OK Computer

1997 album by Radiohead

OK Computer is an album by the band Radiohead. It was released in 1997.[1] It reached No.1 in the UK Albums Chart. Four singles were released from it. "Paranoid Android" reached No.3 in the UK. "No Surprises" reached No.4. It got good reviews. Pitchfork gave it 10 out of 10.[2]

OK Computer
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 16, 1997 (1997-06-16)
Recorded
  • September 4, 1995 ("Lucky")
  • July 1996 – March 1997
Studio
Genre
Length53:21
Label
ProducerNigel Godrich
Radiohead chronology
The Bends
(1995)
OK Computer
(1997)
Airbag / How Am I Driving?
(1998)
Radiohead studio album chronology
The Bends
(1995)
OK Computer
(1997)
Kid A
(2000)
Singles from OK Computer
  1. "Paranoid Android"
    Released: May 26, 1997
  2. "Karma Police"
    Released: August 25, 1997
  3. "Lucky"
    Released: December 1997
  4. "No Surprises"
    Released: January 12, 1998
  5. "Airbag"
    Released: March 24, 1998

ReceptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [3]
Chicago Tribune    [4]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[5]
The Guardian     [6]
NME10/10[7]
Pitchfork Media10/10[8]
Q     [9]
Rolling Stone     [10]
Spin8/10[11]
The Village VoiceB−[12]

OK Computer received near-unanimous critical acclaim. Critics in the British and American press generally agreed that the album was a landmark of its time and would have far-reaching impact and importance,[13][14] and that the band's willingness to experiment made it a challenging listen. According to Footman, "Not since 1967, with the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, had so many major critics agreed immediately, not only on an album's merits, but on its long-term significance, and its ability to encapsulate a particular point in history."[15] In the English press, the album garnered favourable reviews in NME,[7] Melody Maker,[16] The Guardian,[6] and Q.[9] Nick Kent wrote in Mojo that "Others may end up selling more, but in 20 years time I'm betting OK Computer will be seen as the key record of 1997, the one to take rock forward instead of artfully revamping images and song-structures from an earlier era."[17] "Every word sounds achingly sincere, every note spewed from the heart," wrote John Harris in Select, "and yet it roots itself firmly in a world of steel, glass, random-access memory and prickly-skinned paranoia."[18]

In an otherwise positive review, Andy Gill wrote for The Independent, "For all its ambition and determination to break new ground, OK Computer is not, finally, as impressive as The Bends, which covered much the same sort of emotional knots, but with better tunes. It is easy to be impressed by, but ultimately hard to love, an album that luxuriates so readily in its own despondency."[19]

The album was well received by critics in North America. Rolling Stone,[10] Spin,[11] and Pitchfork Media[8] published positive reviews. In The New Yorker, Alex Ross praised its progressiveness, and contrasted Radiohead's risk-taking with the musically conservative "dadrock" of their contemporaries Oasis. Ross wrote that "Throughout the album, contrasts of mood and style are extreme ... This band has pulled off one of the great art-pop balancing acts in the history of rock."[20]

Reviews for Entertainment Weekly,[5] the Chicago Tribune,[4] and Time[21] were mixed or contained qualified praise. Robert Christgau from The Village Voice said Radiohead immersed Yorke's vocals in "enough electronic marginal distinction to feed a coal town for a month" and to compensate for how soulless the songs are, resulting in "arid" art rock.[12]

The album appeared in many 1997 critics' lists and listener polls for best album of the year. It topped the year-end polls of Mojo, Vox, Entertainment Weekly, Hot Press, Muziekkrant OOR, HUMO, Eye Weekly and Inpress, and tied for first place with Daft Punk's Homework in The Face. The album came second in NME, Melody Maker, Rolling Stone, Village Voice, Spin and Uncut. Q and Les Inrockuptibles both listed the album in their unranked year-end polls.[22] It was a nominee for the 1997 Mercury Prize, a prestigious award recognising the best British or Irish album of the year.[23]

The near universal positive reception to the album overwhelmed the band, and some members thought the press was excessively congratulatory. Particularly irksome to the band were links to progressive rock and art rock, with frequent comparisons to Pink Floyd's 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon.[24] Yorke responded: "We write pop songs ... there was no intention of it being 'art'. It's a reflection of all the disparate things we were listening to when we recorded it."[25] He was nevertheless pleasantly surprised that many listeners identified the album's musical influences: "What really blew my head off was the fact that people got all the things, all the textures and the sounds and the atmospheres we were trying to create."[26] "In England, I think a lot of the reviews have been slightly over-the-top," remarked Jonny Greenwood, "because the last album [The Bends] was somewhat under-reviewed possibly and under-received."[27]

ReissuesEdit

Radiohead left EMI, parent company of Parlophone, in 2007 after failed contract negotiations. EMI retained the copyright to Radiohead's back catalogue of material recorded while signed to the label.[28] After a period of being Out of print on vinyl, EMI reissued a double-LP of OK Computer on August 19, 2008, along with later albums Kid A, Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief as part of the "From the Capitol Vaults" series.[29] OK Computer became the year's tenth best-selling vinyl record, shifting just under 10,000 units.[30] The reissue was connected in the press to a general upswing in vinyl sales and cultural appreciation of records as a format.[31][32]

OK Computer was reissued again on March 24, 2009 simultaneously with Pablo Honey and The Bends, without Radiohead's involvement. The reissue came in two editions: a 2-CD "Collector's Edition" and a 2-CD 1-DVD "Special Collector's Edition". The first disc contains the original studio album, the second disc contains B-sides collected from OK Computer singles and live recording sessions, and the DVD contains a collection of music videos and a live television performance.[33] All material on the reissue had been previously released.[34]

Professional ratings
"Collector's Edition"
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [35]
The A.V. ClubA[36]
Pitchfork Media10/10[37]
Rolling Stone     [38]
Q     [39]
Uncut     [40]

In a March 2009 interview, O'Brien claimed that EMI had not notified the band members of the reissue and said "I think the fans have got most of [the material on the reissues], it's all the stuff up on YouTube. This is just a company who are trying to squeeze every bit of lost money, it's not about [an] artistic statement."[41] Press reaction to the reissue announcement reflected the concern that EMI was exploiting Radiohead's back catalogue. Larry Fitzmaurice of Spin accused EMI of planning to "issue and re-issue [Radiohead's] discography until the cash stops rolling in",[33] and Pitchfork's Ryan Dombal said it was "hard to look at these reissues as anything other than a cash-grab for EMI/Capitol—an old media company that got dumped by their most forward-thinking band."[34] Daniel Kreps of Rolling Stone defended EMI, saying "While it's easy to accuse Capitol of milking the cash cow once again, these sets are pretty comprehensive."[42]

The reissue was critically well received, although critics were mixed about the supplemental material. Reviews in AllMusic,[35] Uncut,[40] Q,[39] Rolling Stone[38] and PopMatters[43] praised the supplemental material, but with reservations. A review written by Scott Plagenhoef for Pitchfork awarded the reissue a perfect score, arguing that it was worth buying for fans who did not already own the rare material. Plagenhoef said, "That the band had nothing to do with these is beside the point: This is the final word on these records, if for no other reason that the Beatles' September 9 remaster campaign is, arguably, the end of the CD era."[37] The A.V. Club writer Josh Modell praised both the bonus disc and the DVD, and said of the album, "And what can be said about 1997's OK Computer that hasn't been said before? It really is the perfect synthesis of Radiohead's seemingly conflicted impulses."[36]

Track listingEdit

All songs written and composed by Radiohead (Colin Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Jonny Greenwood, Philip Selway, and Thom Yorke). 

No. Title Length
1. "Airbag"   4:44
2. "Paranoid Android"   6:23
3. "Subterranean Homesick Alien"   4:27
4. "Exit Music (For a Film)"   4:24
5. "Let Down"   4:59
6. "Karma Police"   4:21
7. "Fitter Happier"   1:57
8. "Electioneering"   3:50
9. "Climbing Up the Walls"   4:45
10. "No Surprises"   3:48
11. "Lucky"   4:19
12. "The Tourist"   5:24

PersonnelEdit

Charts and certificationsEdit

NotesEdit

Footnotes

Citations

  1. "OK Computer". Allmusic. Retrieved February 15, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. "Radiohead: OK Computer: Pitchfork Review". Archived from the original on March 3, 2001. Retrieved August 4, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "OK Computer – Radiohead". AllMusic. Retrieved July 8, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Kot, Greg (July 4, 1997), "Radiohead OK Computer (Capitol)", Chicago Tribune, archived from the original on September 30, 2011, retrieved August 4, 2016 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Browne, David (July 11, 1997), "OK Computer Review", Entertainment Weekly, archived from the original on August 6, 2011, retrieved August 4, 2016 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Sullivan, Caroline (June 13, 1997), "Aching Heads", The Guardian
  7. 7.0 7.1 Oldham, James (June 14, 1997), "The Rise and Rise of the ROM Empire", NME
  8. 8.0 8.1 Schreiber, Ryan (December 31, 1997), "Radiohead: OK Computer: Pitchfork Review", Pitchfork Media, archived from the original on March 3, 2001, retrieved May 16, 2009 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Cavanagh, David (July 1997), "Moonstruck", Q
  10. 10.0 10.1 Kemp, Mark (July 10, 1997), "OK Computer : Radiohead : Review", Rolling Stone, retrieved September 29, 2008 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Walters, Barry (August 1997), "Radiohead: OK Computer: Capitol", Spin
  12. 12.0 12.1 Christgau, Robert (September 23, 1997), "Consumer Guide Sept. 1997", The Village Voice, archived from the original on August 6, 2011, retrieved August 4, 2016 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. Footman 2007, pp. 181–182.
  14. Clarke 2010, p. 121.
  15. Footman 2007, p. 182.
  16. Parkes, Taylor (June 14, 1997), "Review of OK Computer", Melody Maker
  17. Kent, Nick (July 1997), "Press your space next to mine, love", Mojo
  18. Harris, John (July 1997). "Ground control to Major Thom". Select: 92.
  19. Gill, Andy (June 13, 1997), "Andy Gill on albums: Radiohead OK Computer Parlophone", The Independent, retrieved July 27, 2013 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. Ross, Alex (September 29, 1997), "Dadrock", The New Yorker, retrieved September 29, 2008 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  21. Farley, Christopher John (August 25, 1997), "Lost in Space", Time, archived from the original on August 6, 2011, retrieved August 4, 2016 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  22. Footman 2007, pp. 183–184.
  23. "Mercury Prize 2008: The nominees". BBC News. July 22, 2008. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. Retrieved August 4, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  24. Varga, George (November 2001), "Radiohead's Jazz Frequencies", JazzTimes
  25. Clarke 2010, p. 124.
  26. Gill, Andy (October 5, 2007), "Ok computer: Why the record industry is terrified of Radiohead's new album", The Independent, archived from the original on August 6, 2011, retrieved August 31, 2017 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  27. DiMartino, Dave (May 2, 1997). "Give Radiohead Your Computer". Yahoo! Launch. Archived from the original on August 14, 2007. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  28. Sherwin, Adam (December 28, 2007), "EMI accuses Radiohead after group's demands for more fell on deaf ears", The Times
  29. "Coldplay, Radiohead to be reissued on vinyl", NME, July 10, 2008, archived from the original on November 2, 2011, retrieved August 3, 2016 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  30. V, Petey (January 9, 2009), "Animal Collective Rides Vinyl Wave into '09, Massive 2008 Vinyl Sales Figures Confuse Everyone but B-52s Fans", Tiny Mix Tapes, archived from the original on November 2, 2011, retrieved August 3, 2016 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  31. Kreps, Daniel (January 8, 2009), "Radiohead, Neutral Milk Hotel Help Vinyl Sales Almost Double in 2008", Rolling Stone, archived from the original on November 2, 2011, retrieved August 31, 2017 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  32. "The 7in. revival – fans get back in the groove", The Independent, July 18, 2008, archived from the original on November 1, 2010 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 Fitzmaurice, Larry (January 15, 2009), "Radiohead's First Three Albums Reissued with Extras", Spin, archived from the original on August 29, 2011 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  34. 34.0 34.1 Dombal, Ryan (January 14, 2009), "Radiohead's First Three Albums Reissued and Expanded", Pitchfork Media, archived from the original on August 29, 2011 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  35. 35.0 35.1 Erlewine, Stephen Thomas, "OK Computer [Collector's Edition] [2CD/1DVD]", AllMusic, archived from the original on August 29, 2011 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  36. 36.0 36.1 Modell, Josh (April 3, 2009), "Pablo Honey / The Bends / OK Computer", The A.V. Club, archived from the original on October 3, 2011, retrieved August 3, 2016 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  37. 37.0 37.1 Plagenhoef, Scott (April 16, 2009). "Radiohead: Pablo Honey: Collector's Edition / The Bends: Collector's Edition / OK Computer: Collector's Edition". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on August 29, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  38. 38.0 38.1 Hermes, Will (April 30, 2009), "OK Computer (Collector's Edition)", Rolling Stone, archived from the original on August 29, 2011 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  39. 39.0 39.1 Segal, Victoria (May 2009), "Reissues: Radiohead", Q
  40. 40.0 40.1 Richards, Sam (April 8, 2009), "Album review: Radiohead Reissues – Collectors Editions", Uncut, archived from the original on August 29, 2011 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  41. Rossi, Italo (March 19, 2009). "Breakfast with Ed O'Brien". Radioheadperu.org. Archived from the original on August 29, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  42. Kreps, Daniel (January 15, 2009), "Radiohead's First Three Albums Reissued with Extras", Rolling Stone, archived from the original on August 29, 2011 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  43. McCarthy, Sean (December 18, 2009), "The Best Re-Issues of 2009: 18: Radiohead: Pablo Honey / The Bends / OK Computer / Kid A / Amnesiac / Hail to the Thief", PopMatters, archived from the original on August 29, 2011 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  44. "Radiohead – OK Computer". Australian-charts.com. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  45. "Radiohead – OK Computer". Austriancharts.at. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  46. 46.0 46.1 "Radiohead – OK Computer". Ultratop.be. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  47. "Top Albums/CDs", RPM, vol. 65 no. 17, June 30, 1997, archived from the original on January 4, 2012 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  48. "Radiohead – OK Computer". Dutchcharts.nl. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  49. "Radiohead – OK Computer". Lescharts.com. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  50. "Chartverfolgung / Radiohead / Longplay". musicline.de. Archived from the original on 6 August 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  51. http://www.irma.ie/#chartTab2
  52. "Radiohead – OK Computer". Charts.org.nz. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  53. "Radiohead – OK Computer". Spanishcharts.com. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  54. "Radiohead – OK Computer". Swedishcharts.com. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  55. "Radiohead – OK Computer". Hitparade.ch. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  56. "Radiohead | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company.
  57. "Artist Chart History – Radiohead". Billboard. Archived from the original on March 30, 2009. Retrieved September 30, 2008. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  58. "Radiohead – The Official Charts Company".
  59. "Artist Chart History – Radiohead". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 16, 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  60. "Search: Radiohead". Charts.org.nz. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  61. "Search: Radiohead". Australian-charts.com. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  62. "Search: Radiohead". Swedishcharts.com. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  63. "Eenvoudige zoekopdracht: Radiohead". Dutchcharts.nl. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  64. "Discos de Oro y Platino" (in Spanish). CAPIF. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved September 1, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  65. "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1997 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  66. "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – albums 2007". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  67. "Canadian album certifications – Radiohead – OK Computer". Music Canada. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  68. http://www.infodisc.fr/Ventes_Albums_Tout_Temps.php?debut=1162
  69. "French album certifications – Radiohead – OK Computer" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  70. "Italian album certifications – Radiohead – OK Computer" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved June 19, 2017. Select "2017" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "OK Computer" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Album e Compilation" under "Sezione".
  71. "RIAJ > The Record > June 1998 > Certified Awards (April 1998)" (PDF). Recording Industry Association of Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved January 2, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  72. "Dutch album certifications – Radiohead – OK Computer" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved August 30, 2018. Enter OK Computer in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  73. "New Zealand album certifications – Radiohead – OK Computer". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  74. "IFPI Norsk platebransje Trofeer 1993–2011" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  75. Salaverri, Fernando (2005). Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano: Certificados > 1995–1999. Iberautor Promociones Culturales. ISBN 978-84-8048-639-2.
  76. "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  77. "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Radiohead; 'OK Computer')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  78. Jones, Alan (June 30, 2017). "Official Charts Analysis: Ed Sheeran's ÷ returns to No.1 following Glastonbury appearance". Music Week. Intent Media. Retrieved February 22, 2019. The first of six No. 1 albums for Radiohead, OK Computer debuted atop the chart this week in 1997 on sales of 136,476 copies, and is the Oxfordshire band's biggest seller, with a to-date tally of 1,579,415 including 16,172 from sales-equivalent streams. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  79. "British album certifications – Radiohead – OK Computer". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved September 11, 2013. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type OK Computer in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  80. "American album certifications – Radiohead – OK Computer". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved September 25, 2012. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  81. "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 2006". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved September 25, 2012.