Album: The Bends, 1995
Justification: I’m just going to say it: The Bends is the best Radiohead album. And when I say “best” I mean “the only one I actually ever listen to for pleasure”.
Oh sure, I will occasionally put on OK Computer and I understand that it has a vital place in the pantheon of 90s music, that it’s a classic album and the moment where Radiohead’s early rockist ambitions were subsumed by their artistic aspirations and blah de blah de dee. The Bends has all their best, y’know, songs: ‘The Bends’, ‘Black Star’ and this, their rockin’ high point where I always picture Jonny Greenwood cramming extra frets into his guitar neck to hit that big final high note, like in the old Warner Bros cartoons where Porky Pig is frantically laying down railway line at the head of a speeding locomotive.
And man, what a video.
I’ve only seen Radiohead live once, playing what Thom Yorke accurately has called “the worst gig [they] ever played,” in the souless hellhole that is the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, the room where music goes to die, so it probably wasn’t entirely their fault.
I interviewed Ed O’Brien earlier that day, though, and he was lovely. Signed everything I put in front of him too.