28. THE BENDS by Radiohead
For me, this 1995 record is the Radiohead I know and love. This was their last ‘mainstream’ album before they climaxed with 1997’s ‘OK Computer.’ While that one was still listenable, everything after represented a direction I wish Radiohead had not taken. But, the critics would disagree. Regardless, getting back to ‘The Bends,’ this is stadium rock at its best. From the opening effects in ‘Planet Telex’ to the power chords in ‘The Bends’ and the hypnotic guitar riff in ‘My Iron Lung’ this is a guitar lover’s record. Even the slower songs (‘Fake Plastic Trees’ and ‘Street Spirit’) can be imagined with lighters (or cell phone screens) held up high. Thom Yorke had said that ‘Street Spirit’ was influenced by R.E.M., which one can certainly hear in ‘Fretless,’ an outtake from the ‘Out of Time’ sessions.