Radiohead's in Rainbows

    The furthest evolution of the spaceship will be a mere
    bubble encasement made to travel faster than the speed of light, with
    negligible wind resistance. Unlike predecessors Kid A and O.K. Computer, this
    incarnation would not require complicated technology or electronics to propel
    itself. Anything unnecessary will be omitted from the blueprint. Radiohead
    would call it In Rainbows, and it would be their starchild, their Hegelian end
    of sorts, in naked clarity.

    It began as a blog called Dead Air Space, where Thom Yorke
    & Co. regularly posted updates of their new project, including a cryptic
    blackboard covered in potential song titles and lyrical snippets. In 2006, they
    embarked on a short world tour for the purpose of road-testing said songs.
    Later that year, they returned to the studio, keeping mum about their progress
    aside from a few online posts. On Oct. 1, 2007, the band announced that its new
    work would be released in 10 days as an mp3 download, and consumers could pay
    whatever they wanted, even $0. The world watched as another pillar holding up
    the antiquated whales of the music industry collapsed.

    The music itself, however, may fall short of impossible
    expectations on first listen for its unassuming texture. Only “Bodysnatchers”
    allows Jonny Greenwood to shred, and for the rest of the album he relegates his
    guitar to arpeggios and pointed-but-sparse chords. All instruments register
    clearly and organically into the mix, with only the occasional lyric buried for
    mystique, further emphasizing Yorke’s elongated melodies. Interweaving plucks
    on “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” and “Jigsaw Falling Into Place” build to an
    orchestral climax, as Yorke ruminates on surreal locales like the bottom of the
    sea where carnivorous worms feed. Five to 10 years from now, common folk will
    listen to a contemporary pop recording and not even flinch when historically
    offputting electronics are incorporated.

    This marks the first occasion where a Radiohead album could
    be enjoyed in both Starbucks and on college radio, proof that they already
    changed the climate of music, and are now cementing it as common vernacular.
    For once in their career, Radiohead succeed at being ladies’ men, trying on a
    genuine romantic persona in forlorn ballads “House of Cards” and “All I Need.”
    And as the grimly bittersweet “Videotape” rolls the end credits, we come back
    down to Earth and see where the future will take us.

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