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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This wants to be your lover
I read a quote on "In Rainbows" that stated Radiohead had finally met expectations by surpassing them. I can certainly echo this statement, and perhaps even stake the claim that this may well be Radiohead's best album. Certainly a huge claim, but "In Rainbows" is a wondrous album.

I will keep things short as many reviewers have picked apart and detailed...
Published on 1 Jan 2009 by Tom Chase

versus
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Sure about this one !
Ok, had a couple of listens, it's undoubtedly well produced thanks to Nigel Godrich, but I am still drawn back to Hail to the Thief everytime, it's said Hail to The thief is unconsistent and doesn't flow, I actually like that, its more interesting. This album feels heartless and verging on boring at times with the songwriting seeming more reliant on production. On some...
Published on 2 Feb 2008 by Mr. M. Plumley


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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This wants to be your lover, 1 Jan 2009
By 
Tom Chase (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: In Rainbows (Audio CD)
I read a quote on "In Rainbows" that stated Radiohead had finally met expectations by surpassing them. I can certainly echo this statement, and perhaps even stake the claim that this may well be Radiohead's best album. Certainly a huge claim, but "In Rainbows" is a wondrous album.

I will keep things short as many reviewers have picked apart and detailed individual songs and themes. So, most importantly for me, "In Rainbows" treads that impossibly difficult line of being mostly accessible yet surprisingly lasting. It simply does not tire. Months and months of sporadic listens and I still become totally involved and immersed, a feat that separates truly great albums from good ones. The overall sound of the album perfectly blends the sombre electronic tones of "Kid A" and "Amnesiac" with the guitar-driven rock of "Ok Computer" and "The Bends". It's satisfyingly experimental when need be, yet equally sparse and simplistic. It's cold and desolate at times, warm and genial at others. It is everything I can want from a Radiohead album. Beautiful, consistent, cutting-edge music.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expresses love and humanity in ten songs. From a disconnected viewpoint, obviously, 2 Feb 2009
This review is from: In Rainbows (Audio CD)
The most startling thing about this album is how warm and human it sounds. The diversity of tracks is also impressive, from the stuttering drum-machine opening of '15 Step' that soon twists into avant-garde, jazz rock funk. 'Bodysnatchers' is a fuzzy freak-out with one of my all-time favourite Radiohead moments where Yorke sings angrily and simply 'I'm a lie'. The soulful ballad 'Nude' that by the end sounds nothing less than transcendant, and the otherworldy dreamscape of 'Weird Fishes/Arpeggi' which is strangely relatable as Yorke croons 'everybody leaves if they get the chance', which I interpreted as meaning leaving your home town or an over-familiar place for something better.

There's the doom-synth, love obsession march of 'All I Need' that is a lamenting ode from someone who loves but is unloved in return. It ends cathartically but ambivalently as Yorke cries 'It's s'alright, it's all wrong'. 'Faust' gracefully rolls along with bizarre lyrics that are very understated but compelling all the same, as a subtle orchestral backing swells and undulates throughout. 'Reckoner' is percussive and beautiful, featuring vocals that don't sound like they were made by a normal human being, sounding as transcendant as those in 'Nude'. The lyrics state that this song is 'dedicated to all human beings' as if Yorke himself isn't actually one but loves us all the same.

'House of Cards' has the most un-Radiohead lyrics I've ever heard, where we're told 'I don't wanna be your friend, I just wanna be your lover'. 'Jigsaw Falling Into Place' is lyrically flowing pure rock with its tale of a bad night out that I'm sure a lot of people could identify with. 'Videotape' is very emotional with its starched and sombre stabbing of the piano keys, the title proving very apt as the Yorke-meister sings about recording footage of happy moments to watch again in the future, 'this is one for the good days' that brings Yorke back to himself, 'You are my centre when I spin away'. The stately sadness is offset by the belief that everything in the end will be okay, 'because I know today has been the most perfect day I have ever seen'.

I can only repeat myself and say how magnificently otherworldly, and yet how down-to-earth it all sounds. The references to 'Doctor Faustus' are interesting, with one of the songs being called 'Faust' and 'Videotape' featuring the lyrics 'Mephistopheles is reaching up to grab me'. Radiohead have earned their place as one of the greatest bands of our generation and probably many more, full stop. I honestly can't wait to see what they come up with next.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Reap What They Sow, 24 July 2008
By 
fatsovonchubby (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: In Rainbows (Audio CD)
(Quick Recap first) After the slightly anxious Pablo Honey and the joyous stadium depression of The Bends, Radiohead gradually pushed their own musical boundaries out in earnest. Ok Computer was complex and deep, quite adventurous for a chart topping album and then, for a lot of people, the anticipated releases of Kid A and Amnesiac were a bit too far "out there" with some unfamiliar soundscapes and absence of good old fashioned guitars. Hail to the Thief returned to the realm of Ok Computer, but with a few ponderous and (pardon me) downright boring tracks.

A few more years further on, and the echoes and flavours of all that previous work is evident on In Rainbows. IN A GOOD WAY.

The album is a great collection of tracks. Beautiful chiming guitar work, *fantastic* vocal melodies and arrangements, all with a kind of 'organic' electronic undertone to most of the songs (I hope that makes sense). Each song has depth, progression, and a lot of emotion. Each one delivers something to the listener that makes you feel 'in' the music. Each one has small changes, subtle alterations in instrumental or melody that gently grab you by the ears and make you think "yes - this is how great music is written".

It's rare that an album from a band as well known and well revered as Radiohead can sound so familiar, yet so fresh. I was absolutely delighted on first listen, and continue to be delighted with each recap further down the line. It's a culmination of years of skill and imagination from a bunch of brave musicians. All elements of the previous albums are harmoniously mixed in a kaleidascope of engaging and absorbing songs.

They sowed the seeds of invention a few years ago now. But now we are lucky to be reaping the rewards of all that hard work. Reviews probably don't get more arsey than that - but I genuinely love this album that much.

I think In Rainbows is Radiohead's finest work.
FVC
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Consistently excellent., 18 Mar 2008
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: In Rainbows (Audio CD)
By this point, the hype and the publicity has eclipsed most people's perception of In Rainbows. For the rest of Radiohead's career and probably afterwards, it's going to be remembered not as an album, but as a publicity stunt and possibly a portent of things to come. So let's ignore the internet chicanery for a minute and take a look at what really matters here - the music.

Radiohead's first album since 2003 might seem comparitively slight; at only ten songs and a little over forty minutes, it is not anything as grandly conceptual as OK Computer or as out-there as Kid A. Nor is it in any real sense, a step forward. From one perspective there is nothing on In Rainbows that we haven't heard before, as in many ways it is an album that's a composite of everything Radiohead has achieved up to this point.

The overall mood is relaxed - something unprecedented when it comes to Radiohead albums, but a satisfaction at being rid of their label and mostly happy family men seems to have brought out the best in the band. The album is stripped back, but not restrained. Much like on Kid A, each song only has the instrumentation it requires, and the band is expanding out of their own comfort zones. Even Yorke's lyrics and delivery are warmer and more absorbing when compared to his disquieting character performances on Hail To The Thief.

The songs themselves are uniformly stellar. Even something like 'Faust Arp' which seems like a sketch has in fact been fleshed out, its subtle strings and tricksy timing an alluring mid-point diversion. 'Nude' has been hanging around since the OK Computer days, only now finally appearing on an album, accentuated by the bubbling string section and stripped production of the album.

Best of all is 'Jigsaw Falling Into Place,' a spiralling, swirling rush of arpeggios with Yorke ranting over the top about his experience of a night out. Its chiming coda is the main hairs-stand-on-end moment for the album. The album as a whole, due to a lack of invention or really pushing in any new direction, isn't really on the same level as the holy triad that started with The Bends and ended with Kid A. But it doesn't really need it. In Rainbows is an album to be proud of, an album to treasure, and above all, an album to enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 17 Feb 2008
This review is from: In Rainbows (Audio CD)
I consider myself a Radiohead fan, even though before this album I'd not actually bought any of theirs, though I had borrowed one from my father - the fantastic Kid A - and was aware of a lot of the rest of their work. However, with the release of In Rainbows I decided it was time to start building up my collection and started with this one. I was very glad I did.

My favourite Radiohead song is actually Exit Music (For A Film). Since discovering that song, actually during the film Romeo and Juliet (I know) I've not found a song which has the ability to directly enter my soul and fill me with what, let's face it, is essentially despair. That was, until this album and several of the songs on it.

I'd like to start with Thom Yorke. His voice is what makes the band for me. I'm not even sure quite how to describe it but he has an ability to put such emotion and convey so much through his words. It's one of the few bands which has the power to actually make me feel something and really feel it - not just sadness or happiness or whatnot, which most bands can do, but a whole range of stuff like despair and hope and so on. I nearly cried when my brother told me that Mika was better because he expressed his emotions very well.

The melodies are beautiful, the lyrics are interesting and deep and all in all, this is an album full of great songs. I'd like to particularly note Weird Fishes, Videotape and 15 Steps. Of course, there are always people who hate Radiohead because they're 'depressing'. Which they are. "2am music" as my friend calls them. Therefore, if you are the type of person that prefers cheerful happy music, Radiohead are totally not your band. But if you can cope with that, then you'll love this band.

Brilliant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage work from a more human Radiohead, 19 Feb 2008
By 
Julian Dailly "Stop Look Listen Go" (Strand, London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: In Rainbows (Audio CD)
I used to dislike the miserablism of Radiohead. I resented being told how to be depressed. That's my business. What I love about this album is that it has soul, and gives me space to breate without judging my attempts to conceptualise my own pointlessness, as OK Computer did. (We know about the pointlessness of life, you just live in it)

Here though, Thom Yorke's voice has a crunching, wavering soul to it that adds a something gloriously fallible. He's having a go and he's having fun. He's not a soul singer in the conventional sense, but here his voice gains a fantastic momentum that reminds me of the places Aretha went. I like that willingness to drop his pants, take on a new direction, which I never experienced in the clever, self defense workout of "Fitter, Happier", for example.

And it's just that reciprocity that makes me feel that finally Radiohead are about shaking hands with the audience providing more than a view of a grown men showing off their latest post-ironic, traumatic conceits.

To do this they have borrowed heavily in places both from other peoples' styles, familiar blues scales and from more mainstream emotions. A bit of Arcade Fire, a bit of Sex Pistols...This makes In Rainbows an all together more humble, second-hand, worn in record. And with that in mind I name Bodysnatchers, with its collage of influences, the finest track.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, real music. Stunning!, 31 Jan 2008
By 
R. Morley (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: In Rainbows (Audio CD)
How ironic that In Rainbows was given away for free and yet it's one album that really is worth paying good money for - perhaps that's the point they were trying to make. Before this I liked Radiohead but would not have called myself a massive fan exactly. I only have two of their other albums - The Bends and OK Computer. However I listened to In Rainbows and OK Computer right the way through back-to-back the other day, and somehow I just enjoyed In Rainbows more. It is one of those rare pieces that just lets you drift away...

The first half of the album is simply brilliant - 5 tracks full of wondrous noise. I don't care what people are saying about this album not breaking new ground, to my ears it is full of invention. However, Radiohead deserve praise not just for being different, but for turning innovative sounds into genuinely superb music. That is where even The Beatles sometimes failed.

Of the second half Reckoner and Videotape are the standouts, for me the other three are good rather than great - perhaps they are growers. Overall though I am struggling to think of any album this decade I have enjoyed as much. How refreshing next to all the conformist rubbish we are subjected to today.

My personal favourite (though I'm sure this will change): Weird Fishes
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a stunning album!, 15 Feb 2008
This review is from: In Rainbows (Audio CD)
" Radiohead are running short on ideas." was the scentence that i had to very quickly eat with as much dignity and repentace as I could muster after listening to this album. FANTASTIC. What an achievement. i thought that OK Computer could never be matched but here is proof that it is not only possible but quite probably going to be done again. The songs all have a very Radiohead quality that makes them special. Mystical synthesizers provide an out of world feel to this album whilst not drowning the musician's instrumentals. Guitaring especially is simplistic but exellent and vocals and lyrics are reaching new levels of exellence. Thom Yorke's haunting vocals send shivers down my spine. The greatest songs in my opinion being Reckoner, House of Cards, Nude and Weird Fishes/Arpeggi. I believe that many Radiohead fans will not agree with me but I firmly believe this to be one of Radioheads greatest achievements. This will surely go down in the annals of music as THE best album of 2007 and 2008 (it really deserves 2 years dedicated to it).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In Rainbows, 14 April 2010
By 
TomCat (Cardiff, Wales.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: In Rainbows (Audio CD)
Radiohead's seventh studio album presents a drastic musical departure from the electronic microbeats and frenetic percussion that has characterised their recent work. This phrase `musical departure' is one which, with good cause, both terrifies and elates Radiohead fans; `what have they done this time?' is a query made with simultaneous trepidation and fervent, wide-eyed hope. I apologise in advance if you find the following summary to be unhelpful and inaccurate; it's been said that talking about music is like dancing about architecture; but, I'm going to try anyway...

What is immediately striking about `In Rainbows' is the sparse and unassuming tone of the album. An opening drum solo in a clever, clever 5/4 rhythm signature makes way for a record of inconspicuous string and guitar arrangements, slow and measured dub-bass lines and long instrumental segments that lay bare the band's current penchant for empty, minimalist soundscapes. With the possible exception of `Bodysnatchers', a frantic fuzz-ball of a song, the tracks on this album all feel so delicate and clear that I was initially reluctant to play them at anything but the lowest volumes, lest they accidentally break. Fans hoping for a return to `paranoid-android' era noise-rock will be disappointed.

Lyrically the album yields no surprises; Thom Yorke's words build upon the previously established concerns of existential despair and self-doubt. By now Yorke is an expert at articulating this, and such an intense concentration on these themes results in the most human and staggeringly fragile songs ever produced by the band.

Suffice to say I love this record, its cohesion and definite `sound' is a marked improvement on what I found to be the disappointing `Hail to the Thief'. This is an album in which irresolute and dark lyrical themes converge perfectly with a bare and sharp instrumentation; `In Rainbows' is a moving and intensely personal masterpiece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible, mesmerizing, stunning... everything I hoped this album would be, 6 Mar 2008
By 
Andy Sweeney "music was my first love" (Brighton, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: In Rainbows (Audio CD)
If there was an album more intriguing than Radiohead's In Rainbows released last year, then I don't think I heard it. Of course, intriguing doesn't always equate with enjoyable, but Radiohead have managed to achieve both, although not always in equal measure. The album opener, 15 Step, for example, is a 5/4 time, frantic, paranoid oddity, boasting a powerful drum beat, interesting chord changes, slightly eerie keyboard sounds and desperate panting. It successfully combines challenging the listener's ear with a pleasurable and exciting listen, something that Radiohead haven't always been able to achieve over the last few years.

Babysnatchers is a raw, electric guitar riff-driven, rock song which is propelled along by repetition - certainly not your typical verse-chorus-verse-chorus song, but you wouldn't expect anything less from post Kid A Radiohead. In stark contrast, Nude is a beautifully serene, gentle song, sung by Thom Yorke with a gorgeous falsetto, accompanied by soft electric guitar and some caressing strings - one of the best things I have heard from them in over a decade. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, an uptempo track which starts softly with a drum beat, a guitar arpeggio and Thom's slightly unhinged vocals, builds slowly and gradually into an exciting and fulfilling crescendo providing yet another highlight of the album. The subsequent track, All I Need, a bass-heavy, soundtrack-to-a-film sounding, mid-tempo song with an unusual time code - after listening and attempting to work it out, it appears to be 10/4, is really something and at 3:48, it is almost too short.

The oddly titled but very lovely Faust Arp, features only acoustic guitar, strings and vocals and is a very welcome interlude from the often challenging, more layered tracks on the majority of the album. Reckoner combines the ethereal beauty of Thom's multi-tracked voice with the backing of a constant drum beat, a stripped-down guitar line and some gorgeous strings. House Of Cards has a reverb-laden drum beat and vocal, which results in a huge, cavernous sound, even more effective when the strings are introduced. The last couple of tracks, Jigsaw Falling Into Place and Videotape, which are both good, competent, fairly enjoyable tracks, don't quite measure up to the rest of the album and are a slightly disappointing anti-climax to what is otherwise a remarkable album.

In fact, this really is an incredible piece of work and, to be honest, is it something that I didn't personally think that Radiohead would be able to produce at this stage of their career. It appears to be just the right blend of leftfield experimentation and artistic integrity together with a desire to make music that people can connect with and really enjoy as well as appreciate on a high-brow level. This is a Radiohead I can get on board with and get excited about, something I haven't really been able to do for a number of years.
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In Rainbows [VINYL]
In Rainbows [VINYL] by Radiohead (Vinyl - 2007)
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