Radiohead
In Rainbows


4.5
superb

Review

by Porter W. Richards USER (62 Reviews)
October 10th, 2007 | 166 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dark. Disturbing. Lush, yet subdued. In Rainbows is everything fans hoped for.

For the past twelve years since the release of The Bends, Radiohead has had this uncanny ability to release really great, earth-shattering, amazing albums one after another, being completely consistent with each release. Not many bands can lay claim to something like this, except perhaps Pink Floyd or The Beatles, but Radiohead sure can. When Pablo Honey was released in 1993, angry critics and negative reviews flocked to this band like bees on honey. (No pun intended.) After Pablo Honey was released, Radiohead just seemed like another band jumping on the 'Britpop' bandwagon, but with the release of The Bends, that all changed. Suddenly amazing releases one after another started being released under the name Radiohead, and this band became infamous for having a highly inconsistent sound that changed with each release, defing every opinion or expectations...some were flat-out rock, some were flat-out electronica/dance, some were ghostly dark. That's what fun about Radiohead-the inability to predict what Thom Yorke will release next, because it's fair game, because if Radiohead released a jazz album, that wouldn't shock me, or if they released a R&B album, I wouldn't think twice about it. Radiohead is just a truly outstanding band with no clear goal other than to put out really good music that defies convention and ordinary thinking, and dare I say it, Radiohead have done it again.

But, who could have thought otherwise? Since The Bends was released in 1995, Radiohead have been on auto-pilot, consistently releasing ground-shattering releases, each revolutionizing their sound, and cementing their name in Alternative Rock history. In Rainbows is a very dark, stripped-down album, feeling a lot like OK Computer, just much, much darker, frazzling, and chaotic. It's a lushly layered attack on traditional thinking, packaged in a tightly-bound flat-out minimal, dark, and overly compelling album. Basically if you thought In Rainbows would have been a B-side album compliation from over the years, and a sad publicity stunt from Radiohead, you'll be sadly mistaken, because when you take OK Computer and strip it down to it's bare basics, you've got In Rainbows, one of the most challenging albums I've listened to in years. In Rainbows is freakishly dark, as beat-driven as Amnesiac, and as tough upon first listen as Kid A. This is exactly what any Radiohead fan could have wished for with In Rainbows, and guess what? You've got it with In Rainbows.

Like Hail to the Thief, In Rainbows doesn't seem to be the type of album that's introducing something radically different than what we've heard from Radiohead (think Kid A), it just seems to be yet another infusion of all of Radiohead's multitude of sounds. 15 Step, for example, sounds a lot like Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box from Amnesiac, just with some OK Computer charm. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi is a very haunting, percussion-led ambient track with some of Radiohead's darkest lyrics and undertones, and really stands out as one of In Rainbows' best tracks. There's some really good listens on In Rainbows, and what's astounding is how different each track is, and how well this album still works as an album.

Even if Radiohead seem tired and overworked, In Rainbows seems fresh and ready to attack. All this talk about In Rainbows sounding like a darker, barren OK Computer is a far exaggeration...In Rainbows is just something, quite simply, that we've never heard from Radiohead, because while it is a lot like a darker OK Computer, there's too many differences in this album to actually call it that. Influences from everything from Pablo Honey to Amnesiac are blatanly apparent, and it's almost impossible to believe that an 'all guns blazing' track like Bodysnatchers could be on the same album as a deeply haunting, ambient, and atmospheric track like House of Cards. And, as Yorke said, it's much more terrifying than OK Computer, but is like it in many ways-and it's true, In Rainbows is a very dark, dreary, and haunting album. Everything about it feels like Yorke's last chance to cry, escape, and Greenwood's last chance to echo out a perfect guitar riff. The atmospherics are in full play here, and Yorke's voice seems more dulled-down than the heavily distorted vocals of Kid A. This gives the album a nice, barren yet 'full' sound and atmosphere.

The production here on In Rainbows is perfectly silenced. As Yorke stated before, it's "almost embarrasing minimal". In Rainbows is quite minimal, but not instrumentation...the production gives In Rainbows the perfect santuary of being trapped in a bleak, meaningless atmosphere. The quite dark and disturbing lyrics add to this feeling, Nude and Weird Fishes/Arpeggi are quite the darkest lyrical songs Yorke's ever written. There's a haunting feel here, and is only made better by the album's excellent instrumentation and variety. The songs change tempo quickly, and altogether change with each change of the CD player, while having one simplistic theme present in each song: darkness.

The lonesome antics of Yorke are ever-present, but the lonesome ballads have been taken to a new level courtesy of the album's atmospherics and reliance on heavy percussion...the prime example of this is Nude, a lonesome, solemn ballad that is a very minimally instrumental track, dominated by Yorke's disturbingly dark vocal arrangements and vocal varities. Radiohead has also included a bit of 'The Bends'-like acoustic work, most notably found in the excellent track, Faust ARP. The guitars create a traditional acoustic backdrop, but the mood is heavily deepened by the cello and the minimal effects on Yorke's voice. The best stuff is found in Videotape, which is a lot like Motion Picture Soundtrack from Kid A, spiced up with a bit of In Rainbows goodness. There's a melodic piano track led by Yorke's barren vocal style, and the track seems to slowly build and become more epic before ending abruptly, and with that, In Rainbows as well.

There's no signs of slowing down, desperation, or even tiredness from Radiohead. All of this media surrounding Radiohead's controversial marketing scheme hasn't affected these British boys in any way, and once again, Radiohead has released a ground-shattering album that is perhaps the best from Alternative's coverboys since the overly-grandiose Kid A. There's so much influences, excellence, and an overall feeling of a 'job well done' in this album that it's impossible not to really enjoy In Rainbows... a lot. The production is quite simple and barren, the lyrics are quite dark and disturbing (which isn't a drastic change from the old), the music is atmospheric and lush, and it's a well put together album from start to finish that is about as close to perfect as music will ever get. In Rainbows is a case of the album actually living up to the hype and impossible expectations-it's just that good.

DOWNLOAD:
15 Step
Nude
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
House of Cards
Videotape



Recent reviews by this author
Metallica St. AngerBlur Blur
Porcupine Tree Nil RecurringFoo Fighters Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
Pink Floyd A Momentary Lapse of ReasonThe Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
user ratings (4527)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • cagedbutterfly (3.5)
    Radiohead rises from the ashes of their past 3 albums and compose a beauty of a record....

    Ryder631 (5)
    After crafting songs of exquisitely Orwellian paranoia for over a decade, Radiohead give u...

    shauryapatel (4.5)
    What were the fans left with after the 'pay what you want' hype was cleared? The collectio...

    Justin Swope (5)
    In Rainbows is another breathtaking passage into the mind of Radiohead, presenting an exqu...

  • someguest (4.5)
    When I'm at the pearly gates......

    pye3214 (5)
    A modern classic and a must listen for everyone, not just Radiohead fans....

    Kuo (5)
    In conclusion this album is a classic, it is easily accessible to most listeners fan or no...

    Kiet Truong (4.5)
    An album that will most likely go down in history as Radiohead’s album that revolutioniz...

  • Alex Getter (4.5)
    Radiohead at their most intimate in years; In Rainbows is their own collection of "seducti...

    Tom Gellatly (4.5)
    An understated, consistently enjoyable album, In Rainbows feels like a wonderful comeback ...

    Nathan (4.5)
    Radiohead's unusual marketing ploy on In Rainbows may be what is most remembered looking b...

    Leslie W (4)
    Mesmerizing.......

  • Reckoner (5)
    A modern classic from the best band in the world....

    RJayZ (4.5)
    It's not easy writing a masterpiece. It's a lot less easy following one up....

    Brandon Garland (3.5)
    Although not as impressive as an Opeth album, Radiohead damn well tries to impress the Spu...

    Adam Downer STAFF (3)
    What happened to Radiohead?...

  • Chris Baranowski (4.5)
    In Rainbows is beautiful in its simplicity and once again proves that Radiohead are the ki...

    David James Young (4)
    An unpredictable record from the biggest unsigned band in the world....

    Daniel Incognito EMERITUS (4)
    Another continuation in the overall Radiohead style, and one which executes its design wit...

    Tyler Fisher EMERITUS (4)
    With the addition of a second disc, In Rainbows loses some flow but maintains the original...

  • UncalledFor (4)
    May initially feel like a Let Down with No Surprises to be found (because it has Everythin...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Thor
October 10th 2007


10202 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First comment! I'll get this soon enough.

Digging: Black Crown Initiate - The Wreckage of Stars

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
October 10th 2007


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

such a fuck.

tribestros
October 10th 2007


918 Comments


I was in a rush to get this out...knew everyone and their momma's be wanting to review this.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
October 10th 2007


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I can't fathom giving an album a 5 the day it is released.

Plus, this is 2007, making 1993 fourteen years ago not twelve. Even so, not all of their albums were earth-shattering or classics.

edit: the fact that you were in a rush shows. You should have taken your time.This Message Edited On 10.10.07

Justanothernimrod
October 10th 2007


478 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD RADIOHEAD FANS, I KNOW ITS EXCITING BUT GET OVER YOURSELVES!

steveosk8s
October 10th 2007


135 Comments


love it, its amazing, through and through.

plane
Staff Reviewer
October 10th 2007


6100 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Just because it's Radiohead doesn't mean that rating it "classic" within twelve hours of its release is any less stupid and pretty much makes the review invalid.This Message Edited On 10.10.07

Monticello
October 10th 2007


805 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's good, but definitely not a 5, and especially not on the day it comes out.

Meatplow
October 10th 2007


5524 Comments


I agree with Planewreq to be honest, you have to give an album time like this to develop.

I started listening to it, and whilst it sounded good I feel asleep because i was tired. I will listen to it fully later tonight.

joshuatree
Emeritus
October 10th 2007


3742 Comments


This is really good, but yeah, u might want to drink it in a little longer before branding it a classic.

P13
October 10th 2007


1327 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I love this album, but its not a 5 because its still not as good as HttT. And its also too short , thats why i have to wait for the second CD.

tribestros
October 10th 2007


918 Comments


This review felt well written to me, and sure definitely is...the only way it was rushed is because I had worked all day writing this, hoping I could get it out first...lol.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 10th 2007


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

Just because it's Radiohead doesn't mean that rating it "classic" within twelve hours of its release is any less stupid and pretty much makes the review invalid.


Even if it is well written, there's no way I can see it as legitimate.


FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
October 10th 2007


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's gramatically ok but you overexaggerate everything because it's Radiohead.

tribestros
October 10th 2007


918 Comments


I took it down to a 4.5, because it was a last minute decision to make it a 5 anyway.

Does anyone have the artwork?

lunchforthesky
October 10th 2007


1039 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Give giving him shit. This is a very good review. Don't pretend like you listen to everything for a week straight before reviewing those leaks.

Great review.

Best Radiohead album since Kid A and that's saying something seen as Amnesiac is near flawless. This reminds me of Amnesiac but with direction.

Get's a 4.5 for now. May go up.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
October 10th 2007


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/8/8b/Inrainbows.jpg/200px-Inrainbows.jpg

The Jungler
October 10th 2007


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Rushing to review an album is stupid. It isn't like your going to get any extra credit for submitting a hasty review a few days before another user (Flawed Perfection, I guess) submits a more well thought out one. As for the review itself, you both contradict and repeat yourself, and make a few typographical errors in the process.

This is a great album. I feel like it's going to grow on me a lot over the next few days. Satisfied my expectations.This Message Edited On 10.10.07

Fort23
October 10th 2007


2480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

reviews not so bad actually.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
October 10th 2007


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Give giving him ****. This is a very good review. Don't pretend like you listen to everything for a week straight before reviewing those leaks.


Actually, most times I do listen for a week. And I don't give it a 5. I will be putting out a review tomorrow, I've been listening to the album all day and will tomorrow as well. Reviewing the day of only gives first impressions.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy