What's the best song from Radiohead's "OK Computer"?

It’s often considered THE landmark record of the 90s, and marked a huge step forward for a band that had shown remarkable promise in their previous album. Although seen at the time as a massive departure in style, in retrospect, it’s become clear that “OK Computer” was itself a transitional sound towards the atmospheric electronics of “Kid A.” The stadium rock of “The Bends” was still there to some extent, but in songs like “No Surprises” and “Airbag,” Radiohead were already beginning to expand beyond their guitar-and-drum based repertoire. The marathon sessions that resulted in “OK Computer” incorporated all manner of unconventional instrumentation and electronic trickery, and drew inspiration from sources ranging from DJ Shadow to Krzysztof Penderecki.

So: thirteen years after its release, what’s the best song from “OK Computer”?

Paranoid Android was my clear winner, but it looks like there are a lot of different opinions here. Which is fine by me, because OK Computer is about the album as a whole, not just the singles.

“Let Down” is probably my favorite Radiohead song ever.

Very hard choice, but I went with Let Down. It’s a beautiful and complex song where a lot happens and it all works very smoothly. It might be the most Beatles-y song on OK Computer (and not because of the insect metaphors) even though it’s not one of the songs that borrows heavily from a White Album track.

Radiohead is okay, but I don’t really like any of the songs off of this cd; I guess if I had to listen to a song off it I’d pick “Karma Police”, but I’d be happier a lot listening to “Just,” “Creep,” “Inside My Head,” or “Idioteque” instead. Why is OK Computer considered to be a better album than The Bends?

It just is, man. Music is subjective, obviously. I’m not a huge Radiohead fan, but this album just moves me like few others do. I like The Bends a lot, but I think OK Computer is probably the defining turn-of-the-millennium album. I’m about to it listen to again, thanks to this thread.

‘No Surprises’ is my favourite here, but the whole album really is amazing. Perhaps not quite as amazing as the hype would have you believe, in my opinion, but still a great record.

Not enough love for Karma Police (though I myself voted for Paranoid Android. Go figure).

A near-perfect album, apart from Fitter Happier, which I always skip over.

When I put my iTunes on random, that song comes up more often than any other. I think my computer has a crush on the Stephen Hawking voice. Anyway Fitter Happier does contribute something I really like to the album even if it’s not going to get any votes in a favorite song poll.

Today I picked Exit Music, but it could really have been anything. It’s an album-y album, innit.

I voted Paranoid Android, but I could have voted for any of them (even Fitter, Happier). Awesome album.

I adore this album. It was very difficult to pick one but I went for Electioneering. Let Down, Karma Police, No Surprises and Exit Music were very strong contenders, though. Fitter Happier is the only track I don’t love.

Subterranean Homesick Alien. Why does the ever-so-slightly prog-ish Paranoid Android get all the attention? Well OK, because it’s a brilliant song. But I like SHA more, it’s just an incredible sound.

I’m one of the few who voted for “The Tourist.” It’s the perfect end to an (almost) perfect album.

Exit Music, definitely.

“Lucky” was looking lonely, so I had to help it out (bonus points for being my favorite from this album to perform set it over the edge!). But agree that it’s an album best listened to as an album.

I remember when I first bought this record the year it came out. I bought it because I liked Paranoid Android. This was was before Radiohead really blew up with this album, before they became “saviors of rock” and when this was just “the new album from the band that played ‘creep’” and what have you. I liked it and all, but never understood, and HAVE never understood, how Radiohead have become the “most important rock band in the world” to so many people. This is perhaps the most overrated band and overrated album of the 1990’s…and I actually liked it, just not enough to blow a load all over it like so many critics did. The landmark record of the 90’s?! Have you never heard Nevermind, Evil Empire, or What’s the Story Morning Glory? They were soooo much better than anything Radiohead ever put out.

Agreed. My personal favorite, “Let Down,” is much the same way - the interweaving arpeggios in the bridge are just gorgeous. I was glad when Radiohead recaptured some of that feeling in the climactic outro of “Weird Fishes (Arpeggi).”

Radiohead have a knack for perfect album closers - I have a playlist running through their closing tracks in chronological order, and it works surprisingly well as an album.

For reference, it goes as follows:

  1. Blow Out
  2. Street Spirit (Fade Out)
  3. The Tourist
  4. Motion Picture Soundtrack
  5. Life in a Glass House
  6. A Wolf at the Door (Jonny Greenwood’s other brilliant album-ending composition)
  7. Videotape

I always skip over “Electioneering”…I think I may have heard it only twice in its entirety in all these years.