I’m feeling particularly nostalgic today. It doesn’t seem possible that 20 years have passed since the release of Radiohead’s first studio album, but it’s true. With Pablo Honey, the alternative rockers from Oxfordshire laid a foundation that changed the face of modern music, luring it out of grunge and into fearless experimentation.
The first single from Pablo Honey, “Creep,” signaled a new and unique musical direction, and in the process offered a song that has been covered over and over again for 20 years. It sure as hell wasn’t grunge, and it wasn’t the stereotypical, alternative rock of the early ’90s. For a bunch of people who just rolled out of the hairband era, and were lost in flannel shirts, cut-off shorts and combat boots, “Creep” was the perfect album pre-release single, serving to whet the appetites of those who were seeking a new musical journey.
To this day, I clearly remember a conversation in the fall of 1992 while sitting on a bench in my high school locker room. I asked about the band that played “this new song, ‘Creep.’” Before I could finish my line of questioning, a friend steeped in British music lore jumped in on my trivial pursuit.
“They’re called Radiohead! The album comes out in February!”
Being a disciple of the Seattle sound, I was intrigued by his zeal, yet I had little understanding or foresight of what Pablo Honey would eventually do to my musical tastes. With the 1993 release, my worldview was changed. The album became the first CD in my collection. (Yeah. I stuck with cassette tapes for a little longer than was cool… I just had so many of them.)
In honor of Pablo Honey’s 20th birthday, here’s the entire album, from “You” to “Blowout.”