Radiohead – Pablo Honey (1993)

Mario Cruz

Musician, composer and producer, aged 24

Heard this álbum for the first time and loved every Second of it! I’m a musician and I usually listen to way more modern records but when I play these classics I go back in time. Precise performance was simply a must in the past, nowadays everything is made on computer and no matter what you can always quantize or fix every note but in Pablo Honey I can really feel the soul of each musician and the energy makes me connect deeply. 
I would recommend Pablo Honey to everybody and especially to young melomaniacs for them to appreciate how music was made in the past.

Zoȅ Louizos

AMP Curator, aged 39

I remember being thoroughly struck by Radiohead’s sound when I first encountered their music in the late mid 2000s when I was 13 or 14. For someone who had grown up with a taste steeped in 1970s prog rock, Funk and Turkish psychedelia, I had never been very interested in what I heard around me in the charts. Radiohead were one of the bands that jolted me into the contemporary world of indie electronic music, when I first heard their hauntingly beautiful track, Karma Police, from their 1997 album OK Computer, on MTV. It is a startling piece of music which still moves me to tears to this day – a sonic masterpiece of melancholia and alienation.

They always felt beyond genre to me. There was no one way to explain their sound, or their style, and I think I always assigned to them a much higher artistic merit than most other bands of the time. It felt like they created a new sonic language in some ways – nothing was ever a linear narrative, and I still struggle to think of them as ‘songs’. They were a band that kept me listening to albums in full, finding the journey hugely emotive and often transcendental; leading to much closed – eyed, wild dancing moments! 

Thom Yorke’s haunting falsetto, sounding almost like stream of consciousness blended with devotional singing, creates magic alongside Jonny Greenwood’s aggressive guitar and Philip Selway’s percussive breadth and creativity. During the course of my research for AMP I was really happy to read that Yorke was inspired to ba ea musician after seeing Brian May from Queen perform on TV in 1975, a few years after they would have performed at Kingston Poly!

My best friend from (Teddington) School’s dad was a sound engineer, and he got us free tickets to their In Rainbows tour in 2003. I remember it opened with Reckoner – probably still my favourite track of theirs to this day. There is really no greater feeling than seeing one of your favourite bands perform live. Long may it continue!

That being said, of all of their albums, my favourites being their later, more experimental and  percussive albums, Kid A, Hail To The Thief and In Rainbows, Pablo Honey was the one I was least familiar with, it being their debut album released in 1993- the year they would come and perform at Kingston University. 

On listening to it in full, it certainly does not have the delicate range of emotional landscapes of later albums. I remember hearing their biggest hit from this album- Creep – a lot on the radio at the time, and it was never really my favourite; it felt more like the kind of poppy, yet moany, grunge, rock track that could have been released by any of the other bands of the time. Whilst nothing particularly touches me, it is fascinating to hear the nascent sounds and shapes of a band that would go on to change the face of indie music, still finding their unique voice.  

Kingston link:

Radiohead played at Kingston University in January 1993, a month before the release of this record.

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