AOTY 2023
Radiohead - Pablo Honey
Aug 14, 2023

Pablo Honey is Radiohead's infamous debut album that is by far their lowest critically acclaimed one. Is it THAT bad though?

I don't think so at all actually. It's actually very enjoyable. Although it most definitely pales in comparison to any of their later works, since this album is just a pretty generic Alternative Grunge Rock album filled with 90s cliche and extremely simple "feel good" accessible songwriting.

The production is not all that great, a lot of these songs sound like demos (but I don't mind that fact much), although I do like some of the guitar tones quite a bit. The vocals definitely weren't top-form for Thom at this point, but he would definitely perfect that pretty much right on the following album. With that said, there are still some tracks here where Thom and the band shine, and show off their skill at writing songs, that result in some really good highlights. Thom pulls off some really beautiful melodies on here and the guitars are also really strong. Accessible, simple, and generic, but very good sounding to the ears.

Obviously, "Creep" is fantastic, we all know that, and anyone that says that song is for the normies and that it sucks because it's accessible is just like... Cmon man, not everything has to be Pulk Pull Revolving Doors. It's a great, iconic catchy 90s banger, it connected with so many people for a reason. I absolutely love those nasty chugs that Jonny does on the guitar before the chorus, I feel like that's what really makes the song what it is, despite Jonny's intention was putting them there to ruin the song, but it just made it so much better.

"Prove Yourself" is my second favorite here and it's kind of a shame no one talks about this song and when they do, they completely trash it off. I love this one honestly, the vocal melodies are just so sweet, sad, and melodic, his voice sounds absolutely beautiful on this one. Not to mention that extremely simple, yet very fun chorus. I also quite like the structure of the song. This one is super great, I just love the emotion and melodies it brings, despite it being so insanely simple and quite demo-ish in production quality at parts. Lyrically, it's my favorite track on the record also. When he says "Hooked back up to the Cathode ray, I'm better off dead" it just sounds so beautiful. Idk, I fuckin love this song.

"Anyone Can Play Guitar" is another great Alt Rock Grunge song. Generic, but very nice, love the vocal melodies on the verses, and the guitars/lyrics are fun. Just a nostalgic sweet song, a banger. Love the hook on this one too. Just a great song all around.

"You" is a pretty great opener too. This one had to grow on me, but I really like it now. Thom's vocal melodies are awesome and the riffs are great too. The lead guitar is incredible here.

"Blow Out" is also quite a solid closer, although I don't really think it's all that great as some other people are saying it is. Don't get me wrong it slaps, and I love the ending, but the first part of the song doesn't really do all that much. Still, a good way to close it out and one of the stronger tracks on the record.

"Stop Whispering" is a track I originally hated, but I kinda really like it now. The 2nd half where everything just explodes is very cathartic, and despite the quite cheesy track's nature, it comes off as very charming, rather than badly aged, and kinda shows off the cathartic explosions in songs that the band would bring in their later work.

"Lurgee" is also one of my favorites. The vocal performance is sweet, but not all that memorable and fits the song well. But what really makes this track is that absolutely beautiful guitar riff. It's just so nostalgic, and gorgeous, love the guitars on this song. Love this track, truly.

"Thinking About You" is a track that at first I thought was absolutely terrible, especially in terms of the lyrics and vocals. But it kinda grew on me, I really love the acoustic chords on this one and while the vocals aren't great, it's as bad as I originally thought.

Pablo Honey is a very nice, accessible, sweet to ears, 90s Alternative Grunge Rock album, and while it is quite nice, despite having some duds and badly aged moments, the biggest issue with this album truly is that it's from Radiohead. One of the greatest bands of all time. It just doesn't represent their sound nor what they can do all that well, but if we completely detach from that reality, Pablo Honey is quite a decent listen.

I'd say that it's quite nice to have an album like this in their discography compared to all of the experimental ambitious stuff. I don't have to go to a different band if I'm just in the mood to kinda switch off and just enjoy some sweet-to-the-ear melodies, I can put Pablo Honey on and perfectly enjoy it. And you know what? I really like it for that purpose. It serves it purpose well, and it has some gems in the tracklist for sure. Not any bad songs, a few mediocre ones, but generally, despite its flaws, it manages to deliver some really great nostalgic melodic bops.

FAV TRACKS: Creep, Prove Yourself, Anyone Can Play Guitar, You, Lurgee, Stop Whispering, Blow Out
LEAST FAV TRACKS: Thinking About You, Ripcord, I Can't

Track Ratings
1You / 95
2Creep / 100
3How Do You? / 70
4Stop Whispering / 84
5Thinking About You / 54
6Anyone Can Play Guitar / 94
7Ripcord / 55
8Vegetable / 73
9Prove Yourself / 100
10I Can't / 57
11Lurgee / 97
12Blow Out / 81
Besides the skips on here, this is a very good album!
@Shaze1 very true
@Shaze1 the album itself is a skip
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