I’d known Radiohead from the singles off their first two albums, the second album The Bends even became a favorite, but it was 1997’s OK Computer that revealed the band’s art. On first listen, it was “Climbing up the Walls” that got my attention. Thom Yorke’s falsetto, the atmospherics, and then feeling like we’re waiting for storm clouds to break open. But is probably the album’s second track “Paranoid Android” that is Radiohead to me. The song has everything. Starting with acoustic guitar and a clicking rhythm and a lead guitar that finds its way in through the back of the head. And when the storm clouds open here, the listener is beaten, pushed and pulled, and finally let go again. Indeed, the song’s bridge leaves us to float in some sort of psychedelic dream.
The album sounded like a culmination of everything that came before, all the music I’d ever liked. Indeed, it came into my life in the same sort of era. When everything felt like it was coming together, like things were making sense. A time when you can appreciate the troubles you’ve been through, even relish them somewhat, in order to appreciate the life that has come out of all of it.