I am not stirring up a hornets nest by assuming that pretty much everyone has to have a favorite Radiohead album. Even if you don’t like music, you still have to at least like some form of Radiohead. The band has worked so hard to be listenable that in order to derive some form of enjoyment from their output is almost a given. Still, I thought I’d talk about my favorite Radiohead album because its an odd choice. You see, I loved 2005’s “In Rainbows”. The band has been around for so long in heavy rotation, but the way they reinvent themselves and incorporate new processes of recording is not only impressive the very fact that they are still current and continuing to make great new music shows a timeless quality to their music . The side fact of the politics of the release is icing on the cake. You see, Radiohead released “In Rainbows” for free on the internet. Musicians like to be paid. Pretty much everyone does. Valuing art is a difficult thing but creating ownership on art takes practice. by distributing their album for free online and asking the listener to pay whatever they felt was appropriate for the album, they were giving up the rights for their music to be played at any given point in the future without ever receiving a cent again for it. Sure the album still sold nicely as critics ate it up.
The album follows up nicely on the bands earlier catalog building up with each song as a great new entry into their mythos of songcraft. On “In Rainbows” Radiohead offered up new pop delicacies that experimented with electronica (a Radiohead staple) while still bringing the meat and potatoes of their alt rock staple to the table. The band really keeps up tempo tracks throughout the length of this album with a few odd exceptions. For the most part the drums kick into high gear and allow for Thom Yorke’s alienesque wail to carry on, creating a haunting quality that earned the music heavy rotation in the youth markets of today’s radio. “Body Snatchers” for instance remixes some of the themes once practiced on “Kid A” an earlier Radiohead album, and perfects them with an upbeat progression in which the band lets loose sentimentality and concocts a catchy up beat hit. For a downbeat more emotional listen, “nude” is a fine choice. The tune sways to the music and the guitars caress the ear, while Thom Yorke coos and caws into the microphone creating an entirely atmospheric but all together pleasing experience.