OK Computer

Episode 296: OK Computer - Radiohead [Discologist]

Episode 296: OK Computer - Radiohead [Discologist]

With one of the biggest rock hits of all time ("Creep") and a genre defining guitar-rock classic (The Bends) under their belts, Radiohead had little left to prove when OK Computer was released in the Summer of 1997. Despite that, what they achieved was an album full of fear, anxiety, and beauty that quite literally changed the course of rock music as we know it.

On the latest installment of our Discologist series, we're taking a look at everything that made this modern-day masterpiece great, why it has withstood the test of time, and how its techno-phobic, anti-fascist themes are almost horrifically as relevant today as they were twenty years ago.

ROCKTOBER 2012: 1997 - Everything Is Gonna Be OK

1997 was a year in transition for the music industry.  As Chunky Rusty noted in his paean to 1996, the mid to late 1990s found the music industry uneasily poised between the business models of the past and an uncertain digital future.  While (as anyone who was in college in 1997 can tell you) folks had already discovered how to upload their music to the Internet and share it with friends, the process was still unwieldy for most (IRC / FTP sites anyone?).  Napster was still two years away from release and broadband Internet was not yet widely available outside of the dorm.  As such, the CD, with its $17.99 price tag (or life ruining Columbia House subscription) was still the king of the home listening market.  And, if CD was king, radio was its ubiquitous, frequently annoying herald.

If 1997 is not the year with the most overplayed, persistent radio earworms in history, it must be in the top-5.  It is as though the music industry saw the changing landscape and, in a pre-emptive move to retain a stranglehold on the listening habits of the American populace, launched an all-out assault on the nation’s earholes.  But don’t take my word for it.  Rather, take a listen to this list of 9 radio mainstays from 1997 that you will be unable to get out of your head for the next week:

Put these in your ear and, uh, smoke em.

You’re welcome…and I didn’t even bother to include some of the truly execrable crap that was unleashed on the listening public that year like Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love and its ubiquitous single “My Heart Will Go On.” 

LIVE: Radiohead @ The Verizon Center - 6/3/12

So Venus transited across the face of the Sun and Ray Bradbury took his final trip into the gaping cosmic yawp, but those weren’t the only stratospheric things happening to DMV residents this week - if you were lucky enough to hold a golden ticket into Verizon on Sunday, you could also watch Radiohead put on yet another brain-melting, heart-wrenchingly good, though wildly eccentric show. Looking for accessibility, easy anthems, your favorite song from The Bends? Keep moving, pal, because Radiohead is not here to play the hits. They’re here to make art all over your face, with a concert that is as much visual spectacle as it is music - they’ve moved on, evolved, and they want you to do so as well.

PRESS PLAY: Sara Jarosz (w/Punch Brothers) - The Tourist

Sounds like: Distilled awesome witha dash of Punch Brothers and just a smidgen of Radiohead (duh)
Why you should care: ummmmmm.

Given that later today Radiohead is kicking off their world tour down in Florida (w/Other Lives opening!!!) we figured now is as good a time as any to show the band some love in the form of other people showing the band some love.