A lot of people throw away Radiohead’s first album as, to use a British term, rubbish. Especially compared to their later works, Pablo Honey appears primitive and unclean, the shaping of a mold that will eventually create the masterpiece trilogy of The Bends, OK Computer, and Kid A.
I myself don’t listen to a lot of Pablo Honey, but after a particularly entertaining weekend full of craziness and eventual let down in multiple stages, I found myself playing “Thinking About You” on guitar, over and over again. It’s a very cathartic song, very easy to play and very straightforward about it’s message. And it made me realize how much I enjoy Radiohead’s debut album. It’s grungy, sure, the imprint of the era in which they developed, but in a way that solidifies their status as the Beatles of the 90s — they took a style of music so popular that it was being copied by almost every new band out there, and they made it their own, just as the Beatles did with the blues and rock. If you listen to an early Beatles album, the comparisons to Buddy Holly and Bill Haley and the Comets and even Elvis Presley come easily, but just as easily comes the realization that the Beatles took that archtype of sound and improved upon it. Radiohead did the exact same thing in the early 90s with the one-two punch of Pablo Honey and The Bends. They took a sound and experimented with it, and made it ten times as better.
And now it’s on Winamp again. Okay, maybe it’s perfect because it is the perfect song for the situation I’m in right now, but it is resonating, and that’s a good feeling, that feeling that your fellow human beings are in the same plight you are in and they had the same problems that you have right now.