25.) Radiohead - In Rainbows (2007)
There was an editorial in the latest issue of SPIN suggesting that perhaps Radiohead suck. It was a stupid article designed to do nothing more than stir up come controversy and boost, I would assume, lagging magazine sales. I didn't even read it. I found the whole idea stupid especially when you actually listen to Radiohead's music...it's all fucking great.
Remember when In Rainbows "came out" by way of digital download and the now infamous "pay what you want" format? Yep, you do. Everyone does. It was the last time people actually paid attention to a release date. It was the last time that people collectively woke up earlier than they normally would and listened to an entire record. It was like being a teenager again. Listening to music the way we still should, but never will again.
I will always thank Radiohead for that sense of community. That blast back to 1995 that I needed so badly from music at that point. I heard In Rainbows the way they wanted me to hear it and at the same time as a lot of other people whom I could then talk about how awesome it was with! Great times.
And it is awesome. In Rainbows is a masterpiece. I hesitate to talk about Radiohead going back to any sort of roots or anything like that because it's mostly not true. Radiohead, from their inception, have been a band in flux. They're never what they once were. That's why people love them. It's not necessarily surprising anymore to hear that a Radiohead record doesn't sound like the one before it - it's more or less expected, but it's how they evolve that makes them great.
Is In Rainbows sonically easier to digest than Kid A or Hail to the Thief? Yeah, probably. It's a bit catchy - there are easily spottable singles on it, but it's still a complete work. Radiohead are more than the defining band of this decade - they're actually the defining band of the post-Nirvana generation. That they're not resting on their laurels at this point is a testament to their burgeoning creativity and talent.
Posted by Pat Driscoll