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4.4 out of 5 stars
In Rainbows
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
At a certain point, a marvelous band will get a reputation so overwhelming, it's simply not possible for them to keep topping themselves.

And from the sound of "In Rainbows," Radiohead has decided not to let their reputation loom over them -- and I'm not just talking about the online digital release. In their latest album, they reinvent their bittersweet pop sound -- they lose some of the trappings of their past work, in favour of warmer, more intimate melodies and traditional instrumentation.

It opens on an angular note with "15 Steps," which is built around a jagged riff.The first couple minutes are full of fuzzy synth stabs and sharp drums, sounding like a jazz number that's being eaten by a computer. "How come I end up where I started?/How come I end up where I went wrong?" Thom Yorke sings mournfully. "You reel me out then you cut the string..."

But then the guitars slide in and twine through the song, softening it into something very different. The scratchy synth beats and subtle guitar start building to a slow crescendo, staying energetic and almost reggae-esque right to the end.

See it as kind of a transition song for Radiohead; they're easing listeners into their new acoustic sound, rather than just dropping us in. But after that, they pretty much leave the "Kid A" territory behind them -- "Bodysnatchers" is an intense rocker brimming with chunky riffs and softly ringing guitars. It's a gorgeous piece.

After that, the songs gently slip down into more introspective territory -- smooth, dark pop songs wrapped in a heavy blanket of fluid strings and subtle slide guitar. Some of these are dressed up in thick guitars and clattery drums. "Jigsaw Falling Into Place drops the strings for a vibrant guitar-rocker edged with synth, and it all finished up with the quivering, melodic finale "Videotape."

You know, I didn't think that Radiohead could surprise me. So many bands get mired in their best-known sound, and they keep turning out the same ol' because that is what the fans expect. But Radiohead has not only made an exquisitely bittersweet pop album, but they've also injected vitality back into their sound. They sound brand new.

Particularly, they've almost abandoned the cool, alien synth of their last few albums. It's still there in patches, but it's quietly overwhelmed by the layers of slide guitar, streams of piano, and smooth sweeps of elegant strings. These are seamlessly woven with clattering drums and cymbals, thick crunchy riffs. And yes, occasionally a little speck of synth.

But their songwriting is much the same -- simple, yet oblique ("I am a moth who just wants to share your light... I only stick with you because there are no others/You are all I need"). While Yorke's trademark wail is still in place, he sounds more melancholy and contemplative than outright woe-is-me angsty. He even sounds a bit cheerful in "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi."

Most long-standing bands can't summon up a new sound, and new freshness, this far into their careers. But Radiohead have created a quiet little masterpiece in "In Rainbows" -- beautiful, quiet, and melancholy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I tried to make the title less corny, but it's too true to the point that there's no other way to describe it.

Whether you're new to Radiohead or an avid fan, you can't go wrong with this release. It really is bliss, absolute bliss. Each song is crafted in a delicate and incredibly melodic manner with each word coming out of Thom Yorke's mouth something that will provoke your thoughts and challenge your imagination. The band is as tight as they've ever been. Each note played here is crafted with the utmost of care yet nothing ever sounds contrived, pretentious or out of place. The people who gave this album one star never actually gave reasons, they just seem to generally dislike Radiohead. But to be honest, one listen of this record and you will not be able to consciously say you don't think they're brilliant. This is a guarantee.

Standout tracks here are definitely Nude, 15 Step, and House of Cards, though in reality all the tracks have a unique feel to them and none stand out as weak in this arsenal. To the point then, this is a beautiful record and everyone should here it at least once in their lifetimes. Within 15 years people will start to see it as classic that is almost mandatory to own. The Dark Side of the Moon for our generation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2011
"In Rainbows" is a thing of beauty. For the first time, a Radiohead album can be described as warm. For someone wanting to sample the band for the first time, this is the one to buy. Frontman Thom Yorke sings with real feeling and even uses a fine falsetto voice on the gorgeous 'Nude' and the equally stunning 'Reckoner'. The obsessive-love song 'All I Need' starts quietly, driven by a bass synth line. At the three-minute mark, the percussion bursts forth in a flurry of crashing cymbals, the music rises to a crescendo and Yorke repeatedly cries out "It's all wrong, it's all right" over an accompanying piano figure - riding the wave to the song's end. Spine-tingling stuff. Radiohead is in a class by itself and this record proves it time and time again.
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on April 28, 2014
This and Kid A have been my favourite albums for over a year now. Both have a well-crafted, all-killer-no-filler set of 10 tracks. In Rainbows, however, is more accessible. It's a streamlined, more analog record from a band known to experiment heavily with electronics. That's not to say there isn't any of that here, 15 Step and Videotape have electronic drums and textures, and many tracks have ambient "experimental" features like previous Radiohead albums, but for the most part it's a more straightforward rock record. It's also quite mellow: Bodysnatchers is the only real heavy song on the album. Every song here is top notch, however. It's hard to pick favourites here, but I'd say Reckoner, Weird Fishes/Arpeggi and Nude are the album's best moments. Disc two is also phenomenal: 8 tracks that complement this album very nicely (MK1 playing after Videotape is beyond perfect). 10/10, definitely listen to this if you're a Radiohead fan at all. If you aren't, give it a few front-to-back listens, all Radiohead albums take some time to get into. Thanks for reading!
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on January 13, 2008
I've listened to this CD about a dozen times and I like it. It has the musical experimentation I've come to expect from Radiohead complete with a dash of pretension and more than a little esotericism. Like the other two Radiohead albums I own, In Rainbows is a serious trip and these fellas once again prove they are masters of surreal tunes and magical music. My favorite songs from the album right now are "15 Steps" (a relentless beating of a song with a nice bass undercurrent), "Bodysnatchers" (the only real loud rocker on the album) "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" (a silky smooth hypnotizer that could melt you) and "Reckoner" (arguably the strongest vocals of the album and a cymbal crasher's delight). While noticeably reduced in it's presence, the electronic harmony that has made Radiohead the modern musician's darling continues to blend well into most tracks. This album is definitely an easy listen for Radiohead fans and may be a bit more accessible for non-fans looking for good music that is both soulful and different from the norm.

My only complaint with the album: damn, is this thing ever quiet! I'm no expert on Radiohead, but this is easily the softest album of the three I'm familiar with. The majority of In Rainbows definitely lacks the hardness and that scrape-along-the-circuit-board sound which was a trademark appearing in both The Bends and OK Computer. I felt myself waiting for a track to explode into the album like The Bends title track and "Just" or a ripping Greenwood guitar riff like "Airbag" or "Paranoid Android" on OK Computer, but it never came. And I can't help but feel disappointed, because Radiohead knows how to do a truly interesting electric guitar solo without ever sounding cliched and boring like virtually all modern rock songs from lesser bands trying desperately to capture the past glory of that magical instrument. The album even ends on a barely there note with "Videotape", a track which is practically whispered out by lead singer Thom Yorke with the only power coming from the piano (I swear to gawd). If there's one truthful complaint I have of In Rainbows it's the need this album has for a serious jolt of electricity.

Overall, In Rainbows is a solid album that delivers truly unique rock music art that stands apart from the chaff even if the album could use a good shot of adrenaline.
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on January 6, 2008
I have buy this album with the official inrainbows website and on beggining you have the choice to paid what you want. 15 peoples have decide to paid the maximum prize for the download version 200 $ usa

The qualify of mp3 are good but not perfect and now here you can buy the physical release with surely a better quality

In Rainbows is a good cd. Me i said yes and the majority of the people said yes. On Metacritic a website take critic of many magazine website and compile the note In rainbows receive 88 % (42 critic reviews)

He make position 3 of the years with that but for note giving by people he receive the best note of the years with 91 % and 940 votes

In resume he have the best overall of the year for this album but people listen this music have to listen and not just want to listen rock with big guitar. For me this album is simple but great to listen and listen again
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on January 8, 2008
I've been listening to the album since the day it was avaliable for download...also ordered the discbox from England (which is absolutely incredible and was worth every penny!). Months later and the albums still lingering in my mind on a daily basis...the b-side album (extra tracks that didn't make the CD) are also amazing tunes that deserve a listen (you can check out a song at Greenwood's mypace page). If you enjoyed Kid A and/or OK Computer I would highly recommend a listen...since its officially been released Jan 1 2008, it's definitely my fav album of the year so far.
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on December 29, 2007
its easily the best radiohead album ever. i mean it really does stand tall above there other great albums such as kid a and ok computer and there is no getting tired of it from the twitchy beat of 15 step to the the marching drums of videotape this album is full of not only fantastic songs but beautiful ones too and once the piano on videotape fades out you are ready once more for 15 step i must have listened to this album about 40 times since october its a true masterpiece and will stand the test of time.
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on January 8, 2008
While you've probably already heard this album, it's definitely worth picking up a copy of the CD. Not only did this album make history from a marketing perspective, it is also quite simply one of the best releases this year. Rated #3 on this years nighttimes.com top ten list, and an 88 out of 100 from EVERYONE (metcritic), this is a CD that you will want to keep in the plastic.

GET IT - GET IT NOW!!!
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I'm not the biggest Radiohead fan of all time. I don't listen to them often, I didn't like Kid A, Amnesiac, or Hail to the Theif. I really liked The Bends and OK Computer. This album is on par with The Bends and OK Computer. If you like Radiohead, chances are you will like this album. Enough said.
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