Radiohead – The Bends
Before they were challenging everything you held dear about modern music, however, they merely made a very convenient and easily loveable bridge between U2-esque stadium rock and awkward, shy bespectacled indie. The painfully dog-eared, lacklustre debut album ‘Pablo Honey’ had lifted its leg and let out a minor hit single called ‘Creep’. ‘Creep’ was and always will be the chosen hymn for significant-other-less lonely, bad-breathed losers everywhere. Naturally, I’m a fan. How did they follow this surprise hit? Why, by making an album that exceeded that single track-by-track of course. ‘The Bends’ is a masterclass of anthemic misery, from the title track’s explosive crowd-ready heavy sway to ‘Street Spirit’s wash of sorrow. Thom Yorke is a mighty presence who sings like a man only half aware that he’s plummeting at a perilously high speed into oblivion. This is a band that can rock hard (‘My Iron Lung’, ‘Just’), mine trenches of quiet despair (‘Fake Plastic Trees’, ‘Bullet Proof’) and map out the various grey areas in between the two.