What is the appeal of Radiohead?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Archguy, Jul 31, 2020 at 3:47 AM.

  1. Archguy

    Archguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Richmond VA
    This is not a wind-up. I bought "OK Computer" years ago and tried hard but couldn't get into it. What am I missing? I thought it was dreary, but some people say that about the Smiths and the Cure and those are two of my favorite bands.

    Here's my question, really: What other bands am I likely to enjoy if I'm a Radiohead fan? I'm looking for common ground, if there is any. RH are so revered online that I'd really like to give them a fair shot, and I'm looking for another way in, you might say. Did I start with the wrong album? Or what?
  2. Nitrous

    Nitrous Forum Resident

    Shropshire UK
    Their best album by far is The Bends. I agree with you OK Computer is ok. Some excellent tracks but a lot that’s not that great. I like the band and have most of their albums but apart from The Bends they are all patchy IMO.
    DocShipe, brownie61, 905 and 12 others like this.
  3. Greg Smith

    Greg Smith Forum Resident

    Radiohead can be hard work, but once you are in there is no looking back.... If you ever watch "Meeting People Is Easy," the documentary on them that was done during the OK Computer years, then you'll see exactly how much of that praise was overkill even in the band's opinion, and how they struggled to keep themselves going in the wake of it. Kid A/Amnesiac were an interesting break from what people expected, and I doubt if any other band could have pulled off as big a switcheroo as they did and kept their careers and In Rainbows is a special record.

    They dare to change which is unlike a lot of British bands during that time....I do think the last album could be their swansong though
  4. zither

    zither Forum Lodger

    Listen to In Rainbows several times on headphones before giving up. You may change your mind in a few weeks.
  5. englishbob

    englishbob Its a s*** business

    Kent, England
    If you didn't like "OK Computer" then I'd say give up, seriously
  6. sinfony

    sinfony Forum Resident

    Trying to explain the appeal of a band is probably like trying to explain the appeal of a certain food. Nobody in the world will have the exact same sense of taste as you do.

    My personal take on Radiohead's best would probably be OK Computer so I don't think you've made a bad decision of where to start, but I can recall needing quite a few listens to love the whole album from start to finish. Radiohead aren't exactly a band who are carefully crafting their music to appeal to the broadest number of people. Some people will like it, some won't.
  7. Archguy

    Archguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Richmond VA
    Thanks. I will try "In Rainbows" then. Never heard of "The Bends"..will give that a listen too. That's what I was looking for--a different path into the band from the one I tried.
    DocShipe, MonkeyLizard, ARK and 4 others like this.
  8. Greg Smith

    Greg Smith Forum Resident

    The Bends is probably their most accessible album, excellent but of it's time....
  9. Eleventh Earl of Mar

    Eleventh Earl of Mar Somehow got them all this far.

    New York
    I like Radiohead but pretty much no bands that were contemporary to them after OK Computer, if that makes sense

    The problem is they moved quickly - personally, I would try Kid A and The Bends

    If neither of those do it for you, quit
    MitchLT likes this.
  10. HotelYorba101

    HotelYorba101 Forum Resident

    I would say that there are some bands on paper that I should like but in actuality cannot "click" with. If Radiohead, through trying out different albums, isn't your thing it could just be not your thing - be it Thom's vocal delivery and tone, the songwriting itself, or the arrangements.

    With The Smiths and The Cure I would say there is definitely a lot of times more conventional grooving going on, and with Radiohead even though many of their songs have killer grooves, many songs are more about the ambience and sonic textures. And often times many of those textural songs are in a row on the album which means being in the right mood for it is key

    My favorite albums beyond OK Computer are In Rainbows, Kid A, and A Moon Shaped Pool
  11. Archguy

    Archguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Richmond VA
    Well this is sad. Not only did I mis-title the thread, but I'm listening to 'Karma Police' having just heard 'Creep' and I guess I'd forgotten that RH did either of those. So it's a good thing we're all online and none of you can hit me.

    But seriously, I'm glad I asked and you answered because I'm going to do some serious RH listening, probably for the first time in my life. "Rainbows" next. Then "The Bends". Thanks again.
    trd, ghoulsurgery, Tuco and 2 others like this.
  12. blair207

    blair207 Forum Resident

    Fife, Scotland
    Creep, High and Dry, Fake Plastic Trees and Street Spirit are the songs that broke them to a mainstream audience. A lot of people got off after hearing Kid A. Try The Bends, it’s the guitar album. Even if you like that you might not like the rest.
    DocShipe, ibis, ARK and 2 others like this.
  13. egebamyasi

    egebamyasi Forum Resident

    Worcester, MA
    Really? You're kidding, right? If not start here and read the lyrics as you listen. This is a straightforward guitar based rock album and it's great.
    RockyRaccoon and ARK like this.
  14. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    I never need time to determine whether I like something or not. One listen suffices.
    I can't stand Radiohead.
  15. Son of Ziggy

    Son of Ziggy Forum Resident

    Very overated, The Bends was good, but even that I didn’t see what the fuss was really about.
    Spaceboy, drobo and Dodoz like this.
  16. BigManRestless

    BigManRestless Forum Resident

    I can't really see what all the fuss is about either. OK Computer and Kid A I tried and tried to get into and just couldn't do it. Even now I think it's bizarre that OK Computer is consider by many to be the best album of all time. But we all have different tastes.

    However, I will also chime in for another recommendation for The Bends. That is the one Radiohead album I like from start to finish.
  17. dockofthebay

    dockofthebay Forum Resident

    Warning: This post will confuse and anger some of you. I'm sorry, ok?

    I am a big Radiohead fan.

    I wasn't always.

    I got into them in 2006 as a school friend was really REALLY into them. He had tickets to go see them live, a show I went to. I hated them live because the pit down the front was really rough (the worst I've been in, and I've been to see many heavy rock / metal bands). I decided Radiohead weren't for me, although I agreed that HTTT, The Bends and Kid A were pretty good.

    A year later, they released In Rainbows and it finally clicked. Suddenly, I loved HTTT, The Bends, Kid A, although IR is still the best thing they've done IMO. What a collection of songs, and what a way to release them.

    From there, saw them live again, it clicked. I loved The King of Limbs. It's just so mellow. It's the ideal "Spring" album.

    Here's the bit that will cause people to "Report Post" on me... I can't stand OK Computer. All I can hear are the contemporaries / copy cats who came after, so it's not original or unique to me. It's bland and a bit dull, a few tracks aside - Airbag, Paranoid Android.

    So give some of the other albums a try. I have no doubt that OK Computer was as good as people say it is when it first came out. But things have moved on.
    LivingForever and altaeria like this.
  18. intv7

    intv7 Forum Resident

    Boston, MA, USA
    You don't have to like Radiohead.
  19. adm62

    adm62 Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    Brilliant musicians? Outstanding songs? Most innovative British band since The Fabs?
  20. Pinknik

    Pinknik Senior Member


    ericscho, Micah, moj and 2 others like this.
  21. Zack

    Zack Forum Resident

    Easton, MD
    I too do not get Radiohead.
  22. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
    Well. They aren't anything like the Cure or the Smiths. Other than being Alternative, which just means they aren't your traditional Rock band, they don't share much in common. You can actually dance to the Cure and Smiths. Radiohead isn't a dance band. If you want to get into Radiohead, it'll take or it won't. Listen to a few of their records. It'll sink in or it won't. But like any good music, you just have to let it sink in.
    joshm2286 and ARK like this.
  23. cyril sneer

    cyril sneer Forum Resident

    Exeter, UK
    Radiohead are very hot and cold for me.

    The Bends, OK Computer, In Rainbows = Brilliant

    Hail To The Thief, Amnesiac = good

    The rest of their albums I just find to be very, very overrated. I sort of feel just having the name Radiohead attached to some of these other releases puts them on some sort pedestal that I don't think the music actually warrants.
    pinkrudy and aravel like this.
  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    I like Radiohead, I have their album box set.
    I think the problem, is that their significance is overblown.... so when someone comes to listen to them, the expectations are too high.
  25. TheGoodDoctor

    TheGoodDoctor It used to go something like that

    The issue with Radiohead is there’s no overarching sound.

    Early stage - Pablo Honey LP which is (not particularly great) indie by numbers. A couple of good songs such as Creep (even if played to death) and Anyone can Play Guitar

    First mid period - the Bends and Ok Computer. Much more complex indie which marked them out as being different from their contemporaries who were still producing landfill indie. It was right time right place for me.

    second mid-period- Kid A and Amnesiac. Total departure. Might as well be a different band. Lost interest in them.

    later mid period - Hail to Thief and In Rainbows where they cross their previous mid periods. Not really fussed by Hail.. but Rainbows is my favourite album of theirs

    after that I don’t really know because I fell right off after a few listens!

Share This Page