Last week I wrote a column about how I believe that Radiohead’s OK Computer is the best album of the last 20 years. Here is my case in a nutshell:
There’s not much to decipher on <em>OK Computer</em>. The closest thing it has to a literal, coherent “message” is “Idiot, slow down.” The rest of the album is pretty straight-forward. “Airbag” is about a car accident. “Karma Police” is a rather simple-minded actualization of the golden rule. “Paranoid Android” is about an android who is paranoid. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. At heart, <em>OK Computer</em> is a bunch of tender songs sung by a man with a high, beautiful voice — for a scathing indictment of the technocracy, <em>OK Computer </em>sure does pull ruthlessly at the heartstrings.
One person who did not agree with me is my friend and Celebration Rock podcast producer Derek Madden, a longtime Radiohead fan who’s been on board with the band since Pablo Honey. For Madden, OK Computer isn’t even the best Radiohead LP — he prefers 2007’s In Rainbows.
He’s not alone in this opinion — numerous people reached out to me on Twitter after my story ran to express similar sentiments. So I invited Derek back on the pod to debate OK Computer vs. In Rainbows. We also talk about whether Kid A has aged well, Derek’s experience seeing Radiohead open for Alanis Morissette in 1996, and how we would try to convert a Radiohead skeptic.