OK Computer is 15
Well, it was almost 2 months ago, but better late than never. This is probably not the first appreciation thread for this landmark album, but it surely deserves another one.
Personal story first: I first came into contact with it back in '97, almost immediately after it was released. My sister was kinda into Radiohead by that time, and I first caught glimpses of it during her Saturday bedroom listening sessions. While her opinion was that it was great, but it couldn't match The Bends, crazed and obsessed fan of The Prodigy who couldn't stand any other music at the time that was me was wondering why the hell would anyone listen to this whiny asshole and his music deprived of any balls and energy. Though I heard it couple of more times, I kinda quickly forgot about it. Then around 2004 and breakthrough of faster internet and decent torrent sites during one of those nostalgia-sodden splurges where you'd download everything you and your outer circle of friends and family listened to in the 90s, I got OK Computer and gave it a first serious try. But besides Karma Police, there wasn't anything in it for me. Kept it a couple of months on a HDD, then deleted and once again forgot about it. Around 2008 I got into Yorke's Eraser (because it was mostly electronic), and a little later Kid A as well. Loved it, but I wasn't ready for OK Computer yet. Then a year later I crated THIS THREAD about Eraser Remixes, where a user called SMC (who had a great taste in music and who doesn't post here anymore I guess) recommended that I should give their whole discography a chance. I don't know why, but I listened to him. That coincided with reissues of their first three albums in Collector's Edition form the same year, which finally gave me the chance to legally own the copy of this album and reason to pay closer attention to it. But again I neglected it for good 2 years, before giving it the first real, "late at night, headphones on, eyes closed", close listen. And then it finally revealed itself to me. I think I listened to it 10+ times that week, realizing more and more every time what kind of masterpiece I was missing all these years. Since then I listen to it like 2 times a month and every time it uncovers to me a little bit more and consolidates itself as one of the last great landmark achievements rock music offered. I look at my collection and see an awful lot of great albums from '97 including Chiastic Slide, Substrata, Hongkong, Not For Threes, Bricolage and Hard Normal Daddy, but OK Computer is truly something else and a kind of album I'd select if I had to choose just one to keep for the rest of my life. Reading other people's views about it changing their lives and musical preferences, I feel almost sorry that I didn't have it in my life earlier, though it was always around me, and that I fully enjoy it just now, almost 15 years later.
Climbing Up The Walls
This is for me, without a doubt, the finest track on this album. Buzzing background effects perfectly fitted to simple but effective as hell metallic rhythm together with dark atmosphere and eerie lyrics immediately create a sense of unease and slight insanity which just further grows with heavier and fuller sound that develops after the first chorus and especially with solo after the second chorus complemented with unannounced, but also very effective dark strings. Yorke's vocal delivery here is out of this world and screaming at the end is just a pure genuis icing on the cake. This is a track (just like the whole album really) that proudly stands among the best works of greats such as The Beatles and Pink Floyd.
Karma Police, Let Down, Airbag, Subterranean Homesick Alien - you could write whole stories about each of the tracks here, because every single one of them shines with ideas, details, unique sounds and atmospheres, interesting sound pairings, composing ingenuity, unexpected passages, lyrical resourcefulness, emotions, hidden meanings and everything else that makes an album innovative, creative and hugely influential.
"I'd tell all my friends but they'd never believe me,
They'd think that I'd finally lost it completely.
I'd show them the stars and the meaning of life.
They'd shut me away.
But I'd be alright."
Truer words about alienation and feeling of despair because of differences between yourself and people that surround you have never been spoken.
One of the best reviews of OK Computer I've actually seen is on discogs. This guy 'karlrichard' tells his whole life story and how OK Computer changed his tastes for good. It's actually quite fun, though long as fuck - READ HERE.