When Radiohead emerged in the early to mid 90’s I guess I’m not alone in thinking they were just a twee, British, take on Nirvana. “Creep”, I’m looking at you here. Creep is a decent track but at the same time it’s quite embarrassing too?
Maybe i’m being shallow and the look Radiohead had for “Pablo Honey” didn’t help the “what’s with this English grunge band”.
Of course, Radiohead went on to make some fantastic records. Many people will cite “O.K. Computer” as one of their favourite albums. Not me, but it is a great album, as are many other of the bands releases (the band kind of work better live for me – all their albums are worth checking out).
For me I had two moments of realisation with Radiohead. The 2nd, and most powerful was watching them do a live 50 minute set on Jools Holland circa 2001. It really struck me they were a very artistic outfit. Also the depth and range of their records from The Bends to O.K. Computer to Kid A and Amnesiac – there was no denying I was hearing something i’d previously missed – and missed out on.
The first was when I was watching an MTV alternative show in the mid 90’s. The video for “Just” came on. I had not heard it. The band had lost the “grunge” look. The band and video drew me in. More so the music was fantastic.
For me “Just” is the moment the band realised their own sound and identity. True, the intro still sounds a tad like Nirvana but it steps away from this pretty damn quickly.
On top of this, it’s a great video. The sound builds and shimmers away only to build again and again. Structured but still chaotic the track rises to a summoning climax. Thom Yorke throughout displays an incredible vocal perfomance.
When I watched this / heard it for the first time I was urging the guitar to cut loose – thankfully it delivers exactly what the build up is crying out for. In the duration of the first watch / listen to “Just” – Radiohead demolish Suede and really show they are a great outfit. With Oasis huge at the time they also, unwittingly lay down a “thinking mans indie / rock” that can take on all comers.
Radiohead missed out on my Top 20 Albums – so I cannot overlook “Just” for my 20 Singles…