1. Planet Telex
2. The Bends
3. High And Dry
4. Fake Plastic Trees
6. (Nice Dream)
8. My Iron Lung
9. Bullet Proof ... I Wish I Was
10. Black Star
12. Street Spirit (Fade Out)
We are in 1995 and you hear that Radiohead are putting out a new album. Then you are thinking, "oh yeah those guys from Creep". And you think you'll get a slightly above average album of post-grungy derivativeness. Then you get home and you put this on.
And you've never heard anything like it before. For one simple reason, there was nothing like it before. The layering, the lyrics, the vocal range, the inventiveness, the sheer emotional power of it. And you think... "hey these guys could go somewhere".
And then you listen to it again and again, and you realise that Pablo Honey was the fluke, not this. This is amazingly well thought out music, recreating arena-rock to the thinking public, this is new. In the context of the endlessly derivative mid-90s Britain nothing sounds like this. In the context of the US reeling from the end of Nirvana, nothing sounds like this, although Smashing Pumpkins would like to.
There is not one note wrong in this album, it bridges the gap between Pablo Honey and the possibly even more amazing OK Computer perfectly. It creates just the right balance between accessible and strange, in the same way the Pixies did before them, albeit in a very different style. An album which creates a new musical style all by itself, a pivotal album without which comparatively crappy bands like Coldplay or Muse would not exist. This is the best album of 1995, bar none. A perfect ten.
1. Fake Plastic Trees
3. Bullet Proof... I wish I was
4. Street Spirit (Fade Out)
The album's title, which refers to decompression sickness, is one of many references to physical illness and brokenness on the album, but has also been seen to tie into the band's own career trajectory. According to one biography, "For their second album, Radiohead chose an extremely symbolic title... Radiohead rose too soon (due to the success of 'Creep', which they were hardly prepared for) and had to suffer the unpleasant consequences (critical backlash, record company pressure, general confusion and dismay about how to continue meaningfully)."
Fake Plastic Trees: