There’s not a lot that ages you like being a parent. It is tiring, it demands your attention at pretty much all time and sleep deprivation turns you from Harry Styles to Alan ‘Watermelon’ Sugar in mere months in terms of your looks. But learning that your favourite albums have hit their quarter century is also pretty sobering.
So here are a bunch of albums that have turned or will turn 25-years-old this year. Yes, that’s how long ago 1997 was. Petrifying, right?
Radiohead – OK Computer
After the early glory of Creep and the barrage of plaudits for The Bends, Radiohead released OK Computer on the 21st May 1997. To say that it was an LP that, according to Wikipedia, depicts a ”world fraught with rampant consumerism, social alienation, emotional isolation and political malaise,” it managed to prove hugely popular with the British public, booting perma-smiling popsters Hanson off the top spot in the album chart.
With stand out tracks like Paranoid Android, Karma Police and No Surprises, it marks the end of Radiohead as a straight rock band and the beginning of them exploring the more glitchy and experimental stuff. Which is probably much easier to do when you’ve more than 7.8 million copies around the world and you don’t have to worry about paying the gas bill.
Prodigy – The Fat Of The Land
Essex boys Prodigy had flirted with mainstream success with their first two albums, but June 1997 saw them release The Fat of the Land and send themselves into the stratosphere. Your mum and dad had already been tutting disapprovingly at Keith Flint throwing himself around on Top of the Pops to lead single Firestarter and the rest of the album was as exciting, different and brilliant as that tune too.
It hit number one in the album charts around the world, selling ten million copies and proving that the mid-90s wasn’t just about jangly guitar music.
Oasis – Be Here Now
But, talking about jangly guitar music, you can’t forget the sheer force of nature that Oasis were in the period of time. In 1997, they followed up the immensely popular Definitely Maybe and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory with Be Here Now.
The making of the album was marred by drunken arguments between the Gallagher brothers, but that’s nothing new. You’d almost be disappointed if that hadn’t happened. Stand By Me and All Around the World remain among the most popular releases by the Mancs and the significance of the album at the time, when they were probably the biggest band in the world, can’t be underestimated. That’s despite a number of journalists looking back and feeling they were (definitely) maybe too positive in their reviews at the time.
The Verve – Urban Hymns
Mates with the Gallaghers, Richard Ashcroft (Cast No Shadow on (What’s the Story) Morning Glory was written about him) had achieved mild success with The Verve before they called it a day in 1995. However, two years later, he was ready to go again so assembled a group of new and old members and produced one of the most iconic songs, and albums, of the decade.
Sonnet, The Drugs Don’t Work and Lucky Man were popular, but Bittersweet Symphony was an absolute juggernaut of a tune that is still played today on radio, TV and elsewhere. Sadly for Ashcroft, the song is based on a sample from the Andrew Loog Oldham orchestral cover of the Rolling Stones’ song The Last Time. This meant he had to give credits to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, with all royalties going to Rolling Stones manager Allen Klein. At least Jagger and Richards ceded their rights to Ashcroft in 2019, but can you even imagine how much he missed out on in royalties? Yikes.