Radiohead
In Rainbows


5.0
classic

Review

by Ryder631 USER (1 Reviews)
August 16th, 2013 | 43 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: After crafting songs of exquisitely Orwellian paranoia for over a decade, Radiohead give us the most human, no-frills album of their entire career.

If there's one thing that fans and detractors alike can say about Radiohead, it's that they never make the same album twice. Sure, Amnesiac is sometimes not-so-affectionately referred to as "Kid B", but its slinky jazz influences and newfound emphasis on rhythm made it an entirely different beast. Therefore, after the bloated, scattershot "Hail to the Thief", the band seemingly decided to move in the opposite direction, creating the stripped-down, understated "In Rainbows", which I personally consider to be the group's best album to date.

Though "15 Step" may start out as a mix of the skittery electronica and equally skittery lyrics that Radiohead had been exploring since Kid A, once the Greenwood brothers layer jazzy, chilled out guitar and bass lines over Selway's drums, the song sharply changes directions. By the end though, the anxiety has come back full-tilt on the edge of a subtly driving bass and Thom's increasingly strung-out vocals. And speaking of these vocals, Thom's voice has never sounded better. After putting it through all sorts of effects on Kid A and Amnesiac, he seems happy to stretch his vocal cords again, and it shows on the gorgeous high note in "Nude", and throughout all of "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi". On the latter, guitar arpeggios spiral dizzily over vocals both from Thom and guitarist Ed O'Brien, who gives a breathtaking performance and makes us all wish that he'd sing more often.

This song, along with the next track "All I Need" serve as two of Radiohead's most direct love songs, proof that Yorke and company have moved on from chilling apocalyptic imagery to something more domestic and personal. "All I Need" in particular is so aching, so confessional that listening to it feels bordeline voyeuristic. However, all these fantastic songs are simply a warmup for the album's centerpiece, "Reckoner". Crystalline fingerpicked guitar hovers over vivid, propulsive percussion track, all while Thom gives one of his most impressive vocal performances to date. Colin Greenwood's bass is beautifully subtle, meshing with the band at all the right moments, and fading away just as delicately.

After "Reckoner", we have "House of Cards", the only track on the album slightly below incredible. It's more relaxed than typical Radiohead fare, the surreal lyrics almost sounding like they could belong to The National. "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" follows, which manages to be the most Radiohead-y track here. Even if you weren't thrilled by the rest of the album, the Latin influence and Thom in full end-is-nigh insanity mode will woo the band's most rigid fans.

We then close with "Videotape", beginning with a stop-you-in-your-tracks beautiful piano line, and slowly building to a shuddering, drunken clatter of percussive electronica. Thom delivers sincere lines like "you are my center when I spin away, out of control on videotape" with such conviction that you'd be hard pressed not to identify with him.

With this album, Radiohead took a creative leap nearly as daring as that of Kid A: to strip away all their lyrical trademarks as well as musical, to create an album that thrives on understatement and subtlety. It's a testament to the group as songwriters, musicians and lyricists, nad it's one that I onsider absolutely essential to any music collection.


user ratings (4470)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
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    Radiohead rises from the ashes of their past 3 albums and compose a beauty of a record....

    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...

  • Porter W. Richards (4.5)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
tommygun
August 16th 2013


24989 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

didn't read pos

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2013


50587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I personally would have made a Kevin Spacy joke

Digging: Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2013


1639 Comments


Review is solid but writing a solid review for any album with 5 pages of reviews is pointless.

avonbarksdale221
August 16th 2013


8247 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Review is good, album rules.

BigBlob
August 16th 2013


1669 Comments


another radiohead review. sweet.

CK
August 16th 2013


4930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Some days I dig this more than OK Computer

Digging: Death - Human

demigod!
August 16th 2013


44727 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

every day i dig this more than ok computer

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

tommygun
August 16th 2013


24989 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yea best rh :]

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2013


1676 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Every day I dig this less than every other Radiohead album since The Bends.

Digging: Carbon Based Lifeforms - World Of Sleepers

NeroCorleone80
August 16th 2013


29309 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good album

kingjulian
August 16th 2013


1297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"After "Reckoner", we have "House of Cards", the only track on the album slightly below incredible."

I totally agree. If it weren't for House of Cards this album would probably be a 5 for me.

Videotape is one of the greatest songs ever made.

demigod!
August 16th 2013


44727 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

house of cards is one of my favourites, it's so chill

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2013


1676 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yep, without "House of Cards" this has definite 5 potential. But that song just really lowers this for me. It's one of my least favorite Radiohead songs.

NeroCorleone80
August 16th 2013


29309 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

House of Cards is one of the best on here

IbenizGEO1
August 16th 2013


2258 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Booooooo

Chortles
August 16th 2013


17998 Comments


the fuq

Digging: Jacaszek - Treny

RadicalEd
August 16th 2013


2702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

House of Cards is top 3 on this, what are you even talking about.

Digging: Jakob - Sines

Chortles
August 16th 2013


17998 Comments


nahh but it's good

BigPleb
August 16th 2013


37232 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Videotape you desensitised fucks.

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins on Io

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2013


1676 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it's boring as hell.



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