Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be 50 fantastic first solo albums recorded by artists who departed—or simply took a temporary hiatus from—their respective groups, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Click “Next Album” below to explore each album or view the full album index here.
THOM YORKE | The Eraser
Selected by Rayna Khaitan
A conductor in a Radiohead sample arcade, Thom Yorke divines glitchy fascination in his solo debut, The Eraser. Far from wiping his band’s musical slate clean, Yorke instead has a field day tearing through Radiohead’s library of sound, reimagining and reworking blips and snippets. The result is surprisingly and delightfully intimate, like a candlelit bedroom in a digital rainstorm.
Despite its slinky electronica aesthetic, The Eraser is richly dense and palpably vulnerable. Full of glum existential wonder, Yorke explores everything from distanced romances to political concerns with a heavy sense of futility. While thematically in keeping with Radiohead lyrics, the words etched across The Eraser seem to stem from a deeper, more guarded spiritual recess, a dark well of emotion that’s brilliantly illuminated by longtime Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich’s suave production.
When Yorke released The Eraser at age thirty-seven, he’d already earned rockstar status as the frontman and principal songwriter for the enormously popular Radiohead. However, he wanted to prove himself apart from the band. The Eraser delivers handsomely, as it borrows from existing Radiohead soundscapes, but turns old fragments into mesmerizing meditations, shedding new light on Yorke’s enigmatic mind.