OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017

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OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017
Radiohead - OKNOTOK - Physical Album Cover Art.jpg
Compilation album by Radiohead
Released 23 June 2017 (2017-06-23)
Recorded
  • 4 September 1995 ("Lucky")
  • July 1996, September 1996 – March 1997
Studio
Genre
Length 91:39
Label
Producer Nigel Godrich
Radiohead chronology
A Moon Shaped Pool
(2016)A Moon Shaped Pool2016
OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017
(2017)
Alternative cover
Digital cover art
Digital cover art
Singles from OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017
  1. "I Promise"
    Released: 2 June 2017
  2. "Man of War"
    Released: 22 June 2017

OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017 is a reissue of the 1997 album OK Computer by the English alternative rock band Radiohead. It was released in June 2017 on XL Recordings following XL's acquisition of Radiohead's back catalogue from EMI in 2016.

The album is remastered and includes B-sides released on OK Computer singles, plus three previously unreleased songs: "I Promise", "Man of War", and "Lift". The special edition includes an art book, notes, and a cassette tape of demos and session recordings. Unlike previous Radiohead reissues, released by EMI without their approval, the band curated the OKNOTOK material themselves.

Radiohead promoted OKNOTOK with a teaser campaign of posters and videos. "I Promise" and "Man of War" were released as singles with music videos, followed by a video for "Lift". The album debuted at number two in the UK Albums Chart and was the bestselling album in UK independent record stores for a year. In the US, it reached number 23 on the Billboard 200.

Background[edit]

Radiohead released OK Computer, their third album, in June 1997 on EMI.[1] It was recorded in 1996[2] and 1997 at St Catherine's Court, a historic mansion near Bath.[3] It was the first Radiohead album produced by Nigel Godrich, who has produced every Radiohead release since.[4][5] The album won Best Alternative Album at the 40th Grammy Awards[6] and has sold at least 4.5 million copies worldwide.[7] According to Acclaimed Music, which uses statistics to numerically represent reception among critics, OK Computer is the 8th most celebrated album of all time.[8]

Radiohead's six-album record contract with EMI ended with the release of Hail to the Thief in 2003.[9] Their subsequent albums have been self-released digitally and released on physical media by XL Recordings. EMI retained the copyright to Radiohead's back catalogue recorded while they were signed to the label.[10] After a period of being out of print on vinyl, EMI reissued a double LP of OK Computer without Radiohead's involvement in August 2008, and again in March 2009 as a "Collector's Edition" compiling the album alongside B-sides and live performances. All the material on the reissue had been previously released.[11] Press reaction to the reissue expressed concern that EMI was exploiting Radiohead's back catalogue.[12][11] Guitarist Ed O'Brien criticised it as the act of a company "trying to squeeze every bit of lost money" and "not about artistic statement".[13]

In February 2013, Parlophone was bought by Warner Music Group (WMG).[14] In April 2016, as a result of an agreement with the trade group Impala, WMG transferred Radiohead's back catalogue to XL Recordings. The "Collector's Editions" of Radiohead albums, issued without Radiohead's approval, were removed from streaming services.[15] In May 2016, XL reissued Radiohead's back catalogue on vinyl, including OK Computer.[16]

Contents[edit]

OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017 includes a remastered version of OK Computer, plus eight B-sides and three previously unreleased tracks: "I Promise", featuring strummed acoustic guitar,[17] marching band-like drums,[18] and Mellotron;[19] "Man of War", a mid-tempo ballad with strings, piano, and electric guitar;[20] and "Lift", a Britpop-like ballad.[21][22]

The boxed edition of OKNOTOK includes the album on vinyl, a hardcover art book, a book of Yorke's notes, and a sketchbook of Yorke and cover artist Stanley Donwood's preparatory artwork.[23] It also includes an audio cassette containing audio experiments, session recordings, demos (including demos for two previously unheard songs), and early versions of "The National Anthem", "Motion Picture Soundtrack" and "Nude", songs released on later albums.[24]

The final track on the cassette, "OK Computer Program", comprises computer tones which, when run on a ZX Spectrum computer, load a short computer program. The program lists the band members and the date 19 December 1996, before playing several minutes of electronic tones and displaying a message in black text on a black background: "Congratulations....you've found the secret message syd [sic] lives hmmmm. We should get out more".[25]

OKNOTOK is dedicated to Rachel Owen, ex-wife of singer Thom Yorke; Owen died from cancer months prior to release.[26]

Promotion and release[edit]

Before its announcement on 2 May 2017, Radiohead teased OKNOTOK with posters in cities around the world featuring "cryptic" messages, and a teaser video featuring "glitchy" computer graphics and lyrics from "Climbing Up the Walls".[23][27]

The digital and CD editions of OKNOTOK were released on 23 June 2017, with the boxed edition shipping in July. On 2 and 22 June respectively, Radiohead released "I Promise" and "Man of War" as downloads for those who had pre-ordered OKNOTOK,[28] with accompanying music videos.[29][30] A video for "Lift" followed on 12 September.[31]

On 11 July, Radiohead released an "unboxing" video previewing the contents of the OKNOTOK special edition; the video features Chieftain Mews, a character created by the band who appears in webcasts and promotional material.[32]

Sales[edit]

OKNOTOK debuted at number two in the UK Albums Chart,[33] boosted by Radiohead's third headline performance at Glastonbury Festival.[34] It was the bestselling album in UK independent record shops between April 2017 and April 2018.[35] In the US, it sold 13,000 copies in its first week, reaching number 36 on the Billboard 200. Following the vinyl and boxed edition release two weeks later, it re-entered the chart at number 23, selling another 17,000 copies (including 8,000 on vinyl and 7,000 on CD).[36]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic100/100[37]
Review scores
SourceRating
Consequence of SoundA+[38]
Drowned in Sound10/10[39]
The Guardian5/5 stars[40]
Mojo5/5 stars[41]
The Observer5/5 stars[42]
Pitchfork10/10[43]
Q5/5 stars[44]
Rolling Stone5/5 stars[45]
Sputnikmusic3.6/5[46]
Uncut5/5 stars[47]

On the review aggregator website Metacritic, OKNOTOK has a score of 100 out of 100 based on 15 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[37] Praise went to the previously unreleased material; the Guardian wrote that the reissue, with its "excellent" unreleased songs, proved that Radiohead were "the world's greatest rock band, pushing the limits of what they, or anyone else, could achieve".[40] PopMatters praised "Man of War" as the best of the new tracks.[48] Pitchfork wrote that the reissue's best feature was "hearing how the lost material informs the original album".[49] Record Collector critic Jamie Atkins praised the cassette in the boxed edition, particularly the version of "Motion Picture Soundtrack", writing: "To these ears it’s one of the performances of [Yorke's] career. He begins sounding utterly wounded until – as if revelling in the places his voice is capable of taking the song – it ends up becoming something quite defiant."[50]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Phil Selway, Ed O'Brien and Colin Greenwood.

No.TitleLength
1."Airbag"4:44
2."Paranoid Android"6:23
3."Subterranean Homesick Alien"4:27
4."Exit Music (For a Film)"4:24
5."Let Down"4:59
6."Karma Police"4:21
7."Fitter Happier"1:57
8."Electioneering"3:50
9."Climbing Up the Walls"4:45
10."No Surprises"3:48
11."Lucky"4:19
12."The Tourist"5:24
Total length:53:21
Bonus disc
No.TitleOriginLength
1."I Promise"Previously unreleased3:59
2."Man of War"Previously unreleased4:29
3."Lift"Previously unreleased4:06
4."Lull""Karma Police" single2:25
5."Meeting in the Aisle""Karma Police" single3:07
6."Melatonin""Paranoid Android" single2:08
7."A Reminder""Paranoid Android" single3:52
8."Polyethylene (Parts 1 & 2)""Paranoid Android" single4:22
9."Pearly*""Paranoid Android" single3:38
10."Palo Alto""No Surprises" single3:51
11."How I Made My Millions""No Surprises" single3:07
Total length:38:18

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2017) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[51] 6
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[52] 10
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[53] 6
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[54] 10
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[55] 5
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[56] 12
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[57] 13
Italian Albums (FIMI)[58] 11
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[59] 7
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[60] 20
Polish Albums (ZPAV)[61] 18
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[62] 6
Scottish Albums (OCC)[63] 1
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[64] 11
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[65] 16
UK Albums (OCC)[33] 2
US Billboard 200[66] 23
US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard)[67] 3
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[68] 3

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Doyle, Tom (April 2008). "The Complete Radiohead". Q.
  3. ^ Randall 2000, p. 196.
  4. ^ Wylie, Harry (November 1997). "Radiohead". Total Guitar.
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Bibliography
  • Randall, Mac (2000). Exit Music: The Radiohead Story. New York: Delta Trade Paperbacks. ISBN 0-385-33393-5.