I was one of the millions of people that downloaded Radiohead's In Rainbows last Wednesday. I paid around $7 for it with the reasoning that I'd probably buy a copy with artwork when it gets a physical release.
The first thing I did was burn it on a CD and play it in my stereo. The first few songs were very familiar from the Berkeley Greek Theater gig I saw in 2006.
It's not necessarily a rock or electronic album. It feels more like a cozy winter album and reminded me of Beck's Sea Change (also a Nigel Godrich production). It's calmer and complicated, with few abrasive moments. The band is even more emotive than usual -- can you imagine? An acoustic set of this album would be perfect.
My favorite songs are "15 Step," "Nude," "All I Need" and especially "Reckoner." What a beautiful song. Thom Yorke's falsetto vocals are amazing. The percussion is eerily distant and everything comes together so beautifully with the guitars and strings. Since Joy Division saturation is in full effect, it feels like "Decades."
"House of Cards" is also fantastic. I think the band borrows the melody of The Jam's "That's Entertainment" for the intro and end of the song. It caught me by surprise.
I think it's a great record, but it's definitely a grower. As of this moment, Hail To The Thief is still my favorite Radiohead album, mostly because of "Scatterbrain."
In Rainbows makes Thom Yorke's The Eraser sound like an electro pop record, which I never really thought about. I liked it when it came out, but I was underwhelmed. Strangely enough, the melodies for "Harrowdown Hill" and "The Eraser" have been stuck in my head all week, and I've been replaying them regularly.
I didn't want to get into their business model of suggesting a price for the music, since few people have been talking about the actual music. But overall, I think it's an admirable idea. It can work for a band this big, with a higher ratio of good output over mediocre shit. It won't work for the indie nobodies.