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.: daehoida®adiohead is a dumb palindrome :.

3rd Feb 08 (Sun) Leave a comment Go to comments

Originally posted 10/13/07~ (update at bottom)

Well, I’ve made it through four (4) times listening to Radiohead‘s new magnum gratis, In Rainbows.  Be forewarned before reading this review that I’m in the “raving fanboy” camp.  Perhaps not one who woke up at 2am on 10/10/07 to download it and listen to it 33.8 times in the first 24 hours… but I have loved mostly everything Yorke+Greenwood²+Selway+O’Brien have put out.  I will admit that I haven’t listened to Radiohead’s other stuff in a while (alas, perhaps I’m only a mild fanboy), but I have driven 10+ hours roundtrip to see them live.  The fact that I bothered to calculate how many times you could fease listening to it in a 24-hour period might show signs of mental instability.  And I’m a silly goose who bought the physical product of the album that they gave out as an mp3 for free.  (Well, the 2nd disk and the vinyl-side of things made it a no-brainer.)

Anyway, here’s my track-by-track thoughts… personal favorites are underlined:

1) 15 Step: Starts with a fun electronic drum loop not unlike the Kid A/Amnesiac era.  They also seem to be back into some guitar soundscaping, which is a welcome return.  This is a great lead-off track, and one of my favs on the record.

2) Bodysnatchers: A guitar rock song… fairly straight forward, but with some great sounds bouncing around.  It’s what Radiohead’s known for… fairly dense music backdrop for Thom’s oft-whiney voice.

3) Nude: This song is ancient… at least from a Radiohead fan’s perspective.  It’s formerly know as “Big Ideas (Don’t Get Any).”  I have it on a b-sides/live compilation I made back in 2001/2002.  Slow and moving, aurally pleasing.  To me, it really shows off that Thom does have some singing chops, no matter what the detracters think (SC, I’m talking to you).

4) Weird Fishes/Arpeggi: The “Arpeggi” part of this was played out in their 2006 summer tour.  The song has nice musical momentum… maybe from whence the “arpeggi” naming came.  Isn’t the plural of fish just fish?

5) All I Need: It opens with slowly bowed-instrument sounds… maybe a cello or even a bowed-guitar (who knows).  Drums and droning keys kick in right as Thom begins to sing this melancholic ballad.  I really love this song.  Maybe my favorite of the lot.  I love frenetic Radiohead (“Packt Like Sardines…”), but I also love these tunes that downplay the rock aspect of the band.  Another tune that shows that Thom can sing.

6) Faust Arp: This is really the only song on In Rainbows that I don’t. really. like.  It just seems too derivative of something from Hail to the Thief.  Plus I just don’t think the über-rhyminess works for me.  The clean acoustic guitar and strings near the end are pleasant, though.  I just don’t think they save the song for me overall.

7) Reckoner:  Another old song like “Nude”… and a welcome old friend.  Falsetto and Thom mixtures sometimes cause panic.  This time, I think it works well.  Maybe not Jude Christodal-falsetto level of “works well,” but pleasant and fitting nonetheless.

8) House of Cards: I’m running out of ways to character sounds… and how I feel about the song.  It’s another more standard slower song.  Nice “wet” sounding on some of the drums… or perhaps vacuous/hollow/distant sounding in spots rather than wet.

9) Jigsaw Falling Into Place: Another favorite track.  I really love is the driving opening.  This song really epitomizes a Radiohead rock song.

10) Videotape: A droning/rattling way to end the album… I can hear Thom’s grandkids in 2040 asking him “what’s a videotape?”

Overall: Raving fanboy notwithstanding… well, I love this record.  It’s got some of the electronic noise element of Kid A that I love so much.  It’s also got some great songs that would fit in with OKC/Amnesiac/HTTT-era Radiohead.  I think it’ll grow on me quite well.  I’m also really looking forward to the 2nd disc in December… it’s got some great tunes scheduled: Last Flowers, Bangers and Mash, Down is the New Up, and 4 Minute Warning.

To get this record yourself… go to http://www.inrainbows.com/ You can get the entire album for as little as 0.45£ (ie- about $1USD)… legally.  You can also pay more… it’s available for free (the 0.45£ is basically to cover server bandwidth, I gather) or whatever you feel it is worth to you.  Most people that I’ve heard from are paying anywhere from $4 to $8 (or so)… which if you think of it, is probably similar (or even a better payout) to what Radiohead would have gotten under a major label contract.  It’s an interesting smack in the face to the major labels.  And for that (and the good music), I applaud the Radiohead gents.

~Dan
-np: christian mcbridenumber two express

2/3/08~ (update)
The (free) Radiohead In Rainbows video podcast
is pert good (get there by searching on iTunes).  I’m about halfway through the (currently available) 10 videos.  My favorite so far is “Jigsaw Falling Into Place (thumbs_down version)” which has the gents all wearing helmet cams while playing.  Thom and Ed have the best movement.  Jonny looks like an alien most times.  Phil’s just trying to play drums while wearing gear on his head (bless him).  Collin rounds out the cast as the boringest .  Alas, a good watch.  And FREE. :)

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