Essential Listening: Radiohead changed the direction of rock music with OK Computer


Radiohead’s Ok Computer continues to be just as good twenty-four years later.

Sam Tobiczyk, Staff Writer

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OK Computer by Radiohead is one of the most influential albums of the ’90s, and yet still sounds just as great 24 years later. 

Radiohead’s third album, it stands out as possibly the best in the group’s discography, which includes a field of legendary albums. The album was released at the twilight of the grunge era, and paved the way for alternative rock and electronic music in the 2000s.

The album has twelve songs, each of them great, and each of them with their own personality and poise. Songs like “Paranoid Android,” “Lucky,” and “Karma Police” are some of the more popular tracks, yet the other songs on the album are just as good as these ones.

Songs like “Airbag” and “Electioneering” can generally be seen as the more rock-oriented songs. Compared to the rest of the album, they are fast moving, with intense guitar, and great lyrics.

“Subterranean Homesick Alien,” “Let Down,” and “No Surprises” are some of the more slow-moving entries on the album. They are filled with beautiful and upbeat guitar, with bursts of electronics and elegant lyrics.

The most intense songs on OK Computer are found in the tracks “Paranoid Android,” “Exit Music (For a Film),” and “Karma Police.” These are filled with heavy sounds and lyrics, causing the listener to focus on them every time they play.

“Lucky,” “The Tourist,” and “Climbing up the Walls” are the most despondent selections of the album. They contain almost dreary sounds that perfectly contrast with the happier-sounding songs that come before them.

The song “Fitter Happier” is the best example of OK Computer’s greatness. The album changes the song from sounds that are derivative of electronic droning, into an essential part of the album as whole. A listener may consider the song as “not even music” on its own, but paired with the other songs, it becomes integral to listen to every time the album is played.

While many who listen to this album may look for connections between songs, OK Computer’s tracks are truly beyond grouping, with the only true association being the sounds or pace. Each song is truly a unique experience, with no song having the same meaning or impact.

Radiohead’s OK Computer, considered by many to be one of the best albums of all time, is an intense, emotional, and beautiful album that anyone can appreciate with a little extra effort.