Album Review no.2 : Pablo Honey - Radiohead

kempokid While Radiohead is what I believe to be one of the best bands of all time, their debut album 'Pablo Honey' is very different in both quality and in sound. I felt like talking about this album for a while, as it is a topic that people are quite divided on.
'Pablo honey' is the debut album by widely successful alternative band 'Radiohead'. It received little praise and was scored as a very mediocre album, with 3 stars from 'Allmusic', a nonexistent 'Metacritic' page and 3 stars from 'Rolling Stone'

You :
The album definitely starts off strong, with one of the better songs on the album. The riff is the first noticeable thing about the song, and what an amazing riff. The time signature is odd and makes the song quite enjoyable to listen to. The highlight of the song however, is Thom Yorke's stunning vocals, the way he transistions between notes so smoothly before singing his lungs out. The one small complaint I have with the song is that I feel half a minute could be cut out, because it drags slightly.

The Radiohead song that everybody has heard of, and for good reason. While not being the greatest song written by them, it is extremely good at what it does, making a depressing song. This is also the songs now Radiohead's career that feels the most commercial, which isn't necessarily a bad thing as its one of the only Radiohead songs that I believe is an easy listen. Once again, Thom sings very well, although this song doesn't convey that as well as 'You'. The guitar scratches, while originally an attempt to sabotage the song, ended up being one of the biggest reasons why this song is great as it is a unique twist on the traditional loud-soft structure of song that was used many times in the past. Great song all around.

How Do You?:
Ugh... This isn't what one should consider a good song, for one thing, the instruments are all extremely sloppy, there is a difference between fast and loose, and sloppy. This definitely falls into the latter category, with poor drumming, simplistic guitar and obnoxious background noise. The worst offender however, is Thom Yorke's bratty singing which is both stupid sounding and off key in this song.

Stop Whispering:
Mercifully, the next song is another ballad type song where the band is much more controlled and deliberate in what they play. The traditional structure of loud-soft is once again employed, but without the guitar scratching, making it a slightly more generic song than Creep.As the song comes to a close, the instrumentals become chaotic and fast, but in a way that sounds fitting, rather than awful like in How Do You. An all round great song that goes unnoticed by many

Thinking About You:
Probably the most dull song on the album, Thinking About You does nothing even slightly interesting, with generic depressed lyrics combined with a dull riff that is extremely unimpressive, along with what is easily the worst vocal performance on the album. It's one thing to sound like an idiot like in How Do You, but it's another thing to sound so whiny. The final reason why this song is bad is the lack of any sort of climax within the song, it is set in one riff, one tempo, one volume, no sign of anything notable. At least it doesn't offend my ears.

Anyone Can Play Guitar:
Now that's how you make a riff, it sets itself apart from other songs in album and has a clear feeling to it. I'm honestly surprised that this song was never a hit, as it is very easy to listen to while also maintaining a high quality. I love to the chorus in the song and how it seems to change the tone from something that sounds slightly sad, to a much happier sounding one, at least in terms of melody. My main issue is that it shares the same problem that Thinking About You, where it didn't have a clear outro or anything much to define the song ending, although this is to a much lesser extent in this one.

The sudden changes in volume frustrate me a great amount, while the scratchy guitar defined Creep, it really detracts from this song. While many parts of the song are highly competent, such as the vocals being decent and the drummer really giving it his all, the shoddy guitar work ruins everything for me. A decent song other than that at least

And the other contender for most boring song on the album goes to... Vegetable. The song just really doesn't go anywhere, with very sudden melodic changes to the seemingly random guitar work, with miniature solos thrown in halfway through a riff, to what feels like 50 different tunes played throughout the 3 minutes of the song. You would think that that would make for an interesting experimental song, but everything falls on its face because of how disjointed it feels without feeling like it was intended to be that way.

Prove Yourself:
Once again, this song isn't particularly interesting, but there is definitely some evidence of great songwriting here. I really like the repeated singing of 'Prove Yourself' and 'I'm better off dead' this is quite fortunate as they are basically the only 2 lines said in the song. The lack of drums while Thom sings is a nice touch since it adds a feeling of importance to the repetition of the line 'prove yourself'. The guitar solo is also quite good. I wish there was a little more to this song, but it is by no means bad with what it has.

I Can't:
Another one of the few songs which feel quite emotional on the album, with the great singing by Thom being apparent and the highly skilled instrumental work being very noticeable. The song is nicely varied and ends with a pretty good guitar solo. The only slight issue I have with is the fact that it isn't very memorable. That said, it is a very good song.

This was another song that I felt was mediocre, it is probably one of the only songs that sound like Radiohead's slightly later stuff, but without the same level of technique or maturity that they possessed. Therefore, the song is extremely boring.

Blow Out:
This is what I would call one of the most technically proficient songs on the album, the riffs are great and the strange sound that sounds like an airplane taking off makes it all that much more interesting, as it isn't jarring like ripcord is with its sudden leaps of volume. It's also very nice to hear a slightly more fast paced song in the album after the last few were all quite slow. All in all, this was a great ending to a questionable album.

2*10 + 2*9 + 2*8 + 7 + 6 + 2*5 + 2*3 - 2*6.9 = 69/100

Final Thoughts:
I personally don't like this album much, but can see moments in the extremely patchy track list where some genuine care and effort was put in, as well as talent. This album was far from perfect with stinkers such as How Do You and Thinking About You bringing this album further down than it needed to be. It is overall a mediocre album, but it still has a few standout tracks, such as Creep and Blow Out, but it is overall a fairly dull, occasionally awful experience, it really cannot be compared to Radiohead's later work in terms of quality.