Radiohead, Ranked Worst to Best

Picture me in the second half of seventh grade, an isolated alien of a 13-year-old boy who had just moved between states and was still struggling to find his place. It turns out that there a lot of other isolated aliens who are either drowning in their own self-righteousness about how their taste of music is so superior to yours and disparaging Top 40 music like it’s the Antichrist or trying to do something, anything to find other isolated aliens just like them to give them some relief in the fact that they’re not alone in this strange, cruel world. Luckily for me, I sorta fit into both of those categories, and given the circumstances and the timing, I don’t think Radiohead could’ve met me at a better time.

My entry album was OK Computer. Up to that point, my music listening generally consisted of enjoying certain songs from an album but never actually going further. OK Computer was the first album I listened to all the way through, and over the years I’ve consumed Radiohead’s music in a way that I’ve never done with any other band. I was explicitly inspired to make this post as a quasi-response to a video uploaded by Anthony Fantano, whose opinion I agree with only most of the time, but it’s also something I’ve wanted to get off my chest for a while.

9. Pablo Honey

The best way I can describe this album: Watered-down Kool Aid in a market of superior-quality Kool Aids.

There’s really no surprise there (no pun intended). The best way I could describe this album is “Nirvana lite”, as this was an album put out in a time where the music world was still being ridden by shockwaves from Nevermind. Now, there can be some good out of being inspired by someone else’s sound to form your own; hell, many believes Coldplay’s first album Parachutes was just a more laidback version of The Bends designed to suck in any of the Radiohead fans storming away in frustration after Kid A dropped, and that’s one of my favorite albums of all time. But when the inspirations and impressions of other adversaries are so obvious, then whatever you’re making loses its verve and becomes another fish in the sea. This album was sorta like the band starting off on a broken foot, although it’s not without some standout tracks like the closing song “Blow Out”.

8. Amnesiac

The best way I can describe this album: A jazzy mishmash that tries desperately to act like it’s bigger than it really is.

Rolling Stone called this album “the greatest sequel since The Godfather: Part II“. Go fuck yourself, Rolling Stone.

My God, how overrated this album is. In fact, it’s not really an album to me; it’s just a compilation of Kid A outtakes, because that’s what it is. It even has a remix of “Morning Bell”, for fuck’s sake (although said remix is pretty good). Even in its release state, it’s a very mixed bag; some of the band’s best songs such as “Pyramid Song” are slapped together on the tracklist alongside pretty useless tracks like “Hunting Bears” as well as a lot of songs that are…okay. The jazz influences the album embraces are little more than a saving grace but admittedly bring some interesting flair into the listening experience, providing us with songs such as “Dollars and Cents” and “Life in a Glasshouse”, some of the standouts on the album.