Radiohead Albums Ranked

Radiohead are an English rock band formed in Abingdon, Oxfordshire in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke (vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards), brothers Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, other instruments) and Colin Greenwood (bass), Ed O’Brien (guitar, backing vocals) and Philip Selway (drums, percussion). They have worked with producer Nigel Godrich and cover artist Stanley Donwood since 1994.

After signing to EMI in 1991, Radiohead released their debut single “Creep” in 1992. It became a worldwide hit after the release of their debut album, Pablo Honey (1993). Their popularity and critical standing rose in the United Kingdom with the release of their second album, The Bends (1995). Radiohead’s third album, OK Computer (1997), brought them international fame; noted for its complex production and themes of modern alienation, it is often acclaimed as a landmark record of the 1990s and one of the best albums in popular music. Radiohead had sold more than 30 million albums worldwide by 2011. Here are all of Radiohead’s albums ranked.

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9. Pablo Honey (1993)

“I’ve been big into Radiohead for years, own all of their other albums, but somehow missed Pablo Honey–I think it must have been unavailable at some point, and I forgot all about it. I don’t even remember ever hearing the single, Creep! So it was quite interesting hearing this first album of a band whose later music I have come to know and love. There are at least four songs on the album I would put up there with Radiohead’s best: You, Creep, Blow Out and Prove Yourself. I Can’t is also solid if not especially original. The album has many Radiohead attributes that come to fruition in later albums, and if the band has not quite yet found its voice with Pablo Honey, it comes very, very close. So glad I finally hooked up with this album!”

8. The King of Limbs (2011)

“It took me a couple a times listening to this before I decided that I LOVE it. This album is almost a COMPLETE departure from their earlier stuff. The heavy use of loops can make it a bit off putting to the casual fan, but I think it’s a huge bit a growth and experimentation from a band that we’ve come to expect innovation in sound from. Bloom is an absolute masterpiece. The use of loops on almost all instruments and their layering is fantastic. Feral, Lotus Flower, and Codex are mind blowing. If you don’t like this album, I seriously suggest that you give it more of a chance and have an open mind.”

7. A Moon Shaped Pool (2011)

“This album distinguishes itself from previous Radiohead albums in that it is entirely mid-tempo or slower songs– Thom’s voice rarely if ever goes ragged or strained. It is also heavily orchestrated. Because of this, one could easily place it in the ambient, post-rock genre. That said, A Moon Shaped Pool could be considered Radiohead’s most overtly beautiful album ever. The electronic flourishes and post-processing effects mark their previous work can be found here, with definite shades of Kid A, but its a light touch, making the album much more accessible than that album.”

6. Hail to the Thief (2003)

“Over the years, Radiohead have done more than most to earn the numerous plaudits and unswerving support that some bands seem to receive from both fans and the press.

Indeed, they are without doubt one of the most original and talented acts of the last 20 years. Like any other great band, though, there are bound to be rises and falls in the quality of their career output even if the overall level is very high. Even the most die-hard fans of say Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Smashing Pumpkins, U2 or any other “classic” group would be hard pressed to give every album in their canon a 5 star rating.

And so it is with “Hail To The Thief”. Whilst the instrumentation is flawless throughout and Thom Yorke’s voice is in fine fettle, simply too much of this album is filler material by Radiohead’s own high standards. Whereas each of their previous albums has represented a marked progression in both the group’s sound and songwriting, HTTF is something of a regression.”

5. Amnesiac (2001)

“Radiohead has changed the way I listen to music. Literally. Their music is so good, so different, so unique, so intricate, so difficult, so layered, so deep, that it has changed the way I view other bands. My favorite bands in no particular order have always been the Beatles, Guns N’ Roses, Pink Floyd, Wilco, Tool, Pearl Jam, Jimi Hendrix to name a few. Then, a few years ago I got into Kid A by Radiohead and everything has changed. Amnesiac, while not Radiohead’s best work, is still one of the best albums I own. Ranking Radiohead’s albums is like trying to say which Beatles album is best.”

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4. Rainbows (2007)

“Stinkin’ good album. I have most of Radiohead’s stuff already, everything except Pablo Honey, but for some reason I didn’t get this one until recently. It is now number 3 on my list of best Radiohead albums, after OK Computer and Kid A. I thought Hail to the Thief was going to be hard to beat, but after a few months of listening I think In Rainbows is superior. It seems more focused, more musical, and slightly less experimental. It’s as if they’ve taken the best styles and ideas from their previous albums and crafted a new album with them. The album is mostly medium to slower rock songs, like Nude, All I Need, and personal fave House of Cards, but the album also features one of the better pumping, adrenaline-fused rock songs in a while from Radiohead, Bodysnatchers. Overall a great album for a fan of any or all of Radiohead’s various musical stages.”

3. The Bends (1995)

“I bought “The Bends” without really knowing what to expect. I only knew some of the songs (High and dry, Fake Plastic Trees, Nice Dream, Just, Bullet Proof, Black Star, and Street Spirit). Well.. actually I knew most of the songs, but regardless of that, when I first heard the album in its entirety I fell in love with it. The songs as individual pieces of music are great, but once you listen to the album as a whole you’ll understand what I’m trying to express. This album is Radiohead’s second piece, but It’s a classic. Every single song is amazing. It’s one of those albums you’ll find yourself unable to skip songs. Not even one. The songs are very raw. They’re creative, but they have their roots on classic rock. Very loud. Even the sad “Street Spirit” or the gentle “Fake Plastic Trees” have this sense of rock that can’t be found in just any album. If you’re just getting into Radiohead I highly recommend this one. As I said, it’s a classic.”

2. Kid A (2000)

“Kid A blew my mind when I first heard it. Every song is perfect from Everything in its right place to Motion Picture Soundtrack. If you are more of a fan of Radioheads early work and don’t like much of their new stuff you might not like it at least right away it contains very little electric guitar and one acoustic guitar song How to Dissapear Completley. Most songs contain more synths and keyboard like in the opening track Everything in its right place is just a keyboard and Thom singing. Despite the lack of instruments the song still sounds amazing and has so much substance still. Even though the album is more IDM influenced it does contain a couple rocks songs like Optomistic, The National Anthem and even Morning Bell. To put it short the album is a flawless masterpiece best album by Radiohead.”

1. OK Computer (1997)

“I bought this, basically, on the strength of their previous record’s last song, “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”, which I adored immediately, and favored over the often a bit too “college rock”-y sound of the other songs of the album, as well as that on their first record. The heavy electronic treatment of Mr. Greenwood’s guitar on “Paranoid Android” reassured me quickly that this was indeed something else, and it was rather soon clear that the game changed with this album. The experimentation of sound, the guitars in particular, reminded me of progressive rock bands from the past, but here the guitar almost works against the songs, providing an unease and a nervous edge which complement the lyrics about isolation, and it is filling up all the space that is left by the other sounds, making the music feel trapped. The only time when I lose my 100% interest is when “Fitter, Happier” plays. It works for me almost like an intermission, and perhaps that’s what it is! It is certainly needed, because there are a lot of things going on, and concentration is a must. For those who can stay concentrated there is an award waiting.”