The 15 Year Bends

The brain works in mysterious ways. Last night, idly flicking through “Guitarist” magazine (the finest Guitar magazine known to man, I’ll have you know), I was overcome by an urge to listen to Radiohead’s “The Bends”. First the song, which I picked up on You Tube:

Then the album, on the way to work today. What a track. What an album. From a band whose previous sole success had been the Nirvana-meets-The Pixies whine of “Creep”, The Bends was a bolt from the blue. Sure, they’d made a statement of intent with “My Iron Lung” the previous year, which had at least shown their willingness to turn the QuietLoudQuiet dynamic of The Pixies (and “Creep” itself) into a beautifully deranged noise, but you’d still happily say that this record was a shock.

I’ll bet it’s been a while since you listened to “The Bends”. Treat yourself now. Misery and the pain of the modern world’s tendency to isolate people has never sounded so gloriously celebratory. So “Ok Computer” may be a better album, and more of a musical step forward, but as a pure Rock record, “The Bends” must stand as one of the best ever. And if for some reason, you’ve never listened to it – maybe put off by the dreary Kid A or the general impression that they are a bunch of miseryguts1 – just listen to it.

And it’s 15 years old this year. I can’t imagine many records from 1995 have aged quite as well. Sometimes, reaching back to a record you’ve not listened to for years helps you appreciate just how good they were. Anyway, enough of my yakking. Let’s Misery Rock!

1 And they do tend to being a bit miserable, but sod it. Miserable music gets me happy. And they’re hardly the Tindersticks.

MP3: The Bends by Radiohead

Treat Yourself To The Deluxe “The Bends [2CD & DVD]”