Five absolutely outstanding 1990s albums people love to hate

There are some surprising and controversial views out there about five top selling albums of that time.
Don Arnold/GettyImages
4 of 5

Radiohead - OK Computer

You could have a long debate with many music fans over what was the best Radiohead album. For many reasons, personal opinion included, you’d likely get a few different answers. OK Computer would surely be very much up there in contention and quite probably emerging at the top overall. It's that good. With just under six million sales, a Grammy Award bagged, and a huge critical reception, the album was, and still is, highly regarded. 

This was the band’s third album and marked a change in style moving from strongly-guitar-led to a more layered and at times experimental sound. Despite being deemed futuristic in its lyrical messages or its sounds, there's even a bit of prog rock evident in “Paranoid Android”, though Thom Yorke won’t thank anyone for mentioning that. Perhaps if it hadn’t been trimmed back from its original 11-minute version for the six minutes and 23 seconds on the album it would have been harder to argue with that prog-rock tag.

So what have people found to whinge about and dislike for this album then? An NME blog raised a few reasons behind not rating the album highly including this point. “It’s the moment when Radiohead stopped being ‘good’ and started being ‘important’, and the springboard that shot them so far up their own a***s that at times they seem more like a rectal thermometer than a rock band.” And followed that with this perhaps tongue-in-cheek comment. “You can almost picture Thom Yorke’s face as the sales figures rolled in: “We got away with it, boys! They like ‘weird’! Jonny, get the machine that goes ‘bleep!”

Beyond the NME comments, there are observations that the theme of the music is somewhat bleak and dystopian. That’s not a plus mark for some listeners. Pretentious, soporific, and more claims of a whining voice, this time for Yorke, also crop up. On reflection, you can perhaps see why some people just won't take to an album like this, but you have to stand back and also understand why the words masterpiece and genius are frequently used to describe it.