While OK Computer is important in its own right, The Bends transformed Radiohead from being a potentially indistinguishable Alternative Nation contributor to a band who has redefined the term "rock" for the past two decades.
The Bends was the genesis of Radiohead’s perceptive, forward-thinking tendencies, which would go on to inspire countless musicians in myriad ways.
Amidst a transformational time in the post-Vietnam and post-Reagan eras, The Bends represented a transition between the tumultuous latter half of the 20th century and the new millennium ahead.
Even teenagers two decades removed from The Bends' original release can still find deep emotional connections to its depiction of isolation and dissatisfaction.
The Bends is the 20th century's identity emerging under pressure, forced to search bleakly for some form of cohesion among an increasingly artificial and commercial world.
Jonny Greenwoods' musical achievements on The Bends represent as far as he was ever going to get by limiting himself to channelling his ideas through his guitar.
No matter how many times someone writes that Radiohead and The Bends “changed the face of music” in 1995, the retail and radio numbers tell a different story.
With The Bends having such strong cultural and critical preconceptions behind it, hearing the album from the perspective of a new lister can help cut through the pre-ordained narrative.
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.