Thursday, 13 May 2010

Radiohead - 'OK Computer'

What an amazing record. What a massive, mindblowing, perfect record. All the way through, I keep thinking 'this is the best bit of the record yet', time and time again. It's a rock record filtered through every studio device and human foible imaginable, and what emerges at the other end is damn near perfect.

It's odd that I think all this, and have absolutely no desire to go and see them live. I happily watched them tear the roof off the universe when they played Glastonbury, but I did it on TV, from my sofa, possibly from the far end of a bottle of really good white wine. I wonder why that is? Maybe if I don't go and share the experience with thousands of others, then Radiohead still belong to me, and me alone. No one else really understands them like I do. I LOVE YOU RADIOHEAD!

Anyway, as awesome as this album is, it reminds very clearly of one road trip that Rob, Aidan and I made from Leeds to Salisbury. We'd each made a mixtape for the journey, and at the time, Rob and I were really going to town on ours, using samplers to loop bits, overlay several tracks and so on. About halway through Rob's mix, the familiar computer-generated vocal of 'Fitter, Happier' started up. After a few lines of the acual lyrics, just as the mournful piano starts and the synths start to smother themselves to death, something weird happened. The voice started to go off message: 'when the seagulls follow the trawler...an elephant with his trunk stuck up his own dung funnel...' and so on. Basically, Rob had performed a slavish recreation of the track, and then changed the vocal into meaningless drivel from the end of the 20th century. The effect was uproar: I remember wiping away tears of laughter and looking at Aidan doing the same, while he somehow managed to keep driving and not kill us all, with Rob in the back seat looking delighted and laughing at our reaction. It was the most brilliant, perfectly-timed and unlikely cover version I think I'm ever going to hear.

3 comments:

  1. A remix of Fitter Happier, what could be more fitting? Please upload for us to hear!!

    What an album. I do the same, thinking every bit is the best bit until it ends and I'm empty again.

    I spent well over £100 going to just 1 day of Leeds Festival last year to at last see Radiohead. It was no Glastonbury in the 90s but it was good, and I'd do anything to have them play their albums in situ in my living room

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  2. I quite like the experience of a big gig piped into my living room - comfy sofa, bottle of wine, bed when you're done. Perfect. If I wanted the full festival experience of the long-drop latrine, I could stand on the window sill, but after last time, I think I'll skip it.

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