OK Computer by Radiohead at 25: The last rock album that really mattered

The world in which Radiohead launched its monolith ok computer Not much like the ones we live in.

Just 19 days before the record was initially revealed in Japan, New Labor rose to power in the UK with a massive majority, after 18 years in the wilderness and successive periods of harsh Tory austerity. Amid a flurry of optimism, the upcoming party promised that things could get better. The new prime minister, Tony Blair, was once a punk band member, and pessimistic commentators and aides reassured. Meanwhile, “Girl Power” was dominating the UK pop charts, mobile phones were largely playing Snake online, and the internet was something you could access for a limited time thanks to the direct marketing genius of demo tablets from AOL. Even then, it was primitive at best.

By their already well-established standards, the five-piece Oxford stands apart from what’s been going on anywhere else. The “Brilliant Britannia” era may have engulfed a few champagne socialists, but Radiohead saw something more terrifying in its entirety.


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