Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Radiohead - In Rainbows CD (album) cover



Crossover Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
4 stars For an album that could be free (depending on wheter or not you take advantage of the bands deal), it is a very good.

There is nothing shockingly new from this release by Radiohead, content-wise. It is not nearly as brilliant as Kid A or OK Computer, yet the method in which Radiohead went about releasing the album is, without a doubt,revolutionary. Each song on the album is good, but there are no real standouts. It has a very traditional Radiohead sound.

With this release, I can also see the "prog debate" raging on. THe album is not technical like Dream Theater or Spastic Ink, nor is it magestically symphonic like Yes or The Flower Kings. It has no Opeth moments, and any hint of Gentle Giant is missing. In-Rainbows, however, does happen to capture Radiohead's unmistakable sound, and provides 10 strong tracks that are each highly enjoyable.

If nothing else, you should check it out. It's free (if you so desire) so it won't be a waste of money for you to just check it out. If the album wern't so revolutionary, it'd recieve 3 stars. "Magis Star" for sticking it to the man and keeping a stiff upper lip to the record companies. 4 Stars, there is no reason why this is not an excellent addition to any collection. Who could argue with free, high-quality music?

Report this review (#143435)
Posted Wednesday, October 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars "In Rainbows" is not really much new, but it still is a very good album. People may say that Radiohead isn't progressive, but there are definite prog influences.

15 Step: Good opener and it would probably sound pretty sweet with subwoofers. It eventually opens up a little more and gets past the heavy beat.

Bodysnatchers: People from a Facebook group have said that if this song was in Pablo Honey, there wouldn't have been a need for Creep.

Nude: Low key and not really much to it.

Weird Fish/Arpeggi: Right now, this is my favorite song. Opens with a simple drum beat, but it moves to something a little bit more progressive. Very uplifting and seems to be one of the more progressive songs in the CD.

All I Need: Another slow song that builds up. Very good chance to be the 2nd or 3rd single.

Faust Arp: I would have liked to see this song fleshed out a bit more. It's short (2:10) but I think there was potential.

Reckoner: Somewhat poppy, but still a good song. Another one that could be a single.

House of Cards: Much more of the same. Almost Post-Rock in the way that it is more of an atmospheric song.

Jigsaw Falling Into Place: Another more poppy song, but it has the definite Radiohead sound. Thom saves this song from being a mediocre song.

Videotape: Personally, I liked the Thom Yorke only version that was on youtube for a while, but this version is ok. It doesn't seem to have the moodiness of Motion Picture Soundtrack, and it ends the album with you wanting real closure.

Overall, this is a good album by Radiohead, but it is far from a Kid A or OK Computer. Similar to HTTT, but it is still different. There aren't any standout songs right now, and there aren't any horrendous songs. I'll probably make some edits to this review after I listen to it some more, these are my first imressions.

Report this review (#143440)
Posted Wednesday, October 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hail to the Thief was a synthesis of OK Computer, Kid A and Amnesiac. In Rainbows goes farther than that. Radiohead leads us where they have just slightly been. Here we have 10 fabulous songs where they reach another peak. Unlike most of these super groups which eventually prompted us "ad nauseam" to what was originally inspired, Thom Yorke and his colleagues slips into a subtle but efficient mutations without losing themselves. As a result, they continue to destabilize and delight, without any lack of taste or pretentiousness. The effect of these hypnotic grooves, these lyrics of burning conscience (despite some intelligibility), this hypersensitivity to the limit of autism, this elegant spatialization, this delicate balance between natural and synthetic orchestrations, this combination between lutheries of yesterday and today, the ideal tension between known territories and avant-garde sounds, this extreme refinement, all these qualities found in In Rainbows leads the listeners to pure happiness and enchantment. In Rainbows carries within it the desire to do otherwise, but at the same time, as for almost everything they recorded; it is full of beautiful melodies. That is perhaps the most surprising quality of this new Radiohead's album. A breathtaking beauty. Highlight songs: all 10 of them. Rating: 5 stars.
Report this review (#143752)
Posted Thursday, October 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars All the advance publicity for Radiohead's first album in four years (since '03s intermittently great Hail to the Thief) has been about whether the band has taken a truly progressive step in sounding the death knell of the traditional record industry. Whether the music on the record is progressive is open to debate. It's certainly less avant garde on this one than on Kid A or Amnesiac. That argument though is ultimateky irrelevent. What Radiohead do is quest for more from their music, from their creative experience to inclusion here is merited whether they drench it all in mellotrons or not. So what do we have here? Based on the opening 15 Steps initial impressions are Radiohead continuing with the flavour opf Hail to the Thief. Skittering electronic snare ripple and distorted bas thumps and a solo Thom Yorke vocal suggest something from the Eraser but then Jonny Greenwood's uneffected guitar trundles in stage left followed by a matching bassline. It could be one of Hail to the Thief's blander moments. Pleasant but with noe of the impact of say 2+2=5. The next one up is much more interesting. Bodysnatchers is a rollicking psychedelic flavoured track, anchored by a distorted McCartney-esque bass riff, it's joined by a matching guitar figure and the layering goes on with mor guitar motifs and synths before it kicks back with a softer middle eight, which eventuall resolves back into the driving riff for a cracked, angular guitar-driven finale. Much more fun. And it's here where the album departs for new Radiohead territories. Nothing earth shattering but for the bulk of the following tracks In Rainbows is all about mellow, relaxation. Nude is built is built on a lulling, round guitar figure medling into a string-drenched finale. Weird Fishes ups the pace but the guitar sound is the same, full, round, with just the midlest clipping distortion. It sounds almost DI'd. acompanied by a repeating vibes pattern it's a comfy ride. Faust Arp sounds like we're a burst of synthesised, droning Krautrock but in fac t it's a gentle acoustic and string-thick lullaby, which could just be the best track on the album despite its brevity. There are other contenders for that title though. The lovely House of Cards is built on a sweet chord sequence that enables Thom's to induloge in some heavily reverbed falsetto wails while Jonny gets out the trick bag of guitar effects for some artful soundscaping. Jigsaw Falling Into Place too has its moments. The opening acoustic guitar riff is similar in feel to the Paranoid Android riff but approached without that song's vicious intensity. Propelled Thom's lower register vocal and a straightforward drum and bass pattern it builds to a solid 'chorus' augmented by solid electric guitar playing and a lovely post chorus instrumental melody, again polished by the presence of strings. The final track Videotape is nothing more than a lovely pinao ballad, a simple four note sequence which reveals itself to be hypnotically affecting, especially when the layered voices and stumbling electronic drums join the main vocal. This version of In Rainbows is no instant classic. In fact, it almost feels like a mini album, a taste of something to come. Those os us who invested heavily in the double vinyl, double cd Discbox which comes with a load of extra material will hope for something greater, a more rounded experience. Time will tell. As it is, In Rainbows is a sound addition to the Radiohead song canon but as an album feels incomplete. Individually, these are all worthwhile songs, with no apparent howlers, but unlike past Radiohead outings there is no sense of a unifying purpose, of a band captured in a phase of development or creative momentum. And if you're searching for classic Radiohead moments then only Bodysnatchers or Faust Arp may ultimately deliver.
Report this review (#143863)
Posted Friday, October 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a good cd. Let's say: nowadays It's REALLY hard to find a band that mantains his promises and goes on publishing albums that don't end in rubbish. I find "In Rainbows" a good cd, even if I don't love Radiohead, even if it sounds strange, even if it's not their best. I also admit that I appreciated a lot their behaviour, giving the possibility to listen it to everyone, having money or not. A honourable move to show that they're really nonconformist. A clap to Radiohead.
Report this review (#143874)
Posted Friday, October 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hats off to Radiohead for sidestepping around an increasingly venal marketplace with their new internet-only album, available for download at whatever cost suits your pocketbook (even free, although the average voluntary payment so far is a perfectly reasonable ten dollars). You'll have to create your own CD cover art of course, and I've already stumbled on-line across some truly lunatic candidates: Thom Yorke's face superimposed on a cartoon leprechaun, and so forth.

Musically it's another forward thinking collection of songs from a band historically touchy about any Prog Rock comparisons, but guess what, guys? You're creating some genuinely progressive music here, whether or not you want to acknowledge it. The group still has one foot afloat in the antiseptic outer limits of Post Rock electronica (as heard in Thom Yorke's 2006 solo album "The Eraser"), but this is an altogether warmer, more human effort, as suggested by the new album's iridescent title. It opens with the not unexpected techno beat and scratchy digital rhythm of "15 Step", but ends on the sound of a stark acoustic piano and treated percussion in "Videotape", after covering a full spectrum of moods ranging from the intimate 12-string guitar and (electronic?) orchestration of "Faust Arp" to the distorted bass and driving krautrock energy of "Bodysnatchers".

For easy reference think of it as the logical extension of their previous "Hail to the Thief", only better organized and easier on the ears. At first exposure there aren't any immediate musical hooks to grab your attention, perhaps an indication that the album will only prove more rewarding in the long run, and the slim 43-minute running time (a throwback to those pre-digital days of 33-1/3 rpm vinyl) is an obvious concession to quality over quantity.

It may not break any new ground, but the album consolidates the band's established territory with no lack of self-assurance. If you aren't already a fan it won't easily convert you, but anyone under the spell of their post-"OK Computer" aural experiments might eventually find it their richest and most accomplished effort to date.

And let's hope heads roll at the record companies that didn't sign them to a contract in time.

Report this review (#143918)
Posted Friday, October 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I really like "In Rainbows", and I'm excited to hear if the songs on the bonus disc will follow in the same vein of this single disc.

15 Step: Great opener. Similar to 2+2=5 with the synthesis of electronic rock in odd time signatures, but definately a different feel.

Bodysnatchers: An upbeat rocker with a cool distorted bass line and great guitar work. Thom's voice is awesome too. A real solid track.

Nude: A more mellow track, but by no means boring. A melodic bass line drives this song while Thom's vocals weave in and out with great harmonies

Weird Fishes/Arpeggi: A mid-tempo song that starts off with solid drums. Jonny presents a delicate guitar line here with more emotional vocals by Thom.

All I Need: This a slow moving track that's driven by a sythesized bass line. There are some bells here that remind me of "No Surprises" and piano that reminds me of "Punch Up..."

Faust Arp: An acoustic track with beautiful strings and some interesting odd phrasing

Reckoner: Another mid-tempo track driven by delicate guitar and drums, and great emotional vocals and harmonies (strings make another appearance here)

House of Cards: Great melodic guitar line is the basis of this song. More emotional vocals (great echo effectcs) and strings here

Jigsaw Falling Into Place: Another upbeat rocker, not as intense as Bodysnatchers, but driven by a solid rhythm section and great vocals

Videotape:The album closes with an emotional slow piano track with delicate vocals and harmonies, and minimal effected drums

My complaints though...

The album is too short, and not like Fear of a Blank Planet short which was appropriate, but I feel like there should just be more songs. They were touring for a while after Hail To The Thief trying out new songs - so where are all of them?! When I saw them in 2006, these were the new songs they played according to the setlist: Open Pick, 15 Step, Nude, Arpeggi, House of Cards, Spooks, Bangers and Mash, Bodysnatchers, 4 Minute Warning... On the bonus disc through the package the only new songs not included on the original CD are Bangers and Mash & 4 Minute Warning. I'm wondering where are these songs - Open Pick & Spooks.

Also, I didn't get as much of a whole "album feel" from this one like I did with Kid A and Hail To The Thief - where the songs went into each other and helped create a more cohesive record. I would have like to see that on In Rainbows, but instead each song seems like its own separate thought the starts and ends without connecting to the rest of those on the album. Though I have complaints, I think all the songs are great. 10 awesome Radiohead songs is what I'd call this new one.

My Rating: Amazing, but not quite a masterpiece... 4/5

Report this review (#144559)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Fight Club
3 stars Name your own price? What?

Just a couple weeks ago Radiohead revealed they were releasing a new album. Not only were they releasing an album, but they were releasing it online. For whatever price the customer was willing to pay, anywhere from nothing to infinite. I have to commend Radiohead and such an awesome and original idea. This is the kind of thing that forces people to think "what is the music worth to me?" a question I often bother myself with. In the case of this album, I'd say it wouldn't be worth more to me than a regular priced CD, probably less.

Radiohead's seventh full album release demonstrates nothing excitingly new from the band. We get the same beat and synth laced tunes Radiohead have been putting out since Kid A. However, this album is a bit more mellow than their other recent ones. The sound is often very airy with laid back keyboard textures and some simple guitar. Only a few moments touch upon to eccentric distortion that marked Radiohead's early career.

What makes this album worth buying?

Honestly, not much. After repeated listens the only thing that really gets my attention is their usual ability to create some nice atmospherics. Not any special psychedelics whirlwinds of synth, just nice textures. There's some mellotron strings right in the beginning of the album (which sadly aren't seen again), and if you know me I'm a sucker for mellotron. Unfortunately, the album lacks a lot of the strong qualities that were found on OK Computer and The Bends.

For one thing there are an unusual absence of hooks and catchy melodies. Of course the catchiness of a song isn't one of the things I find most important in music, but for Radiohead this should at least be somewhat necessary. I hear a lot of opinions floating around describing this album as having "solid" songs. When the word "solid" comes up in music, it seems to me that it tends to mean "very average". If people are excited about a song they don't usually refer to it as "solid", a term fans seemingly use to describe songs they really want to enjoy, but in reality are disappointed by. In all honesty if someone looks hard at these "solid" songs and really focuses they won't find much of interest. Thom Yorke's vocals often seem to just drag slowly over the period of each song without a chorus. About 80% of the album feels like what would have been filler on Radiohead's prime work. It baffles me how Radiohead can captivate fans and critics with songs like these while an unknown band would go nowhere with them.

At first listen, the album seems somewhat of a disappointment. "What happened to the cool riffs on Hail To the Thief or the splendid tight composition of OK Computer?" are questions I often here. Then after a couple listens something seems to click. There is a new found fondness of the album, as if it serves as some sort of "comfort zone". In Rainbows lush sound quality seems to seep into people's brain like a drug putting them into a trance. It seems to be quite a cozy album after the first few listens, but unfortunately tends to grow boring over time.

Another few listens after that "cozy" feeling I began to grow bored. I noticed that once you take away the ambience and effects the album is stripped bare. The percussion only serves as a light beat and nothing more. As for the guitar playing, it would bore most people to sleep. The guitar harmonies on OK Computer were so elaborate I find myself wondering "how lazy could Radiohead possibly be?" when it comes to this album. There is often only one guitar picking arpeggios over a couple chords in each song. Hardly any genius harmonizing there nor any other musical complexities for that matter.

All in all the album feels very unspired as if Radiohead has finally reached that point in their career where they think "what else is there left to do?" They still try to right songs, and fans still stick by their every movie, but the truth is there's just no inspiration. I really can't understand what there is to be found in this album. It only suffers and grows old with repeateded listening and I end up finding myself coming back to my first impression. Radiohead has lost their touch and it's time for them to try something new and progress. Of course, if compared to most of the other music floating around on the radio and MTV, this album is quite spectacular. Rarely do bands know how to really add texture to their music as Radiohead does. It's understandable how most people would not be used to these kind of vibes. Most of the songs move a couple minutes through a single section, though, and progress into nothing. I can only hope that in the future Radiohead spreads its wings and flies into some new territories.

My rating: 6.5/10

Report this review (#144601)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars An amazing album, combines traditional styles of music making with the more electronic style that has been a trademark of radiohead of late. The standout songs on this album are, in my opionion; Nude, Reckoner and Jigsaw falling into Place, and each of these songs are good enough to have been on Ok Computer. The lyrics are cryptic and thought enducing while remaining dark and at times frigtening. Overall i would rank this album 2nd to Ok Computer but not by much.
Report this review (#144669)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars RADIOHEAD, 'In Rainbows'.

With this album, Radiohead simply confirms them as the BEST alt-rock band nowadays. 'In Rainbows' is an hybrid of 'Ok Computer' and 'Kid A' at the same time. It has a lot of electronic and experimentalism that fit PERFECTLY with a more rock sound. If you'd like an example of what 'In Rainbows' sounds like, try to get into 'Weird Fishes/Arpeggi', a truely masterpiece that exalts Thom's emotional voice while showing a perfect melodic line. The best highlight, I think.

Definitely, the best rock album of the year. Buy without hesitations.

5 stars.

Report this review (#144842)
Posted Monday, October 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars These guys will never stop amazing me! It´s been a while since their last album "Hail to the Thief" but this new effort is worth the time the fans had to wait. This is an Exelent album for two basic reasons: For first is the way that they are releasing it. The biggest band in these days releasing by them selves, can it be more ironic? And for second the great songs that it contais. When I listen to a Radiohead album I always have the same feeling I had when I was a child and listened for the first time to Pink Floyd records, and in "In Rainbows" that happened again. The album starts with "15 Step" which is one of my favorite. Great effects and vocals. "Bodysnatchers" is a powerful rock'n'roll song and has one of the most overdriven riffs in Radiohead's history. The "It´s the 21st century" chorus sends chills down. "Nude" has been modified lots of times and the final version is very nice. Sad melody on a jazzy atmophere. Absolutely perfect. "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" this is a masterpiece! The drum beat, the building arpeggios, the bass line and the unforgetable melodies. "All I Need" another unique song that these guys made. The ending is perfect. "Faust Arp" my only complaint is the length of this track. I think it should be bigger, but maybe I didn´t get the idea yet. "Reckoner" nice melodie, nice beat, very good song! Reminds me of 1997 when I first heard "OK Computer". "House of Cards" seems like they did a brazilian rhythm on this song. R.E.M. influences on the melodies. Great work too. "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" another of my favorite ones. Great vocals and great outcome. "Videotape" just one word for this stuff: Classic!

This is an exelent work from Radiohead! Highly recommended as every word or note composed by these guys. Namastê

Report this review (#145450)
Posted Wednesday, October 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have to say I was pretty much shocked by this album. After Hail to the Thief I expected Radiohead to lose their focus and continue with the mindless artsy soundscapes that IMHO where way too abundant in the afore mentioned album. But I was wrong, In Rainbows sounds like the real Radiohead, no the Radiohead they might have thought they had to be 4 years ago. Most songs are new, though some had already been played live several time, if I'm not mistaken "Nude" dates back to the OK Computer tour. In Rainbows is full of refreshing ideas, and though it is nowhere near Kid A or Amnesiac (absolute masterpieces IMO) it is a pretty good album that somehow manages to make really sad songs somewhat hummables. There are some very proggy arrangements, such as in Arpeggi, and some tecno beats which I asume were the work of Yorke. Selway is oddly laid back on most of the album, and I'd dare to say this is mostly a Yorke/Greenwood album.
Report this review (#146614)
Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars So, we have finally got a new album from Radiohead. What is it? Prog? It's hard to say. Since "OK Computer" era Radiohead has been bringing not much of prog. When I first listened to it, I felt like it was a bit more comfortable and melodical than it's previous abum. But still I had a feeling that it was too boring. I sat down in my chair leaving all problems behind. I closed my eyes to hear the sound taugher... And after the last song turn down I felt nothing higher than it was in the beginning of the musical travel. Maybe "In Rainbows" will be nice for someone who doesn't listen to music deeply without concentrating on every step of it's melodies. I'm not used to it. So, 3 is a bit more than it really deserves.
Report this review (#146683)
Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars By now the details of the how this was first released are known. Suffice it to say, I sent them about $10 as a tip, I guess. I'll certainly get a hard copy when it's out and I couldn't quite bring myself to get the LP, CD, bonus CD package at about $80 U.S. Keeping my fingers crossed the bonus material will be released in some form or another.

I've only been a fan of this band since April of 2006, but I became a huge fan. And you know I was there on 10/10/07 downloading it in the morning before I had to leave for work. This album doesn't disappoint. I wish the download had cover art and lyrics, but the cover art soon became obtainable. I used this site's. The lyrics are available at Excellent resource for the Radiohead fan. I find Thom hard to understand sometimes without a copy of the lyrics in front of you. Despite often interesting artwork in their CD booklets, they don't always give you lyrics.

The opener, 15 Step has more of that techno kind of sound as you can hear fairly dominantly on his solo release last year, The Eraser.

Bodysnatchers is more of a throwback to their predominant style from the Bends, but updated a little.

Nude reminds me of the OK Computer's Motion Picture Soundtrack in the vocals in particular, some nice strings are included.

Weird Fishes/Arpeggi picks the pace back up a bit, nothing similar from their previous releases comes to mind, lyrics are about relationships. Those of you who don't like Radiohead may take some comfort in Thom getting "eaten by the worms".

According to Greenplastic, All I Need is first one so far that hasn't made a public debut until the digital download release unlike all of the others . I love the way this one builds to it's climax.

Faust Arp is the next newbie. Reminds me a bit of some of the stuff on Hail To The Thief. A low key acoustical guitar, strings, and vocal piece.

Reckoner, if you don't like falsetto, this one will really get on your nerves. Not a problem for me as I have become accustomed to Thom's singing voice. It dates back to 2001. The lyrics here are where the album title comes from. Another one on the mellow side with strings.

House of Cards is said to date back to 2005. Yet another of those relationships oriented songs. This time apparently about an affair.

I think I might have to rank Jigsaw Falling into Place as my favorite track here. It also saw the light of day first in 2006. It's got a nice beat in it that really does go round and round.

Ends on a quiet and dark note with Videotape. Another new one with lyrics about suicide, perhaps? or being videotaped on the day you are to die at least.

Depending on what they do next, this album may go down as their most acoustic instrument oriented album. Not a bad track on here and certainly worth trying as a virtually free download.

Report this review (#147315)
Posted Friday, October 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Breakthrough in distribution strategy supported by radical music?

Quite interesting to know how Radiohead has made a breakthrough on how the music is distributed to its fans and listeners. It's probably a breakthrough marketing and distribution strategy that marketing guru like Phillip Kottler should give an appreciation to the band. Radiohead have made their album In Rainbows initially only through download, and a special edition box set featuring 8 bonus tracks and the album on double vinyl will be released in December while regular CD would not be available until January 2008. This kind of distribution strategy has created discussion among mailing lists and music forum and in itself has become a marketing gimmick. It's quite revolutionary, actually. With this creative mind, it's normal for the music lovers to expect something radical in terms of music style comes out from the album. Unfortunately, it's not. I even thought that the band made radical distribution strategy to position themselves differently from other competitors so that people would get excited and curious to know "how the music would radically change?".

Let's talk musically. I don't think that this new album by Radiohead is somewhat different in terms of style than previous releases. However this album refreshes our mind with some interesting "unstructured" arrangements throughout its composition. I think this is why Radiohead has been categorized as "prog" band. The opening track "15 Step" is actually not a catchy track to grab but it provides a bit another look of disco music mixed with Radiohead roots. For me, it's hard to get catchy elements from this album, but if you have a passion to explore musical experiments, it would help you digest the album in its entirety. There are elements of psychedelic as well as ambient pop music. I believe the band has distilled their musical thoughts in such a way that produces an album that is relatively difficult to absorb (not in its complexity but more on the unstructured nature of its composition) but creates a willingness to re-spin. That's actually what I feel about this album. I might have been influenced by the band's radical distribution strategy?

Overall, this is a good album like previous one. However, this is much less attractive to the band's seminal and prog album OK COMPUTER which has "Paranoid Android" as the best song that Radiohead has ever created (my view). This album serves well for those who have open mind or fans of the band so far. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#148236)
Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Upon first hearing this album I felt as though Radiohead had taken a step backwards, to a sound more akin to the traditional rock found on the bends or OK computer. I was wrong. Really. This is one of the best albums I'll ever own.

It's strange how Radiohead mirror The Beatles in both innovation and phases in their careers.

Allow me to point out the parallels. THE BENDS- RUBBER SOUL Both bands have moved beyond their pop beginings and begun to touch on more serious subject matter, while retaining much of their old sound. OK COMPUTER- REVOLVER The bands have now thrown caution to the wind and have made hugely experimental, epic and risky decisions within the rock framework KID A- SGT PEPPER AMNESIAC- MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR Each band released two closely related albums that show just how out there and druggy they can be. HAIL TO THE THIEF- THE WHITE ALBUM Both band release really long albums encompassing pretty much every sound that came before, in a new way.

So IN RAINBOWS can be equated to be Radioheads LET IT BE. A short collection of seemingly straight forward songs that are actually much deeper than they seem.

The sheer number of textures and timbres is staggering. Each song employs the use of strings or bells or piano or electronic atmospherics or even yelling children. The guitar tones are everything from soaring to crunchy to clean and space-jazzy. Simply put: the palate of the album is awesome. The bass is always groovy in the best way possible.

Another observation: It seems that Radiohead has discovered minimalism. This isn't surprising when one takes into account how influenced they are by classical music. Many a composer have tried to work with minimalism after reaching a certain level of maturity. Each song, it seems, is stripped down to one basic sound, or element before a barrage of layers are stacked back upon it. Sometimes there will be only drums, or bass, or (as in Nude) all instruments will drop off of a cliff and leave only Thoms vocals. The result is astounding and exhilarating.

The songs themselves are structurally magnificent. 15 Step is very percussive and employs an obscure time signature. This one is really really good. Bodysnatchers is an all out free for all. Each member seems to have been given permission to do whatever he chooses, following no clear form until the excellent spacey portion in which Thom echoes on about the 21st century. This one had to grow on me. Nude is a slow and sultry number. Tons of dynamic shifts here. Some of the most beautiful music ever put to record. Weird fishes may be the best track on the album (for me). It's definitely the most jazz oriented track on the album, and the way the sounds build and build over time is amazing. By the time all of the sounds reach climax, I have a hard time comprehending whats even happening. Also it is interesting that during the epic conclusion he doesn't choose the loud yelling and instead goes with a low deep voice, "i hit the bottom and escape" which adds intensity is a different, more interesting way. All I Need is another sultry track, through far more groovy and dark than Nude. The second verse is augmented by some awesome orchestration with cellos and bells. Then the piano kicks in at the end. The whole band goes into a fury. Thoms voice seems to be lost in it all, and no matter how loud he yells, he can't break into the forefront. It creates a really nice effect, and seems to be the moment that he is "in rainbows" of sound and sensation. Faust arp is a great acoustic song. A really good arrangement and a complicated melody are the focal points here. Good lyrics too. Reckoner exists on two distinct planes. It's really fast, with a brilliant percussion section, and it's also heart breakingly slow. The lyrics sweetly flow over the pulsation. This song also has the best vocal breakdown since Paranoid android. It's even better, (if shorter) I thought house of cards was boring at first. I was SO wrong. It is repetitive in a way, but like all great repetitious Radiohead songs (National Anthem or I Might Be Wrong), the variance is underneath the surface. Good Stuff. Great Stuff. Relaxing. Videotape was difficult for me, and upon writing this review I must still admit that I probably haven't "gotten" all that there is to be got. But was I do know that this is both a pretty slow song, like an old McCartney track, but then come the drums and other sounds. It is a portrait of fragmentation. It feels broken and fractured while the pretty song still proceeds behind it. But the brokeness takes the foreground. Very interesting that they leave us on that note.

For now... The additional 8 tracks might change the way the album feels on whole. I cant wait to get them. This is as good as music gets people. And is embodies everything that prog-rock is at the most basic level. There's just as much classical grandioseitude here as on CLOSE TO THE EDGE, or any other prog album. It's just chopped into smaller parts. And you just have to listen closely to hear it.

The final note is that of the production. Radiohead has employed the same producer for all of their main albums. Nigel Godrich (Much like the beatles and george martin) His work here is amazing It's the cleanest production I've ever heard, and I only have the 320 kbps download. Great great job.

Report this review (#148840)
Posted Sunday, November 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have to say this album is on par with Radiohead's greatest. Not only with the marketing but the actual content rivals OK Computer at times. I was afraid the material would be sub-par since consumers were asked to pay what they wanted but the product more than delivers. In Rainbows is much better than Hail to the Thief which sounded to me like they were trying to go more mainstream and instead sounded watered down. This is Radiohead doing what they do best and, more importantly, building on it. No, there aren't any real rock-out moments here but that's not what Radiohead really excels at. They're at their best when they let the music build an intelligent atmosphere and let the vocals stand out. While not as experimental and mind-blowing as Kid A this album will be more accessible to the average listener. My only complaint is that this album does not have a good "flow" as with previous albums and seems to be just a collection of songs (which it basically is since almost all of these songs have been performed in concert in one form or another for the last 2 to 10 years). Still, I can't wait to hear the additional tracks that are included with the box set. I'm giving In Rainbows 5 out of 5 stars because I'm taking into consideration the genius "pay what you want" marketing plus the musical content.
Report this review (#148886)
Posted Sunday, November 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a great album. Would have to be one of their most mellow yet. Would be also fair to say that I think Radiohead have taken a dramatic turn musically. Whether this is a one album shift I am not sure but nevertheless this new direction is appealing and refreshing. 'Cross over Prog' is the perfect genre description for Radiohead sound. What stands out for me more on this album is Thom Yorke's more melodic in the vocal department and the bass of Colin Greenwood drives the mood of the album. Almost jazzy in parts and dare I say it at times a combination of mellow Blur/Sigur Ros sounds come through

The album is appealing on all fronts ( There are always a couple of tracks unbearable on previous albums, IMHO) The vocals are very clever especially on the opening track ' 15 step' and then this moody bass kicks in. By far the heaviest track is next ' Bodysnatchers' but is very good overall. Other pearlers would have to be the fragile ' Nude', the unnerving but very true lyrically ' Weird Fishes' and my personal favourites ' The reckoner' and ' House of cards'. I like this new direction Radiohead are taking and the mellowness of In Rainbows displays a newfound contentment with their sound. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#149559)
Posted Thursday, November 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Since it is hard to value this album in terms of rating stars, I will rate song by song of this very good Radiohead record.

Beginning of album is fantastic: genious electronic versus accoustic druming, moving and cool guitar riff, funky singing, bit »romantic« music here. 5/5

Second one is with soft and distorted guitar riffs, and great guitars everywhere, as you know, Radiohead guitars have always been fantstic and moving and innovative. Song has some industrial feeling, and ends in cool repeating chorus of Thom, and in background they even go metal-like. 5/5

Nude is first track that slows the tempo down, it has some orchestral elements, it is similair to their song called »Sail to the Moon«, but bit more romantic. I imagine this one to be in score of some movie. 3/5

Weird Fishes/Arpeggi is my favourite on record. It starts with excellent drum loop and simple guitar notes, and this is piece in two parts, first one is rock, romance, emotions, love, second one is like some climax of post rock bands, much strange but not weird, you have to hear this to judge. 5/5

All I Need is somehow sad song, again about love. This one has nice glockenspiel and sexy bass line and unique druming in similair wein to post rock drumers of Sigur Ros or GYBE, but even better sounding. 5/5

Faust Arp is nothing special, it has vocal melody similair to some already used. This track also has orchestration. 3/5

Reckoner song has fantstic sounding drums, but again they use similair guitar riff, and this is also simple song, but puts fine effect on me. 4/5

House of Cards is cute ballad, but somehow I do not like it much. Is highly atmospheric and sleepy. 4/5

Jigsaw Falling Into Place is most complex song and has cute keys, some innovations in Thom's singing. 4/5

Videotape has fine and interesting rhythm section made of piano and interesting style of drums or drum machine (not sure). 3/5

Well, average rating is 4 stars. Radiohead never dissapoint, they move forvard and make experimental music, and their most mellow album to date.

Report this review (#149939)
Posted Saturday, November 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars After leaving a series of coded messages on their website, acclaimed English rock band Radiohead announced that they will be releasing their latest album in ten days time and that it was available on their website's store. The average music makers might see a few holes in this. Self-distribution is nothing new. For example, New York post-metal band, The Pax Cecilia, have recently sent a copy of their latest CD to any fan that asked for it through e-mail. However, this was free. The catch with Radiohead's seventh release, entitled In Rainbows, was that the fans had two options. One choice was a lavish box set including vinyl records, a bonus disc, and full artwork, for an extravagant 81 dollars. The other choice was a download only option. However, the really shocking thing that only they have done thus far was to allow the fans to name their own price for the album.

On a label, this would be entirely unheard of. However, on the side of the fans, being able to name your own price for an album was an empowering gift, yet quite the predicament. The question that plagued each consumer was, "How much is the true price of music?" If you were to ask almost anyone in the school, they'd probably say that CDs are overpriced. However, few can say with certainty how much it truly is worth. For many people, this amount came to 0 dollars and 0 cents. Radiohead may not be complete unknowns seeking to create their path in the music industry, but in all fairness, this was a valiant experiment in finding out how people would handle the responsibility of choosing the price for music. With such a controversial method of distribution, one must wonder if the album could possibly be as memorable as the manner in which the public got their hands on it. In my opinion, absolutely.

I recall waking up early on October 10th to find that glorious e-mail containing my download link for In Rainbows. Although I was tired, I was extremely excited that this album that I had been awaiting with impatience for several years was soon to be hitting my eardrums. The album opens with an electronic drum beat, sucking in the listener with a pulsating rhythm in 5/4. "15 Step" is sure to appeal to fans of Radiohead's more electronic based works and surprisingly is completely danceable. It certainly carries the distinct sound they have created over the course of their almost 15 years recording. The sound makes a complete 180 in to "Bodysnatchers," a rocker with an alternative flair similar to something off The Bends, but with a better melody. "Nude" is soft and brooding, a great song to get lost in. At this point, one might be surprised at how much the guitar has regained prevalence in comparison with more electronic albums of the bands more recent past. A somewhat catchy drum intro takes the listener in to "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" which is hauntingly beautiful and melodic. The melody continues with "All I Need" a downbeat tale of longing and desire with great atmospheric work. "Faust Arp" is an enticing acoustic number. It is stunning in its simplicity, yet still powerful and featuring excellent vocals. My personal favorite is the next track, "Reckoner." This song features soaring vocals over an impressive guitar line. The atmospheric work is unconventional and absolutely pays off with its unique passion. The following track, "House of Cards" is a pleasant song that segues nicely in to "Jigsaw Falling into Place," which is slated to be the album's first single. This song features a very catchy chorus and is delightfully upbeat and accessible, two words not commonly associated with Radiohead. The exciting bounciness of that song is contrasted by the closer, "Videotape." It is a somber tune of remembrance, driven by a powerful piano progression. The vocals are intense and fitting with the bleak tone of the song. It is anticlimactic yet comforting

Overall, this album has already set itself in a class of its own due to its method of release and distribution, yet the songs are equally memorable. Unlike prior albums, the lyrics are more personal and relatable. Many are centered on subjects such as relationships, pressure, and the power of memory. I recommend that people interested in something experimental yet melodic give this album a try. After all, what do you have to lose?

Report this review (#152767)
Posted Monday, November 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Radiohead's "In Rainbow" benefited from its marketing issues but, in fact, reveals no more than a collection of beautifully crafted, but regular songs. Despite the big fuss created - as a matter of fact, a constant on any Radiohead album (giving the idea that almost any excrement they would release would be, even so, venerated to exhaustion by many). The truth is that the album, nevertheless not being bad (as we could expect from the band), it has really nothing of revolutionary or something of extraordinarily original. The band moved to a even more nihilistic perspective of the universe, based on minimalism and haunting crescendos, which can present novelty for those not familiar with the post-rock and avantgarde movements.

The first two songs resume the album's creative side quite well. Although joyful, "15 Step" is clearly a Björk-based song and adds few to the electronic experiments of the band in the past, while "Bonysnatchers", by the other side, represents a mediocre effort on the obligation to use the guitars and rock hard. "Nude" and "All I Need" represent the solemn side of the album, and have the common to be driven by vigorous abstract bass lines, which functions as a base to create these lush craftily paintings. The last of the two starts with the beat of Mickael Bolton's "Streets of Philadelphia". "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" is a minimalistic post-rock crescendo, in the mood and resemblance of Tortoise's album "Million's Now Will Never Die". "Reckoner", with its subtle guitars, reminds the structure of their own track "Optimistic", while "House of Cards" is indeed an effective minimalistic innuendo. "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" is perhaps the best track of the album, evolving in a very gentle and effective dance-rock mood. The album ends with the piano-driven "Videotape", another minimalistic momentum, this time working as a conspicuous moan, in the limit of exploding, but never doing so. In fact this album is prodigal in this matter - it works in the limbo but rarely reaches the climax.

Instantly recognized as a masterpiece by almost all critics, these are the same who will forget it as time passes by (as it happened with other Radiohead albums). Although convincingly pretty at times, it is far from showing sufficient arguments to reinforce the band's title as "best rock band of 21st century". Truth is, would this be done by a new band, it probably would never reach recognition.

Report this review (#154476)
Posted Thursday, December 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars In Rainbows is the latest album from Radiohead, the most experimental Britpop group ever formed. In the months prior to its release, Radiohead got an avalanche of publicity when they threw up a collective middle finger in the face of the record industry. The band elected to not only distribute the album themselves, but to let their audience set their own price. Articles abounded at the album's impact on the of music distribution, to the point that no matter what was on the album, it would be the defining album of 2007. Luckily for everyone, Radiohead delivered their best album since Kid A, and perhaps their greatest album ever.

Their last few outings were heavily on the electronic experimentation, to the point that one could almost call them progressive electronic. Amnesiac had so much meddling that the music suffered as a result. Hail to the Thief brought a little more of the conventional guitars and drum sound to the mix, but only enough to make it sound out of place. Here, the band has achieved the perfect balance of convention and innovation, making it an even better blend than O.K. Computer. There is something on this album for everyone. 15 Step is a trippy opener that leads us to believe that Radiohead is still on the outer edge of pop music. It's full of great percussive effects and mix with Thom's ethereal vocals. Bodysnatchers is a flat-out rocker with a driving riff. It almost sounds like the band is channeling the Rolling Stones with this number. Nude brings the tempo down and sounds downright majestic with weaving vocal lines. The rest of the songs feature all sorts of interesting composition. Instruments will drop out and return. Thom pushes that Jeff Buckley-like voice to the limits, traversing all sorts of territory with his pipes.

Some may complain that the album is too short. That's only because time flies listening to this record. It's so unassuming and sparse that it belies the complexity of the arrangements. This is a textbook example of how letting the notes breathe and putting emotion into songs can be every bit as challenging as a barrage of arpeggios. Some music is driven and upbeat, others are so light that they float through your head. This album has already received attention for revolutionizing distribution. However, ignore all that and you're left with one of the most well-crafted albums not only of the year, but of the new millennium. Picking highlights is impossible. I am so swept away by the music that I cannot even glance at my iPod to see what song I'm on at times. It's not quite perfect, but this is a triumph of minimalism.

Grade: B+

Report this review (#154509)
Posted Thursday, December 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I'm writing this review as I listen to the album on my record player ... the vinyl edition is amazing, even topping the limited edition of Porcupine Tree's Fear of a Blank Planet. Interestingly the vinyls are 45 rpm (and 180gr which goes without saying) which is usually only found in audiophile circles. Musically the album is quite strong, with a definitive move towards Post Rock. Overall its quite dark and moody, but also harmonically diverse and an eclectic range of rhythms, sounds etc..

15 Step: A nice melodic up tempo electronic track.

Bodysnatchers: A fast-paced track dominated by hypnotic distorted guitar riffs, elaborate bass lines and weird high-register guitar harmonies. And of course Thom's frantic vocals ... it all works together nicely to create a haunting atmosphere.

Nude: A relaxed track with gospel-like vocals and atmosphere, with haunting effects-ladden strings and eerie background vocals by Yorke. Post Rock fans (Sigur Rós) will love this!

Weird Fishes/Arpeggi: Indeed the song is dominated by arpeggi ... several guitars play them simultaneously, creating the impression of a swarm/school of (weird) fishes. Like the previous track it contains elements of Post Rock including a nice build-up, but this time there's also a fast-paced underlying drum beat.

All I Need: This song has a fascinating bass line ... together with the drum pattern which occasionally ommits a beat it works quite brilliantly. Lyric-wise it's almost a love song but the whole track has an almost nightmarish atmosphere - very surreal, especially when at the end the piano kicks in and all the other instruments also add intensity, creating an immensly dense wall of not only sounds, but also harmonies.

Faust Arp: Acoustic guitars, bass and vocals, accompanied by mellotron-like synths. Reminds me of Led Zeppelin quite a bit, but the harmonies are much more complex and elaborate.

Reckoner: Intricate vocal harmonies and all of the above. Very cool!

House of Cards: An interesting melody, but the other tracks were a bit more innovative.

Jigsaw Falling Into Place: A fast paced track with acoustic guitars and elaborate bass playing ... there are similarities to Bodysnatchers, but it's less distorted and not as dark.

Videotape: Piano and vocals, then joined by bass and heavily syncopated drumming a little later. A sad/melancholic song, typically Thom Yorke.

Report this review (#155490)
Posted Saturday, December 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
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!

Report this review (#156302)
Posted Saturday, December 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars In Rainbows, released only online, is one of the most depressing albums that I know of. I don't know if it's just depressing to me, but I find that it is very moody and melancholic. Most people would argue that a depressing album isn't worth listening to, but I believe that this one is really worth it. I believe that the album could go without the first two songs, and Nude isn't all that great either, but starting with Weird Fishes, the album continues to grow and it becomes quite enjoyable, while still being depressing. It's an odd mix, but it's an album worth hearing. 4 Stars, an Excellent addition to any Prog Collection.
Report this review (#157327)
Posted Monday, December 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 stars

A free album or an album where you choose the album price, which goes directly to the band? How cool is that? I wish the album would be a bit more revolutionary, but it's still a step in the right direction after the previous two albums. While not a masterpiece by any means, it is an adventurous album with great song structures, some nice atmospherics, and of course the Radiohead staple (if less present): the ability to make the most depressing music ever (remember Pyramid Song?).

In my opinion, the bookends of the album are the obvious highlights of the album. 15 Steps mixes an uptempo electronica beat under an odd time signature with jazzy guitar licks. The instrumental break creates phenomenal dissonant synthesizer atmospherics. To bring the album to a close, Radiohead made a wise decision: put a cinematic piano ballad that sounds completely bleak and void of any sort of hope. It has unusual drum patterns that may appear to be out of place, yet they are necessary for the piece.

Most of the material in this short album relies on mellowness. Nude is a beautiful laid-back composition with symphonic arrangements in wordless vocals and strings. All I need is a buildup to a Sigur Ros-influenced finale. Faust Arp is another song with strings that leaves a good impression. Some of the longer songs are a bit more complex, with Reckoner reminding me of Red Hot Chili Peppers a bit.

An exception to the mellow nature of the album is Bodysnatchers, but I can't help but feel that this song does not belong here. The distortion and the heaviness sounds artificial and I just can't get to it.

Nevertheless, not bad for a surprise album that might be considered a Radiohead Christmas gift if you don't wish to pay for it. Short and sweet, you might find yourself playing this album quite a few times.

Report this review (#158136)
Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Radiohead's new album is more experimental than progressive.

I was very excited to receive the new copy of Radiohead's In Rainbows CD

This album took me awhile to get used to, the sound is very similar in every song but each has a new experimental vibe that only Radiohead can provide. Many highlights are present in the 1st CD, styles ranging from all scenes of English rock are well portrayed in a Radiohead style of sound. Thom Yorke is still using falsetto, this may be appealing to some but not so much for others.

A Hard album to understand in its entirety, although there is concept in each song, is really complex to try to figure out the meanings, if you really want to find out, go to wikipedia or something to truly find out.

Overall it's a good collection of experimental tunes brought by the band, not really Progressive, but very experimental. It's nice to hear that Radiohead hasn't stop using its unique type of creativity.

Report this review (#161333)
Posted Saturday, February 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It's a free world after all.

Radiohead's new album is a good one, but the most fascinating part about it was the marketing scheme. Originally available on the internet for what ever price one would want to pay, Radiohead clearly wanted to show the world that profit could still be made on an internet market. However, old styled dudes such as myself simply waited patiently until new years day 2008 to buy the album on CD for the first time. The cd version of the album was well packaged in a cardboard sleeve, including stickers and inserts to put onto a jewel case if one desired.

So was it worth the wait?

Well yeah, as said before, this is a good album. Unfortunately, avid fans wouldn't get anything like previous masterpieces Kid A or OK Computer, but they would get a good, more rock-ish album with a lot of emotion behind it. That being said, while this album is closer in style to something like Ok Computer, it's still a whole other beast. The heavy beat and distorted basses opening 15 STEP make one wonder if the disc in the case was actually a Radiohead album or an album from a random hip-hop artist misplaced during shipping. Luckily, Thom Yorke's voice soon comes in and brings method to the madness, followed by some truly magnificent guitars that make this a very interesting Radiohead track -- and following this one there will be more.

Really, on this album theres two kinds of tracks: The super heavy rockers and the super slow tear-jerkers.

Heavy is the case for the second track, Bodysnatchers. Opening with a killer riff this, the band's choice for a single, is a good strait forward rocker that doesn't let up. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi is another one of the faster songs, this one being somewhat in the middle of the road in terms of sound on the album. Heavy in a slow way.

After those songs however, it's time for the emotion that's normally put forward by the band.

The remainder of the songs on the album are definitely not for the weak of heart. Starting with the soft, melodic Nude the album takes a turn in the reflective direction. Other standouts of these types of songs include the dark-keys driven All I Need and the incredibly sad-sounding coda - Videotape - which could be one of the best songs that the band has ever recorded.

All in all this is a good album that should appeal to a wide audience. Not quite up to the caliber of something like their earlier albums (as commented on previously) but this albums still hosts a variety of good and great tracks, none of which disappoint. 3 stars, great for the fans but really only good for people who are indifferent to the band. People who don't like Radiohead in general won't find any reason to start liking them. Recommended for the fans and for people who like post-rock.

Report this review (#164891)
Posted Tuesday, March 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars The online delivery medium is innovative - name your own price - but the music is not.

RADIOHEAD manage to live on the edges of popularity, allowing them to sell in large volumes but also to maintain credibility. With 'Kid A' they stretched the definition of popular music almost to breaking point, but since then have gone too far ('Amnesiac') and now not far enough ('In Rainbows').

The sound here is recognisably RADIOHEAD, and there's nothing new. Not that this matters to me, but I do need to warn you that this is consolidation rather than innovation. The two worthwhile tracks open the album: '15 Step' is an excellent electronic track - is this going the way of 'Kid A'? we ask hopefully - then is followed by the guitar-based 'Bodysnatchers', every bit as polished and worthwhile as anything off 'OK Computer'.

Then it all turns to custard, really. It's all worthy, but no longer cutting edge. I'm reminded of U2 in places, OMD in others. Not so much the sounds, but the way in which they take chord sequences and 'radiohead-ize' them. I find the comparison to RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS even more compelling: they sound nothing like RHCP, of course, but this does in places have the feel of 'songwriting by numbers'. Rock song or ballad, all the tracks are straight forward with a little RADIOHEAD twist. As for progressiveness, there's nothing here I'd consider even approaching progressive. So be it - I enjoy plenty of non-prog - but this is not the edgy, meaningful hour of music I'd been hoping for. 'Videotape' is an excellent way to finish the record off, but it's hard work getting there.

'OK Computer' and 'Kid A' tell you most of what you need about RADIOHEAD. Get this, and their other albums, if you're a fan.

Report this review (#165460)
Posted Tuesday, April 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I must say, I am a big fan of radiohead, but this 5 stars is no bias. of all the radiohead albums i love and listen to, this is the one i keep coming back to for more. I got disc 2 recently and its more of the same brilliance. Well, I won't waste any time:

15 Step: The electronic opening combined with a cappella singing reminds one of the eraser, but this is a step above that wonderful album. The guitar in the intro is so subtle, and yet edges its way into your ears to whisper of its message. Thom's soft vocals are nice combined with the atmospheric keyboard and are those strings? parts. The interspersed children yelling gives the song a slightly ominous feel, and the shimmering keyboards only add to this. When the bass comes in, it is superb, as i have never heard much prominence from Colin Greenwood on any Radiohead record. The closing jam is absolutely wonderful, thom's opening line of confusion closes the song nicely, ending up where he started to suit the words.

Body Snatchers: a distorted drop D riff blasts in right away, startling the listener from his haze of wonderful bliss. This song picks up the pace fairly quickly, switching on and off from major to minor keys, with plenty of anguished wailing from Thom on the way. Jonny gets in a few nice little licks here and there where appropriate, and the triple guitar attack really harks back to the bends and pablo honey. There is also some use of Ondes Martenot, a Jonny Greenwood signature. A nice blasting, crescendoing climax leads us right into...

Nude: A soft intro preludes the beauty of this song, and I'm not even sure how to describe it. Its so emotional, saddening, and yet uplifting all at once it floods the listener with emotions. The effects wash over you like waves, differing in size and intensity. the bass has some nice octave-jumping lines that add a little movement to the washes of sound and color. the ending line is amazing: youll go to hell for what your dirty mind is thinking. The ending jam is so perfect its hair-raising. the final note fades away, making way for...

Weird Fishes/Arpeggi: The quick, staccato drum intro leads into the repeating, showering arpeggios of guitars that permeate this song. The xylophone slowly gets added to fill out the sound, along with many vocal harmony overdubs added to Thom's sorrowful musings. There is a portion where the drums cut out, and the music is just wonderful, again washing over the listener to take them away. The ending hit the bottom climax section is also wonderful.

All I Need: In my opinion, the most beautiful love song ever written, filled with heart-rending metaphors like I am all the days that you choose to ignore and i am an animal trapped in your hot car. The bassline is soothing and the orchestration is subtle yet brings out such emotion its hard to not feel it when you listen to this song. The crashing piano climax is superb, with Thom wailing at his saddest.

Faust Arp: A nice acoustic piece, with strings reaching in here and there, and thom's near-chanted vocal line. It ends too quickly, and would have been even better had it extended another 2 minutes. The string parts create the perfect harmony to the melody of the guitar and voice, and its a shame it cannot be recreated live.

Reckoner: This song reminds me of there there because the two guitarists are playing extra percussion instruments, leaving thom to play guitar. The cymbals, tambourines and other percussion instruments are so genuine and so real they bring this song to life. Thom's love of the falsetto is evident here, with him singing almost all of the song in it, with stunning vibrato to boot. The chord progession is again sorrowful, and changes to minor at one point. the guitar is very subtle, but provides a great atmosphere for thom's vocal paintings. The climax, however, is the single best moment on the album. With an uplifting series of chord changes supplemented by a stunning string part and some echoing sighs from Thom, this song is drawn to a beautiful close.

House of Cards: A soft guitar riff supplemented by a bumping drum part and some distant cries from Thom create a relaxing atmosphere for what is another great love song. The reverb is very evident here as Thom proclaims his love for some unknown person. Some distant string/keyboard parts are heard in the distance, rising and falling. This song doesn't progress much, but it is still brilliantly orchestrated and written by one of the best bands i know.

Jigsaw Falling into Place: A low acoustic riff brings us into the other hard rocker of the album, besides bodysnatchers. The creepy sighs open into a low, chanted vocal line from Thom, with some verrry interesting lyrics. Thom has such a way with words its slightly scary. The guitar and bass interplay throughout is very dynamic and crescendos throughout. Soon, Thom jumps the vocal octave and begins his usual piercing singing. In the background, tons of overdubbed harmonies and melodies interweave, with more Ondes Martenot from Jonny. The chorus brings us to a new level awesomeness, and also it closes the song.

Videotape: A simple four note piano-based song, this is a relaxing and rather slow closing number. The lyrics tell of suicide, in a happy way, which might creep you out. The drums are scattered, nervous, and offbeat, giving the song a forced feel, but it works alright. The climax culminates in a chorus of sighs that reach high into heaven to bring down the highest emotions.

I would review the second disc, but my review is already far too long. all in all, not progressive rock, but some of the most amazing music i have ever heard. I never get tired of it, and it shows that radiohead can progress into simpler music and still make amazing music no matter the case.

Report this review (#168310)
Posted Monday, April 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Radiohead - In Rainbows

Short and simple:

This new one from Radiohead is, altogether, pretty good, albeit nothing near a masterpiece for various reasons. First off I'd like to say that anyone who like Radiohead at all, be it one album, a few songs, or heavily, should probably own this album, as it is definitely a great collection of songs if nothing else--very worth trying out, and I'd even say it's not a bad album to start out with, as it is musically accessible, and shows a culmination of pretty much all the styles the band has tried out previous to this release.

Essentially, this one's nothing but 10 good-to-great songs that have been floating around the Radiohead catalog for some time now, and have finally been put to production. Each song is its own little bit of the band's sound, and each song encompasses its own atmosphere and unique sound--something akin to pretty much any Radiohead song.

Considering the band's previous releases, it is odd that this one feels like nothing more than a collection of songs; there is no album consistency or is just song after song, which slightly lowers the overall appeal of the album, considering that this is something the band is relatively well known for. In Rainbows is a collection of songs that are every bit as good as anything else they've released, but the album itself feels a bit less compelling because of this lack of flowing consistency, and I consider this a major drawback. Of all of their albums, this is the one that sounds the least unified (barring their debut), which to me seems.strange, to say the very least.

The album itself is a bit too short; however, this isn't exactly a viable complaint considering there is a bonus disc. Truthfully, however, the bonus disc isn't of the highest quality, featuring only two good songs, and I do think that those two should have just been included on the album itself, and then the whole issue may have been dealt with.

The songs are great in their own right (well, all except for the boring "House of Cards" and the disappointing "Videotape") and if you consider yourself a Radiohead fan at all, you should check the album out because of this fact alone. If you're interested in the best albums of 2007 however, this one's not necessarily the best place to start. an album, In Rainbows scores something around a 6.5 or a 7 on my scale--3 stars on this one.

Report this review (#170910)
Posted Tuesday, May 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars In Rainbows was a revolution in music distribution and blah blah blah blah who really cares about that anyway?

What we really should be talking about is why a record review site (that may or may not rhyme with Bitchforkmedia) opted to give this album 9.3/10 when OK Computer and Kid A have 10/10. I've been told that OK Computer was some sort of watershed for rock music, and I don't know about that. Kid A is definitely a watershed for a popular rock band though, and made all the more impressive by how much ass it kicks. But In Rainbows does not deserve to be only .7 points away from these classics, even if you don't get on your knees and serve Radiohead like that certain review site. There is nothing new in In Rainbows at all. It is a tumble down a long staircase from Hail to the Thief, which most people seem to look down on for reasons I really don't know, and I know the reason. Hail to the Thief, OK Computer, and to a degree Kid A all were very filled with arrangements, layers, and tracks. In most other bands, this would be end up with saccharine strings flowing over every verse, but Radiohead managed to not only not screw of in this minefield of fail, but actually succeeded in making the album deeper and full of hidden sounds 'n' stuff that reveal themselves on later listens. That is a good thing. On In Rainbows, Radiohead whittled down their sound to nothing but the basics. On top of that, they decided to take the biggest sonically-regressive step back I could have imagined. Not only are the songs not lush, they're also boring. Maybe past Radiohead albums just elaborated on a song that would have really been bare-bones and boring were it not for all the layers.

A lot of people don't want to admit that Radiohead can make a bad album. Pablo Honey wasn't even really a Radiohead album anyway.... I'm sorry, friends, but you should be able to see that this is not as good as their other stuff. Of course, the album isn't dreadful. It's simply what you would expect of a typical, hyped-up indie band, a status which Radiohead should have progressed far beyond by now (and in fact I thought they did...). I only really like three songs on this album, All I Need, Reckoner, and Videotape. They're all very simple, but they manage to convey a degree of sadness, longing, or desolation. The rest of the album is pretty mediocre. There's nothing really awful (though I kind of wonder why the pointless little Faust Arp is in here at all) but then there is absolutely nothing inspiring that makes me say, Wow, I love what Radiohead did there. 15 Step and Bodysnatchers take queues from Thom York's glitchy electronic solo album The Eraser, but manages to be less inspiring or interesting than anything on that album. Nude and House of Cards are by-the-numbers ballads, and Weird Fishes/Arpeggi shows a bit of promise with an comforting, aquatic (!) feel, but it gets old fast when no new ideas are introduced. I can't even remember what Jigsaw Falling Into Place sounds like. You'd think after 3 or 4 listens I would have some idea of how it goes if it was in anyway memorable, but I guess not.

Don't believe the hype around In Rainbows from some indie-leaning sites. If you're on ProgArchives, then you should be looking at this album and Radiohead's career as a prog fan, in which case I imagine you'd lament this release and the turn in Radiohead's career it signals.

5/10 rounded down to 2 stars because I'm not feeling generous

Report this review (#171262)
Posted Saturday, May 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars After a long waiting period, Radiohead relieved the anxiety of their fans with their self-released In Rainbows. Revolutionizing the distribution of music, the band developed an unheard of name-your- own-price scheme in which the amount you paid bought you mp3s of a quality that correlates to your spending. The CD release came about 3 months later. Fans and non-fans alike were then wondering if the music the band came up with was going to be as revolutionary as the means by which it would be sold.

It turns out that instead of creating another completely mold-breaking album like OK Computer or Kid A, Radiohead confounded everyone by simply releasing a really good album. In Rainbows presents a stripped-down version of Radiohead's varietal sound - low on pomp, heavy on atmosphere and emotion - through 10 well-produced tracks. So it comes as no surprise that some myopic members on ProgArchives are making a fuss about how this isn't a progressive album instead of looking past silly labels and their strange need to root their opinions in the superficial grounds of such labels.

Granted, we all have predilections in music, and I'll admit that I've always been able to find good in Radiohead's releases (sans Pablo Honey), so I approached this album with the intention of finding the good in it. Obviously a positive approach is not always going to result in one's enjoyment of the album (Scarsick, I'm thinking about you right now), but it certainly gives the album a fair shot and winning your love, if it really is worthy. And let me tell you, this release is most definitely worthy. The band has managed to capture more atmosphere and emotion than they ever have! In Rainbows is basically comprised of uptempo fun-balls, and gut-wrenching ballads and each track strikes the chord of brilliance in its own way. There is no use singling out songs, because from the heavy, electronic bouncy house opener that is "15 Step" to the tear-jerking (for those weak souls that cry) closer, "Videotape," Radiohead delivers pure, powerful, enjoyable and completely memorable music. *Note* Yea, I know I just singled out two tracks, but the intent was not to single them out as being better than the others! *Note*

Of course, if your views on Radiohead and/or music in general are akin to those of the complainers above me, you're more likely to convince yourself that this isn't worth your time, but I strongly advise you to give it a shot. The way I see it, the problem with their opinion is that it isn't my opinion, but to my dismay I've noticed that that doesn't mean anything to some people; as a matter of fact, some people even frown on me saying things like that. So if that doesn't convince you at all, I say to you this: many of my close friends who have not liked Radiohead in the past have become converts with this record. And these friends are not simple-minded music fans; they are intelligent musicians, one of whom even listens to Magma. Simply put, this has all of the catchy hooks, the atmosphere, the emotion and the intelligence that it needs to be one of your new favorites.

Forgive Radiohead for making the most enjoyable album of their career.

Report this review (#172342)
Posted Tuesday, May 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars I am a casual Radiohead fan, but after a half-dozen thoughtful listens of In Rainbows I am starting to think I might become a dedicated one: this is great stuff!

Each song is impeccably recorded and played, featuring strong songwriting and layers of dense sound. The lights and light and the heavies are heavy, with Yorke's iconic voice flittering between on the ether. He can be a make-or-break aspect of the band's impression on the listener, and as someone who was always a little turned off by his voice I can say that he is much more approachable here.

To me, In Rainbows is more of a collection of moods than music, thanks to the creative production and performances by Brien (guitar) and Greenwood (keys). Both players are consummate pros of their craft, working with the stripped down rhythm section to weave truly beautiful sounds. There are few solos to speak of, which makes those moments of stand-up instrumental shouts that much more punctuated. Atmosphere and feeling is the name of the game here.

I can't speak for In Rainbow's place in the band's library, but I will say that it is a worthy listen in itself; maybe not the most groundbreaking, but still very enjoyable. Recommended for a mellow listen.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Report this review (#174839)
Posted Sunday, June 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have been a huge fan of this band since 'OK Computer' really blew my mind. I have always looked forward to their releases and have always been suprised and challenged by their music, even with they missed (as with their underwhelming 'Amnesiac'). With high expectations, I was underwhelmed by 'In Rainbows' when I first heard it. I felt it was nice, but lacked boldness and was perhaps a little same. It felt like the similar ground they had already covered, which would have been fine, but with the long gestation period, it was doubly disappointing.

What a suprise it was then to put the disc in and realize what a powerful album it truly is. What I originally felt was bland, has now revealed itself to be perfectly subtle. This is a very tasteful album that is innovative in its restraint. I find it very remarkable that a band who could really go all out and make a loud statement, have chosen to almost underplay. It feels like a very personal statement. Yorke's always incisivive lyrics are perfectly matched by the quiet, plaintive mood that the band creates. Greenwood (clearly the man behind their sonic uniqueness, but the entire band really shines in their contributions) creates a complex sense of mood on songs like All I Need with its rising and falling synth.

While there is not a bad song on the album, the highlights are Faust Arp (soft, lush, yet with an insistant vocal), Videotape (Yorke's mournful piano drives the songs sense of regret and hope), Reckoner, and House Of Cards. The only weak areas are Bodysnatchers (the jangly guitar and rapid fire vocals are something they've done on every album) and Nude (which really has little momentum).

I also want to note the great drum sound and feel that Selway has when he plays. Truthfully, one of things I appreciate most about this band is how much they each contribute to the sound in a very selfless way. As a band they are true artists, looking at the whole.

Report this review (#180519)
Posted Friday, August 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars IMO, the best thing about this album is that it can be free if you decide so. And there are a lot of reasons not to spend a lot of money for this effort.

At this time of their career, it seems that "Radiohead" didn't have much to say nor prove. No real break through here. Just another "Radiohead" album. Of course, the ambient and boring (but that's only my opinion) atmosphere from "Kid A" and its clone "Amnesiac" are almost gone, but very few songs shine here.

On the rhythm end, I guess that "Bodysnatchers" is going to please any fan. On the mellowish end, "Nude" is probably what I can stand best from this work. But usually, I preferred their up-beat songs. So, to have this feeling is no good. FYI, I consider "Pablo Honey" as their second best album.

It sounds as if the band is also willing to alternate between upbeat with the excellent "Weird Fishes Arpeggi" and slow paced "All I Need" (rather boring to be honest).

And this is the feeling that prevails during most of this album. Repetitive, emotionless and dull. Like "House Of Cards", but there are more in the style (like Videotape which is extremely poor. I'm looking hard to find any kind of novelty, any trace of enthusiasm, any grand moment. But I can't find any of these. Or so little.

Two stars for this cheap album.

Report this review (#180581)
Posted Friday, August 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is great! I really don't understand the negative reviews. People just don't get it! It's a typical Radiohead record. It sounds like they were trying to make a record which describes their carreer. I think it worked out great. The songs have a lot of atmosphere and mood. Which is very important in music. If you are looking for music that is really touchig, well then stop looking!

Song by Song:

15 Steps Very cool track. Sounds great from the beginning with electronics and the godlike voice of Yorke. Then there is this very unexpected guitar riff. Very cool indeed!

Bodysnatchers Is a nice rocker. Nothing realy specially about it.

Nude. What a track. In its own way very epic. Especially the Dirty mind is thinking part is just epic and the outro that follows!

Weird Fishes/Appregi A build up song. With lots of dynamics. Just awesome. But the outro is a bit useless.

All I Need. At first I didn't like it at all. But now it's one of my favorites. It just grabs you! And again with an epic outro.

Faust Arp Is a nice little break. Short song. Not one of the highlights it's just there.

Reckoner My least favorite song of the album. Vocally I think it's just a bit too much. It just doesn't have anything special. Not bad nor very good.

House of Cards Great track.

Jigsaw Falling Into Pieces The most haunting track of the album. And you hear Radiohead is just really good at stuff like that.

Videotape Is just WoooooW! It really sounds like someone is dying here. What a way to close up your album.

Report this review (#180594)
Posted Saturday, August 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars The best musician in my school loves this band. Since he is such a good musician, I took his word that they were a good band. He told me that they were coming out with an album that since they ditched their record label they were going to sell the album online where the buyer could name their own price. I picked up the freebie on their website and here's what I got:

15 Step is a really cool opener. I've never heard such a cool dance like song. It's very interesting, because it combines jazz-like guitar and bass with an interesting 5/4 electronic rhythm. Of course, Thom Yorke's vocals are very good, and the song is very well put together. Especially in the bridge around Then a sheer drop where the listener will actually feel like they're falling if they listen while laying down.

Bodysnatchers is my idea of one of the more overrated songs on the album. A basic riff-based song, sounding like simple alternative music. It has a mid-paced tempo and nothing much to it. The guitar tone is very cool though, I like it.

Next is Nude. This is such a beautiful song. It is in a slow 6/8 tempo, and there are atmospheric synthesizer and string sounds all about it. Thom Yorke's falsetto singing is top notch in this one, and it has one of the best endings of any song I've ever heard. Definetely one of the highlights of the album.

Weird Fishes/Arpeggi is definetely an interesting song too. It starts off with a tight drum beat repeated a bit, and then a guitar comes in creating an interesting triplet meter/common time polyrhythm. All in all it's a very good song and I reccomend listening to it.

All I Need, however, has nothing special to it. I suppose it's atmospheric, but mostly it just feels like a slow song. The bass tone is very interesting though, so it's not terrible.

Faust Arp is a short and good song. There are a couple of simple time changes that make it all the more interesting. There's also a nice orchestral sound behind the acoustic guitar and the vocals. It goes by a bit too fast to notice the greatness of it though, it's only a couple of minutes long. I like the orchestral harmonies the best.

The next is Reckoner. It starts off with a cool jazzy drum beat, and then some shaker percussion comes in. A beautiful guitar comes in and makes a beautiful melody. Things build up a bit. Then Thom's voice comes in absolutely beautifully, in one of the greatest vocal lines i've ever heard. This is a very emotional song, and I love it. Even though the first couple minutes are rather repetitive, it's absolutely beautiful, so it doesn't really matter. However, the bridge doesn't seem to do it justice, it's very simple. This is a good example of a really beautiful song that definetely could have been thought out more to have been made a masterpiece. The fadeout is good though.

House of Cards is very boring to me. It's based on a riff that's almost entirely one chord. It's a slow song, and there's nothing interesting at all there. There are a few echoes that make it seem to try atmospheric, but that seems more like an attempt at being interesting.

Jigsaw falling into place is a pretty, quick-paced type song. There's nothing terribly interesting on this track either. Seems like a regular alternative rock song, but it's not terrible. It's just not very good. It's pretty basic.

The final song on the album is Videotape, a minimalistic piano ballad. I think this is one of the most beautiful songs ever created and it doesn't fail to make me feel like I need to let my sadder emotions out of me. It builds up ever so slowly, starting with just piano, eventually adding lead vocals, a strange and haunting drum beat, background voices, and electronic noises. Another defining part of In Rainbows.

Well nobody can say that it wasn't worth my money, because after all I got it for free. And it was a worthwhile listen, though I can't help but think that a lot of this is just background music. I found it very good for doing my homework to, because it was soothing and minimalistic, so it made me feel good without distracting. When things get good on the album, they are absolutely beautiful. However, things tend to be boring here. I think it's definetely worth 3 songs.

Report this review (#182066)
Posted Monday, September 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
mystic fred
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Without being accused of being a Philistine, or just somebody who likes good songs, I just don't geddit - to me Radiohead were a very promising band who, up to "Kid A", an experimental masterpiece, could have been legendary, but from "Amnesiac" the band seem to have embarked on a teenage angst-fuelled downward spiral into depression.

"In Rainbows" is not a happy album, it's not supposed to be, i felt quite depressed listening to it - something magical has gone from Radiohead's songwriting, i found "Amnesiac" and "Hail to the Thief" very much the same, not that an album actually has to be happy - there are plenty of albums that are dark, even sinister, without being depressing - look at "Machine Head" or "DSOTM". Radiohead freaks seem to love this gloomy album but it left me with a black cloud following me around for a bit.... and in search of a good song.

Report this review (#182462)
Posted Monday, September 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Warning: Do not listen to Radiohead if you are suicidal.

A very controversial addition to the prog world, Radiohead are mostly known as a popular British rock band that is very effective at reaching out to teenagers and have nothing to do with art among those who have not actually heard any of their albums. With all the hype around them, it's hard not to believe that, especially as a person who has lost faith in our music industry as I have. This, on the other hand, is a rare gem that has managed to break into the mainstream very well... one that may be skipped over by many hardcore proggers out there. Don't make this mistake.

However, I will warn you: Do NOT expect traditional prog. Open-minded ears are necessary for purchase of this release.

Released in 2007, this album is also quite well known for Radiohead's break from their previous main record label in an attempt to give themselves more freedom in the releasing process. The album was released on their website as a download when it was first finished and the buyer could choose how much they wanted to pay for the album! For early 2008, there were planned sells for a special discbox edition (with a bonus CD 2) and for a vinyl edition. To say the least... even only looking at their downloadable sales, the method proved to be quite effective.

Now onto the music itself: 1. 15 Step- Starting with an interestingly generated drum beat and Yorke's typical voice (however not whining), this song is actually starting out pretty upbeat for Radiohead's standards. It immediately draws you into the song by building on top of this, particularly when a very neat guitar part comes in. This song continues to build perfectly throughout its duration, being very expressive and peaking when the children's choir comes in during that middle segment. Gives me goosebumps every time. Fantastic song, only truly understood by hearing it. 10/10 2. Bodysnatchers- More upbeat than the first song (which was mainly more so upbeat in the beginning part) and effective. Typical Radiohead here, great and emotional vocals by Yorke, and good structure. 8/10 3. Nude- Only word to describe this song. Beautiful. You must hear it. Yorke's vocals are at its best here, the atmosphere is PERFECT, and I actually have trouble describing this song because it's so good. I love it so much, especially when the ghostly vocals break out about 3 minutes in. Masterpiece song. 10+/10 4. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi- Arguably the most progressive track on this album, it is the longest in length and also features some very interesting guitar and structure for a seemingly mainstream band. The part when the guitar breaks, the atmosphere climaxes, and Yorke's vocals are accompanied by very interesting keyboard experimentation... easily the best part. Very good. The drums are also of notice here for helping to drive the song along effectively. 9/10 5. All I Need- Emotional song similar to Nude, except with its own feel and style. More of a romantic/ballad type song, except with a typical depressive Yorke spin on it. It works pretty well, especially the drawn out chorus that showcases Yorke's more famous singing style. 9/10 6. Faust Arp- Minimalistic, avant-ish guitar/vocal interlude. Pretty good, but probably the weakest song on the album. 8/10 7. Reckoner- Here we are. Even with the competition of Nude on this album, I still firmly believe that this is Radiohead's best track ever. It is perfect, with Yorke's vocals again up to top notch, the drummer turning out a very groove-laden repetitive drum pattern that I could NEVER get sick of... add in an absolutely flawless structure, guitar skills, orchestral parts, and atmosphere... This song is what Radiohead is all about. 10+/10 8. House of Cards- Following Reckoner, this song is the most effective that it could be. It is continuing the overall atmosphere of this album quite well, a really personal, moody song, well-structured and full of addictive Radiohead musical style. 10/10 9. Jigsaw Falling into Place- Another good song here, continuing on a slightly more upbeat note. Good guitars, drums, and structure as with the rest of the songs. Not perfect, but still very enjoyable. 9/10 10. Videotape- Extremely minimalistic and emotional piano ballad, the chords and minimalism are efficient and work as a good closer. 9/10

Alright. So, down to the basics here. What does all of this mean?

At least hear this album if you haven't. It definitely won't be to everyone's taste, but it is a masterpiece of music that people should at least give a chance (or a few) if they're looking for something truly expressive that has managed to create a unique world for discovery.

Accessible minimalistic/avant modern prog with some mainstream qualities. This is the best album you could pick.

Report this review (#188573)
Posted Sunday, November 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I waited and waited and waited for something new to come along. Something with the trip and cruise factor like Pink Floyd, Something hip and electric like Wire, something rolling and lyrical like Charlatans UK. Along came Radiohead. Radiohead will save progressive music. Prog needs an infusion of the avant style of bands like Radiohead, Mars Volta, Porcupine tree. If these new influences are not embraced we older proggers will all go to our graves listening to a noodling hammond playing Night on bald mountain... and we dont want that. The CROSSOVER PROG designation someone gave this band is so correct.

I like In Rainbows better than Kid A and I love Kid A. In Rainbows in many ways holds everything I like and hold dear about music within it. From the strange and nightmarish Weird Fishes, to the end time feel of House of cards. It's all there for me. The Vocals (Thom Yorke) are just plain bizarre cool. Is he quoting Billy Holliday? Radiohead has pulled off one of the most interesting albums I have ever heard.

I first bought the CD and had some minor complaints about the murky and crowded sound quality. No matter what system i played it on it sounded muffled and dank and overloaded. I went into my neighborhood record store and bought the vinyl copy and took it home and found an entirely different album... try it if you love this music! The difference will blow your mind. Not many new offerings get 5 stars around here. This one did it for me.

Report this review (#197700)
Posted Wednesday, January 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars After HAIL TO THE THEIF - their somewhat flawed experiment in blending the accessibility of OK COMPUTER and the edge-pushing of KID A, RADIOHEAD self-released this bombshell that simply got everything right.

The main shortcoming for HTTC, at least in my eyes, was that all the compositions were riddled with perfunctory weirdness and styles that seemed to go against the natural flow of the music. For example, 2+2=5 ends as soon as the ball gets rolling and We Suck Young Blood refuses to evolve. IN RAINBOWS, however, is a wonderfly fluid and cohesive album that simply doesn't make compromises. The song writing is very tight, the production solid (I am fortunate enough to have the album on vinyl, which I hear adds significantly to this), and the instrumentation valid (with more keyboards and orchestration than their previous efforts, which is sure to please us Progheads).

All the songs are best enjoyed when heard in the context of the album, but there is one major highlight - Reckoner, a multi-part suite with particularly excellent percussion and orchestration.

IN RAINBOWS epitomizes RADIOHEAD's course as a band. They have richocheted between grunge-esque alternative rock and electronic soundscapes, and here land deftly in the middle. Very highly recommended to fans of both peroids, or as a starting point to those who have not yet experienced this adventurous modern band.

Report this review (#203816)
Posted Friday, February 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Whistler
4 stars How come I always end up 4.5?

If Hail to the Thief was the attempt to record the album that is the all there is Radiohead album, then In Rainbows is Hail done right. Hell, I cannot really describe how good this album is. I mean, perhaps the Radioheaders have done better albums before, but that only means that they’ve had pieces of plastic and vinyl out there that have a slightly better combination of songs. I am not in the business of reviewing pieces of plastic with songs on them. I am in the business of reviewing ALBUMS. And as far as ALBUMS go, and I mean the entire package, from opening song to back cover, In Rainbows has got to be one of the most impressive pieces of plastic I’ve heard in a while, and easily stands with the Decemberists’ The Tain as some of my favorite pieces of plastic of the decade.

We open with “15 Step.” Is it the best song? I don’t know. I think so, but stick around. It starts off with some energetic trip hoppy beats, then slowly but surely builds, piling instrument on top of instrument, until we have electronic drums, real drums, guitar, bass, God knows what else, all tied together by Thom’s frantic pleading, and culminating in a rushing instrumental swoop. Oh, and, there are children. But you can ignore them.

I’m less impressed with “Bodysnatchers,” an almost ugly piece of straight shooter guitarwork that proves that, yes, Radiohead can still pull that grunge thing out of their pants. And yet, once you get used to it, it’s pretty decent, especially when it hits that transition from the heavier part to the acoustic based one. More ear pleasing, however, is the gentle, psychedelic ballad “Nude,” based on this driving, repetitive bass arpeggio and jazzy drumming. It’s...dreamy is what it is. Gorgeous too.

“Weird Fishes Arpeggi” is a sort of ethereal sounding acoustic rock number. It’s a fun enough ride, but not a terribly lasting one. “All I Need” is a slow paced, heavily electronicized ballad, complete with whack job lyrics. It’s moody, but also lazy...until the end, when it explodes with drums and the like, and I actually end up almost liking it.

“Faust Aarp” was once my favorite song on the record, and remains a definite highlight. It’s short, just two scant minutes, and it’s stripped of all instruments save some acoustic guitars and some orchestral swoops. But it’s so...PRETTY. When it takes the musical bend halfway through, my guts literally sag or melt or something at the prettiness. It also makes a perfect intro to “Reckoner,” which plays itself like an epic in five minutes, complete with a slow, painful, gorgeous introduction, paced, deliberate build, a near acapella bridge, and a swooping, spinning outro.

Considering where we just were, “House of Cards” always strikes me as kind of a letdown. Even if you can get past the opening line, the song (which happens to be the longest on the album) never really picks up, so it just ends up sounding to these ears like a longer, sluggier “All I Need” WITHOUT the jumpstart ending. Oh well.

“Jigsaw Falling Into Place” oughta earn back some respect. Even though it doesn’t rock as hard as, say, “Bodysnatchers,” it’s one of the album’s tightest moment. Another acoustic rocker, this one drops spacey effects for paranoid moodiness. The result is a fantastic number that never stops moving, and drags you down with it, wherever it goes. Somewhere unpleasant and wet, I’d imagine. So if you need something to take the edge off, the closing number is PERFECT. I often wonder what the best way to end an album is . Well, here ya go. Winning my personal award for “worst song to listen to when suicidal,” “Videotape” is depressing as hell. It’s also beautiful. It’s also probably the best song on the album. Based on nothing more than four piano notes, it’s so cold in...everything. Instrumentation. Lyrics. Presentation. Even when it grows from the initial piano notes, it’s some scattered, chilling drum effects. And then it snaps out of existence. In other words, depressing, beautiful, perfect.

So why the hell do I love this album so much? I know I didn’t at the start. In fact, for the longest time, I told myself I hated it for being too slow and atmospheric and whatnot, rather than, ya know, being an album. “Oh,” I’d say, “This album sucks! Lemme hear it again, to hear how much it sucks.” After I realized I was playing the dern thing twelve times a day, I stopped, pulled off my headphones, and came to the conclusion that it contained some of the most fantastic material I’ve heard a band ever play.

As I said before, you could easily pluck the best material from this album, and merely have an excellent collection of songs on your hands. But that’s not the point. And the point is that it’s an excellent collection of songs. It’s a thematic album, a sort of druggy, hazy look into a slice of life that’s slowly going crazier and crazier and more depressed until it kills itself. And in that regard, it’s sort of like the modern answer to The Doors’ Strange Days. It’s not quite that record’s equal, since there are a couple of dips in quality, but in terms of album flow, diversity, emotional depth (TOWERING emotional...uh, depth here, which really doesn’t make sense), and all around song writing, it’s unrivaled. It’s hard not to call this Radiohead’s best record; perhaps Kid A has stronger songs and more inventive material, but as I said...I review albums, not songs. And from an album point of view, this IS Radiohead’s best album, and one of the best art rock albums ever made.

(Okay, what the crap Radiohead? Why’d you do it? WHY did you put out In Rainbows, and then a second In Rainbows disc, WHEN YOU COULD HAVE JUST TAKEN THE BEST MATERIAL FROM EACH ONE, PUT OUT A SINGLE DISC, AND MADE EASILY THE BEST ALBUM OF THIS GENERATION?!? Seriously guys, you kind of suck. Every song that’s kinda dull or slightly uninspired on the original has an evil counterpart here that, if swapped out, could create a perfect album. Okay, so “MK1” is some merely gorgeous piano noodling on the “Videotape” riff, but “Down Is the New Up” is a driving, almost gospel- esque, stomp of an acoustic rocker that’s practically as good as anything on the album proper, and easily the best of the bunch. “Go Slowly” is a gentle electronic ballad that beats the pants off “All I Need,” “MK 2” is...more sound effect noises, “Last Flowers” is another gorgeous, this time acoustic, ballad, “Up On the Ladder” is a spooky, trip hop rocker, “Bangers and Mash” is a savage, shape shifting, rocker. Only the atmospheric “4 Minute Warning” really fails to spark, but hey, it’s still a nice song, and a decent closer. All in all, the material presented on the bonus disc proves that, had Radiohead really wanted to make the best album of the new millennium, they could have. Bastards. Acquire it only if you enjoy good music that doesn’t sound quite like anything else out there.)

Report this review (#207921)
Posted Saturday, March 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'In Rainbows' - Radiohead (8/10)

Radiohead can be a difficult band to follow; with every twist and turn of their career, they find themselves reinvented. With every album, the band delves into something new. 'In Rainbows' is no exception.

What we have here is a sensible art rock album, that seems to develop upon the idea of a more guitar-based band with 'Kid A' leanings. The music here is definately not as hard to get into and appreciate as 'Kid A' was, but there's alot of stuff in this album that won't click in on first listen.

Radiohead has not spawned a masterpiece here, but certainly an innovative work. Even while the songs themselves have rather tame lengths and there aren't any 'in your face' progressive moments, there's certainly stuff here to make one raise his eyebrow. The first track '15 Step' (and one of my favourites from the album) has a welcoming jazz-toned guitar riff, children cheering, and strange electronic effects to make for a very irregular album opener. While the album is (for the most part) very forward thinking, there are also a few moments that tone down the 'weirdness' to make way for uncompromised beauty. The closer of the album for example 'Videotape' has a beautiful, heart wrenching piano riff playing under Thom Yorke's grief stricken vocals. It's a very moving song.

The lyrics are a bit obscure and abstract, adding to the foreboding feel of 'otherworldliness' the band fashions with the music. The sonic atmosphere of the album is very dense, and plenty of ambience makes the production worthy of note on it's own.

At times, 'In Rainbows' can be a bit dry, but it's a great art rock album with alot worth exploring in it. Having listened to the album over ten times now, I can safely say that with each listen, something new is discovered and a new echelon of appreciation opens up. A great alternative to the droves of symphonic prog and metal that floods the prog scene.

Report this review (#226833)
Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "In Rainbows" is the 7th full-length studio album by UK experimental/alternative rock act Radiohead. The album was released in October 2007 and has an interesting release history as Radiohead gave fans the opportunity to download the album and name their own price or simply download it for free. It´s a release method that many underground artists use today, but the "Name Your Price" release method wasn´t as normal in 2007. The album was released in CD format in late 2007. "In Rainbows" was the first album released by Radiohead after their contract with EMI ended, and there probably was consensus within the band, that they wanted to try this alternative release form as opposed to working with a label again. The album entered the Billboard top 200 at number one and by October 2008, one year after it´s release, "In Rainbows" had sold more than 3 million copies.

The music on the album continues the less experimental and more "regular" alternative rock style of it´s predecessor "Hail to The Thief (2003)". The wild experiments of "Kid A (2000)" and "Amnesiac (2001)" are now more or less gone from the band´s sound. Thom Yorke´s emotional and melancholic vocals are as usual the center of attention. There are electronic beats on a couple of tracks but the music on the album mostly features ordinary rock instrumentation (guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, vocals). The quality of the material is generally on a good level, but to my ears it´s not one of the stronger or standout releases in the band´s discography. It does come off as a bit of a "safe" affair and could have used some of the above mentioned wild experiments to spice things up. Sure the band incorporate the odd instrument, string section and electronic beat here and there, but they´ve been there and done that already.

The sound production is professional, warm and pleasant and as usual Radiohead are a very well playing unit. Ultimately that doesn´t erase the impression that this is a bit of a "run of the mill" type release by Radiohead. Competent, occasionally insteresting, but not consistently great or memorable. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

Report this review (#231142)
Posted Wednesday, August 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I love Radiohead; if Pink Floyd is my favorite band of the 70s, Radiohead is easily my favorite of the late-90s to the present.

Having said that, I find IN RAINBOWS to be overrated. There is one masterpiece on this album, the amazing "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi." After that, however, I don't find any songs that equal the great work they did on past albums. "Nude" is a song written during OK COMPUTER, and there are bootleg versions out there of this song recorded circa 97 that I greatly prefer to this version. Also, the band had a contest on their website inviting people to remix the song, and I found many of the remixes to be superior as well, especially the Spor remix. "15 Step" is a nice opener, but I'm not as crazy about the song as apparently others are. (My gf loves it, for example.) "Videotape" is a nice way to close the album. But overall, as much as I tried, I couldn't get excited by the album.

I prefer Thom Yorke's THE ERASER much more, which was released a few months prior to IN RAINBOWS, and which he was working on at the same time. If I had to guess, I would say that his solo album was closer to his heart at the time than IN RAINBOWS. I also predict that ERASER will later come to be considered the more important of the two albums.

Report this review (#247416)
Posted Saturday, October 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Radiohead back again with a brilliantly intricate piece of music. Yet again, completely ravishing the bonds of music singularity and creating entirely new sounds out of thin air.

15 Step starts out very simple. I was even shocked to hear what I was hearing. "This, is Radiohead?" The song, however, slowly and slowly progresses and develops its unique sound. The soft serenading guitars, the drums and beats, the groovy bass. Oh god, THE BASS. I think the focal point of this song is the singing though. Midway through the song REALLY begins to turn into something. All the past points and peaks of the individual instruments come together and create this overwhelming funky song with an eerie glow over it. Brilliant. This song, reels me out, then cuts the string. (10/10)

Bodysnatchers returns some of that old school Radiohead sound. The fuzzy guitar and constant steady drumming keep a fine pace to the song. What really impresses me is how the band can return to earlier themes in the song, but still improve them with different sounds and foreign noise. The middle break towards the song really kills me. "Has the light gone out for you? Because the lights gone out for me." The whole song kind of builds in noise to this point too. It's a great buildup, meriting a great rating. (10/10)

Nude. A gentle slow goer. This tune is so relaxing and mellow, truly and utterly in every sense of the word. It helped me through some tough times last summer. This song is really a thing of beauty. It drags you to an incredible place in the back of your mind. It is the voice of depression and grace. The vocals make my spine shiver and the guitar gently rocks my every thought. This song, is amazing. Bar none. Best Radiohead ballad. (10/10)

Weird Fishes/Arpeggi is the most controlled Radiohead song ever. It's VERY Neu!. The constant drumming and guitar heading the song into a vocally driven aura of psychedelia and content. As depressing as the song is, it's still absolutely beautiful. Every verse takes it a step higher. It's a very euphoric song. Then, a slow stop. I get eaten by the worms...and weird fishes. Brilliant. The ending is like a whispering voice in the back of your head. "Hit the bottom and ESCAPE." How much more can Radiohead dish out? Lots. (10/10)

All I Need is another slow ballad. This one, however, is not quite as good as the previous four. Don't get me wrong, this song still means a lot to me, which I will explain later. But if I am to review an album, I have to be honest and unmerciful. So, apart from the lyrics and second half, it really isn't all that great. It develops a little towards the second half, but the beginning didn't quite take me in as much as the other songs. The ending though, is absolutely beautiful. Definitely not meriting the skip button. (8.5/10)

Faust Arp is a sudden dabble of Speed in an almost Opiate like album. This song kind of brings the album back to life. And off again and on again. Really short sweet catchy tune. There really isn't much to be said here, just a gentle guitar song with some lovely orchestral background. (9/10)

Reckoner. Woah, drums? What? This is definitely not Radiohead. I must have the wrong CD. But wait, IT IS RADIOHEAD. This is what I mean by changing their style. I've never heard Radiohead do a song like this. With other "mainstream" artists out there, all their songs sound the same and you definitively name them just by hearing them. Radiohead, on the other hand, is always a puzzle. I'm always trying to define them. More on that later. But this song is incredibly and unequivocally BEAUTIFUL. The singing just takes hold of my heart and wretches it like a stress reliever. The guitar playing is just as, if not more beautiful than the singing. Then, the beautiful vocal break in the middle, this song is definitely Radiohead at its best. And what's even better, is this is a generally very tolerable song. I've shown it to many who call Paranoid Android, "Weird". Which puzzles me even more than me wondering why I bother showing these people music. But who will? Anyways, this song is absolutely stunning and deserving of a 10 out of 10. (10/10)

House of Cards builds like one. Although the build is extremely slow and steady and the final product is necessarily and huge bang. Instead, more of a mellow wail from Thom Yorke's vocal chords. This song is absolutely perfectly serene. The guitars slowly caressing the beautiful singing. And the constant drumming is still a good thing to hear. The song just keeps adding more and more beautifully constructed music and noise to it. It builds gently like a House of Cards. (9/10)

Jigsaw Falling Into Place is definitely an amazing comeback in speed and versatility for the band. This album is generally not very complex, in terms of instruments. Musically though, it's absolutely killer. This song however, breaks that unspoken rule. The song comes in with a beautiful beat and acoustic guitar line. The lyrics are absolutely beautiful too. This song is almost like the funeral of the album. The album is getting buried in the groovy, catchy guitar and drums of the song. The Beat Goes Round and Round! When Thom Yorke begins yelling the lyrics, the song gets really REALLY good. I'm in a cold sweat just listening to it. This song really just completes the album as whole. Definitely, not a disappointment. (10/10)

Videotape serves as more of a dedication for the album. It's the end of the album and we all know it. Doesn't change the fact that this song portrays, that unique depressing beauty that only Radiohead can portray. The only thing that bothers me is that people don't like this song. I can't understand why? I mean, this song stands for everything this album says. It's like the teeth of the shark. The final, 21 gun salute to In Rainbows. This song is incomparable and the only ending I can picture for this album. (10/10)

All in all, I can certainly says the band has done it again. They've managed to release an entirely new, albeit shorter batch of songs and within these songs, lies an entirely different sounding band. The only thing connecting this album musically to other Radiohead albums, is the voice of Thom Yorke. The album has this constant Neu! esque drumming to it. The drumming in most of the songs stays the absolute same throughout. That gies the album a very good steady thorough quality to it. This album didn't cease to amaze me, from when I first heard it last summer. Let's just say, I was having girl troubles. I didn't know who to talk to. So I discovered Radiohead. I listened to this and Kid A, almost every night of last summer in my park, while smoking cigarettes and wondering WHY SHE DIDN'T LIKE ME. The albums lyrics also feature that sort of, Frank Sinatra, She Shot Me Down kind of feel. And this made me realise that music is really the only mediator between the constant battle between reality and the imagination. And Radiohead is leading the charge. The only reason why I'm giving this album 4 stars, is because I'm being unmerciful as a reviewer. It's really the only way to get ahead. And although the album has a lot of meaning for me emotionally, that's not reason for me to give it any leeway. To those of you who want to listen to Radiohead, pick this up as soon as possible, along with OK and Kid A.

Report this review (#260176)
Posted Saturday, January 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars For the converted, it goes without saying that Radiohead is one of the best and most important bands of the last two decades, and they continue to take their greatness to another level; hence, their lastest effort, "In Rainbows," which is giving "OK Computer" a serious runs for its money for the title of Best Radiohead record.

"In Rainbows" isn't one of those albums that is going to blow your doors off on its first, second, or even third listen, although I wouldn't be surprised if it did! At first, I thought it was good, but never envisioned being addicted to it like I have been since its release. As time has gone on, I find that there are times when I literally cannot stop listening to it. It is one of those records that, as soon as it ends, you immediately want to listen to it again. Over two years later, it is just as fresh as it was when it first came out, and it is aging extremely well.

Trying to pick out favorite songs is not an easy task, as every single song is so good, a great indicator of a truly great record.

I know some have said that this record isn't as ground-breaking as masterpieces like "OK Computer" and "Kid A," two records that deserve every bit of praise that they get, but to me, "In Rainbows" combined the best of everything Radiohead had done before it; it combines the rocking and catchy sensibilities of "The Bends" with the experimental edges of "Kid A" and "OK Computer" with the electronic flourishes of "Amnesiac" and "Hail to the Thief." In short, "In Rainbows" is THE perfect Radiohead record.

Report this review (#266932)
Posted Thursday, February 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars "you reel me out and then you cut the string"

Let me start off my five-star review with a stipulation. "In Rainbows" is an unquestionable musical masterpiece, though perhaps not a "prog" masterpiece as some would define it. But don't get me wrong; Radiohead's overall nuanced playing and their experimental adventures from in the "Kid A/Amnesiac" period more than justify their inclusion on this site. "In Rainbows" may lack most of the qualities of prog rock, but Radiohead deserves a great deal of credit for taking their previous experimental sound, and incorporating it so convincingly in a pop music format. When heard in isolation, "In Rainbows" is merely a "nice"-sounding record, but when you hear it within the context of the rest of their recorded output, it becomes clear why the album is such an achievement. The things that we have come to love about Radiohead, the reverb-drenched guitars, the gorgeous string arrangements, the haunting vocals, the subtle use of uncommon keyboard instruments; all are still present here. But the music sounds less distant and more relatable than ever, which for some might be a bad thing (for me it initially was). Gone (unfortunately) are the dark political musings, but the words aren't throw-away either, and the singing sounds as emotionally-relevant as ever. One of my housemates listened to nothing "In Rainbows" for months and at first I thought "why is he listening to the poppy one?" but the album grew on me considerably, and before long I realized that there was as much subtlety in this disc as any other you will find. This is clearly a record made with the audience in mind, but without sacrificing Radiohead's artistic integrity.

(On a side note, try to find the "In the Basement" videos that show the band performing this album live.)

Report this review (#280889)
Posted Friday, May 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars I must have completely fallen out of touch with Radiohead since it has been three years since the release of In Rainbows and I'm still struggling to understand its appeal!

I tend to get a sense of a thick layer of emptiness whenever I try listening to this release. But then I read all of those in-depth reviews of In Rainbows where each song is broken down into the smallest components and, truth to be told, I just don't hear it. It's in this moment of pure frustration that I start questioning whether I have completely lost my touch or if I've actually managed to see beyond the Emperor's new clothes. Whichever the case is, none of its outcomes makes me much happier since it doesn't make me appreciate the music any differently.

What I'm basically hearing is a minimalistic approach to the Radiohead style that I've come to love in the past but every time the band gets close to arranging an interesting twist to any of these songs, they really seem to go out of their way in order to avoid playing anything resembling a song here. On top of that, I find that Thom Yorke's performance is almost non existent. Don't get me wrong, he is definitely on this album but I just don't see him being that prominent frontman that we all recall from Radiohead's past.

If I remember correctly, Radiohead did state that Hail To The Thief would be the last Radiohead (as we know them) album and that the next release would sound totally different. Even though I had my doubts about it in the past, it's now safe to say that with the release of In Rainbows, the band had fulfilled their promise!

**** star songs: 15 Step (3:57) Nude (4:15) Faust Arp (2:09) Reckoner (4:50) Jigsaw Falling Into Place (4:08)

*** star songs: Bodysnatchers (4:02) Weird Fishes/Arpeggi (5:18) All I Need (3:48) House Of Cards (5:28) Videotape (4:39)

Report this review (#305616)
Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The inconceivably low average rating that the Radiohead albums have on PA, is quite revealing: a lot of people obviously don't consider Radiohead prog at all.

Then what is prog? The defininite definition is still on the loose, and will always be. Radiohead stretches the borders of both music and the concept of prog. Firstly, Radiohead clearly explores the unknown parts of the sound of rock music, and very conciously risks its success through making records that constantly go into unexpected directions. This makes its music more progressive than any of their contemporaries who try to emulate the best bands of the 70's. Secondly, the concept of prog must not be seen as narrowly as many people do. A prog composition doesn't need to have symphonic length, structure, polyphony, ever-changing metre or anything suchlike - the general feeling of making progression is all that is needed. That's where Radiohead are in the class of their own among the most popular bands of today.

In Rainbows didn't open its gates easily to me. When the record came out, I gave it a couple of listens but found little that would have caught my true appreciation. Almost a year later, while driving alone up North for some 700 kilometres in the middle of snow, I put the CD in the player, and it hit me there and then. I listened to it non-stop time after time, and suddenly its beauty and cohesion started talking to me. I now consider it Radiohead's best album so far.

There isn't a bad track on In Rainbows. All of them might not be absolute masterpieces, but a few are. I love the contrast there is when the out-of-breath rally of Bodysnatchers turns into the softest melancholy of Nude. Another high points of this record are House of Cards with its magnificent production, and Jigsaw Falling Into Place, which is one of the greatest songs in Radiohead's entire output.

In Rainbows truly is a milestone in many ways. I can't imagine how the gentlemen are going to surpass it, but them being that bloody Radiohead, I'm sure I'll be surprised once again.

Report this review (#377564)
Posted Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars I thought it was about time I reviewed this since they've just released a new album. "In Rainbows" is the best album they've put out since "Kid A" in my opinion, and it's in my top three favourite albums from them. So yeah I like it. I love the fact that this clocks in at around 42 minutes as well.

"15 Step" has this in your face beat as the vocals join in. Guitar before a minute then synths a minute after that.This really does sound amazing. A top three. "Bodysnatchers" has these fuzzy guitars and a beat as vocals join in. Love the sound after 2 minutes.The guitar is prominant late. "Nude" is where they slow it down with those mournful vocals adding to the depressing mood. "Weird Fishes / Arpeggi" sounds great with those intricate drums and the guitar as vocals join in around a minute. A top three. "All I Need" has this beat but also a fuzzy beat to go along with it and vocals. Piano before 3 minutes when the vocals stop.

"Faust Arp" features gentle guitar and vocals. Strings too in this cool sounding track. "Reckoner" has a heavy beat as vocals arrive before a minute. Strings later. "House Of Cards" is my other top three although it might be because i've heard this song a few times previous to listening to the album. "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" is fairly uptempo as vocal melodies then vocals join in. "Videotape" has these reserved vocals along with piano before a beat joins in.

Man these guys sure know how to create a mood, and also some fantastic music. An easy 4 stars.

Report this review (#403466)
Posted Saturday, February 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars One of my most favourite bands, they continue to exhilarate and expasperate in equal measure. Here is no different, moments of pleasure are all too often offset by the mundane or frankly bizarre, certainly nothing that touches or even approaches the haunting wonder of Paranoid Android. I fear for this band and for my own enjoyment. It begins to feel like that peak was a one-off achievement that will never be reached again. I don't want to believe that, but it is something I have to begin to contemplate, for there is nothing here in this album to convince me otherwise.
Report this review (#447442)
Posted Friday, May 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Most people, when they think of this album, will first think about Radiohead's bold decision to bypass its distribution company and release this album over the internet, allowing fans to pay whatever they wanted for it. Personally, what I think of first with this album (especially since I bought a CD copy without ever downloading it) is the way its release kinda crept up out of nowhere. I remember thinking in mid 2007 how it had been a good while since Radiohead had released an album, and wondering why I hadn't heard any announcements of an impending release, and wondering if maybe the band was calling it quits. Then, out of the blue, came the announcement that the band had recorded an album, and that it would be ready for download in just a small matter of weeks. I remember feeling amusement that a band as big as Radiohead could keep word of an impending album out of the press for so long, and a sense of wonder at how it would sound after the band had taken so much time off.

The result both impresses me and leaves me feeling a little let down. All ten tracks are pretty interesting, and well-developed, and make the album worthy of a very high grade. On the other hand, though, while none of the individual tracks shows this strongly, the album feels a little bit half- assed to me. Before I learned this wasn't true, I'd been told that a good number of the tracks on here had been live staples for quite some time, meaning that Radiohead hadn't so much made a new album as they'd put together a collection of outtakes from older sessions. This formula wouldn't have necessarily spelled doom, of course; the Rolling Stones album Tattoo You follows much the same principal, and that's one of my favorite albums of all time (it's solidly in my top 100, anyway). I can't help but shake the feeling when listening to this, though, that I'm just listening to a solid b-sides compilation, and I can't change that feeling even after learning that, despite rumors, most of these tracks actually were written within a couple of years of this album's release (only "Nude" was from a past epoch).

Well, I can't help but feel that Radiohead could have done better than this. The analogy that comes to my mind is being a teacher where you have one student who should absolutely be acing all of his homework and tests, but instead ends up finishing the class with a B+ because he just didn't put in enough effort to get it done (I should know, I practically made a career out of being that student, years ago). It's hard to accept that Radiohead, after not a tremendous number of albums, would have already entered the "coasting" part of their career, but this album suggests just that, and does so rather strongly. Nothing sounds like a direct rip off of any specific songs, but almost all of the elements feel like they've been used at least a few times already, and it wears me down a bit.

This is an awful lot of complaining for an album that I still insist deserves a **** rating, though. Few of the individual songs leave a significant mark in my mind, and none of them feel like they're an essential part of the band's career, but every single track has at least something really neat going for it. "15 Step" starts off driven by Thom singing falsetto over what feels like a somewhat generic "tricky" electronic rhythm, but instruments just keep getting layered on top slowly and the sound just keeps getting richer until it turns into some sort of 2008 version of late 60's psychedelic symphonic pop. "Bodysnatchers" kinda sounds like an undercooked Hail to the Thief track, with a rather simplistic, cacophonous riff that's not that terrific, but the song does a good job of integrating weird guitar sounds into the fold, so it can stick around, too. Plus, the melody kinda completely changes in the second half, and it's a drastic improvement.

"Nude" would mostly pass me by, as it's a pretty dull slow ballad, were it not for the way some of the guitar and synth noodling at the beginning (and in parts of the middle) sounds so much like Robert Fripp messing around with Frippertronics, and that's at least novel for the band. "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" pretty much takes the band's quiet arpeggiated guitar shtick and milks it for all it's worth, but I won't lie and pretend I don't find the song very pretty from start to finish. "All I Need" (not so much lyrically, but definitely musically) kinda reminds me of a bunch of the songs from Brian Eno's Another Day on Earth, and while that's not very much to the band's credit (the band sounds like late period Brian Eno??), it's a rather intriguing listen, especially when the atmospheric piano chords pop up in the middle. The lyrics and the vocal delivery are pretty passionate, anyway.

"Faust Arp" is a quiet two-minute mix of acoustic balladry and somebody playing around on an Arp, but it's a decent enough track, and it has nice development to its melody for its length. "Reckoner" features a strong (acoustic) percussion part providing a good foundation for a decent Yorke vocal part and some nice bits of quiet guitar and keyboard. It's totally Radiohead-by-numbers, but Radiohead is a good enough band where that can work. "House of Cards" starts off seeming extremely, almost insultingly simple, with lyrics that would probably drive a lot of fans of the band nuts if they thought Yorke's lyrics on OK Computer were deep, but the vocal melody is absolutely ace, and there are some extremely nice production effects.

"Jigsaw Falling Into Place" is driven by the same paranoid acoustic-guitar/percussion groove we've heard from the band again and again, and it doesn't stand up to earlier instances of it, but the song is still quite ok. And finally, "Videotape" is a quiet piano ballad (with eerie percussion and some unsettling lyrics) that almost reminds me of something I'd expect from a Peter Gabriel album, and it's really not possible for me to dislike a ballad that fits that description.

So, in the end, while I'd definitely recommend this album in a heartbeat, I also found myself really hoping, when it came out, that Radiohead wouldn't make another album like this for a good while. I mean, this is really nice and all, but this couldn't be the best they could do at this point, could it?

(It was)

Report this review (#505913)
Posted Friday, August 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Depressing existentialism drowning out the optimism

Radiohead's "In Rainbows" is one of those albums that landed and made a giant splash among the legions of fans and has quickly become a definitive Radiohead master work. As a non Radiohead fan myself, I still appreciate the way that the band consistently release innovative and experimental work that are absolutely unique to the band. The sound is like nothing else out there and each album tends to be a different beast, but I am not as impressed with this as "OK Computer", "Kid A" or "King of Limbs". Thom Yorke is the key member with his high falsetto relaxed vocal approach. Since 'Creep' was released, there has been nothing else like his vocal technique. It may even take a while to latch onto this at times as he becomes muffled and inaudible on some releases. "In Rainbows" gives him a vehicle to shine out his vocals, among some very powerful musical rhythms.

The album begins with fractured percussion and some familiar vocal sounds to Radiohead. I am quite taken with the heavier music on songs such as the driving rocker 'Bodysnatchers' that features an impressive lead break that has spacey Hawkwind overtones, long sustained atmospheric notes reverberate across the heavy soundscape. It has become one of my favourite Radiohead tracks. The ending section is incredible and reminds me a lot like The Mars Volta.

The album settles into soulful darker ambience with the backwards upsweeps of guitar and symphonic strings generating a ghostly preternatural atmosphere on 'Nude'. What is this song about? Yorke has a sad timber in his voice with very high octave range. The guitar is delightful, heard over a jazz fusion percussion.

I like Selway's drumming in particular on this album such as the driving rhythms on 'Weird Fishes/Arpeggi'. Yorke bemoans the though that we are all fishes and we get eaten by the worms. It ois not the first time he has likened us to an animal lifeform of course, you may remember he likens us to insects that are crushed on "Ok Computer". It is all about the infinitesimal human condition battling against the social power structures, or is it simply a suicide note to the world. In any case the music is magnetic and draws one in inexorably towards the darkest recess of the human conscious. Is this why they are such a popular band, the fact that they speak to a dying generation?

It is all rather depressing and continues to get darker on the buzzing drones of 'All I Need'. The synth sounds reminds me of Depeche Mode in their dark era, and it is hypnotically beautiful. "You are all I need, I'm in the middle of your picture, dying in the reeds, perhaps sums up the track, a low point in the protagonist's life.

The album flows into some streams of misery as it continues. We hear the broken fragments of a damaged soul. I am not interested in the droll 'Faust Arp' or the caterwauling of 'Reckoner' with a high falsetto that grates on my nerves, and I think the album really suffers in the final half after a promising start.

The musicianship is fine on 'House of Cards' especially the guitar screeches, and I am quite taken with Yorke's introspective vocals. This is the longest song with a chronometer of 5:28 but it tends to drone on too long with a simple structure and very little diversity, resting on a simplistic riff and spacey sonics.

'Jigsaw Falling Into Place' is a single from the album and certainly is more accessible, though still very Avante rock in terms of structure and feel. The vocals are lower and consequently more audible; "come on and let it out". There is a great rocking keynote metronome swinging beat. The instrumental break is excellent and overall it is a highlight on the album.

'Videotape' concludes the album with a minimalist piano, and Yorke's vocals mixed to the front. I am not a fan of this style, and it seems like it wallows too much on depressing themes and melodies to be enjoyable. Perhaps the appeal of Radiohead is the depressing vibe the band generate, and this no doubt speaks to an unhappy generation. I don't mind this thematic content as long as the music is consistently dynamic and appealing to the ears. Unfortunately this album runs out of steam well before the final piano note, and I can only enjoy the first half of the album and the one track at the end, therefore will have to stick to 3 stars on this one.

Report this review (#572705)
Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars It might have stood out at first for its novel pricing strategy, but In Rainbows is also a strong album in its own right. Taking further Hail to the Thief's rebalancing of the equilibrium between the avant-electronic and mildly proggy indie rock sides of Radiohead's sound, the album feels like a summation of all the musical developments of the preceding decade of the band's existence. There's a fan theory that a secret double concept album can be heard by interweaving the tracks of OK Computer and In Rainbows; whether or not that's the case, I can kind of see why people might think that, because the album seems to show a new willingness to recapture that side of the band's sound which had been kept firmly on a leash for the albums from Kid A to Hail.
Report this review (#724093)
Posted Thursday, April 12, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, it is quiet nice to be an outsider.

I also have been the kind of follower who finds any kind of peep hole to appreciate those musicians I considered my favorites.

Fortunately, for an impartial review of this album (or band, whatever comes your way), I have never been a RADIOHEAD cult follower less a fan. To be honest their highly praised works (by their followers , never found a way to my personal tastes. Considering them, like Bowie by the way, vampires of other people musical languages, blending n' mixing it all, in honor of "sampling", and coming up with this liquid formula and call it Radiohead, whose band name, will reinforce my point of view.

Anyway it is quiet nice to be an outsider, you kind of see the "kingdom" without the sand castles. The naked King for those acquainted with the fairy tale.

Probably my favorite Radiohead album "In Rainbows", 2007, has a maturity and unpretentiousness that clears its way by not forcing itself to be "artificially" groundbreaking at all costs, less interfere with the course of their naturally aquired sound, which is quiet "folkish-Rock" (rhythm acoustic guitar based in other words), as their later albums will consolidate.

A purified musical language, meaning maturity and simplification, recorded with their always top of the tops sound engineering, it adds up easily to ****4 Crossover/Prog, PA stars.

Report this review (#1048739)
Posted Monday, September 30, 2013 | Review Permalink

RADIOHEAD In Rainbows ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of RADIOHEAD In Rainbows

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives