Jon Pareles writing for the New York Times...
On ‘OK Computer,’ Radiohead Saw the Future: Ours:
It all came true. Twenty years after Radiohead released “OK Computer,” capitalism’s tech overlords have inexorably cultivated a work force and customer base of wish-they-were-androids. Using algorithms that ruthlessly tabulate every available metric, they are determined to maximize efficiency, and they see no profit in human downtime, imperfection or ideals. On “OK Computer,” Radiohead saw it coming, amid all the other alienation and malaise that its songs would enfold in melody and noise.
This is a great write up celebrating the 20 year anniversary of one of my favorite albums from one of my favorite bands. Radiohead saw where music technology was heading and paved the way for future musicians to blur the line between human and robot.
After 20 years, it’s clear that “OK Computer” was the album on which Radiohead most strongly embraced and, simultaneously, confronted the legacy of the Beatles. Radiohead picked up chord progressions (like the pivotal bit of “Sexy Sadie” in “Karma Police”), instrument sounds and ideas on structure from the band, even as it completely inverted its 1960s optimism.
I have often compared Radiohead’s use of technology in the recording studio to the Beatles’ studio practices in their later albums. It’s nice to see Pareles dig into this comparison a little further.
You can celebrate this amazing album by checking out their reissue, "OK Computer: OKNOTOK 1997 2017,” which is a remaster of the original CD, includes eight B-sides for EPs they released in the 90’s, and recordings of never before released songs from the “OK Computer" era.
Click here to listen on Apple Music.