2/22/2013

20 Years Ago Today: 'Pablo Honey'

RADIOHEAD
Pablo Honey
[Parlophone-1993]

It's not surprising, given what has transpired since it was released on Feb. 22, 1993, that the band's latter day fanbase would shun a debut album which led the object of their undying and unwavering obsession to be nicknamed "the British Nirvana"--the record was produced by the renown "grunge" team of Sean Slade and Paul Q. Kolderie, of Pixies and Hole fame--and was named after a Jerky Boys skit. (Of course this tidbit is somewhat shocking proof that the Oxford quintet once had a sense of humor.)

But rather than a skeleton in their proverbial closet the band's uneven initial long player has its moments, including "You", "Anyone Can Play Guitar", "Ripcord", "I Can't" and--to Thom Yorke's everlasting chagrin, we imagine--their most famous song: the anthem of self loathing known as "Creep".

Although Pablo Honey held the title of Radiohead's weakest album until The King of Limbs showed up and blew it out of the water 2 years ago this week, it's not the filler-laden dud many would lead you to believe. In reality, it's always been a snapshot of a young band with a few decent songs attempting to find its footing. That their songwriting grew in leaps and bounds over the following two albums has sharply overshadowed Pablo Honey's simple charms in the two decades since its release. (Even Jonny Greenwood believes it's been underrated.) If nothing else, it hints at what was to come with The Bends two years later. And that's not a bad place to be, then or now.

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