Oct 17, 2007


Radiohead - In Rainbows

When I heard about Radiohead going to the extreme of releasing their album on the internet with a "choose your own price" purchase plan ... well, I forgot about it for about a week. But then I remembered and went over to check it out at their website.

Now, I've never been a huge Radiohead fan, but I did recently buy a few tracks from lead singer Thom Yorke's solo album and liked them pretty well. I am, however, a huge fan of big artists helping us all to make record labels a thing of the past.

The interface on the site is very, very (very) simple. You don't even get to preview the tracks, like you might on iTunes or Amazon. I'm sure you could preview them somewhere by now, if you really wanted to, but I was on a mission.

After a few minutes playing around with a currency converter (the field for setting your own price is in pounds), I decided that showing my support by buying an album I might not like much was worth about ten bucks to me. I got a link to a zip file, downloaded it, and added the resulting MP3s to iTunes (not without a certain pleasant feeling, as they are DRM-less.)

Then I gave the album a listen, and the first two tracks were pretty encouraging. "15 Steps" has a neat sound and was pretty listenable, despite Yorke going a bit warbly on the vocals, and "Bodysnatchers" is a respectable scratchy rock song, even. Unfortunately, the next four or five tracks didn't really interest me much. They're kind of laid back and unmemorable.

The album picks up a bit in the last two songs or so. "House of Cards" is still laid back, but it's a bit more interesting than the mid-album lull. "Jigsaw Falling into Place" is another rock song, though it's a lot cleaner and not quite as much fun as "Bodysnatchers."

And that's it, really. Three or four songs I'd listen to, and five or six I'd probably skip. In my book, that makes it a decent but not exceptional album. I've certainly paid more than ten dollars for albums that weren't anywhere near as good, but I've also heard better.

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