Friday, March 13, 2020

25 years of Radiohead's The Bends 🎸

Radiohead released their second album, The Bends, 25 years ago today, on March 13, 1995.

Radiohead fans can endlessly debate which album is the band's best, but to me, the answer has always been The Bends. Of course, later albums took Radiohead's experimentation much further, deconstructing the very idea of a rock band. The Bends was more subtly radical. It might have seemed to be merely developing the same style as "Creep," the hit that put them on the map from their first album. But underneath the surface, The Bends hinted at the staggering changes to come. It was an evolution pointing to revolution. The Bends was Radiohead's Rubber Soul.

When I made a quick list of "the 20 albums that made the biggest impression on me when I was a teenager" in response to a Facebook meme a few years ago, The Bends was one of the easiest choices.

How many albums have so many great songs, and no filler? Even the least memorable songs on The Bends are still excellent.

Here are some of my favorites from the album, live:

"Planet Telex" (album version)

Everything is broken

Everyone is broken…

Why can't you forget?

"The Bends" (album version)
Where do we go from here?

The planet is a gunboat in a sea of fear

"Just" (the enigmatic music video)
You do it to yourself

You do

And that's why it really hurts

"Nice Dream" (album version)
They love me like I was a brother

They protect me

Listen to me

They dug me my very own garden

Gave me sunshine

Made me happy

"Fake Plastic Trees" (album version)
She looks like the real thing…

My fake plastic love

(10 things you didn't know about The Bends.)