So, as I said earlier, I've been listening to In Rainbows, the new album from Radiohead, since yesterday morning. Yes, that means that every single chance I've gotten, I've been listening to it. Again. And again. And again. I've been telling people this all day, but, you know, it's just as true now as it was the first time I said it: listening to a new Radiohead album is like eating at a fine restaurant after eating (mostly) fast food for a few years.
They're that good.
Out of all the bands that make music for consumption by the masses, Radiohead is one of the few bands that makes my shortlist of the "bands that really matter." See, their music is like a great piece of art. You might not fully appreciate it at first, but, if you give it time, you will be richly rewarded. After downloading the new album, I confess that I was underwhelmed at first. I thought to myself, "this is what we were waiting for?" But, I kept listening, and Radiohead's music, once again, did what does best. It bloomed.
Now, a lot of music can be judged on first listen, but not Radiohead's. Of course, sometimes one of their songs hits you the first time around, (a la Fake Plastic Trees or Karma Police) but, with a lot of their music, you just have to wait until the moment you've been waiting for comes. The songs come alive. Your body sways hypnotically to the beat, your mouth sings along the words you've just learned, and your whole being positively exults in the glorious sound.
Now, for the actual album itself. It hearkens back to the melodicism of OK Computer, with the complex rhythmic structures of Hail To The Thief and the synthesizers of Kid A thrown in. There's not a single song that I dislike, but there are a few that deserve special mention. First, Bodysnatchers is an example of flat-out guitar rock. (make that superb guitar rock) Nude is lush and beautiful, and I'd argue that it's one of the better songs they've ever done. All I Need is a beautiful love song. But, Reckoner? Reckoner is just gorgeous, and very groovy too. (just saying that it's "gorgeous" still isn't nearly enough) Finally, there's House of Cards. What can I say? It's probably the most straightforward love song they've ever done, and it's probably going to take its place among my very favorite Radiohead songs. All in all, this is a terrific album that I'd highly recommend you get as soon as possible. Go to http://www.inrainbows.com/ and follow the directions for pre-ordering the download. (it's perfectly legal, by the way)
Radiohead is not easy listening, that's for sure. It is music that is completely unique and often difficult. Their music is the music of hopes both lost and found, fear, pain, joy, despair, and love. In other words, you could say that it's music that encompasses what it means to be human.