An Old Friend Revisited: OK Computer

This is a story about an album that means a lot to me. This is my view on Radiohead’s OK Computer.

OK Computer

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Sixteen years ago, in 1997, I read a review in an obscure music magazine about a band that I knew of but didn’t care so much about and their latest album.  The album was called OK Computer and was the third release of a British band called Radiohead. I knew their previous work – albums Pablo Honey (that was ok) and The Bends(that was even better), but really neither were something that could make me a fan.  But this third album was rated eleven and a half stars out of five (I still don’t get the “half star”), and I had to listen to it immediately. I remember that I bought the CD, went home, and started playing it again and again for a few weeks.

For the first time in my life I had heard the songs that I could completely identify with. This album was so sincere that I imagined anybody who would listen to it would feel as if it had been made only for them and nobody else.

From the opening “Airbag”, across colorful “Paranoid Android”, the climactic “Exit Music (for a film)”, great hits “Karma Police” and “No Surprises” (amazing videos as well), the epic “Lucky”, and closing with “The Tourist”…what an album.  Every single word and every single tone was exactly where it belonged. Later I found out that this album was self-produced, as members of the band didn’t want to make any compromises. I guess this is why listening to OK Computer is such an intimate experience.

I still remember that I didn’t talk about it or suggest it to any of my friends. I wanted to keep it my secret. But of course, that was impossible. Something as good as this couldn’t be kept as a secret. Soon, most of the people I knew and their friends, and friends of their friends, started listening to Radiohead and I felt like I’d been betrayed. I don’t know if you have ever had that moment listening to some band, a song, or an album, thinking that it has been made only for you. It made me angry that everybody started talking about Radiohead. So I pulled out my OK Computer CD from the player and didn’t listen to it for years.

Sixteen years after I can say that I still listen to this album now and then. I still think that OK Computer can stand side by side with Dark Side of the MoonSticky Fingers,Abbey Road…this is an album for centuries to come.  And it still feels the same, as though it had been made for me.  Today, listening to OK Computer is like seeing your best friend from your hometown; you don’t have to be in contact all the time, but when you meet up, it is as if you have never been separated.


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