With sumptuous, enveloping production, fluid guitars soaked in reverb, and Yorke's voice at its most soulful, In Rainbows is Radiohead's leanest, warmest and most accessible record in a decade.
The most heartening thing about In Rainbows, besides the fact that it may represent the strongest collection of songs Radiohead have assembled for a decade, is that it ventures into new emotional territories.
Using the full musical and emotional spectra to conjure breathtaking beauty, the collection is well named. It may have arrived via computer, but the vision is timeless.
It's true that we've come to expect a certain level of genius from this band, but when they actually exceed expectations, as they do here, it's a clear sign that Radiohead will continue to reinvent themselves and drop more jaws along the way.
Radiohead's sudden willingness to embrace their capacity for uncomplicated beauty might be In Rainbows' most distinguishing quality, and one of the primary reasons it's an improvement on Hail to the Thief.
This is still the Radiohead that finds straight-ahead pop structures gauche or just plain tired ... That said, In Rainbows takes tenuous steps back toward more straightforward territory, though with nothing as obvious as a verse-chorus-verse to speak of.
Packed but sparse, thrilling, complex, innovative, simple. Without even a dud bar never mind a filler track, In Rainbows is more than any fan could hope for.
Once you get in, and Radiohead invites us in here more than any other time in its career, the album proves itself to be what we all thought Radiohead couldn’t make again: a masterpiece.
In Rainbows will hopefully be remembered as Radiohead's most stimulating synthesis of accessible songs and abstract sounds, rather than their first pick-your-price download.
In Rainbows ... comes from a more composed place in their personal and musical pantheon, creating an unassuming but worthy addition to their revered discography.
To the casual listener ‘In Rainbows’ is exactly what you’d expect from Radiohead; intelligent, satisfyingly thought-provoking and sure to be lauded by all who appreciate the less conventional. For the fans it’s the latest evolution of something really rather special.
No wasted moments, no weak tracks:just primo Radiohead.
While it will undoubtedly disappoint fans still pining for OK Computer’s flashes of unhinged chaos, it is a mature statement that shows the band as capable of penning lush and affecting music as ever.
Refracted through the prism of pure pop songcraft, Radiohead sound as ephemeral and variegated as ever, flowering and streaming and as big as the light our eyes can catch.
As these ten songs stand, the ’Head remain doggedly experimental but they’ve added a mainline to the heart as well as the brain, chilling and warming in equal measure with orchestral magic, Aphex-y ambience and a futuro-rock masterpiece.
After a decade of taking apart rock songs to find out how they work, these technophobic gearheads are ready to start putting them back together again.
Despite the amalgamation of styles, a technique employed on Hail to the Thief as well, In Rainbows sounds surprisingly focused, as the album possesses its own distinctive qualities.
Thom Yorke and company have never stopped writing good songs-and this is even more apparent on In Rainbows, a seamless mash-up of the many Radioheads that have been unearthed over the years.
Its short, and sweeter than anything they’ve offered in the past. Yorke’s voice has never sounded better. Whilst not their best, it is a worthy addition to their catalogue.
Sure, Yorke's not directly singing about music as commodity or industry politics, but what In Rainbows will always signify is just that.
|# 3 -||A.V. Club|
|# 9 -||Drowned in Sound|
|# 3 -||NME|
|# 4 -||Pitchfork|
|# 6 -||Rolling Stone|
|# 6 -||SPIN|
|# 15 -||Consequence of Sound (2000s)|
|# 10 -||NME (2000s)|
|# 59 -||NME Top 500 of All Time|
|# 21 -||Pitchfork (2000s)|
|# 6 -||Pitchfork: The People's List|
|# 30 -||Rolling Stone (2000s)|
|# 336 -||Rolling Stone (All Time)|