Wed, Feb. 25, 9pm EST - 'The Bends' by Radiohead

Released just shy of 20 years ago (13 March 1995), The Bends was the sophomoric effort of the UK group Radiohead.  Whereas their debut album Pablo Honey was definitively more straight forward alternative rock, The Bends began to meander towards something more experimental, more unique.  When looking at the group's discography, The Bends is the album that planted, or perhaps began sprouting, the seeds of brilliance that would usher them into unchartered territory with their subsequent albums.  I don't think a direct leap from Pablo Honey to Ok Computer (the highly touted follow up album to The Bends) would have been possible.  

But was The Bends merely a mediocre stepping stone, with no other usefulness?  Absolutely not!  Contained on The Bends are countless gems.  The gentle but beautiful "Fake Plastic Trees".  The ethereal presence of "Bullet Proof...I Wish I Was".  And the emotionally draining finale of "Street Spirit (Fade Out)".  Those are but a few of the highlights of this solid and well regarded album from the mid 90's.

So join "Album Night" on Wed, February 25 as we dive into Radiohead's The Bends.  Just don't come up too fast...

39 comments

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Hi Everyone. Here are some links with reviews and such for tonight's album, if you care to read before or after the event. Also, the last link is to the lyrics of the album: "The first half of Nineties rock was shaped by Nirvana, and the second half was dominated by Radiohead": http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/500-greatest-albums-of-all-time-20120531/radiohead-the-bends-20120524 Rolling Stone album review: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/the-bends-20030311 Sputnik Music album review: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/5327/Radiohead-The-Bends/ Lyrics for 'The Bends': http://lyrics.rockmagic.net/lyrics/radiohead/the_bends_1995.html

    Hi Everyone. Here are some links with reviews and such for tonight's album, if you care to read before or after the event. Also, the last link is to the lyrics of the album:

    "The first half of Nineties rock was shaped by Nirvana, and the second half was dominated by Radiohead":
    http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/500-greatest-albums-of-all-time-20120531/radiohead-the-bends-20120524

    Rolling Stone album review:
    http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/the-bends-20030311

    Sputnik Music album review:
    http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/5327/Radiohead-The-Bends/

    Lyrics for 'The Bends':
    http://lyrics.rockmagic.net/lyrics/radiohead/the_bends_1995.html

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Thank you to all who show up for "Album Night" tonight! Here is my usual, but important, reminder for the event: ***Please make sure to periodically refresh your browser during the event so you can see all the comments as they are posted. The site will not automatically update on its own.*** Thanks, and I wish everyone a great listening experience! Anyone out there yet?

    Thank you to all who show up for "Album Night" tonight! Here is my usual, but important, reminder for the event:

    ***Please make sure to periodically refresh your browser during the event so you can see all the comments as they are posted. The site will not automatically update on its own.***

    Thanks, and I wish everyone a great listening experience! Anyone out there yet?

  • John T

    John T NY

    Hi. I missed the last few sessions so looking forward to tonight's album. I don't know much about Radiohead and this will be the first time listening to the Bends. I am quite curious about this band considering all the positive reviews they have received over the years.

    Hi. I missed the last few sessions so looking forward to tonight's album. I don't know much about Radiohead and this will be the first time listening to the Bends. I am quite curious about this band considering all the positive reviews they have received over the years.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Welcome John T! Good to see you again. This will be a good starting point for you for Radiohead. However, they have some pretty varied stuff so even if you don't like this album it doesn't mean that you won't like some of their other stuff. We'll be getting started momentarily.

    Welcome John T! Good to see you again. This will be a good starting point for you for Radiohead. However, they have some pretty varied stuff so even if you don't like this album it doesn't mean that you won't like some of their other stuff. We'll be getting started momentarily.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    "Album Night" officially starts now! Start track 1 (hit play or put the needle down on side A) of 'The Bends' by Radiohead. Share your thoughts right here as you listen!

    "Album Night" officially starts now! Start track 1 (hit play or put the needle down on side A) of 'The Bends' by Radiohead. Share your thoughts right here as you listen!

  • John T

    John T NY

    Very 90's alternative sound to the first track with lots of studio effects. How many people in the group?

    Very 90's alternative sound to the first track with lots of studio effects. How many people in the group?

  • Mike P

    Mike P Cow Town NY

    can't believe this is my first time listening to this cd straight through

    can't believe this is my first time listening to this cd straight through

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Welcome to "Album Night" Mike!

    Welcome to "Album Night" Mike!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    John, I believe there are 5 members: Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Phil Selway and Ed O'Brien. Yes, this album and its predecessor Pablo Honey definitely have that alternative feel. After this one they started deviated from that script

    John, I believe there are 5 members: Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Phil Selway and Ed O'Brien.

    Yes, this album and its predecessor Pablo Honey definitely have that alternative feel. After this one they started deviated from that script

  • John T

    John T NY

    Listening to the second track and now I am recognizing the lead singer Thom Yorke's very distinctive style. Wow, lots of guitars and rave ups.

    Listening to the second track and now I am recognizing the lead singer Thom Yorke's very distinctive style. Wow, lots of guitars and rave ups.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Yeah, there's definitely a lot of loud moments with lots of energy, but they make the quieter moments that much sweeter

    Yeah, there's definitely a lot of loud moments with lots of energy, but they make the quieter moments that much sweeter

  • John T

    John T NY

    Listening to High and Dry and you start to get the sense that this group is very focused on song form. A good mixture of pop and rock.

    Listening to High and Dry and you start to get the sense that this group is very focused on song form. A good mixture of pop and rock.

  • John T

    John T NY

    I see that the all the songs are attributed to the group as composers. Will that continue with future releases or did a few members begin wanting more credit?

    I see that the all the songs are attributed to the group as composers. Will that continue with future releases or did a few members begin wanting more credit?

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Yeah, the interesting thing is that two albums later, 'Kid A', there's some tracks that feel like they have no form at all. That's one of the things that makes Radiohead so interesting is that they keep trying new things. But these first two albums are much more formful

    Yeah, the interesting thing is that two albums later, 'Kid A', there's some tracks that feel like they have no form at all. That's one of the things that makes Radiohead so interesting is that they keep trying new things. But these first two albums are much more formful

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    "Fake Plastic Trees", track 4, starting now. Great track!

    "Fake Plastic Trees", track 4, starting now. Great track!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    John T - not sure the answer to your question on the writers. Don't know if they went the way of The Doors and started individualizing the writing credits

    John T - not sure the answer to your question on the writers. Don't know if they went the way of The Doors and started individualizing the writing credits

  • John T

    John T NY

    Listening to Fake Plastic Trees one of the songs you singled out John. I can see what you mean by how the quieter songs feel much more peaceful and introspective compared to the other tracks. This a very nice song and a good change of pace.

    Listening to Fake Plastic Trees one of the songs you singled out John. I can see what you mean by how the quieter songs feel much more peaceful and introspective compared to the other tracks. This a very nice song and a good change of pace.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    I like the bass line in this one, "Bones". It's a cool little riff

    I like the bass line in this one, "Bones". It's a cool little riff

  • Mike P

    Mike P

    I've gotta admit, this is definitely a great track order! I like how different this is from Ok Computer

    I've gotta admit, this is definitely a great track order! I like how different this is from Ok Computer

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    yeah, we're back a bit quieter now with [Nice Dream]. Even the quieter songs sound very big though

    yeah, we're back a bit quieter now with [Nice Dream]. Even the quieter songs sound very big though

  • John T

    John T NY

    They are very versatile in songwriting and playing but Yorke's voice can seem a bit overdone at times like on Nice Dream. I assume he is the only singer in the group.

    They are very versatile in songwriting and playing but Yorke's voice can seem a bit overdone at times like on Nice Dream. I assume he is the only singer in the group.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    I'd have to say that if I weren't following along with the lyrics I'd have little idea of what Yorke is singing in most of these tracks. Sometimes the vocals just kind of ride along with the music and blend in so well that I can't make out individual words. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I do like to know what he's singing.

    I'd have to say that if I weren't following along with the lyrics I'd have little idea of what Yorke is singing in most of these tracks. Sometimes the vocals just kind of ride along with the music and blend in so well that I can't make out individual words. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I do like to know what he's singing.

  • John T

    John T NY

    Back to more of the grunge sound on Just. I am thinking I prefer this type to some of the slower ones. The whole group seems more involved and I really like the guitar player.

    Back to more of the grunge sound on Just. I am thinking I prefer this type to some of the slower ones. The whole group seems more involved and I really like the guitar player.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Yes, John, as far as I'm aware Yorke is the only singer. Funny that we both commented on the lyrics/vocals at the same time

    Yes, John, as far as I'm aware Yorke is the only singer. Funny that we both commented on the lyrics/vocals at the same time

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Is this the first acoustic guitar we've heard (on Bullet Proof..I wish I was)? Stark contrast from the big electric guitars that have been dominating. Prob had acoustic on High and Dry and Fake Plastic Trees now that I think of it. This one just kind of floats

    Is this the first acoustic guitar we've heard (on Bullet Proof..I wish I was)? Stark contrast from the big electric guitars that have been dominating. Prob had acoustic on High and Dry and Fake Plastic Trees now that I think of it. This one just kind of floats

  • John T

    John T NY

    Listening to Bullet Proof. The music and playing is really excellent. I wonder if on their later albums they had more instrumentals or continued with vocals all the time.

    Listening to Bullet Proof. The music and playing is really excellent. I wonder if on their later albums they had more instrumentals or continued with vocals all the time.

  • Mike P

    Mike P MOOVILLE

    It just get's dreamier and dreamier

    It just get's dreamier and dreamier

  • John T

    John T NY

    John I am glad you gave us the link to the lyrics. Hearing the words more clearly really makes a difference. A sense of vulnerability in the singer's voice now becomes a major theme in my opinion.

    John I am glad you gave us the link to the lyrics. Hearing the words more clearly really makes a difference. A sense of vulnerability in the singer's voice now becomes a major theme in my opinion.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    yeah, sometimes the good playing gets lost among the distortion. Best way to find out about instrumentals on future albums is to give some of them a listen! :) I recommend going in chronological order if you do want to pursue further. Next up would be OK Computer which many feel is better than 'The Bends'. There's some really great moments on it, though I'm not sure I like it better as a whole. I probably need to give a close listen myself after this one

    yeah, sometimes the good playing gets lost among the distortion. Best way to find out about instrumentals on future albums is to give some of them a listen! smile I recommend going in chronological order if you do want to pursue further. Next up would be OK Computer which many feel is better than 'The Bends'. There's some really great moments on it, though I'm not sure I like it better as a whole. I probably need to give a close listen myself after this one

  • John T

    John T NY

    You are right Mike. A certain dreaminess permeates the sound of all the songs. It draws you into the music.

    You are right Mike. A certain dreaminess permeates the sound of all the songs. It draws you into the music.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    yeah, supposedly the last track "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" was stream of consciousness. And supposedly they only perform it at the end of live shows because it's so draining. That's what I've read anyway. Never had the pleasure of seeing them live unfortunately. Of course we're not there yet...

    yeah, supposedly the last track "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" was stream of consciousness. And supposedly they only perform it at the end of live shows because it's so draining. That's what I've read anyway. Never had the pleasure of seeing them live unfortunately. Of course we're not there yet...

  • John T

    John T NY

    Yes John I was going to ask where to next. I thought OK Computer or Kid A which also was a big hit if I remember. Best to go chronological as you suggest. I am quite interested to see how the music evolved.

    Yes John I was going to ask where to next. I thought OK Computer or Kid A which also was a big hit if I remember. Best to go chronological as you suggest. I am quite interested to see how the music evolved.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Yeah, I always thought they went a little too discursive with Kid A which ended up being a brilliant setup for Amnesiac where they reeled it back just a bit. But if not for Kid A, then Amnesiac would have seemed to far out there. But I'll let you judge for yourself as you go through. There's some great albums and hence much discussion which album is best. Usually the sign of a great band

    Yeah, I always thought they went a little too discursive with Kid A which ended up being a brilliant setup for Amnesiac where they reeled it back just a bit. But if not for Kid A, then Amnesiac would have seemed to far out there. But I'll let you judge for yourself as you go through. There's some great albums and hence much discussion which album is best. Usually the sign of a great band

  • John T

    John T NY

    Wow what a closer! I can see why they consider so intense to play. This makes you want to rehear the whole album again. I think it is one of those albums that requires 3 or 4 listens to sink in.

    Wow what a closer! I can see why they consider so intense to play. This makes you want to rehear the whole album again. I think it is one of those albums that requires 3 or 4 listens to sink in.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Dang, a 49 minute album and it still seemed too short. Happens every time!

    Dang, a 49 minute album and it still seemed too short. Happens every time!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    John T & Mike P. Thank for joining "Album Night" tonight! I hope you guys enjoyed 'The Bends'! I know I did. On your way out please take a quick second to cast your vote on the main "Album Night" page, thumbs up or down, for tonight's album. Of course, I'm still willing to hang around a discuss the album more if you're interested.

    John T & Mike P. Thank for joining "Album Night" tonight! I hope you guys enjoyed 'The Bends'! I know I did. On your way out please take a quick second to cast your vote on the main "Album Night" page, thumbs up or down, for tonight's album. Of course, I'm still willing to hang around a discuss the album more if you're interested.

  • John T

    John T NY

    Thanks John for having us experience Radiohead. As I said this was a first for me and a great way to finally get into the band. I can now see why their fans are so dedicated. Next up for me OK Computer....

    Thanks John for having us experience Radiohead. As I said this was a first for me and a great way to finally get into the band. I can now see why their fans are so dedicated. Next up for me OK Computer....

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    By the way, "Album Night" will return on Wed, March 18 with 'Marquee Moon' by Television. Please note that this is in three weeks, not the usual two

    By the way, "Album Night" will return on Wed, March 18 with 'Marquee Moon' by Television. Please note that this is in three weeks, not the usual two

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    I think you'll enjoy it John. I'd love to hear what you think when you get around to listening. Thanks again for joining "Album Night'. Hope to see you on the 18th for 'Marquee Moon'

    I think you'll enjoy it John. I'd love to hear what you think when you get around to listening. Thanks again for joining "Album Night'. Hope to see you on the 18th for 'Marquee Moon'

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