Worst To First:  Radiohead Albums
  • FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2016

  • Posted by: David Pitz

A Moon Shaped Pool is almost two weeks old...we've spun it on repeat, uncovered its' most cryptic qualities, and now feel pretty confident holding it up against the band's other eight albums, nestling it for all eternity within the ranks of their catalogue. That's right! It's time to rank these albums, from worst to first, once and for all. Because there's nothing quite like gliding into the holiday weekend on a wave of angry comments telling us just how wrong we are (or maybe, just maybe some of you might agree? We shall see...). So have a look at the list below and feel free to get snippy in the comments if the mood strikes you!

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#9. The King of Limbs

radiohead

OK, this is an easy one people. The only thing the band did right here was put Thom Yorke in a funny hat and have him dance around like an adult-sized, shaken baby. And we've been over how this album didn't so much sound like Radiohead the band but Thom Yorke's laptop music project.



#8. Pablo Honey

radiohead

Pablo Honey is obviously not without its charms. I mean, just look at the video below. They are so young and squeezable. And they're playing the damn MTV Beach House...which is an amazing thing to consider. "Anyone Can Play Guitar" is a rager, "You" a solid introduction to this new band out of Oxford England, and of course the classic "Creep", which is an obvious all-timer (that they are apparently playing on their current tour).



#7. Hail to the Thief

radiohead

I honestly don't remember anything about this album...aside from the fact that "2 + 2 = 5" was a serious slice of guitar...which was a nice thing on the heels of Kid A and Amnesiac. Overall, the album did feel like less of a jump into new territory though... Amnesiac 2.0, or something. Which of course if fine. But this is Radiohead and they're supposed to keep us on our toes, right? Think I'll go back and listen to this one through sometime over the long weekend, 'cause Hail to the Thief feels a little bit like the forgotten Radiohead album.



#6. A Moon Shaped Pool

radiohead

So this is where I'm sliding Moon Shaped Pool, mainly because it's still so new and fresh but obviously not up to snuff with the classics ahead of it. And let's face it...A Moon Shaped Pool is probably not a classic. It's good, by the way...an infinitely more immediate listen than its predecessor (The King of Limbs), with exciting, slow-burning singles, and a definite shift in direction towards a more orchestrated, some-how more melancholy side of the band. But I keep thinking...what if Alt J would have made this record? Would we all be losing our mind? Probably not. Because this is Radiohead and Radiohead is special. Also, just to re-iterate, I do have to go back and listen to Hail To the Thief here...it could jump right over A Moon Shaped Pool.



#5. Amnesiac

radiohead

A companion piece of sorts, Amnesiac offered more cohesive compositions than the ones on Kid A. The band led with "Pyramid Song", which is as close to jazz odyssey as the band has ever come. I remember sitting at my drum kit for hours trying to figure out what Phil Selway was trying to do. And tracks like "You And Whose Army?" and "Like Spinning Plates" were so melodically creepy. Solid, middle-of-the-road #5 on the list.



#4. The Bends

radiohead

OK, this is where things get really, really difficult, and I'm surprised to see The Bends drop all the way to #4 on this list because it's probably my personal all time favorite Radiohead album. Because man oh man, does it have the songs: "High and Dry", "Fake Plastic Trees", "(Nice Dream)", "Street Spirit (Fade Out)"....these songs meant so so much to me as a teenager. And let's face it, The Bends was the album where the band said they weren't just that "Creep" band anymore. They had depth. They wouldn't be stopping by the Beach House again. But it's hard to understate the importance of the three remaining albums, so #4 it is.



#3. Kid A

radiohead

No one saw this creative direction from the band coming when they released Kid A in the Fall of 2000. It was the result of being burnt out on creating OK Computer, and it was nothing like any record that had come before. It's the album you said was your absolute favorite album...even if you weren't sure you actually got what the band was trying to do. To this day I still kind of want to cry bullsh*t on anyone who says it's their personal favorite...there's just no way! I mean, it has some songs (Great songs actually...like "How To Disappear Completely" and "Idioteque"). But Kid A was like the ultimate in cultural currency when it came out. It was weird and experimental and basically had no singles. Most impressively, it's what the band wanted their fans to hear after the zeitgeist and Grammy nominations of OK Computer. Nobody knew how "out there" this band could get until Kid A, and, to this day, it's the reason fans are always on their toes ahead of the release of any new album.



#2. OK Computer

radiohead

Because it was massive, sending the band from clubs to arenas...duh. This one really doesn't need to be debated. It made Radiohead the biggest alternative rock band in the world...and some would argue that they still are to this day.



#1. In Rainbows

radiohead

But I suspect this one will need to be debated. Because I know you disagree. Of course you disagree. How could In Rainbows be the greatest Radiohead album? Because it was the most exciting Radiohead album. After the release of Kid A, fans loved to debate whether the band would ever go back and record another rock album. THIS was that album. And it's hard to ignore the way in which this album was released...one of the first surprise albums (I think they only made fans wait a week after announcing it) that was also cleverly priced at whatever price point you wanted to pay for it (I gave them 10 bucks). Pretty sure this made In Rainbows the first massive digital release and the last time I can remember walking around knowing exactly what everyone was listening to on their little white earbuds. In Rainbows is the champ.



But you probably disagree. Tell us why!

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