Released: February 22, 1993
Peak: 32 US, 22 UK, 42 CN, 86 AU
Sales (in millions): 1.52 US, 0.6 UK
Genre: experimental rock
Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
All lyrics are by Thom Yorke and music by Radiohead, unless noted otherwise.
Total Running Time: 42:11
3.152 out of 5.00 (average of 20 ratings)
About the Album:
“Radiohead's debut album, Pablo Honey, is a promising collection that blends U2’s anthemic rock with long, atmospheric instrumental passages and an enthralling triple-guitar attack that is alternately gentle and bracingly noisy. The group has difficulty writing a set of songs that are as compelling as their sound, but when they do hit the mark – such as on Anyone Can Play Guitar, Blow Out, and the self-loathing breakthrough single Creep – the band achieves a rare power that is both visceral and intelligent.” AMG
“Most bands would have spent the rest of their careers chasing and trying to re-create this success” RG but “everything after ‘Creep’ was done to wreck its success, to be the antithesis of ’90s rock.” RG Radiohead “had a dislike for the song from pretty early on.” RS “Those famous guitar scratches are Jonny Greenwood trying to mess up what he thought was a boring song;” RS the pace was too slow. RG He “makes his guitar sound like he’s priming a chainsaw before the chorus.” RG
“Snobs complain that Radiohead’s debut single is not at all representative of what the band is capable of.” DF Because “the verses are straightforward” CS and the music is “playable by anyone on guitar,” CS “hard-core fans naturally have gravitated to other tracks that are more skillfully conceived, written, and performed.” UP However, “this is the only undeniable standard in Radiohead’s catalogue.” UP “Creep” has ventured “to places Radiohead wouldn’t dare visit, like American Idol and Glee. Korn has covered ‘Creep,’ as have Blues Traveler and Tears For Fears. Prince played it at Coachella before Radiohead did. The whole point of Radiohead’s stubbornly, thrillingly independent career is that they don’t belong to anyone. But ‘Creep’ is the property of us all.” UP
It also carved out a template for what was to come. “The chorus drops in with the mechanized thud of Jonny Greenwood’s distortion, interrupting the – until that point, anyway – pleasant lyrics with anger, resentment, and heaviness.” CS That “lyrical focus on alienation” RB along with “Thom Yorke’s soaring vocals during the bridge” RB and “Jonny Greenwood’s pre-chorus guitar stabs…can now be heard as loving precursors to Radiohead’s continued experimentation and left-of-center aesthetics.” RB As a result, “Radiohead effectively transcended its monster debut single, to avoid one-hit-wonder status and sustain a hall of fame-worthy career.” BB
“My Iron Lung,” a song from the next album, was even “about how much they hated playing the song over and over again during their early days.” RS After OK Computer, they pretty much stopped playing the song, but eventually it “crept” its way back into setlists.
“How Do You?”
“Thinking About You”
Yorke “chronicles a relationship torn apart by fame” CS in what “was a mid-’90s mixtape classic, especially for lovelorn teens trying to communicate the depth of their feelings to other, more desirable teens.” UP “Yorke doesn’t judge either party, but sympathizes with the both of them.” CS It “has its clumsy, mawkish moments — ‘But I’m playing with myself / What do you care when the other men are far, far better?’ — the guileless naiveté…remains highly affecting.” UP
The song showed the band’s “ability to make an impact with nothing much more than a riveting melody and bittersweet sentiment.” CU “The brisk, folky strum…points to the electro-acoustic balladry that Radiohead would subsequently perfect on The Bends and OK Computer.” UP This is “a much improved redux of a faster, rockier take” UP that first appeared on the Drill EP.
“Anyone Can Play Guitar”
The band are embarrassed by the song, not playing it live in twenty years. BZ Still, it is “a slightly better-than-average cut…from the band’s grungier days” CS and can even be seen “as a prequel to Oasis’ ‘Rock N’ Roll Star.’” UP
Instrumentally, “Jonny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien could hold their own against the best grunge guitarists in the ’90s. Then again, Radiohead would go on to do grunge way better on The Bends.” CS
The album “deserves more attention for genuine gems like ‘Blow Out.’” CS “This appropriately titled guitar meltdown” UP is “one of the best and most unsung cuts.” UP It “suggests that Radiohead could’ve pursued a promising path as Sonic Youth-style noise-pop enthusiasts had their creative impulses not guided them elsewhere.” UP “People forget that Radiohead ever had a foot in the shoegaze scene, but this cacophonous wigout…draws from the same well as early '90s bands like Ride or Slowdive. What those bands lacked, of course, was an incredible singer. And ‘Blowout’ showcases Yorke’s voice to stunning effect.” BZ
“His mournful overdubs of the lyrics, ‘all wrapped up in cotton wool…..all wrapped up in sugar-coated pills,’ are wonderfully grim.” CR “The song represents a high point of that early period when his lyrical disquiet was focused in on himself, rather than outwards at society.” BZ
“The overall sound…makes it…a treat. It starts out with these fast octave chords over Thom’s unenthusiastic vocals, until eventually exploding into a fit of distorted rage.” CR Jonny Greenwood’s “cushioned guitar tone…sets the mood for easy listening” CS and is one of his “best and earliest freakouts on guitar.” CS The song was “the feedback-soaked set-closer at early live shows.” BZ
Notes: A Collector’s Edition was released in 2009. It included a second disc which was comprised of the Drill EP and the B-sides from the singles for “Creep,” “Anyone Can Play Guitar,” and “Stop Whispering.” The non-album “Pop Is Dead” single was also included and four cuts from a BBC Radio One Session on 6/22/1992.
Resources and Related Links:
Other Related DMDB Pages:
First posted 3/29/2008; last updated 5/25/2022.