Radiohead, “In Rainbows”
By Mark Guarino
You named your price. You received your download.
Was it worth it?
Radiohead’s seventh album “In Rainbows” is not a hastily assembled collection of tracks meant to appease the Web faithful. It is a cohesive album of ten songs that swim through moods and textures that grow deeper upon each listen. Unlike previous albums that tested the listener’s patience for noise experiments, “In Rainbows” is an accessible listen that stands up to or even surpasses the band’s most recent work.
Center focus, as always, is singer Thom Yorke who, coming off a recent solo album, sounds more energized to use his voice as a wordless instrument than as a direct mouthpiece. More R&B than twee, his lovely voice sails up octaves on “Nude” — one of the many watery synthesized ballads here — in near transcendence of the restless soundscape below. Not that he lacks black humor: On “Videotape” he imagines having to turn in a recorded version of his life at the pearly gates. Heaven sounds fun: tennis balls pop alongside a mournful piano pattern.
“In Rainbows” also includes some of the band’s most heated moments, particularly “Bodysnatchers,” where Yorke sings from the perspective of being trapped inside a body he doesn’t own: “Has the light gone out for you?/Cause the light’s gone for me/It is the 21st century.” Like trapped inside Pearl Jam, Radiohead’s guitarists lock into overdrive, taking a nightmarish scenario and driving it home.