Release Date: 16th June 1997 [UK], 1st July 1997 [US], 21st May 1997 [Japan]
Label: Capitol/EMI Records
Producers: Radiohead and Nigel Godrich.
Recorded: No idea, mate.
Known Formats: CD, Minidisc, Cassette, Vinyl
Peak Chart Position: #1 [UK], #21 [US]
From day one, every critic loved OK Computer. The reviews praised it as the best, and most original rock album to
be released for years and it shot straight in at #1 in the UK album charts. Radiohead headed off on another extensive
touring period. But the pressure of their new status as award winning geniuses of rock music began to take its tole. Suddenly,
this band who had been ignored, was all over every magazine cover, in every interview, top of every poll, and in every award
list. Documented in the Meeting People Is Easy video, Radiohead became very paranoid, and
burned out by the amount of fame that suddenly hit them. And decided after the OK Computer tours, to take a long break away from it all.
The Bends was, and remains a brilliant album. Radiohead proved to a world that didn't want to believe them, that they could make great music.
And great music they made. So what exactly do you do now? Surely they couldn't create a third album that was better than
their last? Don't be silly! Haha....... They did.
From the earliest of stages, OK Computer was being praised left, right and centre as an astounding CD. Amazingly original, yet beautiful tracks graced the album
and every writer worth his pen and paper was writing about just how great it was. It shot straight to #1 in the UK album charts. And Radiohead
went from being a band that were ignored by the public, and rejected by the media, to the most hyped over rock band in the world.
They went again, on a very long promotional tour. Playing all their songs to sell-out crowds all over the world. Being followed
everywhere by journalists and interviewers. Radiohead was suddenly popular. People wanted to hear about them. They were even winning
awards and polls all over the place. But the band aren't the type to bask in fame. As the video Meeting People Is Easy documented,
the endless amount of interviews, and media interference took a huge toll on the band. They started to become very weary towards the end of their touring schedule.
And decided when the tour was finished, they were going to take a very long break from it all. They disappeared from all forms of media limelight completely for 3 whole years.
"I was really amazed of how people described the sound. Like the sound of Edīs guitar at the start of No Surprises or the way
Airbag starts. One sounds like a childīs toy, the other sounds like a car accident. And for people to pick up on those things was a real fucking kick." - Thom
"We weren't listening to guitar bands, we were thoroughly ashamed of being a guitar band. So we bought loads of keyboards and learned how to use them, and when we got bored we went back to guitars." - Thom
"I don't think it's that good an album, really. There are good songs on it but there are songs that just sound like dead ends, that sound like it's the last time we can do that. I don't think we've finished yet." - Jonny
"If you thought there were no singles on The Bends, you should hear this one !!" - Colin
"It's not The Bends, the Sequel, or of The Prequel. But, there's a continuity. You don't get the feeling we've ripped up all the songs from The Bends and re-invented ourselves in a horribly pop-tastic way." - Colin
"I think the third album will be celebratory and maybe not so inward-looking, that would be great. I think thinking is a good thing but there are times when you say fuck it. We're allowed to make mistakes." - Ed
"When we first delivered the album to Capitol, their first reaction was, more or less, `Commercial suicide.' They weren't really into it. At that point, we got The Fear. How is this going to be received?" - Phil
OK Computer is the best album in the world, in my opinion. It isn't just an add on to The Bends. It says something different
altogether. But at the same time, the great Radiohead sound discovered with the previous album has not been lost, only improved
for this one. Throughout the album, in both lyrics and music, the message remains one of anger and fear towards the outside world. Towards the system
and all its people. OK Computer is very much about the things which are out of our control. The things we can't stop no matter how much we want to. The way life is
becoming an act in a pre-defined play, rather than actual life itself. No song on the album describes this feeling better than Fitter Happier.
Each song is amazing in its own right, with a unique mood and sound. But the order in which they are placed is absolute perfection.
The sound, rather than being abrupt gear changes between song, is a flow of constant music from track to track. I don't
mean each track integrates seamlessly with the next. But, that each track doesn't change the feeling of the previous. It's like
each one is a continuation of the last.
The previous two albums were heavy on the guitars. OK Computer is less so... As the guitars were bashed and thrashed in Pablo Honey,
they were played with skill in The Bends. Now they are being used in a different way. A more subtle way. OK Computer is still a prominently guitar driven album,
but it's much less noticeable. There are many more sounds to listen to. The way it plays is not stereotypical of guitar bands. Basically what we have here, is an album that dared to be different.
An album that did so brilliantly. Kicking every 'one-hit wonder' critic firmly in the teeth, and putting Radiohead on a par with The Beatles as the most original, and greatest
music creators of their generation.