Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Radiohead: OK Computer/Collector's Edition (Capitol, 2009)

Radiohead was yet another rock 'n' roll band that I was behind the curve on, originally dismissing them as just another group of disaffected manic-depressives whining endlessly. It was only when jazz musicians started covering their music and they worked some jazzy flourishes of their own into their album Kid A that I knew the time was nigh for a reappraisal of their music. This was the first album I went back to, and I began to realize that there was a lot more going on beneath the surface of the music than I had previously realized. I have always been a fan of science fiction so I was able to relate to the songs of estranged loneliness like "Paranoid Android" and "Subterranean Homesick Alien" with their bleak soundscapes and haunting tone. Emotional disorder and lack of balance are themes that run throughout the entire album on songs like "No Surprises" and the superb "Karma Police." They even remember how to break out the guitars and actually rock on "Airbag" and the pulsing track "Electioneering." Since this is a collector's edition, the barrel is scraped to add singles, b-sides and live tracks, wisely kept to a second disc to leave the original album intact. There are some interesting remixes and rare tracks recorded for the BBC to round things out. This is a solid collection, and the original album has become one of the more influential albums of the past dozen years or so. The Collector's treatment is probably best left for fans of the group looking to delve a little bit deeper - true believers probably have it all already, and the dabblers might be a bit overwhelmed.
OK Computer: Collector's Edition -

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