Release Date: 22nd Feb 1993 [UK], 23rd April 1993 [US], Dec 1993 [Japan]
Label: Capitol/EMI Records
Producers: Chris Hufford, Paul Q. Kolderie, Sean Slade
Recorded: Chipping Norton Studio and Courtyard Studio, Oxford, England.
Known Formats: CD, Cassette, Vinyl
Peak Chart Position: #25 [UK], #32 [US]
Radiohead's debut album is widely regarded as 'good' but nothing more. Though die-hard fans love it and almost everyone
likes a few songs, the general opinion is that it was the worst of their 4 albums so far. A new band with no success under
their belt, Creep rocketed them to fame in the US and Pablo Honey soon followed. The album isn't bad, and is excellent for a
debut. In my opinion, though, it feels a bit rushed. Every song has its merits, but the overall feeling is that it could have been better.
However, Pablo Honey reeks of Radiohead's obvious potential to do better.
Released in 1993, Radiohead's first album didn't exactly rocket them to fame. Most of the publicity for it came from the
one and only hit single of the album, Creep. Pablo Honey was released to mixed reviews,
but after releasing a few more singles the band grew a small following. Radiohead started out on a European tour when it heard
that Creep had become a hit in the US. As soon as band members learned this, they packed their bags and
left to tour America extensively. As an opening act for Belly, and Tears For Fears.
Though Creep was the reason Radiohead became a success, many critics claimed they were
one hit wonders. Pablo Honey went gold, and Creep was re-released in the UK to wider acclaim,
but none of the other singles really made any impact. It seemed Radiohead would be remembered for that one song, alone. And at
the time, this was an understandable opinion.
Heavily influenced by the Pixies, at this time. Pablo Honey is very much grunge rock. Whether intended or not, the guitar
sounds, and Thom's singing tend to follow the same pattern that life is pants, and so let's make loud noise while we scream
about it. This sounds a lot better than it seems, but still...
Pablo Honey peaked at #25 in the UK charts, and #32 in the US charts. Overall it isn't the strongest of albums, but for a debut
it has many merits and displays huge potential for the band which went on to much greater things.
"The second album is going to be much better than the first. The first one was quite flawed, and hopefully the new one
will make more sense. I like the first album, but we were very naive. We didn't really know how to use the studio." - Thom
"The reaction when it come out was very ambivalent. People went, 'Yeah, there's something there' but it was difficult to find'. And "Creep"
was one of the songs on the first album where we did start to realize what a studio could do - that there's a lot more to it than just
going in, setting up and trying to make it sound like it's live." - Thom
"The first album was quite varied and there's still going to be a lot of styles. lt's [the 2nd album] going to be a lot calmer and a
lot simpler, without being boring. The hysteria will be more subtle. We're learnin to play quietly again, and to rely
on the strength of the songs." - Thom
Pablo Honey is a good album. The mood is constant, and the message 'life isn't very good' is easily brought across. Though
Creep was the only hit single of the album, no one can accuse Radiohead of creating a disc
with a single, and fillers. The other tracks are all good. They don't compare to Creep in
my opinion, but they aren't just melodies to fill space for an album made to host one song. Just as much effort has been
put into the whole album.
I think Radiohead could have done better, with the tracklisting. I personally prefer some of the Pablo Honey b-sides to tracks
that made the album. But I think at the time, Radiohead were a relatively new band. Creep
had shot them to fame, and they were under pressure to produce an album to go with it. No one can say they didn't try. I just
think the band were maybe not experienced enough yet to realise their full potential for an album.