So I caved in to the hype and purchased Radiohead's new album set to my own price. Kind of like Priceline, except less William Shatner, more "Indie."
I paid 2.50 pounds as I liked Radiohead's new concept, saying FU to the record companies and directly linking fans and artists. See for yourself.
I really thought the pinnacle of Radiohead's career was OK Computer. That was when radio successfully blended both avant-garde expressionism and catchy pop, even if they competely denied most of the speculation on double entendres made by the artsy, Indie crowd.
Pablo Honey was almost like an album by a normal alt-rock band, a catchy though intelligent album. Then Radiohead delved into the more experimental on the Bends, with computer-generated distortion lining the angst of my favorite song on the album, "Iron Lung." Still, frat boys could listen to it...
In Rainbows is more like the last three albums in the sense that the melodies are more contemplative background music that makes the listener feel a sense of depth while in a morose funk. Which really isn't a bad thing, most thinkers nowadays are often in a morose funk.
Though I agree with some critics that this album is a harkening to more classical sound of OK Computer, significantly more accessible than Kid A.
The first song, "15 Step," is buttressed by Thom York's typical high-pitched vocals, with a catchy, almost Afro-beat drum, and arpeggio-laden guitar. Blended together, it provides, at least for me, a rather comforting feeling in the midst of the chaos of modern life. Which seems to have been the current of many of Radiohead's earlier works.
"Bodysnatchers" includes some of the rockability of the Bends, yes Radiohead has rockability. Foreboding fear of the future mixed with what-the-fuck attitude with lively, heavily distorted guitar riffs.
Overall, I could see people easily paying full price for In Rainbows, and still say that they've spent money wisely on a good album. Especially if listeners were more fans of the earlier Radiohead of the 90s.
At least you have to respect the experiment.