Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Radiohead: OK Computer [Capitol, 1997]
My favorite Pink Floyd album has always been Wish You Were Here, and you know why? It has soul, that's why--it's Roger Waters's lament for Syd, not my idea of a tragic hero but as long as he's Roger's that doesn't matter. Radiohead wouldn't know a tragic hero if they were cramming for their A levels, and their idea of soul is Bono, who they imitate further at the risk of looking even more ridiculous than they already do. So instead they pickle Thom Yorke's vocals in enough electronic marginal distinction to feed a coal town for a month. Their art-rock has much better sound effects than the Floyd snoozefest Dark Side of the Moon. But it's less sweeping and just as arid. B-