I’m in a Radiohead mood today, listening to A Moon Shaped Pool, and I decided to kill some time (a.k.a. distract myself from work) by looking for a “listicle” ranking their albums, to see if I agreed with it. Here’s what I found. Pretty good. I would swap the positions of Amnesiac and Pablo Honey, and probably knock The Bends down to fifth (moving A Moon Shaped Pool and In Rainbows up by one each). Honestly I have barely listened to Pablo Honey (ever) or King of Limbs (beyond about a month after its release)… and I haven’t really listened to Hail to the Thief since In Rainbows came out.
It’s also hard for me to process the fact that they only have 9 studio albums… back in the early 2000s when I listened to them a lot there were a handful of EPs, extended singles, a live album, etc. that made their catalog seem a lot bigger.
(Also yes I did notice the author got the release year of Pablo Honey wrong… it was 1993, not 1995!)
I can tell when some of these were released by the mental image I have of where I was when I was listening to them.
Pablo Honey (1993) and The Bends (1995) — I didn’t really listen to Radiohead in the ’90s, but I remember these being on the periphery of my awareness in college.
OK Computer (1997) — I first heard this one in a friend’s studio apartment in Loring Park, Minneapolis shortly after it was released, and now I was paying attention to these guys. (We were living in California at the time, but I spent the night hanging out with some college friends when I came back to visit my family in Minnesota.)
Kid A (2000) — I remember first talking about it with my bandmates (one of whom was a coworker at my job at the time) at a rehearsal in our drummer’s basement in the northwest suburbs of Minneapolis.
Amnesiac (2001) — I was working from home for the first few months after we moved to Atlanta, and I listened to this sitting in my basement workspace.
Hail to the Thief (2003) — Another basement… this time I was working for a travel industry startup with a terrible early 2000s tech startup name (and long-since defunct), and my desk was in the basement of a converted house in the northern Atlanta suburbs.
In Rainbows (2007) — The first pay-what-you-want album! I splurged for the big vinyl-plus-CD-plus-coffee-table-book set. I most associate it with my home office in the back bedroom of our first house in Minneapolis.
The King of Limbs (2011) — My wife was teaching at the University of Minnesota when this came out, and I was already self-employed at that point. I would meet up with her on campus for lunch once a week, and on those days I would generally just hang around somewhere on campus with my laptop working. I always associate this album with sitting in the open area on the lower level of the then-brand-new Bruininks Hall.
A Moon Shaped Pool (2016) — Another one I immediately purchased on vinyl. This was spinning frequently in the storefront studio space I was renting at the time in the East Nokomis area of Minneapolis.
Oh yeah… since that listicle I linked to will probably be as dead as my old travel industry tech startup’s website when I want to look back on this in 10 or 20 years (eek), here’s my ranking as of right now:
9. The King of Limbs
8. Pablo Honey
6. Hail to the Thief
5. The Bends
4. A Moon Shaped Pool
3. In Rainbows
2. OK Computer
1. Kid A