Radiohead
In Rainbows


4.5
superb

Review

by Nathan USER (2 Reviews)
April 2nd, 2011 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Radiohead's unusual marketing ploy on In Rainbows may be what is most remembered looking back, but the cohesiveness and themes of the album make it one of their best yet.

There was intense hype surrounding the release of Radiohead's seventh album, In Rainbows. However, this was not necessarily due to the music itself, but to the unorthodox digital release. This involved paying your own price for the album (you could even pay no money at all), and it was extremely huge in the music world. This release is one of the most ambitious by any artist in recent history, and it has left a large mark on the digital world. But what makes In Rainbows such a great album is the ambitiousness and overall quality of the music.

With the manic drum-filled opening of 15 Step, the listener might assume that this album will be similar to Radiohead's past works, such as Hail to the Thief and Kid A. By the time playful and creative guitars have come in to suit singer Thom Yorke's earnest voice, there is already a special feel about this album. The momentum carries into the next track Bodysnatchers, which includes one of Radiohead's heaviest guitar riffs yet. A major quality that distinguishes In Rainbows from Radiohead's past albums can already clearly be seen here, the plethora of special effects and layers that coat each song. This may be due to this album being the first independently produced album by Radiohead.

The next two songs easily keep the quality of music up in the stratosphere. The sing-a-long feel of Nude coupled with haunting strings and shimmering arpeggios (another trait common in the album) make it one of the most memorable tracks so far. But the amazing drum-led build-up of Weird Fishes/Arpeggi easily steals the show out of the first four tracks on In Rainbows. Yorke's lyrics, which are some of his most straightfoward in a long time, send chills down the spine over and over again. On tracks like Weird Fishes/Arpeggi and 15 Step, one can clearly hear drummer Phil Selway's influence and spot-on drumming, which helps the album immensely.

Radiohead's complete feeling of control on In Rainbows gives even the ballads, like All I Need and House of Cards, a strong backbone and an almost immaculate air. In particular, the bass-esque synthesizer of All I Need is the cherry on top, making Yorke's painful and almost obsessive plea seem down to earth. The nearly chaotic ending of this song, with chilling piano on top of all the intensity, make it one of the highlights of the extremely consistent In Rainbows. One almost gets the feeling during this song that it could fall apart at any second, seemingly being held together merely by a string.

Once again, the arpeggios make a lead appearance on the short but strong Faust Arp, which shows a Beatles influence in the immaculate songcraft shown. The song is mainly the intermission of the album, giving the listener a break between the first songs and what's to come. In Rainbows is an extremely apt title for the album, as almost every song is a rush of colors and emotions, and Faust Arp is no exception.

Next on the album is Reckoner, which is yet another drum-led song. This is the first song that is not quite up to par with the other tracks. This is because the tribal feeling that the drums give off simply does not match up well with the vocals and guitar. However, the quality is picked back up quickly with the next tune House of Cards. The song seems to be an earnest plea from Yorke to someone he is deeply in love with, and it is extremely convincing. The constant synth feedback in the background gives the song an undeniably beautiful feel, and Yorke's vocals are at his best here.

Jigsaw Falling into Place opens with an open D-plucked riff, and it sounds undeniably good. Much like Weird Fishes/Arpeggi in song structure, Jigsaw keeps a rushing energy continuing throughout the entire song, never leading to a build-up, but rather keeping it's flow the entire time. The biggest disappointment on the album would have to be the closer Videotape, as it seems like it was underwritten. Nothing seems to gel on this track, which is just rather average compared to the stunning highs of some of the other songs. It still works all right as a closer, however, as it helps wrap up the album.

Overall, this album is extremely creative and emotional, displaying Radiohead's full musical prowess. This is recommended for any listener, especially those who enjoy fairly chilled-out songs. The song adds a colorful tint to Radiohead's ballads, as well as their straight-up rockers. Few times, an album has been experienced which is this cohesive and consistent. So why remember it for it's release when it should be remembered as an album Radiohead released in their prime, with surging tunes and addictive hooks?

Recommended Tracks:
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
All I Need
House of Cards


user ratings (4420)
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 ...

    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...

  • Porter W. Richards (4.5)
    Dark. Disturbing. Lush, yet subdued. In Rainbows is everything fans hoped for....


Comments:Add a Comment 
ViolentFemmes
April 2nd 2011


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First review! Hope you guys enjoy it

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
April 2nd 2011


50380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love In Rainbows
Its just ten kick ass songs

Digging: Viper the Rapper - You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack

Piglet
April 2nd 2011


4654 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I don't want to be your friend, I just want to be your lover

Titan50
April 2nd 2011


4588 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Next on the album is Reckoner, which is yet another drum-led song. This is the first song that is not quite up to par with the other tracks.


Bitch, you don't diss Reckoner

Polymath
April 2nd 2011


3836 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Reckoner is such a quality song

Psychopathologist
April 2nd 2011


1924 Comments


this > kid a

amanwithahammer
April 2nd 2011


435 Comments


I was about to pipe up about the Reckoner thing too, but I didn't even know how to express my concern.

DannyDiz160
April 2nd 2011


61 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I like In Rainbows about a million times more than Kid A. For some reason that album hasn't connected with me yet. Maybe I need more listens.

scissorlocked
April 2nd 2011


3510 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

as time passes ,i love this album even more

aok
April 2nd 2011


4424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nude > Reckoner >> your recs.

a little too much play by play and not enough general feel and impressions, but not bad for a first review.

@Danny, Psycho -- kid a >> in rainbows. but i mean, in rainbows is pretty freakin awesome.

letsgofishing
April 2nd 2011


902 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Reckoner's my favorite song they've done, at least since Kid A..maybe ever. But I'll respect your faulty opinion.
Except for that, really a beautiful review. I would try in the future to keep away from track by track like you did here
(focus on the album as a whole) but as far as track by tracks go, this is absolute quality.

I'm POS'ing this. welcome to the site.

aok
April 2nd 2011


4424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea, fishing knows what's up.

ViolentFemmes
April 2nd 2011


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just feel that Reckoner is not quite as good as the other songs, I'm not saying it's bad...thanks for the tips though guys

MarvellousG
April 2nd 2011


368 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review, I also completely agree about Videotape, which nobody else seems to. Pos'd!

kingjulian
April 4th 2011


1297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was thinking about reviewing this but you beat me to it. Really good for a first. I must say I had a surge of rage at the Reckoner comment (probably the best song on the album) and at the videotape comment (perfect closer) but 'tis all my opinions and whatnot.

kingjulian
April 4th 2011


1297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

but now that I'm thinking about it, the drums on Reckoner are anything but "tribal." Like, seriously.

ViolentFemmes
April 4th 2011


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, I couldn't find a good adjective to describe it, so I used tribal, thought it sounded good at the time

letsgofishing
April 4th 2011


902 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I would have gone more with the adjective "orgasmic"

kingjulian
April 4th 2011


1297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lol ^

it's fine I'm just given you a hard time. Still way better than most first reviews.

CelestialDust
April 4th 2011


3155 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hahaha
matches the orgasmic avatar*



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