If you're like me, you genuinely believe that Radiohead are one of those truly rare bands that really do manage to better themselves with each successive album. Rest assured, 'In Rainbows' does not break this trend. Track for track, it's undoubtedly the greatest selection of songs Yorke & co. have ever compiled. It's also pretty sparse; with many of the songs brand new, whilst a handful date back to the 'Hail To The Thief' sessions. The true highlight of the album, however, is 'Nude' - a beautiful ballad dating back in some form or another to at least 1997, during the 'OK Computer' tour. The band have been trying to agree for the better part of a decade on how to approach the song in the studio. At last, it surfaces as a modern, polished Radiohead classic.
'In Rainbows' is such a focused, no-frills record; it really is simply ten great songs. There's no filler, no experimentation, just great music. There's certainly something for everyone here, with personal favourites including 'Jigsaw Falling Into Place' (the first single taken from the record), 'Reckoner' and of course, the haunting final track, 'Videotape'.
Despite its diversity and the sheer quality of most of the tracks, the biggest complaint of 2003's 'Hail To The Thief' was that it was somewhat overlong. True, it could have been trimmed down. What we have with 'In Rainbows', therefore, is a record so focused - perhaps even intense - that it delivers so utterly and completely that you almost wish there were 12 tracks instead of 10.