Radiohead
In Rainbows


4.5
superb

Review

by Chris Baranowski USER (8 Reviews)
October 14th, 2007 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: In Rainbows is beautiful in its simplicity and once again proves that Radiohead are the kings of reinvention.

In Rainbows, just like all six of the other albums, presents a band reinvented. Although already criticized by many for it's simplicity and minimalist approach, especially compared to the band's past work, it is the two aforementioned qualities that create the beautiful album that is In Rainbows. The album's flow is smooth although the tracks manage to vary in tempo and style. You have the catchy, dancy "Bodysnatchers," the acoustic driven "Faust Arp" and "Jigsaw Falling Into Place," the dark piano ballad "Videotape," the almost jazzy "House Of Cards." Every song is a beautiful piece of art and the way each song fades out and/or in gives the album a remarkable paradox of a feel; the sense of the album as one large portfolio of art is there, yet each song is presented as a different sphere or movement that is the symphony of In Rainbows.

Also present is a large influence of many of the elements used in Thom Yorke's solo album The Eraser including the simplicity, the electronic elements ("All I Need" is a great example) and the computerized/simplistic drum beats. The last element also works wonders for the flow of the album, defining a very steady beat for most of the songs, making this Radiohead's easiest album to bob your head to, follow along with or relax to. The album does have its crescendos and intense moments. The endings to “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” and “All I Need” are honestly breathtaking, with the former creating a wall of sound that seemingly swallows you whole and the latter just completely enveloping you in a beautiful blend of guitar, piano and thick bass. But gone are the wild tempo changes of "Sit Down. Stand Up." or "Paranoid Android," each song remains constant. Also absent is the multitracking and almost symphonic arrangements, the key factor that separates this album from their past work. Although "Nude" has the occasional violin swell, the song, much like many others on the CD, can be described simply as intimate. At one point, it's just vocals, bass and a simple drumbeat. "Videotape" starts with only Yorke's voice and piano. “Faust Arp” doesn’t even have any drums. The guitar work is not distorted, flashy or wild; instead it's introspective, soft and simple, often relying on small arpeggios or silent picking lines. Also absent from the album are the intricate and soaring harmonies of "Hail To The Thief," as Yorke takes a much more personal approach to the vocals.

At this point, you may be saying, "well, this album is sounding pretty boring boring." But it's not. The simplicity only works in creating what I think is Radiohead's most intimate album to date. And I don't mean to make it seem as if the band abandoned their past work for something totally new, the influence of past work is definitely there. The overall mood of the album is definitely dark, a la Hail To The Thief, enhanced by elements like the despondent lyrics of "Videotape," the dissonant swells at the end of 'Weird Fish/Arpeggi" and the eerie chord changes and harmonies on "Jigsaw Falling Into The Place." “All I Need” incorporates both the electronic elements of Kid A and the piano driven work on Hail To The Thief. “Bodysnatchers” is reminiscent of wild tempo and guitar work of “Electioneering” on OK Computer. Yet the only Radiohead song I'd be confident saying would fit on this album would be Kid A's "Optimisitc," as much of the album reflects the strange, eerie guitar and vocal interplay exhibited on the aforementioned song. But to compare In Rainbows to any single Radiohead album would just be unfair.

Most importantly, Radiohead have accomplished once again what they've been doing for 7 albums now: reinventing themselves. Yet it seems that because In Rainbows has more of a focus on simplicity, the album gets criticized. I truly believe that Radiohead wanted to make a simplistic and minimalist album. And honestly, In Rainbows is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have heard in a while and certainly one of Radiohead’s best works to date. Every track is astonishing in it’s own way and the album simultaneously establishes a unique sound and feel for itself while varying tremendously from track to track within that identity. Just as it’s useless to attempt to compare Kid A to OK Computer or Amnesiac to The Bends, In Rainbows stands alone as yet another persona that Radiohead has both created and perfected for themselves and comparing it to their past albums is unfair and fruitless. The influence of their past work is there, but In Rainbows exists in it’s own picture frame as a work of art that will be appreciated for years to come.



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user ratings (4526)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
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    shauryapatel (4.5)
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    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)
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  • Alex Getter (4.5)
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    Tom Gellatly (4.5)
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    Mesmerizing.......

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Comments:Add a Comment 
cbmartinez
October 14th 2007


2525 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hey I'm really sorry to add yet another review for this album, and a positive one at that, but I really wanted to get some of my feelings for this album out and I was writing a sound off but realized it was probably too long. And I know this isn't really the best it could be but keep in mind I wrote it as a sound off so I left out some extraneous information. I'm going to try to add onto it tomorrow to give it a little more info and depth, etc. But yeah, I just felt like I needed to express a couple of my views on the album.

Thanks.

AtavanHalen
October 14th 2007


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Let's make this the last review of the record. Please.

Not bad, anyway.

UncalledFor
October 14th 2007


100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'd like a negative one, just because I enjoy reading negative reviews for albums I like.

Apocalyptic Raids
October 14th 2007


810 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

nice review man

Geedrummer
October 14th 2007


607 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

6 reviews in 4 days. good review anyway. good album too

riobravo1023
October 14th 2007


274 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review. Lovin' the album also.

joshuatree
Emeritus
October 14th 2007


3742 Comments


another day, another in rainbows review.

Confessed2005
October 14th 2007


3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It is good though. I voted.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2007


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

While I can understand the complaints about there being too many In Rainbows reviews, but it's not like Nevermind or Tool reviews that are chocked with a bunch of noobs who are proverbially sexually pleasuring those bands. They're all very well written with good points.

Geedrummer
October 14th 2007


607 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

^agreed

bloodyBourne
October 14th 2007


21 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I like this review the most
good job

McP3000
October 14th 2007


3941 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Radiohead fans are far superior to Tool fans.

cbmartinez
October 15th 2007


2525 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the feedback dudes.

whatduffhuck7
October 31st 2007


163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review man

Great album too, pumped about this!!!

tomwaits4noman
December 16th 2007


91 Comments


Radiohead fans are far superior to Tool fans.


and what if your a fan of both?

good review... seems to really have divided fans, I am liking this band the more they move away from all the bends and ok computer stuff (burnt out from ok computer) which would explain why I am digging this album.


DerMond
December 16th 2007


126 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i still think this album is being extremely overrated.

joshuatree
Emeritus
December 16th 2007


3742 Comments


I don't listen to this as much as I used to. But when I do listen to it, it still floors me. It's beautiful.

DBRuss2777
February 7th 2008


30 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wow it goes a high review. Radiohead Rocks man.. There just really trippy sometimes.lol. I could listen to there music for hours and forget im listeing to it. it puts you in this daze?....I'm so there when they tour!This Message Edited On 02.07.08

MediocreAtBest
February 7th 2008


1473 Comments


Did anyone understand that?

altairschaos56
February 7th 2008


362 Comments


No. maybe he's trippin....This Message Edited On 02.07.08



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