Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Radiohead Reissue OK Computer

Radiohead have reissued OK Computer, and that's a good thing. This is where Radiohead decided to start abandoning the three guitar format and use dissonance and jittery noise to enhance their songs.

You really can't fault them for reissuing their early albums. This is not an attempt to shake some change out of the pockets of whatever fans are left. These are historical documents, and while people will tell you that this was Radiohead at their peak, I disagree. I think they did a lot better on The Bends and that one will always be my favorite. It comes down to having more guitar and less of Jonny Greenwood's forays into densely layered chords and ambient noise. 

OK Computer arrived with a lot of fanfare in the summer of 1997 and a lot of hype that turned out to be justified. But would you believe me if I told you that it has never really sold a lot of copies? 1.5 million in Britain and 2 million in the United States. These are not substantial numbers when compared to many of their contemporaries from that same year (Oasis have sold three times as many copies of (What's the Story) Morning Glory. The Verve have sold over 3.2 million copies of Urban Hymns and The Corrs have sold nearly twice as many copies of Talk on Corners). Radiohead do not have an album that has cracked the top 60 sellers in Britain, but they are a commercial force to be reckoned with. When they tour, they do very well.

They are that rare British band that are much bigger in America than England. Take that Britpop!

This album has fallen out of rotation for me. I do like some of the songs, but there's a whole raft of Radiohead songs that I enjoy quite a bit more. I like Bodysnatchers and There, There from the later period and I think they are no where near done as a band if they choose to keep making music. Of everyone who ever went up against them, Radiohead come away with the artistic vision intact. 

Really, though, I was hoping to see the band release their live shows, similar to what Pearl Jam and Phish have done in the past. Radiohead put out great albums, but their live shows are amazing. I don't think there is a real "full concert" Radiohead album out there, and if I'm wrong on that, please let me know. There are so many fantastic bootlegs, festival appearances, and other recordings out there, so I feel comfortable saying that, in the future, the band needs to release more of their live catalog in a remastered format.

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