Album Reviews



In Rainbows

RS: 4.5of 5 Stars Average User Rating: 4.5of 5 Stars


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These wily boys may have a secret album-title exchange program with Kelly Clarkson, but everything else about In Rainbows is typically hard-rocking Radiohead. Like every other Radiohead album except Kid A — still their most famous album, but they only made it once — In Rainbows has uptempo guitar songs and moody acoustic ballads, full of headphone-tweaking sound effects. All of it rocks; none of it sounds like any other band on earth; it delivers an emotional punch that proves all other rock stars owe us an apology.

In a brilliant move, Radiohead released In Rainbows via optional-pay download; I paid $5.27, in honor of my mom's birthday. Almost all the songs are already familiar to fans from live versions, but here they become expansive new creations. "Arpeggi" and "Bodysnatchers" ride on white-heat rhythm-guitar overdrive, while "House of Cards" is a fragile lovers-rock ballad closely resembling Dusty Springfield's (and the Byrds') "Going Back." "All I Need" has erotic pleading ("I'm an animal trapped in your hot car"), sad chimes in the "No Surprises" mode, and an ominoso synth-piano rumble. On 2003's Hail to the Thief, Yorke's vocals were all punk rage, but here his voice has an R&B lilt that suits the songs' romantic directness.

The end of "Videotape" is the only time the band dips back into dated glitch-blip electronics. Otherwise, the music is full of vividly collaborative sonic touches, from the Gary Numan synth-nightmare drones of "All I Need" and "House of Cards" to drummer Phil Selway's surprisingly deft way with his brushes and woodblocks. No wasted moments, no weak tracks: just primo Radiohead. Hell, I'm going back and tipping them another quarter just for the finger-cymbal solo on "Reckoner."

Rob Sheffield

(Posted: Nov 1, 2007)


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Review 1 of 62

JamesBroad writes:

5of 5 Stars

Absolutely loved it, brilliant! Highly recommend, everyone should experience this album!

Feb 8, 2008 16:15:48

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Review 2 of 62

clarkiedude writes:

5of 5 Stars

Absolutely amazing from start to finish!

Jan 23, 2008 16:15:25

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Review 3 of 62

lifeforce writes:

5of 5 Stars

I was introduced to Radiohead during the OK Computer days, and it was a unfamiliar kind of music for me, but I was convinced after a few listens, that this was a band that I'd come to love. I've purchased all of their albums since OK, and will probably buy everything they release. "In Rainbows" is an album that sounds very different than any other of their others. I like that the songs have melodies that are capable of being sung. Yorke's vocals are much clearer than on any of his other great albums. I love all of the songs on "In Rainbows," and can listen to it all at once a few times a day. I always look forward to a new release from Radiohead, and I know I'll have to wait another four years for another. I've learned to be patient.

Jan 12, 2008 01:20:52

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Review 4 of 62

digitaltune writes:

3of 5 Stars

I like a few songs on this album alot.. These would be Reckoner, Nude, All I Need, and Faust Arp. So I think its a good record. But.. But.. But.. Does anyone else think that Radiohead (esp. Thom Yorke) needs a sense of humor? I think Radiohead takes itself way too seriously these days.. They don't really rock-out anymore. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of dark music and think that Radiohead is best when Thom Yorke puts that beautiful voice behind a ballad (like Nude and All I Need). It's just that I miss hearing Radiohead performing as a band. Frankly, when I hear Radiohead records now, I don't know how much of it is the product of that ambitious young talented band that produced gems like the Bends and OK Computer, and how much of it is the product of just having lots-o-money and a talented production team - like Madonna and Justin Timberlake do. So for the next record, I hope they go completely acoustic and write something half as funny as, say, Just and Paranoid Android. Cause I think the best part of Radiohead use to be listening to five really talented musicians playing their instruments with precision, passion, and a message. I also agree that Kid A (although my second favorite Radiohead record) is clearly NOT its most popular album. That distinction goes to Ok Computer. By the way, did anyone else notice that Jonny Marr (the Smiths) contributed to the record?

Jan 8, 2008 12:45:14

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Review 5 of 62

pneumonia writes:

5of 5 Stars

These guys have done it again. I think they will never stop surprise us all.

Jan 8, 2008 09:33:20

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Review 6 of 62

maxmontgomery writes:

5of 5 Stars

If you put Radiohead on a timeline, you could see how they have changed when you compare "The Bends" with "Hail to the Theif". I was really worried about this next album but now I can say it was worth the wait. There was only one song that I didn't like, Nude. I prefer the version with the organ instead. Disc two of "In Rainbows" has some ok songs in it for a bonus disc. Songs like "Bangers N Mash" and "4 minute warning" belong on the first cd.

Dec 18, 2007 18:38:06

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Review 7 of 62

SSBMboss writes:

5of 5 Stars

This is their best album, even better than OK Computer and Kid A. My full review is here, dudes:

Dec 11, 2007 10:46:04

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Review 8 of 62

rebshay writes:

4of 5 Stars

This album gives me goosebumps. For the first time in a long time, I am completely satisfied with an album as a whole, not just the radio single with the catchy licks. I absolutely love the whole thing including their reversion back to their old stuff in 'Videotape'...But 'Reckoning' still takes the cake for me, providing me with symphonic overtones that I could listen to for hours on end. Great review!

Dec 11, 2007 05:06:31

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