I didn’t realise until putting this entry together that Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer’ was a bit of a Marmite album. Either touted as one of the greatest or most overrated albums of all time, it was for a time the only Radiohead album I owned. I had tried getting into Radiohead after hearing ‘Creep’ for the first time, but ‘Pablo Honey’, the album from which that song was taken did not inspire me to buy anything else at the time. This began to change once some of the songs that were on their second album, ‘The Bends’ started appearing on compilation albums I bought at the time. ‘High & Dry’, ‘Fake Plastic Trees’, ‘Just’ and ‘Street Spirt (Fade Out)’ all made it onto mix tapes from the time but the parent album would have to wait until it was re-released on vinyl about twenty years after the event for me to take the plunge and buy it. There were no such qualms with ‘OK Computer’ though.
I’m not sure if it was ‘Paranoid Android’ or ‘Karma Police’ that made me feel that this album could be a welcome addition to the Squire Archives, but in it came and what an experience it was. It sounded like a complete album, and not a couple of great singles tagged with some substandard filler. This was prog rock for the 90s. It also signalled the death nail for the ‘Britpop’ movement as this complex style of writing and arranging would influence many acts that produced music over the following years.
I had not played ‘OK Computer’ as a whole for many years. What brought the album back to my attend was reports that a number of MIniDiscs that had belonged to Thom Yorke had been stolen. The story went that the band were contacted by the owner of the sound files and threatened with the whole lot being made available on line without a payment being made. If this happened or not is neither here nor there, but the band decided to officially release the music for a short period of time. In return, the band asked the buyers to donate to Extinction Rebellion.
So, being a huge fan of the record, I duly paid my money and slowly made my way through the files. Luckily, fans online published playlists for these discs but it took an age to edit them down into individual songs and then listen to them through. Even though the majority of it was not worth even one listen, there was some great outtakes that had not been officially released before and it does beg the question, why not? Picking up a copy of the OKNOTOK 19972017 edition of ‘OK Computer’, I wondered if I could put together an alternative version of the record.
What I did was to only use songs that I had not used on other compilations elsewhere. I would also add songs that had either been used as B-Sides or previously unreleased. The rest would be made up of different versions (and in some respects, the differences are negligible) of the songs that would make up rest of the record. I did delete ‘Lucky’, a song I do like but never thought that it fitted in with the rest of ‘OK Computer’. That could be down to the fact that I first heard it on the ‘Help’ Charity album from 1995. Personal taste I suppose.
Unlike the majority of my posts, this is designed for CD length instead of vinyl. The original link that the band posted to donate to Extinction Rebellion still works if you fancy making a donation. https://chuffed.org/pay/campaign/62932.
- Motion Picture Soundtrack (Solo Piano)
- Airbag (Unmastered Album Version)
- Paranoid Android (Late Mix)
- Subterranean Homesick Alien (Late/Final Version 3 – Different Intro)
- Exit Music (Late Mix)
- Let Down (Thom 4-Track)
- Karma Police (Unmastered Album Version)
- Polyethylene – Part 2 (Late Mix w/Vocal Effect)
- How I Made My Millions (Single B-Side)
- Lull Single (B-Side)
- What Do You Mean (Take 2)
- Attention (Thom 4-Track)
- Fitter Happier (Solo Piano Demo)
- Electioneering (Unmastered Album Version)
- Climbing Up Walls (Unmastered Album Version)
- No Surprises (Late Mix, Original Speed)
- Lift (Alternative Version, Mix #1)
- Man Of War (OKNOTOK Version)
- The Tourist (Unmastered Album Version 3)
For the cover of this compilation, I used one that was produced on SkillShare for a project to come up with a alternative sleeve. https://www.skillshare.com/projects/OK-Computer-alternate-album-cover-DKNG-textures-and-halftones/23899