For those truly living in the internet cave:
Leave it to Radiohead. While the record industry freefalls and hemorrhages its once-massive profits, the lauded Brit ensemble self-release their seventh studio record, In Rainbows, offering fans the opportunity to pay for it what they please. By doing so, the band’s made folks like meâ€”people who no longer pay for albumsâ€”actually contribute money to the cause (full disclosure: I paid $5).
Announcing the release only 10 days ago, Radiohead abandoned traditional means of promotion but created an avalanche of publicity anyway. Of course, none of this matters if the music’s no goodâ€” fortunately, it’s pretty fucking brilliant. Many listeners will be glad to read that the Nigel Godrich-produced In Rainbows is the band’s return to the accessible pop structures of its two most beloved releases, 1995’s The Bends and 1997 masterpiece OK Computer. And, while they haven’t completely eluded the mechanized blips of 2000’s elusive Kid A, here the computerized elements are folded into compact, traditional rock songs. Okay computers, indeed.
So yeah, a completely new, professionally-produced album from one of the world’s most innovative and respected bands and you can pay nothing for 10 mp3s (that’s what I did).
Sure, I might be a cad, but I’m not “buying” any music until I get a listen first. Having gotten through the album now, I’ll likely be back to pay (and not download again). For me, it’s worth about $5.00 and that’s no knock on it’s quality – either artistically or from a production standpoint – but I saved them the cost of a CD and album artwork and distributors, so it’s a steal for both of us.
In any event, I enjoyed In Rainbows but I didn’t have the same visceral reaction that I had to Kid A (which I also downloaded, albeit many years ago). It’s solid and a bit optimistically romantic. A portrait of the artists happier, I would surmise.
Anyhow, Happy Friday!