OK, I will admit it is not their best album, but The Bends is my favorite Radiohead album. I am sure a majority of fans will look at OK Computer as the best, and that probably is – it might be the closest thing ever created to another Dark Side of the Moon – so it deserves a ton of credit. However, my favorite Radiohead album – hands down – The Bends. It’s a Bowie / Glam Rock album made in the mid 90s when the world wanted more Mariah Carey and grunge.
And while I love OK Computer, Kid A, In Rainbows and all of the other complex, electronic, jazz art house albums they made – there is just something very special about The Bends.
I mean, just check out the show they did at the Metro for this album. They even debut some OK Computer tracks at this show too:
First time you heard it
The first time I heard it was in a friend’s car. It was playing on a Sony Discman that was connected to the stereo through one of those tape adapters. It was playing the background and I didn’t think anything of it until track 2 started playing – The Bends. I looked at him and asked “What is this?” they said the new Radiohead album and I immediately responded with a “you’re lying,” because Pablo Honey sucked. I mean, Creep is a good tune, so is Anyone Can Play Guitar, but overall, that album was a disappointment. Still is.
That being said, when The Bends came on and then goes into High and Dry, Fake Plastic Trees and then Bones, I was sold.
How often do you listen to it?
I revisit this album multiple times a year. And while there are a lot of good individual tracks on the album, I love to listen to it from the beginning to end – one complete play. In fact, last year, to get out of the house I would just go for drives and listen to albums in their entirety, this was one of those albums and it put me in a very happy place during the beginning of the pandemic.
Why is this your favorite album?
In an era of testosterone rock, this was an art rock album that felt like it could have been made in the 70s by David Bowie. It almost felt like our Hunky Dory or Aladdin Sane. It was/is special. On top of that, it is filled with incredible songs.
There isn’t a single song on here that misses. You want ballads – you have High and Dry, Fake Plastic Trees and Bullet Proof… I Wish I Was. You want songs that take you on a journey or to wig out to – you have (Nice Dream), Black Star and Street Spirit. You just wanna rock out – you have The Bends, Bones and Just (which might be one of the best videos ever).
Which track would be your walk up music?
Imagine sitting in your seat, whether it is in the 108 or elsewhere and you hear those guitars? You know something is about to go down. However, if it was me up at the plate, given my baseball career, I am probably going to get hit by a 3-0 pitch.
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About The Author
Section 108 Row 13, Bassist for Barren Plains, Acclaimed drunkard