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Review of Radiohead’s “In Rainbows”


If your beer is Michelob Ultra and you prefer Baked Lays, then sample this year’s Coldplay Light.Radiohead






   You may remember Radiohead from their huge 1992 hit “Creep,” or from other hits such as… well, okay.  That’s pretty much it.  Radiohead pretty much disappeared from the mainstream North American music scene after that, though they remained a staple on college radio, sustained by all those kids who kept watching for the Gen-X version of the British Invasion.  A sufficient level of hype and modest amount of internet marketing lead to a trio of albums starting in 2000 which charted high, yet produced no singles that anyone outside of their immediate families would recognize.

   Truthfully, I would have missed In Rainbows altogether had it not caught my eye at the top of’s “hot new releases” list, beating out such powerhouses as Robert Plant, Ringo Starr, and the “Alvin & The  Chipmunks” soundtrack.  But because it was released on January 1st, making it one of the year’s first offerings (and mostly because I was not motivated sufficiently to find another album to review), I gave it a quick once-over. 

   That pretty much covered it.

   I’m not sure what I was expecting from the creators of “Creep,” but I don’t think this was it.  What I got was the elevator muzak of the alternative music scene.  In fact, an instrumental rendition by the Boston Pops might have worked out better, to spare us the vocals.  In the lower register, Thom Yorke came across as a poor man’s Bono; in the warbly higher register, you have a poor man’s Chris Martin.

   This isn’t to say that the album isn’t worth a listen; at $7.99 a pop (and eligible for FREE Super Saver shipping if you spend $25 or more!), it won’t offend, sitting next to your dusty copies of “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” and “A Rush of Blood to the Head.”  After all, you probably have yellow mustard and Dijon mustard side-by-side in your fridge.  And believe me, I’m not knocking yellow mustard.  It’s great on chicken nuggets.

Song you should pay $1 for on iTunes, rather than downloading for free:  Umm, no, seriously.  $8 at Amazon.  If you’re going to spend $1, just get the whole thing and be done with it.  Burn a copy at home, then see if the local used music store will give you $2 for it. 

   What’s that?  Okay, fine.  The editor says I have to pick a song.  So… umm… buy “15 Steps.”  It’s vaguely trance-y for the burned-out club kids, it’s boppy enough to make it on pop radio, and if you actually notice the lyrics at some point, it’s angsty enough to keep the purist alternative fans happy.

Rating: I’ll give this album 2 floors on the elevator. 



(Yes, I know.  Usually my ratings are out of five, but I could only find an elevator floor indicator that had 15 floors.  So listen for yourself, and decide how many floors there should be.  Myself, I’ll just take the stairs.)

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