In Rainbows: a Colorful Album with so much Depth

This is the cover art for Radioheads seventh studio album, In Rainbows

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This is the cover art for Radiohead’s seventh studio album, “In Rainbows”

Because my last music review was a newer album, I decided that I would review an older album this week: In Rainbows by Radiohead. This album is one of my favorite albums of all time; however, I fully acknowledge the fact that Radiohead’s music can take some time to get used to so if you listen to this album and are unsure about it, give it some time and maybe try OK Computer first, one of their more accessible albums. Overall, In Rainbows falls into a couple different genres in my opinion: rock, alternative/indie, and maybe a little bit of electronic or dance, but it’s the fusion of these many genres that makes this album shine.

In Rainbows benefits from a very strong first track, one of my favorites on the album. “15 step” starts with a fairly simplistic beat but I just can’t get enough of it, it’s really something that I have never heard in any other song. Then the lead guitarist, Jonny Greenwood, and his signature guitar riffs come in and often give me goosebumps. The instrumentals plus the almost haunting vocals that are often associated with Radiohead make this song something to really be remembered. The second song, “Bodysnatchers,” is a bit more of a classic rock song with the driving guitar and steady drum beat. Although more classic I think this song is just as good as the first and it has one of my favorite lines on this album: “Blink your eyes, one for yes, two for no.” Something about this line along with the fact the title is “Bodysnatchers” really resonates with me. “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” is another one of my favorites. The guitar is very floaty in this song and gives off a feeling that I really like. The beat on the high hat is also quite unique for this song and drives the song while the guitar is more laid back. This disconnect in the tempo provides a very intriguing feel to the song. Then the lead singer’s quiet lyrics on top of that just makes this song very enjoyable to listen to. “Faust Arp” is interesting because it trades the heavy, metallic sound of the previous songs for a more classical sound with broad, sweeping orchestral sounds and an acoustic guitar for lead. This fact does two things, first off it adds a breath of fresh air to the heavy feel of the rest of the album but it also provides an opportunity for the lead vocalist to really shine and he does just that. This song is one of the prettiest in sound on this album. The song after “Faust Arp” splits the difference when it brings the driving drums back for a heavier sound but keeps the almost orchestral sound with the grand piano and allows the lead vocalist to really shine once again. It is this mix of genres that makes the song so good; it shows how talented this group really is and how well they shine while fusing many different styles. The last three songs on this album are my favorites, “House of Cards,” “Jigsaw Falling Into Place,” and “Videotape” all do so much right. “House of Cards” is more minimalist and lighter in tone; the lowkey guitar in the background is one of my favorite uses of a guitar in music in general. The lyrics are powerful and add so much to the overall sound and feel. This song sounds almost jolly, which is very refreshing. “Jigsaw Falling Into Place” then swaps most of what I just said about “House of Cards,” with the dark tone, driving drum beat, the slow, creeping guitar that eventually comes to a climax. Then the lyrics are haunting between the actual words but also the wailing in the background and the beginning of the song really makes this song stand out for me. This complete shift from the last song is executed perfectly and makes them fit together really well. Finally, “Videotape” is the fantastic conclusion to this album. They trade the haunting guitar for a deep bass guitar and minor chords on the piano. This gives the song an ominous feel to it which I really love but what is even better is that the lyrics are almost happy. This discord is very interesting and makes this song stand out.

In Rainbows is a fantastic example of fusing many different themes and making them all work. Although I did not cover all the songs, I covered most of them and the standard of quality follows suit for all songs on this album. This is an album that I can legitimately say I enjoy every song on it. I would highly recommend it to anyone curious about this album or the genre. Again, if you are not sure about the album the first time you listen to it I was the same way, try it a couple times, each time giving yourself some time to think. And also try their other albums if you want to easy your way in. Do you agree? Let me know i the comment and give me things to review while you’re at it!