The progression of Radiohead over their first three albums (Pablo Honey, The bends, OK Computer) is probably unparallelled in musical history. The highly experimental OK Computer is quite rightly widely seen as one of the best albums of all time. However, more and more, I am inclined to think that The bends is even better. One of the songs that is causing this shift in preference is the awesome powerful Street spirit (Fade out), which made a belated entry in my list in 2007. One of the bleakest songs this side of Mahler's Kindertotenlieder. Thom Yorke said it was about "fighting with the devil and losing every time." He reputedly has trouble playing it at concerts, because it's so draining to look into the eyes of a cheering audience when singing of total despair. Just now when I sat down to read in the garden, this song came up on the MP3 player - and I got tears in my eyes. It is such an amazingly powerful emotional song.
Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant masterpiece, one of 200 best songs of all time)