International Writers Magazine: Review
Rainbows - Radiohead
a jumper in a charity shop the other day. I quite like it because
it fits and only cost me £3.50. Also, originally it was from
French Connection. In short I netted myself a bargain and my mum
would be proud of me.
I also bought Radioheads new album online, In Rainbows. It
set me back £1. I'm wondering if it will get the charity shop
I remember the first
time I heard 'The Bends'. When it came out I was probably more
into lego than brit-pop, but I was twelve when I truly listened. Then,
as far as I was concerned, The Spice Girls could drop dead.
When I was fifteen I saw them live at Glastonbury. The air smelt funny
and a drunk man tried to sleep on my feet, but I didn't care because
I was about thirty people away from Thom Yorke. I felt like I was singing
with the entire world as Karma Police thudded through my body.
Despite the trend for teenage melancholy, I was uplifted by Thoms ethereal
wailings, and inspired by the intricate workings of 'OK computer'. Then,
I fell in love with The Strokes. I wore my trousers ripped and craved
stories by girls and boys on guitars.
Music is a fickle business. Liking it can be so confusing! Its never
been a simple matter of choice, and is usually as much a part of fashion
as of thought. According to many music magazines and websites, the newer
the music, the better the sound. And, if we're honest the next big thing
usually sounds like the last one, but with different hair. New bands
are everywhere, and anyone with a Myspace profile can be a groupie.
This is the digital revolution.
So when Radiohead announces the latest album will only be available
online,and at the buyers chosen price, everyone's talking about it.
'No way!' the nations students cry, 'Splendid!' trendy dads agree, and
the internet music thieves shrug as they would have downloaded it for
A clever marketing ploy? A cynic might say that Radiohead have been
building up such anticipation for a new album they're scared of a flop.
Surely, by making it almost free, they're guaranteeing good press? Or,
they're simply being nice. They want to spread the love to all those
who have remained faithfully sombre through seven years of their music.
'In Rainbows' is pretty good. Letters written into pop mag NME
certainly think so. (Although, give a breadstick a vintage jacket and
a trilby and some NME reader will give it 'Album of the year!!!'). 'In
Rainbows' certainly stays true to the rock-gone-electronica that
Radiohead are celebrated for. The songs are tried and tested, 'Faust
Arp' is the only song not previously played on tour. Hardcore fans may
then be disappointed, as the digital versions will certainly not be
as heart pounding as when played live. In fact, Rainbows sounds a lot
like Thom Yorkes solo effort 'The Eraser' in which he perfected angsty
electro. Except 'The Eraser' came in a nice cardboard case with pretty
drawings on it. Getting the newest offering from the internet feels
second rate, like a digital hand me down copied from someone else. Its
a nice enough album, but the only thing new about it is the price.
Meanwhile, my jumper has lost its charity shop smell, it feels like
an old friend. I'll apply that metaphor to Radioheads latest offering.
People like a bargain, and once the novelty wears off they can decide
if it was worth it or not. Radiohead don't need marketing ploys, their
fan base is committed enough to spend more than 45p. In conclusion,
everyone will be happy. (Or suitably sombre, as is fitting)
© Aby Davis
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