Tag Archives: The Bends

Radiohead – Fake Plastic Trees (1995)

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Radiohead 1995

I have a tendency to talk about the 1990s with some nostalgia. ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ is a touchstone for those memories. Radiohead was at risk of being branded a one-hit wonder after the immense success of  the single ‘Creep’ – a grungy calling card. Perhaps it bred resentment, because the band came out fighting with a staggering retort – the epic The Bends. ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ is the torch song at the centre of the album. Many listened, enjoyed and did something about it. Coldplay formed a year later. Have a great weekend.

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R.E.M. – Nightswimming (1992)

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R.E.M. Nightswimming

To release Automatic for the People straight after Out Of Time, R.E.M. was a band at comfort under the weight of huge popularity and expectation. In 1988, guitarist Peter Buck described R.E.M.’s typical song as “Minor key, mid-tempo and enigmatic”. By 1992, for ‘enigmatic’ read ‘full of isolation’. Solitude has never been more beautifully presented than in Michael Stipe singing “Nightswimming deserves a quiet night” to Mike Mills’ sparse piano melody. The next rock band to reach such a rich vein of form would be Radiohead, whose album The Bends would seem to borrow R.E.M.’s cover image for the single release.

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Pavement – Gold Soundz (1994)

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Pavement blue

During my formative years, I thought that UK output in most music scenes was comparable to, and often better than, their US counterparts. But in the early nineties, and certainly prior to the 1995 release of The Bends by Radiohead, rock music was US-defined. During this time, UK creativity seemed to be channeled through dance music. Nirvana’s 1991 release of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ was a game changer, but it was Pavement‘s output between 1992-94 that was most impressive to these ears. ‘Gold Soundz’ was the second single from their second long player, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. It reminisces about those gold sounds; I am nostalgic for its sound.

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