If you are one of the many, like myself, who felt alienated by Kid A upon its release (I’ve since grown to appreciate and like it), then In Rainbows is certainly worth checking out. It does not sound like “classic” Radiohead like The Bends, but it is certainly their most straightforward and accessible album since that era. That’s not to say In Rainbows is not a challenging listen.
In Rainbows begins with “15 Step,” a song with an upbeat electronics and a jazzy guitar riff. It is catchy without being obvious. The arrangement is meticulous and captivating. This song sets the tone for the rest of the album and plays to their strengths as songwriters. Unlike many bands that have been around for more than a decade, Radiohead does not fall into the trap of producing “best of” sounding albums, where each track is reminiscent of a previous song (like U2’s two most recent albums).
This is a new side of Radiohead: warm tones and intimate lyrics pervade In Rainbows, making it their most straightforward release since The Bends. Songs like “Nude,” “House of Cards,” “All I Need” and especially “Jigsaw Falling into Place” are immediate and hypnotic. There has not been a Radiohead album this exciting and entertaining since OK Computer, and should be recognized as one the band’s best albums, as well as one of the best of 2007.