As an artist, when people ask me about my influences and I mention 'Radiohead' they'll either leave it at that - for fear of ensuing snobbery - or launch into a full-on debate over the meaning of row boats in 'Pyramid Song'. Appreciation surrounding the band is complex, but Radiohead is my favorite band simply because no other group as made me appreciate music in such a meaningful way.
It's peculiar though, being a Radiohead fan, because we're a marginal step away from a cult and are constantly bickering to one another about which work is the most "profound" or "influential" or "ahead of its time." As a following we have a well earned air of pretentiousness and are stereotypically not the most upbeat group (get a few of us together and you'll see what I mean). At our core though, the attributes we all seem to share is our desire to be sonically challenged and our ability to embrace progress. In a world drenched in artistic androgyny, a Radiohead album - whether you like it or not - at least stands apart.
I'd like to shed a little light on the progression of Radiohead, from a mediocre alt-rock guitar band in the early 90's, to one of the most critically acclaimed bands of the past few decades. Music aside though, it's their evolution that makes them interesting and worthwhile - their eagerness to explore, their unconventional influences, and their resistance to the music industry. I highly encourage listening to Radiohead, and even if it hurts your ears the first time around, keep at it. Be aware of how the change in instrumentation (especially percussion), structure, and texture make the current band almost unidentifiable with their former selves.
Radiohead has 8 albums. This playlist has a song from each.