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Baker's Dozen

Keen On These: Tom Chaplin Of Keane's Favourite Albums
Yohann Koshy , November 19th, 2013 08:58

Following the release of their greatest hits last week, the band's singer and guitarist selects the best of his record collection


Radiohead – OK Computer
Well everything’s been said about it, hasn’t it? Again, it was around the same time as Bring It On. I went out to South Africa for a gap year to work on a school. It was just as I was starting to smoke weed, it was exciting, and there were no responsibilities in life. I remember we didn’t have a music system out there, we had no money and a mate of mine went and bought a cassette player, it was a single deck cassette player, with terrible tinny speakers, but I had copied a tape of OK Computer before leaving! I don’t think I played any other album for about a year, it was on permanent rotation. What I found so compelling about it was that you can’t hear a single thing this guy’s singing! He has this real slurred delivery with every song and it was just an assault on the brain in terms of the production and the instrumentation and it was all coming through this terrible little tape player in South Africa! I thought I’d figured out what I thought the lyrics were and, largely, a lot of them were wrong, but I didn’t have the inlay card so I didn’t know! I just remember this haze of completely falling in love with the sound of this record and what I thought were the words. They really summed up the way a lot of people felt at the time, the alienation and the fear of a quickly changing world, all the pre-millennium stuff. It summed up the world that I occupied. It’s why it’s still the greatest album that I think has been put out in my lifetime; they're a band who, at that point, reached their songwriting peak, and [Thom Yorke]’s never got there since as far as I’m concerned. They were still young enough to have that punky quality but old enough to have those ballads that leave you feeling quite cold like 'Lucky' and 'No Surprises'. At that time, we were all just desperate to be Radiohead, everyone had the same set-ups and the same guitars! I can’t listen to it anymore though - as a band, if you’re influenced too much by one thing, as we were, it can kind of stifle you.