Sunday, December 14, 2008

Review of OK Computer by Dai Griffiths

Radiohead's OK Computer (Thirty Three and a Third series) Radiohead's OK Computer by Dai Griffiths

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I've always felt OK Computer was a new kind of album, one constructed of disparate containers gathered closely together, generating heat from proximity and similarity of content, rather than the stickier methods in which rock music gets crafted. The rattle inside OK Computer is not of bum-out sadness as folks often claim, but from the clink and slosh of things being pushed together on the shelf. It is in Thom Yorke's soaring falsetto and in Johnny Greenwood's atmospheric guitar that the findings about the human condition are lovingly and even devastatingly reported in their rather singular manner.

Dai Griffiths takes a similar atomized approach in his book on the album. He gathers the empirical data of run times, keys, instrumentation, factors in the media through which the album is delivered, even the nature of "album" into consideration to create a genome of this record. At times you feel it is being scanned like an alien abduction victim - I'm not completely sure how much Griffiths likes the record as much as he is devoted to unlocking its mysteries. I do not with to convey Griffiths as humorless or missing the point of what is still fundamentally a rock record, in fact his conversational tone softens the lists of info and ties the meditations together into a cohesive whole. I would not want to read similar analysis of something as bloody and sweaty as a Rolling Stones album, but with OK Computer, his approach is comforting, coaxing the brittle, paranoid and fragile traits of this record out into the open.

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