Earlier this week Radiohead announced they'd be celebrating the 20-year anniversary of their worst album by re-releasing it in a variety of configurations and deluxe packages.
I've long thought OK Computer sucks. Ever since it was released way back in 1997. But as a big part of life is growing, realising that sometimes you get things wrong and acknowledging your mistakes I decided to go back and revisit the record.
As such I've been listening to the album again. After giving it well over a dozen spins I feel comfortable admitting that 20 years after its release Radiohead's landmark, ground breaking, hugely respected, universally acclaimed, seriously important record OK Computer still, in fact, sucks.
I can hear the Radiohead fans now, fists in the air squealing, 'Off with his head, man!' echoing the caustic breakdown of the album's first single Paranoid Android. The irony being, slight as it is, that's the one song on the album that I really like...
But they're probably right. OK Computer is a sacred cow, every bit as pompous and boringly bovine as that title suggests. But as I'm not religious or vegetarian let's butcher that cow and tuck in...
It may be a scarily long time ago but I still vividly recall the crushing disappointment of that first listen. On the day it released I drove my Mazda into town, parked in a loading bay, zoomed into the record store and picked up the CD I'd pre-ordered.
Despite anticipation levels through the roof I didn't listen to it right away. I couldn't. My car only had a cassette deck.
It's fair to say that listening to the album ruined all the excitement I'd felt rushing home to listen to it.
It was just so... boring.
I listened to it again. It did not grow on me. If anything it got worse. I didn't like how much of the album was a dreary plod. I didn't like the cutesy, gimmicky tracks. I didn't like many of the guitar riffs. I didn't like the singing. I didn't like how slow it was. Aside from the odd exception I didn't like the songs. But most of all I didn't like that I didn't like it.
I really wanted to. Radiohead's debut Pablo Honey was a cool grungy-pop record but their follow-up, 1995's The Bends, simply blew me away. That album soundtracked the now hazy years of my life and I still think it's their best record. Only just nudging out Kid A due to the meanings and memories it holds.
So I was more than excited to get OK Computer. Before release all I'd heard was the tricksy and weird Paranoid Android which pulled off the trick of mashing three or four different songs into one. I thought it was great. I was very much down for more of that. I didn't get it.
Instead, there was the dinky nursery rhyme of No Surprises, it's repeating plink-plonk piano refrain instantly irritating.. Fitter Happier, a rubbish version of Trainspotting's famous 'Choose Life' speech. The cliche rock-stomp of Electioneering the only song in existence to make you shout for less cowbell.
Don't forget Let Down, although you probably have because its so non-descript, or the mid-tempo drudge of Karma Police which is not arresting at all. The record ends with The Tourist, a lumberous toil that takes over five minutes to go nowhere.
Of course when I say OK Computer sucks I mean this contextually. It doesn't suck like Nickelback sucks - a claim I can make with full authority having listened to their entire discography earlier this year - or like Manufactured Boy Band 2017 sucks.
Instead OK Computer sucks amongst the pantheon of what I'll call "good" albums or, if you prefer, albums I personally like.
And, to be fair, it's not all bad. Opener Airbag recalls The Bends opener Planet Telex, so that's obviously pretty good. Paranoid Android is endlessly fascinating, while deep cut Climbing Up the Walls grooves on a menacing backbeat before building to a truly chaotic crescendo.
But the best thing I can say about the album is that it led to the band's first truly weird and innovative album, Kid A.
I'm not surprised that OK Computer went straight to No.1 here when it came out. The critics went crazy for it and The Bends had been massive. I am, however, astonished it stayed in our charts for 65 weeks. Didn't word get out? Obviously not.
OK Computer is a bummer of a record but not in that good way of the best miserablists or depressing bands. There's no catharsis here. It's just weary and dreary. A moping wet blanket. A rainy Monday morning of a record. A bore.
I've thought this for 20 years. Revisiting it again this week offered no surprises. Being right shouldn't feel this wrong.