AOM Logo April 1998

Radiohead: OK Computer


Playing Time: 53:27

Christopher Tocher

After two relatively silent releases, the North American audience can no longer deny Oxford's Radiohead the attention they so rightfully deserve. Their latest release, OK Computer, is most definitely OK!

OK Computer Cover ImageRadiohead's music may not suit some tastes, but those in tune with their style will find much to like on this, the band's most valiant effort to date. To know them is to appreciate their obscure album content - one can also admire their rather maze-like website at

Radiohead's recent burst of North American popularity is long overdue and certainly not surprising given the quality of this release (the band sold out its April 12, 1998 Toronto gig in a matter of hours). Their past two releases, Pablo Honey (1993) and The Bends (1995), brought them nothing but poor radio play and virtual anonymity. With OK Computer, Radiohead will almost certainly concrete their place in the selective and turbulent realm of alternative music.

For the most part, this album steers clear of the traditional pop rut of layered guitar lines, confusing sampling and meaningless lyrics. Throughout, OK Computer demonstrates Radiohead's ability to offer contrast in their music. From the '60s style Let Down, to the drama of The Tourist, the band never strays from its honest, straight-ahead approach. And from funky guitar jangling to outright sensitivity, OK Computer achieves an ideal balance between lyrical and instrumental content, leaving this reviewer hopelessly humming the tunes and turning up the volume.

It is unlikely that OK Computer will find itself collecting dust amongst a plethora of alternative CDs on your shelf. I, for one, appreciate the honesty and variety it offers. Few bands from England or North America have had the same degree of impact on my musical sensitivities as Radiohead. If OK Computer is indicative of the kind of product that will lead us into the next new-music millennium, we must take a deep breath and thank our lucky stars that these young buds are now in full musical bloom.

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