12 Songs, 48 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Art-rock adventure fuses with arena grandeur on the band’s first great leap forward. Given its recording was plagued by writer’s block and creative dead ends, Radiohead’s second album is remarkably confident and daring. The three guitarists build mesmerising layers within haunted balladry (“Fake Plastic Trees”), a thrilling Frankenstein’s monster of folk, grunge, psych and jazz (“Just”), and stunning, numinous closer “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”. Thom Yorke’s lyrics areequally nuanced and searching, creating an elegiac undertow from his anxieties about consumerism, narcissism, and the mind-melt of sudden fame.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Art-rock adventure fuses with arena grandeur on the band’s first great leap forward. Given its recording was plagued by writer’s block and creative dead ends, Radiohead’s second album is remarkably confident and daring. The three guitarists build mesmerising layers within haunted balladry (“Fake Plastic Trees”), a thrilling Frankenstein’s monster of folk, grunge, psych and jazz (“Just”), and stunning, numinous closer “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”. Thom Yorke’s lyrics areequally nuanced and searching, creating an elegiac undertow from his anxieties about consumerism, narcissism, and the mind-melt of sudden fame.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5
99 Ratings

99 Ratings

ilovepumpkinpie ,

Full and Beautiful

Back in the the year 2000, when downladable music was just a double-leaved sapling poking through the dirt, I began my freshman year at art school. I was 17, completely uncool, and hadn't yet truly discovered "music." My mind was a relatively blank slate, my ideas about love and people in general were naive, and the world still felt very new. Echoes of Radiohead would whisper throughout the dorm, and had to know what this sound was. "You've never heard of Radiohead?" someone scoffed when I asked. Reminds me of my saddest, msot hopeful, most lovelorn days in college, which, in restrospet were actually best and the most free days of my life. Fake Plastic Trees may be my favorite song of all time. I would listen to it on repeat for hours, sometimes all night long while painting with a size 000 paintbrush into the soft gray light of the morning. I miss those days. Life has become a lot busier, a lot more serious, and a lot less free now that I'm entering my mid thirties. This album is a nostalgic, wistful, waking dream when I hear it. Thank you, Radiohead, for sharing such beautiful music with the world. You were the first of thousands of bands I've discovered through the years since that first incredible year of art-making and music discovery. Thank you so much for this perfect album.

mike, mack, & brielle ,

Start Here

Interesting story -I'm a semi-serious music fan who managed to live through the last 25 years without paying much if any attention to Radiohead. Heard all the critical acclaim but the doses I came across never really hooked me. Until I was fortunate enough to come across The Bends and 'forced' myself to take the time to listen. Well what I heard was who I always 'wanted' to hear when someone gave me a sampling of Radiohead. This album is high quality top to bottom and is a showcase of the epic musical and songwriting skills of this band in their early years. Highly influenced - Bowie, Talking Heads, REM - but very much their own. This album will pull you in and open you up to what in a very short time period I have come to appreciate is a band that deserves an unparalleled place in music history. This is their most accessible work but arguably their best. Sure OKC takes things to another level and if you love KidA good on you - but for straight ahead digestible rock this is Radiohead at the top of their game, which I have come to understand is as good or better than anything else out there. If you've never heard this just buy it now, turn it up, and by your 3rd time through I promise you will be a lifetime fan of Thom and Radiohead. They are everything you could ask for from a band and more.

Faunce13 ,

The Beginning

This album with its assault of guitar heavy rock album may be the best of all of them. Easily the most accessable of the Radiohead catalog. Ok Computer changed music forever but The Bends is well just brilliant.

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