening blind without knowing what it was, and you told me it was an early Muse album, I really don't think I'd have questioned it.

Karma Police was really good. This and Paranoid Android stand out so far. I really think this album suffers from my having listened to Muse first, these two jump out because they don't feel quite as Muse-like.

Fitter Happier is an odd interlude but I guess it fits the theme of the album.

Electioneering is the first song that made me instantly pay attention, really like the intro and the whole song is just much more my thing.

Last three tracks didn't do a lot for me.

I'm gonna be honest, most of the album felt a bit slow and plodding and I don't really see what's lauded as so great about it? There were maybe three, four possibly, tracks I'd go back to and not in a hurry.

 

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37 minutes ago, Bad News Jericode said:

Album #2: OK Computer Thoughts:

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Shit album cover, what is it even meant to be or represent? I looked at the notes on the cover on Wikipedia and it just makes Thom Yorke sound like a pretentious knob. As RPS said, if you looked at it and judged it objectively only on the cover, you wouldn't listen to it; and to prove the point, until now I haven't,.

Speaking of Thom Yorke, fucking hell is voice is grating. I almost gave up on Airbag because I thought it was rubbish.

Paranoid Android had a bit more too it musically at least. The last minute of it kicks up a notch into something more to my liking.

The grating voice has mellowed out a bit now we're onto Subterranean Homesick Alien, but in a way I don't think it's really got much better. It sounds like a first draft of a Muse song. Overall though it's probably my favourite of the three so far. Exit Music (For A Film) wasn't bad but seemed very similar.

I actually quite liked Let Down, but it's putting me off how similar his voice is to Matt Bellamy. If I was listening blind without knowing what it was, and you told me it was an early Muse album, I really don't think I'd have questioned it.

Karma Police was really good. This and Paranoid Android stand out so far. I really think this album suffers from my having listened to Muse first, these two jump out because they don't feel quite as Muse-like.

Fitter Happier is an odd interlude but I guess it fits the theme of the album.

Electioneering is the first song that made me instantly pay attention, really like the intro and the whole song is just much more my thing.

Last three tracks didn't do a lot for me.

I'm gonna be honest, most of the album felt a bit slow and plodding and I don't really see what's lauded as so great about it? There were maybe three, four possibly, tracks I'd go back to and not in a hurry.

 

Spoiler

It's funny you mention Muse a lot because Muse didn't shake off the Radiohead comparisons until maybe two albums ago. Radiohead undoubtedly had a massive influence on the early 2000s post-Britpop bands, but I'd argue The Bends captured their imaginations way more than OK Computer. And honestly, I prefer The Bends. OK Computer was their way of running away from that Bends sound but... they should've taken their head out of their arses and embraced it a bit more.

I've listened to OK Computer again only recently. Some cracking tracks on here like Paranoid Android, Let Down and No Surprises. But presentationally I'll always remember @Skummy's comment about them being electronica for beginners. Radiohead aren't being as obtuse here as they think they are, and their creative direction boils down to embarrassment that the bloke from Travis stole Thom Yorke's singing range.

The album's a decent 3.5/5 - I reckon it's the proclaimed best of all time because it dropped as Britpop was dying, and the music press desperately needed to champion something. Like @RPS, I think King of Limbs is better too - it achieves their intended vision far better than this.

 

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Spoiler

 

In the early 2000s, it seemed like OK Computer had been firmly ensconced as a canonical Great Album, and I've never really got on with it.

There are a few things going on there. To be an elitist snob about it, for a long time a lot of my music tastes were pretty out there, and while I tend to think of most of what I listen to now as being fairly unremarkable, I'm still routinely told that I listen to "weird shit". Whether that's free jazz, Japanese noise, Krautrock, drone rock, early electronica, mid-20th century avant-garde composers, outsider art or unusual "world music", I just like exploring what's out there, what the outer limits of a genre are, and what's possible in music. As someone who DJ'd, worked in record shops, and wrote about music for a long time, I kind of see all that as the natural extension of all that crate digging and obsessing over band's influences and so on - if I read a description of a band that sounds like nothing I've heard before, I'm going to check them out. If I see a band that I thought were fairly unique talk about their influences or previous bands they used to be in, I would check them out. I'm currently reading a history of drone music that's led me to listen to a lot of Indian and Middle Eastern music that's all new to me.

Anyway, the reason for that bit of "look how kooky my tastes" are eclecticism is that I just never really gelled with Radiohead being heralded as a particular inventive or "experimental" band, and OK Computer was always singled out as being emblematic of that. And it just isn't. It's "experimental music" for NME readers. 

(Or, as I've just seen @GA! refer to me having apparently said before - electronica for beginners. Same thing, really - I'm sure it sounds fresh if you haven't heard everyone who did it before and did it better)

 

The other thing, and it's funny that @Bad News Jericode mentioned Muse, is that in the early '00s my brother's approach to music was very different to mine. While I just wanted to take in as much as possible, from as many artists as possible, he would drill down into individual bands and buy everything they ever released; I'm talking multiple versions of every single, Japan-only releases, the works. For a couple of years, the two bands he was into were Muse and Radiohead, and it's given me a fractious relationship with both, when he's in the room next to me with a better sound system than me blaring out those two bands at top volume and never anything else. I think one's personal relationship with music, and nostalgia attached to it, is a really important facet of how we interact with the music we love, but unfortunately the flip side of that is that it's also tied to music I was already just fucking sick of twenty years ago. 

That said, I'm at a point now where I very rarely hear the music of Radiohead, so can appreciate it a little more on its own merits. But I still find them, by and large, very boring. I don't like Thom Yorke's voice - outside of one Neil Young cover he did - because it just lacks any real emotion or heft to it, it's "voice as instrument", but not a very good instrument. "No Surprises" and "Karma Police" aren't bad songs, but his voices makes them feel an absolute dirge. "Paranoid Android", "Electioneering" and "Exit Music" are the best songs on the album, and largely because they're the least Thom Yorke-y. 

There's a dub cover album called "Radiodread", and the version of "Airbag" on there is better than the original, which is pretty damning. Similarly, drag act Kiki & Herb did a much, much better version of "Exit Music" than Radiohead did. 

So, yeah. Radiohead. Not for me.

 

 

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I genuinely think I'd have enjoyed it more if I'd never heard a Muse song. As it is it just sounds like a first draft before they polished it and got a better singer. If you give me a choice of Muse or Radiohead, I'm always picking Muse.

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3 hours ago, GA! said:

The album's a decent 3.5/5 - I reckon it's the proclaimed best of all time because it dropped as Britpop was dying, and the music press desperately needed to champion something. Like @RPS, I think King of Limbs is better too - it achieves their intended vision far better than this.

Which is wild. 1997 had so much going on. On the electronic side, Bjork, Daft Punk, the Chemical Brothers, and the Prodigy all released masterpieces that year. Hip hop was also really great - B.I.G, Missy Elliott, and Wu-Tang all released very good albums that year. But as you said rock music was on the serious decline. Grunge was long dead, brit pop was dying, nu metal was just start to boil up and indie music was not cool enough for mainstream press. 

I have always thought it was wild in the year that four electronic masterpieces were released, OK Computer was the album the music press decided to hold up as a masterpiece. 

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Just finished my first playthrough.  Enjoyed that quite a lot, if I'm being honest. Radiohead were never my bag back in the day, but my tastes have certainly expanded since then. 

For me, the album pased by relatively swiftly for nearly 54 minutes. We were rarely far away from at least a 'good' song and that helped move things along at a decent clip. 

Highlights for me were Airbag, Paranoid Android, Exit Music (For A Film), Fitter Happier, Electioneering, No Surprises and Lucky, with my overall favs being Exit Music, Electioneering and No Surprises. 

Score wise, my gut says this is closer to very good (3.5/5) than great (4/5) for me. That might change with further spins. 

Pleasantly surprised on the whole! 

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I have to admit, I've always kind of hated Radiohead but as I've grown older I've grown softer. I'm about to fire this album up and give more of a matured and wise opinion as opposed to "lol that sucks it's not punk". 

Ok so Airbag, I love the fuzzed out guitar to start this one, not bad at all. AND there comes Thom Yorke to ruin it with his vocals. Man, I loved that fuzzy intro and the music itself isn't bad at all, but I can't see myself wanting to listen to this often. Musically, drummer is awesome, rhythm section in general are tight, but this feels like too much going on for the sake of going on. I feel like if you get rid of the weird Christmas bells in the background, and just sorta stick with the fuzz guitar and cool rhythm you'd have a banger. I get that isn't Radioheads deal but less is more. I feel sorta like a hypocrite though because I think in a different context all of these different effects and textures could work, but this just isn't doing it for me. 

Paranoid Android....I feel like I should know this one. I remember this name, GOD I HATE THOM YORKE'S FUCKING VOICE. The music again is really solid. if Radiohead were instrumental I think I could totally get high as shit and enjoy this stuff, but Thom Yorke again man. Ok, right around the 2:00 mark, this is a reallllly good riff, really dig this one. Ok nice, yeah I remember this one. Now that same riff gets heavier, very nicely done, I dig this here. Tell ya what, two songs in and I am pretty damn impressed with how good Radiohead sounds. The band is tight, the production is really fucking smooth, no instrument feels overbearing or lost in the mix. AH yes I now remember this song and the music video. This is a very good song honestly. 

Subterranean Homesick Alien, ok title is obviously paying homage to Bob Dylan, but a clever title. But meh....this one aint doing it for me 

Exit Music for a Film. Eh. Feels like he's trying to channel Pink Floyd here. Leave it to Pink Floyd dude. 

Alright I'm losing steam, can't comment on every song...

But realistically, I did enjoy this more than I thought I would. I probably wont really revisit, but Paranoid Android was quite good. I agree with Skummy though, the thought that this is some groundbreaking work of art is just absurd. This feels more like an artist that  is wearing their influences on their sleeve, none of this feels particularly ground breaking, especially in 97 when so many before them did similar music but did so much better (like I especially feel like Sonic Youth or David Bowie did a lot of what he's trying to do so so much better. Weird comparisons maybe but thats the vibe I'm getting. Wow yeah, Radiohead is if Sonic Youth and David Bowie had a lesser but self indulgent love child).

Like, a lot of this just feels like them adding chorus or reverb effects for the sake of it when just going for a simple approach would have been better. 

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After doing an album picked by the critics and music fans, I decided lets see what the masses like. I randomly picked one of the best selling albums of all time and this week we are talking about...

Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill. Jagged Little Pill has claimed sales of 33 million copies. That is A LOT. It is a few million less than the population of Canada (37 million), the birthplace of Alanis. It is also, according to the compilation on Acclaimed Music of critics list, the 348 best album of all time. 

Mid-week I will post 5 random albums for us to pick for next week. 

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This group has actually prompted me to start my discog run through for Radiohead. Did Pablo Honey and The Bends earlier today. Both decent enough without flooring me me (2.5/5 and 3/5 respectively for me). Looking forward to the musical left turn that is Kid A next. 

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adore Jagged Little Pill. There's basically no way I could approach that album with any kind of unbiased, objective take. It's ridiculously of its time, but I don't have a bad word to say about it.

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This was probably one of the first CDs I was ever obsessed with. I was 9 when this album came out. My mother loved Alanis Morisette. I do not knot if she still loves the album to this day, because her love of music is more tangential than mine. But I can distinctly remember listening to this album hundreds of time on the family CD player. Like Skummy, it probably would be difficult for me to approach this album from a more "neutral" perspective. 

Lets start with with the album cover. It is ugly, but in a way that makes sense. I actually really love the red, white and green utilized in the album. It is very distinct. 

I listened to this album all weekend. I think of the three records listened to so far, this is my favorite. 

The song writing is astounding, which is funny because of all the shit Ironic gets. Alanis is instantly quotable on the major songs like One Hand In My Pocket, Head Over Feet, All I Really Want, and You Learn. Also, I am not the biggest fan of ballads, but the ballads are pretty good. I find them all at least mildly interesting. Alanis' voice is also fucking killer. She emotes so well and plays with her range all the time. 

But this has one of the greatest songs ever released. You Oughta Know. Holy shit this song is amazing. This is is probably in the top 20 songs of all time. The song writing is astounding. Every single lyric in this song is so fucking important. When she says "Did you forget about me, Mr. Duplicity" is such a great example of this. You could get the intent of the song across with "Did you forget about me" but it is throwing the salt in the wound by calling him Mr. Duplicity. You can tell Alanis really felt each verse, each word of this song. 

On "You Oughta Know", I think there are two crucial lyrical moments both in the same verse. Firstly, when she asks "And are you thinking of me when you fuck her". This is great for so many reasons. It just sounds so great in the middle of the song. Firstly, what is Alanis' intent in asking the question. Does she care? Does she want him back? Why is it important to tell the other person? Does she simply want to put more salt in the wound on what an asshole this person is? But more to it, it is a core of insecurity that we never see in most music. Alanis knows she is never giving the person in question in back, but she is imposing her own insecurities of the relationship onto the person who cheated on her. You know that Alanis is truly saying - you fucked me and probably thought of her, but are you going to fuck her and think of me? I think it has been picked up as this provocative statement in the song, but I think it is so interesting. I have listened to this song literal thousands of times. 

But even more so, I think this lyric gets even better when she sings "And every time when you speak her name, does she know how you said you told me you would hold me until you die". I think this line is way more heavy than the first line, but again are on the same theme. On the "when you fuck her" lyric, Alanis is fixated on the sex. Here, Alanis is really coming to terms with the lost of the companion. It is so fucking heavy and great.

The vocal performance on You Oughta Know is probably the greatest rock vocal performance of all time. I cannot think of a rock song where the vocal performance is matched by the fury, anger and self doubt that Alanis expresses in every single bar of this song is incredible. 

Anyways, this is album is excellent and You Oughta Know is better than anything Radiohead or the Beatles ever recorded. 

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This was the first CD I ever owned.

I found it outside my elementary school while I was walking home. The next day while I was telling the tale of my good fortune, another student told me that the CD actually belonged to his big brother and that his mom threw it out the car window because she was mad about the "go down on you in a theater" line. She was terrified that it was going to lead to premarital sex.

I didn't own a CD player until at least five years later. Maybe more. I lost the CD long before that. Me and that other student became best friends though.

His big brother ended up having premarital sex anyway. I guess it turns out when you lose, you actually don't learn. :P

They got teen pregnant and teen married and I'm 90% sure they're still together though.

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I love a feel-good story. 💖

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21 minutes ago, C-MIL said:

This was the first CD I ever owned.

I found it outside my elementary school while I was walking home. The next day while I was telling the tale of my good fortune, another student told me that the CD actually belonged to his big brother and that his mom threw it out the car window because she was mad about the "go down on you in a theater" line. She was terrified that it was going to lead to premarital sex.

I didn't own a CD player until at least five years later. Maybe more. I lost the CD long before that. Me and that other student became best friends though.

His big brother ended up having premarital sex anyway. I guess it turns out when you lose, you actually don't learn. :P

They got teen pregnant and teen married and I'm 90% sure they're still together though.

I'm sure she would make an excellent mother. 

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Jagged Little Pill - 

Never really had a strong opinion on Alanis Morisette, and... I don't think I do now. Pleasant enough voice, somewhat interesting lyrics (though I feel like there were quite a few artists in the 90s doing similar such things). 

That probably all sounds more negative than I intended, haha.

This was a good album. Hand in My Pocket was the stand out song for me, and I don't think anything was particularly poor.  It's a 3/5 for me. I'll probs not choose to listen to the whole thing in one go again, but I'd appily listen to it if others did. 

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The 4 choices for next week are up. We listened to an album from the 60's and two albums from the 90s, so I picked an album from the 70s, 80s, 00s and 10s to listen to. I'll close the poll Sunday and we will move on from Alanis. 

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I went for Thriller. I did Kid A earlier this week as part of the Radiohead binge, and I intend to do Pink Floyd as part of a full discog run through. Prefer MJ to Kendrick Lamar generally.   However, am obviously more than happy to listen to whatever wins :)

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I went for Kendrick Lamar, because I remember being really impressed by the album on release but I don't think I've listened to it since.

I'd be happy with Thriller, though, as I've never really done a deep dive into MJ albums. Kid A and Dark Side Of The Moon I've heard way too much over the years!

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Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly it is.

 

Get listening. 

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