Enshrining in the US Library of Congress was perhaps not what British once-rock band Radiohead had in mind when writing OK Computer, a classic dystopian album from 1997 about (among other sunny topics) relentless globalization, societal homogeneity, and government overreach, but it's 2015 and that is what has happened. The library adds "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" records each year to its National Recording Registry, with the aim of preserving them for 15 years; public nominations helped OK Computer attain recognition.
"I see it as part of a certain ongoing phenomenon in rock music that maybe begins with the Velvet Underground but also The Doors, who are on the registry this year. Pop music is not entirely positive in its outlook, shall we say," curator Matt Barton said, in comments reported by The Guardian. "I think we can say that OK Computer really sums a lot of that up."
Here's "Paranoid Android," the extraordinary second track and first single from OK Computer:
Also selected for recognition by the library is 1998's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the stunning and only solo album from the former Fugees member. Its trailblazing collision of R&B, hip-hop, and soul would have remained timeless and relevant without the library's preservation efforts, but there can't really be too many accolades bestowed upon this record — it's as great today as it ever was, and this latest decoration is well-deserved.
Here's lead single "Doo-Wop (That Thing)":
In total, 25 recordings have been chosen for preservation this year, including the eponymous debut albums by '60s rockers The Doors and folk singer Joan Baez.
The full list is below.
Sorry, Wrong Number (episode of Suspense radio series, May 25, 1943)
Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive (single) - Johnny Mercer (1944)
The Doors (album) - the Doors (1967)
OK Computer (album) - Radiohead (1997)
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (album) - Lauryn Hill (1998)
A Wild and Crazy Guy (album) - Steve Martin (1978)
You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' (single) - the Righteous Brothers (1964)
Stand! (album) - Sly and the Family Stone (1969)
Kiss Me, Kate (original cast album) (1949)
The Vernacular Wax Cylinder Recordings at University of California, Santa Barbara Library (c 1890-1910)
Black Snake Moan/Matchbox Blues (single) - Blind Lemon Jefferson (1928)
Stand by Me (single) - Ben E King (1961)
Radio coverage of President Franklin D Roosevelt's funeral - Arthur Godfrey, et al (April 14, 1945)
John Brown's Body (album) - Tyrone Power, Judith Anderson and Raymond Massey; directed by Charles Laughton (1953)
My Funny Valentine (single) - the Gerry Mulligan Quartet featuring Chet Baker (1953)
Sixteen Tons (single) - Tennessee Ernie Ford (1955)
Mary Don't You Weep (single) - the Swan Silvertones (1959)
Joan Baez (album) - Joan Baez (1960)
New Orleans' Sweet Emma Barrett and Her Preservation Hall Jazz Band (album) - Sweet Emma and Her Preservation Hall Jazz Band (1964)
Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues (album) - Lincoln Mayorga (1968)
Sesame Street: All-Time Platinum Favourites (album) - Various (1995)
Songs of the Old Regular Baptists (album) - Various (1997)
Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman (album) - Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conductor; Joan Tower, composer (1999)
The Benjamin Ives Gilman Collection, recorded at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago (1893)
The Boys of the Lough/The Humours of Ennistymon (single) - Michael Coleman (1922)