5 Reasons Why You Should Give Radiohead’s ‘The Bends’ Another Spin

Don’t worry kids, you’re not hallucinating, today you’re getting a double serving of “5 Reasons Why.” In fact, you guys should brace yourself for all the music truth you can handle, because from here on out, Philly Mixtape will be dishing out a double dose of the column that you guys have responded so incredibly to! Your first “5 reasons” will give it up to an artist who we think needs more music love, and your second will give it up to an album that rightfully deserves another spin in your headphones. Today, we’re kicking it off with the just-turned-twenty set, ‘The Bends,’ by iconic UK rock group, Radiohead.

For those that may not know, Radiohead, along with other acts like Oasis and Blur, were the pinnacle of the UK rock movement back -in- the- ’90s day. For over two decades, Radiohead have released some of the most glowing, shimmering sets to raid rock radio, complete with soaring guitar riffs, melancholy melodies and unusually delightful vocal stylings, which are mercifully provided by lead singer Tom York. Their second album, ‘The Bends,’ took the group straight to the top, but it wasn’t exactly an overnight sensation. Since its release twenty years ago, ‘The Bends’ has been hailed as one of the greatest albums of all time, as well as an album that changed the face of music, all adding to the fact that you guys should absolutely give this dynamic record one more spin…and here are 5 other reasons why.

1. It’s a pure ’90s album….that contains timeless music….

Oh, the ’90s. How can we ever forget about this beloved, yet soooo angsty decade? It seemed as if we all went though a range of emotions during this time-happy, sad, up, down, Courtney Love. ‘The Bends’ is certainly an album that captured all of those emotions, whether on sullen cuts, “Planet Telex,” “My Iron Lung,” and the albums title track, or on the more peppy(ish), “High & Dry” and “Just,” ‘The Bends’ is an emotional roller coaster that speaks out to whatever mood you might be feeling at that particular music moment. The best part of it all is that while yes, this album is ALL wrapped up in ’90s music lovin’, two decades later, the tracks still have a refreshing quality that sound like they could be blaring on any current modern rock or college radio channel. 

2.It came out at a time when rock was just killin’ it on the charts….

….but this album didn’t. For all of you ’90s kids out there, we all LIVED for ’90s rock acts like Live, Bush, Nirvana and Hole, who delivered some truly kick-ass tunes and albums that terrorized the charts. When ‘The Bends’ came out, it didn’t blow up to epic proportions, debuting at a low #88 on the album chart with the highest charting single, “High and Dry’ only peaking at #78. But, due to the growing buzz from the set and their hook-up with R.E.M. on tour as their opening act, ‘The Bends’ would eventually go on to spawn a whopping seven singles and hit platinum status on the charts. In fact, many mid-’90s acts like Garbage and Ms. k.d Lang all cited Radihead as their favorite band…and it all stemmed from this album, further proving that they don’t make records like these anymore, kids. 

3.Because ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ will always remind of you ‘Clueless’…

There are many memorable scenes in the classic ’90s film, ‘Clueless’, (also 20 this year!), but one of the greatest moments is when Cher gets reacquainted for the first time with her step-brother-turned-lover, Josh, and Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees is gently gliding in the background. You might remember that Cher described the plucky tune as  ‘wah-wah-wah.” As if! In reality, you’ve probably heard the space-y track at least ten times a year (that is how many time a year people watch Clueless, right?), so why not dive into the album that it came from. If you get lost in “Trees” on the regular, then ‘The Bends’ will get you where you need to be and not make you totally pause…in life.

4.It’s on Rolling Stone’s ‘100 Greatest Albums Of All Time’ list….

A few years ago, ‘Rolling Stone’ updated their list of the ‘100 Greatest Albums Of All Time,” and ‘The Bends’ currently sits on the list at #110. Just think, out of all of the albums that are unleashed to our headphones, that’s quite an accomplishment. In fact, Radiohead have two other albums on the coveted list, as their ’97 set, ‘OK Computer,’ sits at #110 and their ’00 set, ‘Kid A’ sits at #67, making Radiohead one of the very music artists to have three studio sets on the latter half of the list.  If that’s still not enough for you to give this album one more spin, in 2000, Virgin ranked ‘The Bends’ at number two on their ‘Top 1000 albums of All Time” list where it only sits behind the Beatles album, ‘Revolver.’ Fun fact-both of those albums still hold their positions firm on the list today.

5.It’s a great music therapy session…

Let’s face it, life isn’t always peachy fucking keen, and sometimes we need a good music therapy session to get us back to where we need to be. If there’s an album that certainly plays out like a music therapist, it’s Radiohead’s shimmering set. Whether you’re looking for questions, answers, taking on new paths or remembering old ones, turn to this album. After one more re-spin, you will not only feel lifted, but the music will actually make you (gasp) think! Now, ask yourself, how much music out there today makes you use any part of your brainwaves? Not too much, is it? Music therapy in session, kids. 



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