Liveblogging Review - In Rainbows - Radiohead
Alright I am going to try something that I have never done...the clock has just struck midnight and the glorious date of Oct 10th is upon us meaning, In Rainbows. The new offering from Radiohead is officially available via their website for download. I have just downloaded the album, which I paid a healthy sum of $10 bucks for. I am going to liveblog and review each track as I listen to the album for the very first time. I have heard a few tracks live but I expect a wholly different experience listening to studio versions.
Everyone knows by now that you can choose what you want (or don't want) to pay for the album. All I can say is support the band and give something, anything. The word revolutionize is thrown out alot nowadays but they truly are changing the way we can buy and consume music and expect many bands to follow suit.
Electronic, blistering beat from the first drop. Great guitar riff enters about :45 sec into the track. Classic Thom Yorke here, very Kid A-ish track, very layered with electronic sounds and noises.
Crunchy, electro guitar riff opens the track. Continues the fast pace of 15 Step. Thom's vocals take somewhat of a backseat to the whining guitar of Greenwood. No traditional chorus for this track. Sounds like a great track to hear live, showcasing the band as well as Thom's vocal range. Great breakdown at the end of the track to a simple finish
Seamless blend from the strings at the end of "Bodysnatchers." Minimalistic at start of track, a great bass track, with drums and Thom. Slowly blends in synth and Johnny's guitar melody. Simple, sweet track. Strings provide a great ethereal feel to the track and Thom's vocals are on point as usual. So far a standout, and favorite of the album
Once again, the track starts straight away from "Nude" this time immediately taking off into a fast pace drumbeat and guitar melody. Arpeggi is a track that the band has been playing for about two or so years now, this is def. a different take on the track. The original track I heard featured strings very prominently, this version however is very guitar driven. So far, 3 out of 4 tracks have had the same driving, fast paced beat. Great build-up and climax. Another very Kid A-ish track. I must say I liked the live version that has been floating around a bit more.
All I Need
This track had been my fav of the live versions I have heard so far. Catchy synth melody opens the track. This will be a favorite track of many people. Great writing (as usual) with great production to go along with it. So far the album is heavily electronic based. Great use of piano and strings, this track is by far the most "produced" and layered track. Great climax and finish.
Another melodic track, strings and acoustic guitar start the track. Simple, no percussion, yet very bodied shortest track on the album, yet along with "All I Need" one of the more well produced and layered tracks.
Sounds much like a track that would belong on Yorke's solo album, only more full and dynamic. A sharp contrast to Faust Arp, percussion dominates from the beginning. Thom's falsetto once again blends with the band, almost becoming another instrument. The use of string elements has made this album sound so rich and full so far, once again this track makes great use of the strings furthering the full-bodied sound of the album.
House Of Cards
Very interesting opening. A simple Greenwood riff plays throughout, with a deep synth line playing below. Track becomes a bit repetitive, however does not bore. High reaching synth joins. Spare
Jigsaw Falling Into Place
Great acoustic guitar work at beginning into beat. Thom's eerie humming comes in and soon the first verse. Thom showing another range, singing lower than usual. A very full-bodied track, a great "band" track. Great bridge. Another stand out track. So far the stand out tracks have been the most layered and produced tracks, featuring strings and the full band. Alot of the others feel like they could be on Kid A or Thom's solos album.
Piano starts the final track. Thom enters once again in full falsetto mode. The piano track repeating the same full 4 chord melody, building with drums now. A sweat, reflective song. "Today has been the most perfect day I have ever seen" Quite an up beat lyric for Mr. Yorke. The repeating melody is great, simple but reflective. Great closing track, leaves you wanting more.
Well there it is clocking in at a brisk 43 minutes, In Rainbows. After so much surprise, build up and anticipation I can only say I am fully satisfied. As I said many times, the album falls somewhere between Kid A and Thom's solo effort The Eraser. Yet the album marks a step forward for the band as they use much more instrumentation to further enrich their renowned sound. Some bands use strings and orchestration to provide cheap emotion, but that is never the case on this album, every instrument feels natural and only bolsters the sound of Yorke and Co. Many worried that the band would slip back into their "Hail to the Thief"(Which I liked quite a bit) era sound, however I do feel there is a new energy and depth to these tracks. It is a mature and layered album that will ripen and only get better on further listens. Some tracks are immediately accessible, while others I feel will take some time to grow on the listener. The album never rocks like The Bends or Ok Computer but feels more like a extension of what they created with Kid A
It is so refreshing to see a band so unabashedly confident in their music and their output that they would say "Fuck the system" and try something that smaller groups have done, but never a group on the level of Radiohead has done. They have basically chosen to fly blind and let the consumer decide what their effort is worth. Some will pay and some will opt to get the album for free, but the idea and aim of the band is one that will and already has (i.e. NIN, Jamiroquai) set a new method and practice of distribution.
In Rainbows is a great album and a great step forward for the most progressive band on the planet.