This was a project for my Online Journalism class.
We were to write a review on any album, movie, restaurant, event, etc. as long as it was relatively recent (within the last 5 years).
I chose to write about Radiohead's seventh studio album In Rainbows.
Tell me what you think!
In Rainbows created a new generation of fans for the experimental rock group, Radiohead.
Since their debut single “Creep” that was released in 1992, the band has developed an almost cult-like following among underground hipsters and college students alike. However, the 2007 self-release of their seventh studio album, In Rainbows, have brought the group to a subtle mainstream status, which may not be such a bad thing.
Mark Pytlik, music critic for Pitchfork Media, says in his own review that the 10-track album is a “very different kind of Radiohead record” that seems completely liberated from their “self-imposed pressure to innovate.” For the first time since arguably The Bends circa 1995, Radiohead is once again user friendly. They have strayed away from complicated, electronic, musical puzzles and have returned to their roots with much more emphasis on instrumentals and melody. Perhaps the reason for this is that front man Thom Yorke’s solo project allows him to release all of his experimental temptations onto a separate outlet. Or perhaps the band simply wanted to remind their fans of how beautifully they are able to work off of each other. Whatever the reason, the overall tone of the album is refreshing.
“They actually sound like a true band again,” says Eliot Mitchell, a senior in Accounting at The University of Tennessee and a self-proclaimed Radiohead junkie. “You don’t have to know anything about Radiohead to love this album.” What he means by this statement is that it would be difficult for a virgin Radiohead listener, for example, to hear Amnesiac’s “Like Spinning Plates” or Kid A’s “Everything in its Right Place,” and immediately be drawn to the sound. Appreciation of these kinds of songs generally requires immense dedication to the band and extensive knowledge about their craft. In Rainbows, on the other hand, opens with “15 Step,” which starts out with a 40-second drumbeat that is immediately followed by an enthusiastic guitar line by Jonny Greenwood. The track is catchy and uplifting, perfect for attracting an unsuspecting ear. By the time the harmonic, softer track “All I Need” rolls around, listeners are officially assured that this album is indeed a five-man show as opposed to an artistic display of computer generated effects.
Though the album may not be everyone's personal cup of tea (perhaps Yorke’s renowned beats and electronics are preferred), I give In Rainbows an overall score of nine out of 10. Musically reinventing one's self is challenging after all, and it gives way to potentially detrimental consequences. Fortunately for us, Radiohead seems to have once again mastered the art.