Radiohead’s new album is okay. Yep, just okay.
There are a couple of tracks that I love. “All I Need” has a vaguely 80s tinge to it in the vein of Depeche Mode et al and features deep, fuzzy bass tones against tinkling bells that give a desolate feeling that increases as the song swells. Similar is “Videotape” whose sad and haunting piano line ends up being rather beautiful. On the whole the track gives off an uneasy feeling that is oddly satisfying.
Aside from those two tracks, however, the album is underwhelming. Many of the tracks did very little for me – “15 Steps”‘s lazy guitars and beatbox, Yorke’s high falsetto on “Reckoner”, and the stream of consciousness delivery on “Faust Arp” all made me just shrug. The chill sways of “Nude” and urgent swells of “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” were mildly interesting, but really only in contrast to nonstarter “House of Cards”.
Lyrical themes of self-loathing, failed romance, sin, and death dominate In Rainbows, causing the album to come off as more of an oral diary than an album, compounded by the general lack of noteworthy instrumentals. Perhaps Yorke says it best with the line “what’s the point of instruments?/words are a sawed-off shotgun” – but then again for this to apply the lyrics on this album would need to be considerably stepped up.
In Rainbows dropped 10/10/07.
Download the album for free here.