In Rainbows

Up there on one of my favorite albums of all time.


Owen Bowden ‘25, Staff Writer

I am a huge rap fan. I love Kendrick and Kanye, Jay-Z, Freddie Gibbs, and I love the culture surrounding rap. Recently, though, I have been working on expanding my taste outward. After some digging around late at night, I listened through the Radiohead catalog a little bit. My first listen was In Rainbows, Radiohead’s 2007 release. Just 4 songs into my listen, I realized that this album had quietly been following me my whole life, and I didn’t even know it. As a kid, “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” and “Jigsaw Falling Into Place” would play in the background of car rides and in my house. I didn’t know what the songs were called, all I knew is that they were good. 

After the first song of the album, “15 Step,” you are greeted with the song “Bodysnatchers.” It’s a mix of Thom Yorke’s scratchy vocals, a bass boosted or distorted guitar, and an energetic baseline. The lyrics and the guitar work flawlessly together. It gives an upbeat or high pace feeling, at the same time being a little bit angry or upset sounding. 

After “Bodysnatchers,” it’s “Nude.” For all The Bends fans out there, this will be your favorite. It’s a slow song, emphasizing Yorke’s vocals. I wouldn’t say it sounds exactly like a song from The Bends, as that’s a different era of Radiohead, but it definitely feels inspired by a song off of their 1995 album. It’s orchestral, which I see as one of the recurring themes in the album. This is probably the first song on the album where we see the drummer, Phillip Selway, really shine. 

Digging a little deeper into the album, “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” is the song I was talking about earlier that I recognized instantly. The guitar chords are simple, it’s the same repetition throughout most of the song, but it draws your attention and keeps you listening. Selway flaunts his drumming skills again. His timing is impeccable. At the turning point of Weird Fishes, where the beat really ramps up, Selway is absolutely beautiful. Thom Yorke puts his heart into this song, and you can tell. It’s easily his best vocal performance on the whole album, and probably one of the best in Radiohead’s history. 

A couple songs later, and we are at “House of Cards,” another slow or laid back song, like “Nude.” It’s an intricate drumming pattern again. It begins to speed up every time Yorke raises the tone of his voice. In addition, it has another orchestral feeling to it. The end is truly beautiful, it sounds like you are in an opera house. 

Continuing on, “Jigsaw Falling Into Place” has the sounds of a traditional alternative song. Deep vocals, and a synchronized bass and guitar. Thom Yorke sounds unrecognizable, but in a good way. Selway impresses again, as has been a theme for this album. Interestingly, the song isn’t as orchestral as the past few. 

Final Score: 93/100 

Favorite Song: Weird Fishes/Arpeggi 

Final thoughts: Up there on one of my favorite albums of all time. There’s something for everyone to enjoy on this album. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to expand their music taste, or someone who’s just getting into music and wants to know where to start.