In Rainbows



by gotsthedewsdood USER (13 Reviews)
August 19th, 2011 | 12 replies

Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Radiohead at their most intimate in years; In Rainbows is their own collection of "seduction songs".

The circumstances surrounding an albums release can sometimes be a savior or even a tragedy. Depending on the events an individual's first impressions of an album can be affected greatly and sometimes even the way we look back on the album long after its release can be distorted by these things. Usually they are largely unrelated to the music itself, which is sad because In Rainbows falls victim to said events, in this case their "Pay What You Want" campaign. Not to mention the massive hype that surrounds any Radiohead release (which Thom Yorke has said numerous times that this is "terrifying") and you've got a decent mix of excitement and interest. But despite all of this one thing ultimately gets lost in all of the hubaloo: the music! This is sad because In Rainbows stands as one of Radiohead’s most consistent albums they have released yet.

On In Rainbows Radiohead have taken certain styles from their previous studio albums and added in a little bit of a new twist. This description may initially fit "Hail to the Thief", but In Rainbows is altogether a better mash-up of all these styles while still standing as its own original identity. The cover of In Rainbows depicts an awfully sick looking rainbow, described by Radiohead’s own artist Stanley Donwood as "toxic". The idea of naming the album In Rainbows is basically a no-brainer, as every song has its own style to make it unique. Not to say that "OK Computer or Kid A had same sounding songs, but simply put In Rainbows is a whole lot more welcoming and less doom-y than say, "Amnesiac".

In Rainbows actually catches Radiohead at their most passionate in years. Yorke still sings with his intimate falsetto, but unlike Kid A where Yorke sounded his most insane and distant, Thom sounds surprisingly more human than ever. All songs on In Rainbows play out like seduction songs, for example in "House Of Cards" Yorke sings "I don't want to be your friend/I just want to be your lover" which is pulled off with excellent conviction. Gone are the days of androids, paranoia and apocalypse. Opening track "15 Step" may fool you with its intro of bubbling electronics and its strange time signature, but its introduction of the jazzy clean guitar that dominates the rest of the track after the first verse really helps the song take off. Most songs on In Rainbows are similar being restrained, laid back and mellow.

Not to say that Radiohead can't rock out anymore, as "Bodysnatchers" indicates that Radiohead haven't lost their brit-rock influences, they've simply been hiding it. Built around a lo-fi recording and fuzzy three-guitar attack, Yorke rambles incoherently "I have no idea what you are talking about/your mouth moves only with a hand up your ass" which brings down what could have been a classic. Album highlight "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" contains a great groove by Phil Selway and a ghostly arpeggio that's so light and distant it will make you float and features a great ambient drum breakdown in the end. Despite most of these songs being written during different times and were toyed with on tour for years (Nude was played live as early as the OK Computer tour, but in a completely different format) they all sound like they belong together.

Unfortunately, a few minor details keep In Rainbows from being the classic it should be. The lo-fi production on "Bodysnatchers" and Yorke's abstract vocal approach drag it down. "Faust Arp" which is a great acoustic track backed by an array of strings ends rather too abruptly at two minutes and nine seconds. But the biggest drawback of In Rainbows is its closer "Videotape". Being dragged through every possible parameter during recording (it originally featured an explosive ending), it eventually was stripped down to a minimal piano ballad featuring only a slow burning electronic beat. But despite all these small blemishes, In Rainbows stands in Radiohead's discography as being one of their most consistent records they have released, but it's missing what made some of their older albums true classics.

Recommended songs:
15 Step
House Of Cards
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
All I Need

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user ratings (5657)
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    FlawedPerfection EMERITUS (4)
    With the addition of a second disc, In Rainbows loses some flow but maintains the original...

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

    verdant CONTRIBUTOR (5)
    Facts For Whatever: A 15 Step Guide to In Rainbows...

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

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

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

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

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

    AtavanHalen (4)
    An unpredictable record from the biggest unsigned band in the world....

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

    AngryLittleAlchemist (5)
    "You're All I Need..."...

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

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

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

    tribestros (4.5)
    Dark. Disturbing. Lush, yet subdued. In Rainbows is everything fans hoped for....

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

    CaliggyJack (5)
    IMpossbutnotwithexceptionNEW ER4...

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

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

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    Radiohead rises from the ashes of their past 3 albums and compose a beauty of a record....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
August 19th 2011


Album Rating: 5.0

favorite album by my favorite band.

had to review it.

August 19th 2011


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Nice review. Pos'd.

August 19th 2011


"Album Rating: 4.5

favorite album by my favorite band."...I fanboy so much harder than you

August 19th 2011


Album Rating: 5.0

This was a surprisingly good review, well done mate. Pos'd

August 19th 2011


favorite album by my favorite band.

and no 5?

Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2011


fuzzy guitar three-guitar attack,

Lose the first guitar

August 20th 2011


Album Rating: 5.0

oops weird typo that word usually catches?...haha.

but honestly, i have ok computer and kid a for innovation as 5's.

but this as 4.5 because it's not a classic.

August 20th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

pretty good review. love this album to bits

August 20th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review. Near perfect album, tho I gotta say, the line "I don't wanna be your friend/I just wanna be your lover" is my least favorite part of this entire album. No matter which angle I take it from, that line never ceases to strike me as being all too cliche and bland for a band like Radiohead. Oh well, this album is still beautiful.

August 21st 2011


Album Rating: 5.0

it's so unlike thom yorke to say something like that, it strikes me as suprisingly desperate similiar to "All I Need".

August 28th 2011



August 28th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

yeah, pfft, how dare this be one of my favorite albums. What was I thinking.

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