Why ‘OK Computer’ Is Radiohead’s Greatest Album of All Time

The many works of Radiohead have been subject to probably the most discourse of any alternative rock band when it comes to the question “Which album is their best?” Their nine studio albums all have their own unique merit individually, but fans can never seem to agree on which album is their very best. However, one thing is certain. OK Computer is definitely close to the top, if not the very top of Radiohead’s best works.

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So what is it about OK Computer by Radiohead that makes it such a stellar album? There are a few reasons.

‘OK Computer’ Changed The Game

To start, OK Computer was an excellent response to Radiohead’s previous album The Bends. Many believed the latter to be a perfect album; the band faced a difficult feat in releasing something even better. And they did it successfully.

Just as well, OK Computer was presented to the world at a very important time in rock music. It was released in 1997 when the grunge movement was starting to fizzle out. In a way, the album presented an interesting direction for alternative rock music to take after grunge was no longer “in”. Anyone alive during that time probably remembers how it felt; it was like rock music no longer had a direction to go in. OK Computer was at the very least an idea, something new.

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OK Computer was particularly revolutionary in the band’s native Britain. By the late 1990s, so much of British music was simple nostalgic britpop; it was like living in purgatory, and not a good one, either. This album flipped the local music industry on its head. In fact, many believed that Radiohead had become the most important band in the UK since The Beatles.

That is some wild praise, and it ultimately doesn’t matter if it is deserved. OK Computer portrays misery, glory, ambiance, political exhaustion, death, and capitalism in a way that no band had done before. It was an album that defined a generation; and it still enchants new listeners today.

Photo by Bob Berg

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