The Story Behind OK Computer
There are pieces of art that live throughout centuries by carrying out messages which soothe entire generations. In order for art to have such intrinsic qualities that face the passage of time, it needs to incorporate some universality and a conceptual uniqueness that can be reinterpreted at different points in time, by different people, of different ages. This is the case with Radiohead’s OK Computer in 1997, which proved to be a never-ending revolution and which is being felt as such with each generation listening to it. Behind the camouflage of a reinterpreted rock’n’roll feel in the famous passive-aggressive way unique for Radiohead, the attack against globalization and the disease of consumerism is vehement.
The depressing atmosphere that is created around these two main themes is giving a form of gravity and a shape of exasperation, feelings that precede an imminent act of violence, which is felt throughout the album and are inherited from past generations. From that point of view, OK Computer can be perceived as modern, since it tackles with some of our generation’s most acute issues, that of globalization, advanced technology that is replacing the human element and consumerism.
Why is OK Computer different than other albums from Radiohead?
With OK Computer, Radiohead has managed to transform rock music into an intimate experience of the listener with the album itself, like casino-x is. Not only does the whole album is felt like an internal battle against society’s rotten issues, but the band succeeds in having the listener internalizing the battle and making it his own. ‘’No Surprises’’ there, as listening to the whole album feels like putting some puzzle pieces together, even though the narrative might seem disruptive at times. Even the song titles create a coherent story starting from:
- Paranoid Android
- Subterranean Homesick Alien
- Exit Music
- Let Down
- Karma Police
- Fitter Happier
- Climbing up the Walls
- No Surprises
- The Tourist
At some point the album OK Computer was treated as just another crying for attention of just another rock band, however, people soon began to realize that the layers of the songs and the picture they are trying to contour is much more intricate than that. The false impression was the cause in the beginning also by the music quality at the level of composition, consisting of electronic beats and high shifts in the music tempo, distorting the music of their predecessors. Talking about the composition of OK Computer, we should also mention the fact that some musical parts constituted pure inspiration for great bands, such as Muse, who used a specific guitar sound which sounded distorted and gave a nice of mourning and the feeling of crying for help, and built song concepts and other compositions on it.
What is the importance of OK Computer for the music industry?
Even if what OK Computer presents is a purely dystopian scene of our future, it will remain timeless. The issues the album is dealing with are issues of numerous generations, which will continue to be inherited and which will allow Radiohead’s music to face the passage of time.