Sound — 9
Radiohead, still a band very much under pressure to produce an album equal to possibly the greatest album of all time; 'OK Computer', so does 'In Rainbows' deliver? On a whole yes. Tracks such as album opener, '15 Step' reminds you of songs which came out of the 'Kid A' recording sessions. Whereas the next track 'Bodysnatchers' sounds like it could have been in 'The Bends' due to the underlying guitar riff that travels through the song. The album varies from Electronica to a beautiful piano ballad. Most bands wouldn't vary styles within an album so much, but this is Radiohead!
Lyrics — 9
Lyrically the album is genious. Most tracks drift effortlessly into your mind, most noticabley 'Nude' with lyrics such as You've gone off the rails almost hypnotising you. The style is quite contradictorily to the apparent meaning of the song which seems quite dark and sinister as Thom Yorke also sings You'll go to hell for what your dirty mind is thinking. A band who has produced, arguably, some of the best lyrics of the modern era, haven't delivered on the scale of previous albums this time around but have still produced a very fine set of lyrics. The lyrics, beautiful as they are, are not on the same par as songs such as 'Fake Plastic Trees' and 'Black Star.' Thom Yorkes voice however doesn't disappoint, he may not be the same man as he was back in 1991 with the phenomenon that was 'Creep', which is very much a good thing. His faultless vocals drifting from track to track giving a feeling of, everything's ok, which once again seems quite contradictorily from the albums lyrical base of rejection and general insecurity. This may be in correlation to the title 'In Rainbows' a pleasant place, even though the worlds in a state of chaos underneath you.
Overall Impression — 10
Like with 'Kid A' the marketing for the album has been genius. Johnny Greenwood coming out and saying the album won't be out to 2008, then weeks later saying it's out in 10 days. Suddenly music sites turned into a Radiohead promotion site. One problem with this was always going to be, will the album be worthy of the hype prior to it's release. In one word, yes. The album is pure Radiohead, it's not on the level of OK Computer but the Radiohead in 1997 are very different to the Radiohead 10 years later. The album highlight for me is the album closer 'Videotape' possibly their best piano track, which is a lot to say after songs such as 'You and Whose Army' and 'Karma Police'. Not necessarily a bad point about the album but something that deserves to be noted is huge similarities to other Radiohead songs. The start of 'All I Need' sounds very much like it's going to go into 'Where I End and You Begin'. 'Nude' sounds like in places it's going to morph into 'Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong' and many other examples are dotted around the album. 'In Rainbows' isn't long enough in my opinion, but with the boxset coming out in December including another CD of new material should make In Rainbows an epic adventure that only Radiohead can deliver. If I lost the music files I would definitely download it again as it is another album by Radiohead that I can listen to time and time again. It may not be OK Computer but it's still one of the albums of the year!