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Radiohead In Rainbows album cover
3.83 | 628 ratings | 59 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. 15 Step (3:57)
2. Bodysnatchers (4:02)
3. Nude (4:15)
4. Weird Fishes / Arpeggi (5:18)
5. All I Need (3:49)
6. Faust Arp (2:10)
7. Reckoner (4:50)
8. House of Cards (5:28)
9. Jigsaw Falling into Place (4:09)
10. Videotape (4:40)

Total Time 42:38

Line-up / Musicians

- Thom Yorke / vocals, guitar
- Ed O'Brien / guitar, backing vocals
- Jonny Greenwood / guitar, keyboards
- Colin Greenwood / bass
- Phil Selway / drums, percussion

- Matrix Music School / backing vocals (1)
- The Millennia Ensemble / strings (3,6,7,9)
- Everton Nelson / concertmaster (3,6,7,9)
- Sally Herbert / strings conductor (3,6,7,9)

Note: Band's instrumentation not fully confirmed at this moment

Releases information

Artwork: Stanley Donwood & Thom Yorke

LP XL Recordings ‎- XLLP 324 (2007, Europe)

CD XL Recordings ‎- XLCD 324 (2007, Europe)

Thanks to kicek for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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RADIOHEAD In Rainbows ratings distribution

(628 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

RADIOHEAD In Rainbows reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by arcer
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.
Review by Neu!mann
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.

Review by 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

Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
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.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by TRoTZ
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.

Review by 1800iareyay
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+

Review by MikeEnRegalia
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by Zitro
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.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by russellk
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.

Review by Moatilliatta
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.

Review by 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

Review by ZowieZiggy
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.

Review by mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by MovingPictures07
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.

Review by 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.)

Review by 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.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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)

Review by 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.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Why do I feel as if Björk is going to enter in some of these songs to sing instead of Thom Yorke? This album has been a grower on me. When it first came out I only liked one song ("Weird Fishes/Arpeggi"--my all-time favorite Radiohead song then and now), but occasional revisits has yielded a much greater appreciation for the rest of the album (as has been the case for pretty much all Radiohead albums for me: it's taken time and patience for me to get inside and enjoy each and every one of their albums). All this being said, I can now say that there is not a bad song on the album. I love the dominant presence of acoustic guitars.

Favorites songs: SONG OF THE YEAR "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" (11/10); "Jigsaw Falling into Place" (9.25/10); "Nude" (9/10); the Beatles-like "Faust Arp" (5/5); the KOOP/folkie "Reckoner" (9/10); "House of Cards" (8.75/10), and; "Bodysnatchers" (8.5/10).

Review by tarkus1980
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)

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by Warthur
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.
Review by admireArt
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.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "In Rainbows" is Radiohead's 7th full length studio album which was released after several years after the band's contract was fulfilled with their previous album "Hail to the Thief", which to me was a bit less interesting than the albums made around it. "In Rainbows" sees the band return to a slightly more accessible style with some lovely songs, yet the tracks are kept interesting enough with the band's sound manipulations and variations. This album ends up being an art-pop/rock masterpiece as Radiohead shows the world how it is done. It was also nice to have this slightly "lighter" album that relied more on structured melody than on improvisational melody. These are tracks that stick in your memory a lot better and are more appealing. The band's continued use of a combination of standard instrumentation and electronica is what keeps them interesting and they pull it off quite amazingly on this album.

15 Step - Thom's vocals against a background of percussion and tricky handclaps gives one the impression that this is going back to the "OK Computer" through "Amnesiac" days, but ends up landing in the "Hail to the Thief" days. It's an interesting combination of old and new Radiohead styles with enough experimental sound manipulations to keep it new, yet straightforward enough to catch your attention right away.

Bodysnatchers - Starts with a nice, fuzzy guitar lick that the entire track builds off of for a heavier sound with a driving, rocking beat. Yorke likes to compare this to a cross between "Neu!" and "Wolfmother". It does end up being a cool mixing of old and new again, but in a more rocked out style than the first track.

Nude - This was originally recorded for "OK Computer", but the band never felt comfortable enough with it at that time, so it was updated for "In Rainbows". It's a more minimal sound than the previous tracks, but in the lovely, simple/complex style that the band is well known for. It is based around Greenwood's bass line. This differs from their original idea for the track which was actually inspired by Al Green. This newer version seems to take inspiration more from Bjork, with that eerie beauty that she embodies in her songs.

Weird Fishes/Arpeggi - A nice smooth and flowing beat that rolls ahead and makes you feel like you are floating along with it. Yorke's vocals only enhance that floating sensation this track has, but his emotional pull in his voice only makes it all that much more intriguing. The jangly guitar riff seems to be based on an arpeggio riff which could be where the 2nd half of the title comes from. Mists of darkness invade the last part of the track in the form of interesting sound constructs.

All I Need - A slow downbeat brings this rare song about love and obsession (rare in the case of Radiohead). The album's version of the song uses an audience recording as the basis giving it a somewhat amateurish and dirty feel, but the chimes playing over the top brightens things up. The last part of the song becomes more dronelike in the background, which was created by a string section playing a basic scale and then blanketing the sound.

Faust Arp - Heavy strings and acoustic guitar act as a foundation to a somewhat rambling melody sung by Yorke. This one tends to be buried in the album mainly because of its brevity, but with time, it really starts to stand out.

Reckoner - This is one of those wandering melody tracks that Yorke tends to do so well with his falsetto. The piano/guitar background seems to want to fall into a predictable pattern, but instead wanders around chords in an unpredictable way and this is the thing that makes it progressive. Things break down in the middle of the track, but when the main melody returns later, it is accompanied by a string section that really beautifies the entire track. This is a track that will grow on you the more you pay attention to it's little nuances.

House of Cards - This track was originally meant to be like an R.E.M. song, but was almost completely overhauled. The melody is fairly simple and straightforward, but it's the instrumentation that keeps it original and fresh all the way through. Some sound manipulation gives the song an eerie warble in various places. It's things like this that make Radiohead's music so lovely in new, unique ways that other band's can't seem to copy.

Jigsaw Falling Into Place - After hearing several songs with dreamy, underhanded beats, it's nice to have this one in the track list where it is. The beat is more upfront here and is the driving force behind the track. Also, the way the track so effectively builds to the heavier and more intense middle section is very effective. The use of the strings building even more on the third verse is the perfect way to cap off this track.

Videotape - A good way to end the album with a simple, repetitive piano motif produced by variations of chord patterns and Yorke's mesmerizing vocals. Some limping percussive pattern joins in later along with some eerie sound manipulations give the track the variation it needs to keep it interesting.

One of the issues I have with this album is that it does tend to drag a bit towards the last half, at least in the first several listens. This issue tends to iron itself out as you become more familiar with the album and the placement of "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" also helps to brighten up the darker feel of the 2nd half. However, this is still an excellent album which falls at the right place in the band's discography. "Hail to the Thief" could have been followed by less memorable albums along that same line, however, the band, after allegedly many sessions, were able to work out the doldrums issues and produced this great album which for me brought back a lot of the original enthusiasm I had for the band through their "The Bends" through "Amnesiac" stage. The slight misstep of "Hail to the Thief" was corrected quite well by "In Rainbows".

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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 im ... (read more)

Report this review (#180594) | Posted by Deef! | Saturday, August 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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