100 Greatest Albums of the 90’s: #14

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.

Listen to: Bones

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