In 1992, Radiohead emerged with the monster hit “Creep”, which they then followed up with the full-length LP Pablo Honey in 1993. While “Creep” got the band’s name out there in a huge way, few expected the quantum leap forward in songwriting that is The Bends, Radiohead’s era-defining 1995 sophomore album. For many, The Bends marks Radiohead’s single-greatest statement, the de facto alternative rock album that trumps even the highly acclaimed OK Computer (1997).
The Bends is 12 songs, perfectly arranged, each running three to five minutes. Together they form the blueprint on which so many rock bands owe their entire careers, particularly those in the alternative rock fold. Even though Radiohead would go on to substantially deviate from this format with records like Kid A and Amnesiac, the formula established by The Bends is a cornerstone of ‘90s rock music.