Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Everyone's Talking About Radiohead and their online release of In Rainbows. Check out Episode #91 coming this monday for a little taste

Radiohead's In Rainbows: Fan Reactions

Story by Tyler Grisham | taken from PitchforkMedia.com |

Over the past fortnight, Radiohead have managed to ignite the kind of buzz that bands and labels typically spend months-- or years-- attempting to stoke. By announcing their seventh studio album a mere 10 days in advance of its release, Thom Yorke and his cohorts unleashed a barrage of blog posts, major media investigative pieces, and countless message board threads that quickly grew to unwieldy lengths. The release has prompted no small amount of controversy as well, not least of which because it is being digitally released at a bitrate lower than that of typical high-end mp3s, causing audiophiles and music geeks to cry foul.

Now that In Rainbows has finally seen its initial digital release, reports are starting to file in, and although we've finally made time to give our official thoughts on the album, some of our readers were even quicker to the draw, and so we present you with the Pitchfork Readers' First Impressions of Rainbows:


Speeding Up to Stop, a blog that apparently shares our passion for Radiohead. The blogger, known only as "iamthegamer" stayed up till the wee hours of the morning on October 10, in order to compile what may have been the first track-by-track review.

1. 15 Step - Surprisingly languid. Vibrant. Vitalizing. A restrained Aphex Twin bass with sick guitar hook. I may be crazy because it's 3 AM, but I think this is what The Mars Volta would sound like on an Electronica (and anti-depressant) binge. The perfect opener after Hail to the Thief.

2. Bodysnatchers - If 15 Step didn't send the message, Bodysnatchers mails it personally to your skull. It just fucking rocks, more so than anything of Hail to the Thief....and just about anything else this year. "Idioteque" comes close, but I think this is Radiohead's first actual....DANCE TRACK, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. Spins off the rails into glorious oblivion near the end.

3. Nude - THIS is the evolution Kid A promised. Chopped and screwed string section combined a slinky bass line and Thom "I just don't seem to give a fuck anymore" Yorke. It's majestic. Home-like. Comfortable. Warm. Graceful. Strings remind me of a Disney movie. Guitar reminds me of rainy Saturday afternoons. Just fantastic.

4. Weird Fishes/Arpeggii - Run away guitar, with Phil Selway locked fully into "better-than-drum-machine" sync. Blooms with synths and strings into a glorious harmony. This is the track Bjork always promised she'd make (and never bothered to).

5. All I Need - Very simple. Feels like "A Punchup at a Wedding" in Kid A's universe, sans the underlying anger. A good breather after all this quick footed awesome. I think I hear Thom beating boxing here. Cute. Piano, strings, and drums sail this one off into the night. Cacophony of beauty.

6. Faust Arp - Thom starts off with hushed runaway vocals, splendidly arranged strings intertwinging with a lightly plucked acoustic. "I love you, but our love is enough. There's no real reason." Or something close to that. Very short, very poignant.

7. Reckoner - Delightful bass line mixed with a very alive rhythm section. Makes me want to dance in the rain. Breaks down a good way through, with soothing oohs and strings ushering it back into consciousness. Feels like home...AGAIN. Radiohead haven't sound so genuine in years.

8. House of Cards - "I don't wanna be your friend. I just want to be your lover." says it all. Thom is actually back to singing about fucking PEOPLE again! It's been so many albums of figurative language and subtle meanings, he's actually writing like he did during The Bends. Again, wonderful string arrangements. This is a "Saturday night after the Party's over" track. So comfortable, in a "sit around the campfire" kind of way. Life in slow motion.

9. Jigsaw Falling into Place - Acoustic, bass, drums.....Rock song? "Mhmmmmm" says Thom. "All blurring into one / this place is on a mission". A driving track if there ever was one, with pronounced guitars propelling the song forwards. Strings up the game higher, almost as if they're contending with Thom for the highest octave.

10. Videotape - The end. Radiohead's known for absolutely drop dead finale to their records. Here, a piano plunks it way as Thom sings of "Pearly Gates" and having it all in "Red. Blue. Green.". Drums stutter in. "ooohhhs" slide in. "This is more than about saying good bye / cuz I can't do it face-to-face". "Today has been the most perfect day I've ever seen." The song threatens to explode. I up the volume on my mp3 higher than my ears will allows. It picks up speed. It just reverbs back at me. So beautiful. A somber end to such a triumphant record.

So I'm done. There are no immediately poor tracks, ergo, this is their best album since Kid A. Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief both faltered on the first listen. In Rainbows holds up, and strongly at that. It's perhaps their least abrasive, most beautiful record they've (yet to) put to acetate. In that sense, it is much closer to OK Computer than anything else. It's unnervingly alive, much unlike HttF, which at times fell into place too easily, too uncomfortably. This isn't entirely genre-redefining work, but god damnit, it's fucking amazing nonetheless. Simply gorgeous.

Well worth:
The Fallout
The Hype
The Wait
The Time
The Money
Living for.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to pass out.

We do, too, Mr. Gamer. The most concise response we recieved came from reader Jason Schupper, a blogger at One For the Good Days, who exclaimed to us via email that:

"In short the album exceeds fan expectations by finally meeting them."

Well said, Jason.


Finally, probably the most unique aspect of In Rainbows' release-- it's name-your-own-price download-- has got internet pollsters all in a tizzy trying to predict whether this new model will save the music industry, or put the last nails in its coffin. The folks over at whatpricedidyouchoose.com have sent us a sampling of the responses they've gotten on their poll so far.

(The following is just a random sample of a few comments and prices chosen from thousands of survey submissions since the survey was launched last Wednesday 3 October )

£5.00 (United States)
1 for loyalty to my favorite band
1 for taking a shot at record companies
1 for respecting the consumer
1 for resisting the status quo
1 for splendid music

£40.00 (United Kingdom)
Discbox. I've never come across a Radiohead album that i didn't like so i don't think i'm taking much of a risk paying full whack. I think other artists who think they've got a massive fanbase (50 cent for one) still wouldn't have the balls to do something like this, besides it's not really about the money with Radiohead and that's what i respect about them. I've bought many albums this year which i regret, paying about a tenner for 3 good singles and umpteen shoddy/rushed/lazy 'filler' tracks is a joke.

£2.50 (United States)
I payed 2.50, but I'm still undecided about getting the discbox. If I don't, I'll pay them more. If the album's especially awesome, I'll pay them even more. I love the concept of 'tipping' a band, being able to show support in a more intimate way, even for a band as big as Radiohead.

£2.00 (United Kingdom)
the price they would receive through standard distribution of their record after the appropriate deductions, plus a litte bit more (i think)

£0.00 (United Kingdom)
I'm not even sure I like Radiohead, I found OK Computer really hard going. So I'm taking a (free) punt and seeing what it's like, either I'll become a new fan or continue on my way.

£7.00 (United States)
pay up. this means more than just a price of a cd.

£3.00 (United Kingdom)
Seems like a fair price with low overhead of distribution. They're happy, I'm happy, we're all happy.

£0.01 (United Kingdom)
I'm going to get the box set later in the year, so I don't feel guilty at all paying 1p for it.

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Blogger Chris said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:49 PM 
Blogger Chris said...

I ended up paying 0.00 for it, simply because I hadn't enough in the bank to spare. But now that I have more, I'm going to get my friend the album, and double the price so I pay for mine too.

It was also nice to get it free, because I can do what I always want to do with albums that I'm not sure about - take them for a test drive. If I like, I buy, and if I don't, I have no reason to keep it. It's the only reason I've stolen music in the past. The fact that Radiohead took the illegality out of the distribution system seriously is revolutionary.

11:55 PM 
Blogger Speeding Up to Stop / Iamthegamer said...

Thanks for the link, guys! Much appreciated and love the site you got here.

1:36 PM 
Blogger sean said...

i also payed $3 for the album, because i was unsure about the quality. i love radiohead but - but one never knows. However, after downloading and listening I would have payed $20 for the album in the store. But i'm buying the boxset anyway. we all know we are

because radiohead gives us the best music and we don't mind giving a little back


7:31 PM 

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