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Radiohead Week 2: Ok Computer

yellowy eyes

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ok then..(I apologize for my grammar, I'm sure i've made mistakes)


A powerful riff that mixes electric guitar and cello is the promising introduction to Radiohead's Ok Computer, A modern day masterpiece, an album that's been praised since it's release througout the whole world, in 1998 it won the Grammy for the best Alternative Music Performance and it's constantly found on the top ten lists of greatest albums of all time. Plus it's inspired and keeps inspiring numerous musicians.

Ok Computer deserves all the praise it's getting. At least the album has convinced me to believe that. It's because Ok Computer truly touches your "soul". It's got painful rawness and honesty in all its despair but still has optimism about seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.


Though it's not a theme album there's still cohesion. Ok Computer is an album that songs deal with the issues about the state of a modern man tackled with too much information and faced with numerous institutions that don't seem to speak the same language with him. A confused person who's terrified to face this world that keeps rapidly changing and drifting further and further away from him and his emotional needs. A "lost child", feeling like he's carrying the whole world on his shoulders, at times wanting to shut himself away from it all.

Loneliness, paranoia, sadness, anger, despair, agony, frustration, exhaustion, hope. Feelings many can relate to. Listening to this album makes you face them but also gives a long, warm, understanding embrace. It actually gives me strength. after 13 years or its release, I feel OK Computer is still topical. It definitely doesn't sound old.




Ok Computer is a perfect combination of heartbreaking lyrics and great compositions and impeccable melodies. The album art is also an inseparable part of the albums entirety. Everything works together flawlessly. The music speaks the same language with Thom Yorke's clever lyrics; There's some chaos and distortion but also calmness. The album flows beautifully as whole but the songs are very strong individually also. The album is also very versatile. I've never gotten bored when listening to the whole album through.


(so this kinda sucks, don't really know what I'm talking about here heh)

the sounds on this album are an eargasmic mix of different electronic effects(llike looping) and the use of many different instruments (strings, glockenspiels, mellotrons...) alongside with the more traditional rock sound (album is still clearly a "guitar album"). Jonny Greenwood's spacey guitaring is simply amazing. Doesn't take a musician to figure that out. Thom Yorke's distinguished singing tears your heart apart with it's raw emotional beauty. OK Computer is a step (or a few) away from the more "basic rock" sounds of their previous album "The Bends". It was maybe a pointer towards what was to come, their more experimental era with Kid A and Amnesiac.



Ok Computer is the album that really set Radiohead apart from other bands for me. I've started to love it more and more.

When I first heard the album it was something I had never heard before. It was "weird", kind of scary, but intriguing. I wanted to hear more. And I still do.


some stats:


Ok Computer


Release: 16 June 1997

Lenght: 53:27

Producers: Nigel Godrich, Radiohead




Paranoid Android [1st single: released 26 May 1997]

Subterranean Homesic Alien

Exit Music (For A Film)

Let Down

Karma Police [2nd single: released 25 Aug 1997]

Fitter Happier


Climbing Up The Walls

No Surprises [3rd single: released: 12 Jan 1998]


The Tourist




a few lines about all the songs + some videos: (stuff I've heard, read on a magazine/the internet, thought..)



an hopeful tune for the starters, surviving a high-speed car crash and starting over. The references to reincarnation are inspired by The Tibetan Book of the Dead, I read from wiki. (I heard Pyramid Song was inspired by that book too.) starts with the mentioned riff that mixes electric guitars and cello.

Amazing guitar solo. Bassline's a killer.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6cJJ39PpBU]YouTube- Radiohead-Airbag @ Eurockeennes 97[/ame]


Paranoid Android:

1st single release.

kind of weird but Amazing "rock-opera"

Paranoia, anger. Falling down.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTDx0oCehtg]YouTube- Radiohead - Paranoid Android (Live on Later... With Jools Holland 2001)[/ame]



Subterranean Homesick Alien:

how the life in the big city sometimes feels like. You feel like getting abducted by aliens.

again, amazing guitars and a reference to a Dylan song in the title.


Exit Music (for a film):

Haunting and sad. Made for a film, "Romeo + Juliet"

escaping together "before all hell breaks loose."

from gentle guitar strumming to a mind-blowing climax with Thom's piercing vocal and then finally quieting down with Thom groaning: "we hope that you choke, that you choke." Chills every time.


Let Down:

Thom has said that it's "about an enormous feel of being trapped"


how you feel like you're just hanging around, not really connected with the world that's happening "out there" and how disappointing it all feels like. just floating from one day to another.


Karma Police:

also released as a single. One of Radiohead's most popular tunes. at least the title is influenced by an in-joke.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eN8jJoRo394]YouTube- [HD] Radiohead - Karma Police (Glastonbury 2003)[/ame]



Fitter Happier:

not a song, it's a cheklist (read by a computer voice) of how to live a good (?) life. The piano makes this piece hauntingly beautiful too.

Thom has said that "the reason that Fitter Happier exists is 'cos of mental background noise."



About politics. Rocking tune. Apparently inspired by Noam Chomsky.


Climbing Up the Walls:

very powerful and effective song about fear and paranoia that will make you lose your sanity.

Schizophrenia. The scream at the end is terrifying. as is the whole song. Noisy, strange sounds, strings, Thom's voice kind of muffled. Brilliant.




No Surprises:

The most terrifying lullaby. A suicide song. When you get tired of trying. So sad but oh, so beautiful.


this is one of my favourite performances of the song:


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI53IYievtY]YouTube- [HD] Radiohead - No Surprises (Live @ Le Reservoir)[/ame]




Was released already in '95 on the first War Child compilation album: "Help!"

It was the first song that made me really notice Radiohead. I actually had borrowed the "Help!" -compilation from the library and Lucky really blew me away. It still has a special meaning for me.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eu5LGa028Wk]YouTube- Radiohead "Lucky" Live[/ame]


It's a hopeful song. maybe you've met someone who can pick you up and running despite all the shit going on around.


The Tourist:

Jonny's song. a reminder that we need to take things slowly sometimes.




so yeah that's it. I know i kind of repeated some stuff but oh well.


my own favourite songs if forced to pick three, are Lucky, Let Down, Paranoid Android


so I dunno, list favourite song/s up to three, and tell your feelings about the album.


(haha I don't even know how you put a poll up :P )

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The Tourist is great as well. If I'd have to pick favourites from this album, it's definitely Let Down - Exit Music - The Tourist.


But to be honest I don't care that much for the album as a whole for some reason. I love nearly every track on it (except for the ones that Muse basically plagiarized) but I always just listen to single tracks instead of the whole thing. :disappointed:

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Ella you did a fantastic job describing the album. :nice:


It's hard to choose a favourite song as they're all amazing, each in its own way. But I especially like Exit Music (For A Film) because I always thought of it as a wish to escape from bad things and start anew, which isn't really possible. Who can run away from all the bad things, eh? Then it's Lucky, a promise for something better, maybe a person who can cheer you up. And in the end, Climbing Up The Walls. This might have been my least listened to song off the album but the melody and the lyrics never failed to create that eerie feeling. It actually makes me scared every time I hear it.

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OK Computer is such a great album and there are so many great songs.


I find it is the one album that has many songs that really speak to me on an and personal emotional level (mostly songs Let Down, No Surprises, and The Tourist).


I find that it is pretty much close to being a perfect album (though I would've gotten rid of Electioneering... to me it sounds like a left-over Bends song).


This album was also the first album that I somewhat listened to by Radiohead. It was given to my by a friend of my brothers. I listened to it initially and found it to be the most depressing music I had ever heard (well would you blame me for hearing songs like Exit Music and the end of Paranoid Android that sound cold and or have desperation to the singing).


Still the first songs that I liked off the album were Karma Police and also Exit Music (For a Film) [the way the drums came in is just so amazing).


From beginning to start the album is full of so many well crafted songs and it has been considered an album that so many artists strive to get to.







Favorite song – The Tourist/Let Down/Subterranean Homesick Alien

Least favorite song – Electioneering

Most listened to song (iTunes/last.fm) - Let Down

Least listened to song (iTunes/last.fm) - Fitter, Happier

Favorite song musically - Paranoid Android

Favorite song lyrically – Let Down

Favorite line of the album - One day, I am gonna grow wings, A chemical reaction, hysterical and useless

Most overrated song - uhh... hard to pick but Lucky?!?!

Most underrated song - The Tourist or Subterranean Homesick Alien

Current favorite - The Tourist

Favorite when you first listened to the album - Karma Police/Exit Music (for a film)


What song best exemplifies each of the members off the album

Thom - The Tourist/Exit Music/Paranoid Android

Jonny - The Tourist/Paranoid Android

Ed - Paranoid Android

Phil - Exit Music

Colin – Paranoid Android






Also great job at presenting the album! :thumbsup:

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Favorite song – Paranoid Android

Least favorite song – Fitter Happier

Most listened to song (iTunes/last.fm) - Paranoid Android

Least listened to song (iTunes/last.fm) - Fitter, Happier

Favorite song musically - Paranoid Android

Favorite song lyrically – This one is in my opinion their greatest album lyrically, it's hard to pick one,.

Favorite line of the album - There are too many.

Most overrated song - none

Most underrated song - The Tourist and climbing up the walls

Current favorite - Airbag

Favorite when you first listened to the album - Karma Police


Definitely my favourite Radiohead album. It's just perfect. A blend between conventional alternative rock and some experimentation. Vocals weren't as powerful and clean as in the prior albums but rather touching and raw, beautiful and sour. The atmospheric, dreamy and spatial guitars, the groovy basslines that seem to fit in the precise moment, the solid and substantial drumming, the computer effects and epic keyboard arrangements creat dense layers of sublime music. Lyrics mirror that sense of anguish and shallowness but in the end as Ella pointed out give you a sense of optimism. OKC FTW

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This album has changed my life and will always be relevant to my life. Its just got that spark and that power to grip your soul right out of you. It makes you think hard about the world, it makes you cry, it makes you happy and sad at the same time. Its a very hard feeling to describe.

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If Fitter Happier and Electioneering wern't on this album it'd be undisputed as the greatest record of forever.


As it stands, it has to settle for being the greatest album of the 90s.


I agree with electioneering. Though I don't really listen to fitter happier too much I still feel works well in terms of the rest of the album

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