Radiohead – In Rainbows
Release Date: October 10, 2007
Well, the new album is finished, and it's coming out in 10 days;
We've called it In Rainbows.
Love from us all.
Millions of jaws dropped simultaneously after reading this. The news was similar to being blindsided by Lawrence Taylor. It was shocking and exciting. It caused a storm of questions, expectations, predictions, and buzz. Really, when October 10th finally rolled around, what would be the initial reaction?
After listening to In Rainbows for the first time, it brought forth the same reaction I had when I first heard of the album being released: I had to pick my jaw up from the floor again. And I have a hunch that the reaction I had was very similar to those around the world.
Simply put, In Rainbows is everything we love about Radiohead while taking us into new areas the band hasn’t covered in years. Influences from OK Computer, Kid A, and even Hail To The Thief are abundant here, as well as some new twists and turns added to a sound they have perfected. Recorded and produced by Nigel Godrich and Mark Stent over the course of two years, In Rainbows features ten tracks that’ll titillate your senses and evoke all sort of emotions with every moment you spend with the album.
While the band’s last release, 2003’s Hail To The Thief, carried more of a bitter and political vibe, In Rainbows is more soothing and introspective. “15 Step” gets it started right away. A jazzy and off-beat number, it’s one of the rare moments on the album where the band enters Kid A territory; the electronic-paced track will get your body moving. The bass work by Colin Greenwood is impeccable, while Thom Yorke’s vocals are very vibrant. “Bodysnatchers” flows with murky guitar work from Jonny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien, while Phil Selway paces the track with his rabid drumming, as the track is slightly reminiscent of the work done on OK Computer.
“Nude” is an endearing track that encompasses you from the very beginning. Yorke’s voice is haunting, playing as the perfect compliment to the dreamy atmosphere. “All I Need,” an emotionally heavy track that’s laden with piano, glockenspiel, synths, and random noises, is beautifully composed and executed, making it one of the (many) highlights on In Rainbows.
Stripped down to a delicate pluck of the acoustic guitar and strings, “Faust Arp” is two minutes to recollect your feelings and thoughts before Yorke’s falsetto takes over your membrane again, this time backed by the jangling cymbals and focused piano notes of “Reckoner.” The only misstep (and I’m sure many will disagree with me here) comes in the form of “House Of Cards.” While it’s not the strongest track on the album, it plays the perfect contrast Radiohead is so good at pulling off as the lead in to “Jigsaw Falling Into Place,” a track that carries the same kind of menacing undertones that previous Radiohead albums have featured.
The final act of In Rainbows is the long time fan favorite “Videotapes.” Instead of an epic closer that we are accustomed to hearing on their previous work, we get one of the most personal and raw tracks from Thom Yorke. As he slowly and painstakingly sings against the deep, poignant keys from the piano and the off-kilter beat from Selway’s drum kit, the track builds and builds, but we get no payoff, just the song meekly closing out as the piano fades out. While some may be disappointed with that, I feel it closes out In Rainbows perfectly, as it shows how real this record is.
In the end, In Rainbows proves to be one of the most personal and moving albums of not only 2007, but of Radiohead’s entire discography. The main reason for this is that, for the first time in years, instead of radically progressing, Radiohead decided to embrace their capacities and insecurities and put them on tape. Thom Yorke and Co. bleed just like you and me and, you know what, that’s okay.
This is one for the good days/ And I have it all here on red, blue, green.
Stop, breathe, and soak it all in. And don’t forget to pick your jaw up from the floor.
Great review Drew, I really enjoyed this album as well despite never really being the biggest Radiohead fan. However, this album struck me for some reason and I have been listening to it fairly consistently.