Radiohead – In Rainbows
Record Label: None
Release Date: October 10, 2007
What more can be said about Radiohead that hasn’t already been said? The band’s newest release, In Rainbows, was unleashed upon the masses in the form of a free, digital download, just over a week after they surprised fans by announcing the album would indeed see the light of day before the New Year… kind of. While the digital release is available now, a box set including 2 CDs, a double vinyl LP, as well as a lyric and photo book will be released in 2008.
Having put out their last album four years ago, this is a highly anticipated release to say the least. With In Rainbows Radiohead have once again redefined their sound. However, one should not expect such a dramatic difference similar to that between OK Computer and Kid A. It seems as if Radiohead have taken the bits and pieces of what they do best, and blended them together in near perfect form. The lyrics are some of the best since OK Computer. Don’t expect any pseudo political ramblings here, oh no. Thom Yorke has reached back to his demons and personal experiences for these songs. While the words are simple, the meanings are deep, and the music surrounding them creates an atmosphere that anyone other than Radiohead just would not be able to create. “You are all I need / You are all I need / I’m in the middle of your picture / Lying in the leaves,” sings Yorke against a simple piano and drum beat which quickly dissolves into a crash of cymbals and wailing.
The instrumentation is nothing short of gorgeous. The selection of string instruments on the album is borderline flawless. The bass and drums fill in just right; neither are ever overbearing. The guitar work? Impeccable. Johnny Greenwood deserves every ounce of praise and accolade possible. It’s hard to find a moment on the album where one would be pressed to ask, “Why did they do this here?” The songs are unique, and the flow is undeniable.
Yorke is able to fill tracks with such melodic crooning it almost makes the listener forget about the depressing subject matter the songs expound, as evident in “Nude.” This track, as well as others, such as “All I Need” and “Videotape,” are full of laments and desires, and come across more like eulogies than songs. But that is one of Radiohead’s talents – being able to take something so dark and heartbreaking, and transform it into a beautiful listening experience. Songs about pain, confusion, and lost love have never sounded so peaceful and ambient.
Radiohead have created yet another spectacular album, which should stand up to the hype that has grown around this release, as well as to the reputation this band has. Is this album going to find fans in a young audience? Probably not so much. It would be challenging to find a track on the album to release as a single. No problem however, as In Rainbows is meant to be enjoyed as a whole. The mature subject matter, the technical style, and the completely noncommercial approach this band employs will obviously find its place in the older age groups, particularly ones who can comprehend and relate to the themes of the album.
Is this an instant classic? Maybe. Is it a great album? Absolutely. In Rainbows is going to be one of Radiohead’s most memorable releases, possibly overshadowing Kid A and Amnesiac, and will undoubtedly find a special place in those who can apply it as a soundtrack to their current stage in life.
no respect for people considering this a free album by radiohead...there's no reason any radiohead fan can't fork over at least a couple of dollars to download this album...especially when you can name any price...
as for the album...at first several listens, i liked it, but didn't love it....after further listening, i can't stop playing it....however, while i enjoy 15 step and bodysnatchers, i don't really feel like they fit on the album. Seems to flow much better if starting on song #3.