100 Best Albums of the Nineties

21

Radiohead, 'The Bends'

According to the script, Radiohead were supposed to disappear after their fluky 1993 smash "Creep," leaving only fond memories of Thom Yorke's Martin Short—after-electroshock yodel and that wukku-wukku guitar hook. But The Bends shocked everyone with its wide­screen psychedelic glory, raising Radiohead to a very Seventies kind of U.K. art-rock godhead. The depressive ballad "Fake Plastic Trees" turned up in Clueless, in which Alicia Silverstone memorably tags the band as "complaint rock"; in big-bang dystopian epics like "High and Dry," Yorke's choirboy whimper runs laps around Jonny Greenwood's machinehead guitar heroics. U2 would have sold crack to nuns to make this record.

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