Many, many people hold Radiohead in high esteem for their experimentation, their pushing boundaries, their "difference".
Me? I probably don't properly get it.
Their first album 'Pablo Honey' is probably best described as a straight indie-rock album with no great surprises. The album contains a potential millstone in the shape of "Creep" (a song containing a passing reference to The Hollies "The Air That I Breathe"- no doubt their best know song, and certainly most covered. It was even used as a playout singalong on a brief Channel 4 Game Show Last Chance Lottery featuring Patrick Kielty.
And it may be this (threatened) anonymity that spurred them onto greater heights
Second album 'The Bends' is a complete step on/step up from 'Pablo Honey' - on first listen , it's easy to dismiss as a bit pretentious, a bit "look at us and how clever we are", but it just gets under the skin to the point where it becomes an unputdownable artefact - an antidote to Britpop homogony.
And this is then taken further with the insular moodiness not seen since The Smiths, proggy madness, of 'OK Computer'.
I have no doubt that The Bends and OK Computer are 2 of the greatest albums of the last 20 years (has it been that long?)
'Kid A' arrived at the turn of the millennium, an I (like many others) listened expectantly, then confusingly, then scratched my head - it sounded like they had too much studio time, too many ideas, and not enough editorial control.
My "buy as soon as possible" relationship with Radiohead ended, and eve now I can only profess to hearing "bits" of later releases - I'm told by "those in the know" that I am missing a treat. I somehow feel I should explore further, but never really felt the desire.
So there you go ... 'Pablo Honey' is an OK album, but it is the next 2 that assures Radiohead legacy (in my head at least).
For me, 'The Bends' takes it on points (but only just) over 'OK Computer'.
But if forced to pick just one track, it would be ...
A delicate, almost childlike, melody bolted to a downbeat lyric smacking of despair and frustration. The juxtaposition is almost unsettling. And when framed with the video, "No Surprises" becomes one of the most claustrophobic songs you'll ever hear.
It never resolves, and don't go looking for salvation in the next track on the album, because "Lucky" is almost as despairing.
But, it is just incessant and will burrow it's way into your head. It manages that trick, as performed by The Smiths ("Girlfriend In A Coma" being a prime example) and others, of making a downbeat song a cheerful earworm.
"No Surprises" - if you want to get all analytical about the lyric - is a cry for help, a cry to leave the mundane behind, the sufferance, the repetition, and just exist in a state of perpetual relaxation and simplicity - with "no alarms and no surprises".
And who wouldn't want that?
At it's root, it comes from the same point as Queen's "I Want To Break Free"
I wonder if Radiohead are considering a version of that track for the inevitable Covers album that will no doubt be along at some point in every career?