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Radiohead - In Rainbows CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.82 | 522 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Perfect!

Radiohead have finally made a perfect album: an album so lush you can listen with full enjoyment from start to finish and housing a wondrously effective marriage of two-part song structures, effects, electronics, guitar-work, percussion and Thom Yorke's best vocal performance. It is also Radiohead's happiest album since Pablo Honey.

Radiohead are probably my second favourite band after Pink Floyd and In Rainbows is already one of my favourite albums ever! Here a song-by-song review with mood - pace - colour - rating out of ten:

15 Steps - groovy - middle-fast - dark blues - 8

It takes you a few listens until you start to appreciate the percussive rhythms going on here, and the excited vocals carry the song well. This opener is upbeat and groovy.

Bodysnatchers - rock out! - fast - deep reds - 10

Rock on! Radiohead sock it to us like they know we want them to. Very dancy and full of swing throughout and has one of the albums' best moments around the 2:30 mark when the drums and cymbals crashes go all out to complement Thom's infectious singing.

Nude - sweet - ballad - silvers and blues - 8

The ooohs & wooohs here do flirt with being a bit over-the-top but the strength of the song overall wins you over. Lovely reverb on the vocals and roomy, atmospheric strings and effects. But Pyramid song and Exit Music did the Radiohead ballad better still.

Weird Fishes/Arpeggi - defeatist - middle-fast - reds and oranges - 10

My favourite from the album. Very much a song of two parts, the longer first part is a building number with full-sounding instrumentation and anguished vocals. After the weird fishes declaration comes a pounding, trippy and very dancy denoument (similar to the 'I'm gonna eat you alive' refrain in Hail To The Thief's Where I End And You Begin). This song would also sound excellent as an instrumental (as would the entire album).

All I Need - nonchalant then epic - middle - shiny blue metal - 8

Initially this song seems boring, but then it ends with an epic call to 'it' being 'alright' after all. After a few more listens you start to unravel the gorgeous music at work here, this sounds like the third and definitive version of Morning Bell. Brilliant use of effects to create atmosphere.

Faust Arp - cuddly - slow-middle - oranges and wood - 7

Another one that I wasn't too keen on at first, but the vocal play at work here is charming. No percussion, electronics or effects...this number has acoustic guitar work and strings.

Reckoner - affirming - middle - transparent - 8

Excellent percussion, this song has loads of space thanks to clever compression and reverb. Heavenly vocal arrangements.

House Of Cards - loving - slow - ruby reds and royal blues - 9

An incredibly affecting vocal performance from Thom here, complemented by easy percussion, nice guitar licks and atmospheric synth work. I love singing along to this song, the cry of Denial is one of Radiohead's most emotional moments...lump in throat time.

Jigsaw falling into place - tasty - middle-fast - oranges and reds - 8

Upbeat and slightly seedy, this song rocks out like Bodysnatchers (tho' not as bouncy).

Videotape - quirky sadness - slow - blues and greys - 8

An initially piano-led ballad which doesn't really infect you until the odd-but-interesting percusion starts up, smothered in communal vocal ooohs and breathings. The best drumming on the album from 3:20 onwards.

So a very good selection of songs, 3 of which rank among Radiohead's all-time best. So why is In Rainbows their best album? Its strength compared to the other albums lies in its length (appealingly short), track order (a perfect journey), production (tight yet roomy), Thom's vocals (restrained and soulful) and the lack of a weak song that tempts you to skip (see Climbing Up The Walls, Motion Picture, Morning Bell Amnesiac, I Will & Wolf At The Door).

But we all know that music is a journey of personal taste so here's a list of my favourite Radiohead album songs just so anyone reading can better understand my angle:

- Street Spirit - Paranoid Android - Exit Music - Lucky - Everything In Its Right Place (especially the live jam versions) - The National Anthem - Pyramid Song - You And Whose Army - Dollars And Cents - Like Spinning Plates - Backdrifts - Where I End And You Begin - There There - Bodysnatchers - Weird Fishes/Arpeggi - House Of Cards

Thank you Radiohead! And here's to a very experimental next album, full of 15-minute epics and long instrumental sections!

dholl | 5/5 |


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