NME Reminds Us Why Ranking Radiohead Albums Is A Bad Idea
  • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 04, 2011

  • Posted by: Joe Puglisi

NME has attempted (key word) to rank Radiohead's album in some sort of concrete list from "best" to "worst." Comment chaos has ensued with readers, and who can blaim them? Ranking Radiohead is the worst kind of conjecture, because there are almost no universally accepted Radiohead truths (except that Thom Yorke is the only person on Earth who can get away with his dance moves).

Ranking Radiohead albums is kind of like arguing about which kind of food is the best food. Some people prefer pizza over tacos, some people like salad instead of a nice steak. You can't just arbitrarily throw them all on a plate and pretend that one is better than the other like we live in some sort of objective vacuum where Pablo Honey can be compared to King Of Limbs and qualified. To try and claim domination over such a preposterous claim is just the absolute worst. NME is the Fox News of the music industry.

So let's rip it all down! (full list from NME here)

The NME list, with our notes:

1. In Rainbows

A fair case can be made here, and it is definitely the culmination of the band's best and most sympathetic qualities. Universally appealing. OK. Next.

2. The Bends

The Bends vs. OK Computer is the age-old Radiohead struggle. It's boring because it's a zero sum game. It's almost impossible to say which is absolutely better. Not quite as stupid, however, as Kid A vs. Amnesiac, considering one is essentially just the B-sides of the other and inherently symbiotic. That's like saying In Rainbows disc one was better than the deluxe edition disc two. Really?

3. Kid A

Yeah we get it. You're the Type A stereotypical Radiohead fan who prefers "real songs" in lieu of rats and children following you out of town, shizophrenia, and battle seizure riffbots. Fine. At least this is still up there.

4. OK Computer

Most sane people agree there is a steady awesomeness arc starting from The Bends to Kid A which puts OK Computer greater than The Bends in the narrative. But whatever. Without OK Computer there IS no Kid A, so it seems kinda unfair to pit them all against each other.

5. Pablo Honey
This is where shit gets confusing. Are you kidding me? No one claims Pablo Honey "was a naive mess" as their reason for putting it dead last. It just sucks compared to all the other ones. COME ON! This should be established as fact already.

6. The King Of Limbs

Thom's experimental bleep-bloops created the most polarizing Radiohead album of our lifetime, the only one in the past six years to not receive two thumbs up its ass from everyone with a spinal cord, and it beats a record containing "Life In A Glass House," "Knives Out," AND "I Might Be Wrong"? No no no no no no no no no no no no.

7. Amnesiac

Ironically, everyone seems to forget where this "album" came from. How is it so far away from Kid A on this list? Shouldn't they just be the same slot? Also "32% too jazzy" is the most infuriating criticism of all time. You've got to be kidding me. King Of Limbs riffs makes Amnesiac's most jazzy moments look like Pat Benatar.

8. Hail To The Thief

In a way, this makes a teeny bit of sense... the brooding, dark, misraeble (but still accessible) songs on Thief are the perfect scapegoat for someone who chooses to ignore its stunning lyricism and its function as a gateway drug for an entire generation of Radiohead fans who liked The Bends but thought Kid A was something you just put on during suicide. But really, not even as good or better than King Of Limbs? Come on!

I'll be in the bar.

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