Thursday, October 25, 2007

In Rainbows

I don't quite know how to describe my reaction to the newest Radiohead album, "In Rainbows". Vaguely disappointed, I suppose - "In Rainbows" is getting a lot of favorable comparisons to "Hail to the Thief", their previous album, but I actually quite liked the strong narrative/thematic line running through the latter's lyrics. There's something much more romantic and even ethereal about "In Rainbows", which perhaps makes it appropriate that I find myself having difficulty in pinning it down.

From "Nude": "Now that you've found it, it's gone/ Now that you feel it, you don't". Radiohead's sound was all over the place with the last album, but their anger and words were very deliberately pointed. But a line like the one from "Nude"? I don't know what to do with that - a distinct political project has given way to something vaguely philosophical and more than a little out of focus.


James said...

Musically, I think Radiohead reached their apex with Kid A. Before it, each album is a clear and complete progression from the last, and after it we have an outtakes album, and two throwbacks to their earlier stuff. Reviews always refer to Hail To The Thief (and now In Rainbows) as a "synthesis of all their earlier work", and "coming full circle", but I need some convincing of the former point. It kinda just sounds like they don't know where to go.

Having said all this, I've certainly nothing against Hail To The Thief, or the new one. It was easy to tell from the live previews of this stuff that Radiohead were about to realise their most accessible album by far, and I don't see anything wrong with that, it's just a shame they couldn't stay the most exciting band in the world forever.

neilshyminsky said...

I'm still iffy on Kid A - I can't listen to it all the way through, and I tend to simply skip parts. I can listen to it in the background while I'm working, but I can't actively listen. Maybe I cling to violently to semantic levels of meaning in my music - I want songs that are about something, rather than aural or auditory experiences that seem to have been made as an ends in themselves. In that respect, Kid A and In Rainbows feel quite similar.

All of which is very funny to me, because I like the exact opposite in my poetry.