Thursday, February 17, 2011

11 Best Second Tracks: 1

1. Radiohead - "Paranoid Android" 

Was it too easy to choose the second song on what is arguably the best album of the last thirty years? Perhaps, but let's face it: OK Computer would not be OK Computer without "Paranoid Android". Nor would it achieve what it sets out to do were "Paranoid" elsewhere in the track order. Initially, it seems like an odd choice for a second track. Why roll out the pièce de résistance so soon? The Book of Zeppelin tells us to save your "Stairway" until at least the fourth track, right? It actually might have seemed a little more obvious to place a song like "Electioneering" as track two. Think of In Rainbows, where the medium-paced opener was followed by a high-speed rocker.

But Radiohead brought out the big guns early, and boy did it work. Can anyone really imagine the last sizzling seconds of "Airbag" bleeding into anything but the sinister guitar/shaker intro of "Android"? Most bands would want to keep their ace in the hole. But Radiohead let the giant lumber out of the gates after only four minutes, and in doing so set the stage for an era-defining album.


Upcoming: The wrap-up and a wildcard.

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