In honor of Radiohead announcing they are touring this summer – and the fact that Mrs. Hops and I have pit tickets to see them in Virginia – I decided to dust off the oldest Radiohead album, Pablo Honey. As you know the requirement for me to consider dusting off a disc is that I haven’t listened to that album in over a year. With Pablo Honey it’s been much longer than that. Did I just forget about a great album? Was I too distracted by their later works? Was this album just generally not that good? These are the questions I was trying to answer.
After listening to the album again I was amazed that the band I was listening to was the same who would go on to be one of the greatest bands off all time (yes, I feel that strongly). Sadly, there aren’t that many clues on Pablo Honey to have made you realized that in 1993 (can you believe its been 15 years?). That said the album has it’s moments that at least make you hear the link between this album and The Bends. The opening track, “You” certainly is one of those and is quickly followed up by the most famous track, “Creep”. Even fifteen years after its release, “Creep” is still a fantastic track. It was clearly overplayed back in the day, but now that its been in hibernation for a quite a while you can still its original creepy vibe and the wit of Thom Yorke that we’ve come to know quite well. The next track, “How Do You Do?”, is a respectable tune as is “Stop Whispering” the song that follows. Of all the songs album this is the only one that was better htan I remembered. One track that doesn’t sound as good is “Anyone Can Play Guitar”. After such a long period this song sounds dated – clearly reminiscent of the mid-90’s alternative scene. In fact, the whole album suffers this. Pablo Honey just reminds me of every other average to above average mid-90’s alt-rock album. If it wasn’t for their amazing success afterwards since you would put Radiohead up there with other mid-90’s bands like Marcy Playground, The Goo Goo Dolls, Stone Temple Pilots and Blind Melon. How fucked up is that???
Fortunately for Radiohead and their fans this was just the beginning.
Verdict: Pick the best tracks and put them on shuffle.