The 100 Greatest Albums

Another Sunday night, another Channel 4 “100 greatest” shows. This one was based on votes on the C4 website – apparently around 400,000 votes were collected. Over the last four hours, we’ve had the usual kind of thing – a run-down of the albums, with the perpetrators and other people talking about them. All good fun, and featuring quite a few of my favourites from the likes of REM, The Smiths, U2 and (as they say) many more. Quite a few that I was less keen on, but hey, that’s charts for you.

And, just for once, the album voted as the Greatest Ever is actually one I’m rather keen on:

Yes, Radiohead’s third album, OK Computer, released in 1997[1] is officially[2] the best album ever. And I’m quite happy about that. OK, I’d have been happy if U2’s The Joshua Tree or REM’s Automatic for the People had got the top slot, but this is Radiohead! Their second album The Bends, now ten years old, remains one of my most listened to CDs[4], and at the time, the new Radiohead CD was the one I was most eagerly awaiting. And what a glorious piece of work it turned out to be.

From opening track Airbag, passing through the really quite stunning Paranoid Android[5], the quite lovely (and desperately dark) Exit Music (for a Film)[7] and Karma Police, this is a complex, experimental, but still very listenable album. Lots of actual songs. Possibly their finest work, though I have to admit to maybe preferring the less complex songs on The Bends a lot of the time.

[1] I seem to remember that lead single Paranoid Android got its first radio play on election day in 1997. I had my personal FM radio with me on my way to the polling station that morning :smile: [3]
[2] Well, according to Channel 4, anyway
[3] Though my memory might be muddled. It’s quite possible.
[4] Closing track Street Spirit (Fade Out) is particularly wonderful
[5] And any band that manage a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference get extra points from me[6]
[6] Yes, of course I’m a geek!
[7] Used over the closing credits of the Baz Luhrmann Romeo and Juliet movie, which I also recommend very highly