Did you know Thom Yorke is a nerd just like you? Settle in for this latest installment of SciFi sounds, featuring Radiohead’s OK Computer.
Released in 1997, OK Computer is frequently cited as one of the best albums ever recorded. Where previous records explored in SciFi Sounds have been straight up concept albums, OK Computer is interesting because it is a rock album riddled with scifi references and language but avoids turning into an opera. That’s not a knock on rock operas in the least, it’s just nice to listen to an album that may tell a story in themes or form, but doesn’t have a storyline per se.
Yorke’s keen soars over music that seamlessly blends the singable/tune-y aspects of rock with the limitless sound possibilities available in the modern recording studio. Never is this perfect marriage of old and new as pronounced as in “Subterranean Homesick Alien” a song that pays tribute to Bob Dylan’s oeuvre even as it explores an new electronic sounds. Throughout the album, lyrics are ambiguous but memorable, and often scifi tinged, for instance, “Airbag,” with its line “In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the universe...”
However, for me at least, the greatest “Thom Yorke, you nerd!” moments on the album are in “Paranoid Android” the second track, which pays homage to Douglas Adams. The album is atmospheric, occasionally gloomy, and exactly what you want to listen to right now.
No alarms and no surprises,