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Radiohead - In Rainbows CD (album) cover

IN RAINBOWS

Radiohead

 

Crossover Prog

3.83 | 644 ratings

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theCoagulater
2 stars I'm writing this part before I do anything other of the review, 'cause I know how respected and honored I and my reviews are. I know all of you think I'm a genius and I'll accept that responsibility. But with great responsibility comes great responsibility, and I have to responsibly make this review to avoid getting murdered in cold blood. So here I am, on my soapbox telling all of you below me that even though you made me your genius, my opinion is not set in stone, nor is it fact. I got my CD loaded up and I'm prepared to like this album. I WANT to like this album. I'm going to do it as much justice as I can while still being honest. I always return to this every couple of months, to test the water a bit, just to see if another listen will change my mind. If you take a second to look at my collection you'll see that I own a copy of this album. I bought it at one of my favorite record stores because that day there wasn't a great selection, and I only had one other thing in my hand I was gonna buy (a copy of Wish You Were Here if you're interested). So I saw this, remembered me liking OK Computer quite a bit, and thought "I hear about In Rainbows a lot, it'll probably be pretty good." That's on me for buying an album without listening to it, which in hindsight is pretty dumb. I hope you can sleep well knowing I don't do that shit anymore. Enough stalling, I'm gonna turn this thing on now and write this review. And maybe all of this will seem stupid and I'll fall in love with this album after so many disappointing listens.

15 Step has always been my favorite track off this album. They use that drum machine so well. That achy chalky tone is being used to a greater and greater extent throughout the track. It's an incredibly pure form of progression. That smooth guitar after the first chorus is really satisfying, the contrast with the drum machine brings it to light. If the track had already had a thing going that suited the smooth guitar sound it would've fallen flat. But alongside the drums, it has a surprising quality to it that brightens everything up and gives you this clear colorful picture. This track is overall just a great opener, it sounds like the album cover, which is a big plus. Honestly, this should've been a title track, 'cause it also sounds like "In Rainbows". Pretty good track to start with. I am giving it a lot of credit because of what's on the rest of the album.

Bodysnatchers comes into the room with a baseball and before you remember you forgot the ball Bodysnatchers hits you upside the head with the bat!! It then kicks you on the ground and spits on you when you finally lose conscience!! So that happens in the first couple of seconds then the vocals start and you see what a little bitch Bodysnatchers is and then you two decide to have a conversation about the geopolitics of a country you just made up. It's an entertaining enough track, it's heavy, and there are some parts where you think "OH, something changed" and it's cool. It's all stuff I heard done before and done better. But I don't have any real problems with it. I like that the vocals are drenched in reverb, which makes Thom's voice more bearable. Only in the last two seconds do you realize how annoying it is, but at that point it's over, and you're left with more or less a good experience.

Nude is where In really Rainbows, this is where shit gets tough, and the tough get going. It lets you know the deal right away, they're doing a soundscape, it's gonna be artsy, and it's gonna make you FEEL. And feel it made me, it made me feel like shit. It starts with a real simple bassline and then more instruments come in. The instruments build off the simple bassline and it's all supposed to rise the voice to ethereal levels. And some songs do this well, really well. It's an amazing way to have a song speak to someone. But his voice just does not do anything for me... emotionally. I imagine someone who likes or can at least stand his voice might really have a home here, but that person is not me. The lyrics also don't touch me. Many songs have this permiss, and a boring voice in a boring soundscape is not gonna make me view this theme from any different angles.

Weird Fishes/Arpeggi is NOT a song about fish, another disappointment. From my interpretation, it's a song about suicide, and being disappointed with yourself. It's not interesting, the mellow vibe isn't done well. It's too active to give an existential, ethereal feel. But everything's too well-defined to bring anything down to that level. I want to bring case study number one Mushroom by Can. An incredibly ethereal song, not because of the mellow and laid- back parts, but because of what isn't. The chorus is upfront, it's panicky, and it's uncomfortable. Its contrast with the verses that follow (along with the drums) highlights everything in the track and makes it all very existential. I feel that's what Weird Fishes/Arpeggi was trying to do. But all the instruments are too clear, and nothing made the emotion click. The second half of this song is supposed to be riding some sort of emotion built up in the first. But there was none, so it just kinda comes and goes without a trace.

All I Need starts without much going on. The synth and the vocals try to start something. But everything's already so damp, no fire's started. They keep adding more instruments, more fuel to their make-believe fire. At a certain point there's just too much noise and none of it is doing anything. It's a frustrating listen, but it ends soon enough. The lyrics aren't anything to write home about. They're nothing to write about in general, and I will write nothing about them.

Faust Arp starts right off accelerating. Wakey wakey, eyes and bakey, here's your plate of whatever this song is. It's just sort of here. Doesn't really do anything. It's another meaningless up and down. I like the violins and some of the lines stand out. If this were earlier in the album I would probably like it a lot more, but at this point, I'm frustrated and tired of this sound.

Reckoner is when I realize there are still four entire songs left, twenty whole minutes, or twelve hours in (In) Rainbows time. Despite everything, it starts with a very interesting thing going on, I really do like the opening minute. But then it continues for a bit too long. Then the piano comes in, does nothing and muffles the already full mix. Around two minutes thirty, the bridge comes along, relatively interesting stuff going on here, nice change of pace. It builds up anticipation for what comes next, what sort of new sound is gonna pop up after the bridge? The same thing from before the bridge popped up. And it's a huge let down. I really have nothing else to say about anything else going on here, and there's still well over a minute left here.

House Of Cards starts with a riff that sounds so familiar. It's the same guitar sound used earlier. Some people might see it as cool coming back around. But at this point I just want something fresh. The vocals come in sounding like almost every song before. It's retreading on the same ground. I do not care what the lyrics are at this point, nothing around them even tries to help or do anything, it sounds like they just gave up. I feel like I would maybe like this if I like everything before because it fits too well into this album's mold. So in that respect, I get it. But since I already only actually enjoy one song off this album this just falls on deaf ears.

Jigsaw Falling Into Place is the same situation as House Of Cards. There is more going on, the final chorus is cool I guess, but it's still kinda just the same thing this album has been doing already. I could copy and paste what I wrote on House Of Cards, and I'll have displayed my opinions more or less correctly.

Videotape is the final boss of this album. It's fresh, I'll give it that, but it's more repetitive than any of the other songs. There's a drum sound imitating a train in the left channel, and only in the left channel, which bugs me quite a bit. The song is about suicide, again, with more intimate lyrics I guess. This would be an amazing song if I liked the rest of the album. The sound fits in place, but not in an insignificant way, in a way that would've closed this album off nicely.

This isn't the worst album of all time, there are things it does well, 15 Step is great. But it's (to me) very, very boring. I've heard worse, and I'd rather sit through those just because they're not as boring. Aside from 15 Step, and maybe Bodysnatchers, I'm never touching this album again. I just might listen to Videotape sometime again, outside the context of the album, because I feel like it might be something I would like without all that nothing before it. The CD's cool though, very high quality and the insert has tons of cool art; if you like this album, get a copy on CD. (JFTR: I love the album art to this one, the color is so detailed and pretty, and it's just a great cover. But aside from 15 Step, none of the music fits the cover.) So to end this off, sorry I don't like this album, I'm only human, and fight me like a fucking man if you wanna be starting shit. May you have a blessed day amen!

theCoagulater | 2/5 |

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