Contexte[ modifier modifier le code ] Le succès du deuxième opus de Radiohead, The Bends , sorti en , conforta le groupe dans l'idée d'auto-produire l'album qui suivrait, bien qu'une poignée de producteurs dont Scott Litt R. Les sessions d'enregistrement inclurent également la participation du producteur Nigel Godrich , déjà présent durant la période The Bends [8] , et qui deviendra plus tard le producteur attitré du groupe. C'est également la fin de l'éreintante tournée de The Bends, en janvier , qui poussa le groupe à changer leur approche musicale. On devait pisser dans les coins car il n'y avait pas de toilettes, et pas plus d'eau courante.

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Notable publications ranging from NME, Spin, Alternative Press, Time, to Pitchfork have all referred to the album as either one of the best albums of the s or all time. On the Origins of European Geopolitic This overlap has been examined by other scholars as well. Pushed for time? Through close reading of the lyrical and sonic content of each song on the album, this paper also aims to argue that OK Computer, among other things, can be best interpreted and described as a work of art concerned with and marking the end of an era.

On Radiohead 4 Nathan D. The band formed in Abingdon, Oxfordshire in While being lauded by consumers and critics alike as one of the greatest bands of the 20th and 21st centuries, Radiohead has received numerous awards and prizes for their work, including three Grammy Awards for Best Alternative Music Album. If one were to listen to all Radiohead albums back-to-back, then listening to OK Computer will be the volta of that session. This all ties into the album being a work that marks the end of an era, which in many ways mirrors the end of Romanticism, the anxieties surrounding the rise of technology, the obfuscation of nature by techno-capitalist global policies, and the radical secularization of ideology and world view.

Forbes and George A. Reisch eds. Following the release of The Bends , Radiohead were subsequently identified with Britpop acts such as Oasis and Blur. Forbes and Lindsey Fiorelli suggests that the difference between Pablo Honey, The Bends and OK Computer is the fact that in the former two albums, Radiohead confront the issues and debates surrounding isolation directly. Forbes and George It was a choice.

And they chose, for OK Computer, to embrace technology in a big way. So how can they want escape from technology while simultaneously becoming a part of it?

As such, the delimitation of human and machine, organic and inorganic, grows increasingly indistinct and, at the turn of the new millennium, was a transitional inevitability that caused much anxiety and dread. An android is a liminal being, neither fully mechanical nor fully biological. It is a creature that disrupts the familiarity of the latter and the impersonality of the former, thereby disrupting our compartmentalized views of the world and lifeforms therein as categorically distinct.

In this sense, the sonic and lyrical content of OK Computer brings together the familiarity of the purely acoustic with the possibility of the digital much in the same way an android explodes and expands the possibilities of life as we have understood it heretofore.

The combination of traditional instrumentation and digital augmentation of sound similarly opens up an entirely new sound for the band. The figure of the paranoid android serves to encapsulate not only the existential experiences of the split subject carved up into fractional self-impressions vibrating in a quotidian middle mediated by technologies that engender biopower and surveillance, but also the fragmentary nature of the lyrics that convey said experience are only intelligible in pieces both sonically and lyrically.

The impetus behind this conviction was the emergence of then radically new, efficient, and popular technologies. Instead, the pervading sentiment was one of fearful ambivalence. These themes were addressed both sonically and lyrically on OK Computer via a tense merger and antagonism between the acoustic and the digital. In so many ways, the entire album is caught between warring with a corrupt system and escaping or being trapped in it by an increasingly technologized future. In the unknown of the future, is couched paradoxical themes such as dystopian fear and disappointing familiarity.

There is a constant tension between staying that is, in the past, in the nostalgic comforts of acoustic music contra going that is, the uncertainty, and radical possibility, of the digital future.

What happened was, I told Thom and Phil to sit there for a couple of hours and create a drum loop. And we just did three takes of him just like doing all sorts of shit to it and we put it all in. This mechanicity erupts in-between the more traditional ensemble of instruments that is, voice, bass, drums, rhythm guitar, lead guitar. Here again we see the praxiological and thematic instantiation of merger of past and present; that is, the digital contra the analogue.

And they did something very rudimentary and basic with the new technologies. They tilted artificial noises against the weight of the human voice and human sounds. The arrangement of instruments, acoustic guitar, piano, voice, shaker, and other percussive elements does not immediately sound odd. However, in the chorus, a text-to-speech vocoder voice can be heard reciting lyrics.

The juxtaposition is stark in that, while Yorke and the rest of the band produce music of varied pitch and harmony, the voice of the machine does not sing but speaks in a non-deviating pitch. The latent suggestion here is that the machine music to come will not so much sing out emotively but rather will convey data at tempo non-affectively.

The tempo switch halfway through the song marks an ironic death of harmony in the mode of a dirge with solemn wordless harmonies which Yorke embellishes with pseudo-funerary cadences and denouements. This makes the digitized sounds of the same notes somewhat uncanny in that one still recognizes the sound of a guitar, the style of the guitarist playing it, and even the same notes played earlier in the song.

However, the frequency of sound bends, climbs, falls, and phases in a way unheard before the intercession. The phrase is repeated exactly albeit mechanized by the augmentative process of the digital filter. Here, the tension between the past and the future is therefore the same tension that exists between the productive and the augmentative. I argue that one can also read the theme of alien abduction symbolically. However, this is extremely fitting in its latent suggestion that to an alien, all human music, regardless of how complex or digitized in its production, is comparatively acoustic to a creature with, one assumes, vastly superior technology with which to explore near infinite sonic possibilities.

Lyrically, however, it shines. At first, these robotic diagnostics appear disjointed enough to seem banal and inconsequential. More broadly, the track symbolizes a radical anonymizing through the machine, and a loss of individuality, roles in the band, and of the human voice itself.

Nor does the vacuous uncanny voice of the machine offer anything in the way of advice, help, solutions, or succor to the threat of an emotionless future it, ironically, heralds and embodies. The voice is set against again another mournful dirge, a mixture of morose pseudo-Gregorian harmonies in low minor registers, mixed with a digital soup of buzzes, hisses, clicks, minor strings arrangements and heavily filtered pianos.

This gives the track the quality of feeling like a lament. The decidedly human anti-establishment rock anthem condemns the anti-human machinations employed by State apparatuses in order to secure the votes of the populous and therefore maintain both its power and the depredations of the very system it defends and reproduces.

The implication here is that at the advent of the new millennium, Radiohead viewed the sociopolitical, economic, and cultural quality of the global Western zeitgeist as cynically, disappointingly, infuriatingly unchanged.

In this sense, the future regimes of humankind, aided by technology, promised nothing but more of the same at the turn of the 21st century. Ultimately, this ballad evokes termination and finality. While predictable in certain ways, the future is always already surprising. In this sense, the lyrical content could be argued to present the song as a ballad to the arrival of a disappointingly familiar and negative future. Here again the theme of exiting, escaping, as well as the notion of a hazardous sociopolitical, economic, technological, moral, ethical, and cultural precipice upon which the collectivity stood at the time is reinforced.

In the last instance, the song questions whether or not Western societies were collectively lucky to see the arrival of the new millennium, whether or not were we the witnesses of a paradigm shift akin to a dramatic advantageous reversal of fortune. Or were those who died before the exponential rise of communications technology preceding the advent of the new millennium the lucky ones. Everything was about speed when I wrote those songs […]. I had a sense of looking out a window at things moving so fast I could barely see.

While the song may not have originally been intended as a commentary on technology, it has interesting resonances when thinking through the album as a comment on the sociopolitical and cultural issues and debates of 20th century fin-de-siècle. Conclusion 31Throughout the album, there is a sense of resignation, of the inescapability of existential circuitousness, and sociopolitical and cultural denigration due to the increased mechanization of human life.

As such, the strength of OK Computer is that it expresses its anxieties regarding the transition and role of technology in popular music post-millennium, the excitements, the foreboding, and the fundamental anxiety of the limit experience of fin-de-siècle. Notes 1 David H.


OK Computer



Radiohead – Ok computer