‘In Rainbows’ Obviously The Biggest Controversy Of Our Time


The internets are literally (yes literally, my laptop is currently smoking) aflame over the release of Radiohead’s 7th LP, In Rainbows on the Wednesday. The stunning breadth of the controversy is summed up here, so I won’t rehash it, but what I find so incredible about this story is that a band on its 7th record, not to mention the countless EPs, more than 15 years into its career and with at least three arguable masterpieces already in its canon, there is still an amazing amount of fascination, worship and derision thrown at this band whenever they so much as sneeze on tape. For the record, I love Radiohead. I think they are the finest band on the planet right now, and not only the best band of the 21st century but one of the greatest bands of all time. I’m not the only one who feels this, so I don’t think I need to labor the point. But just as a music fan, the fact that Radiohead are still musically interesting, if not mind-bogglingly so, is a testament the their musical genius and etc., whatever. But Radiohead fans are fucking insane. One of the biggest gripes the superfans are having over In Rainbows-gate is the quality of the downoad, and the fact that it’s starting to seem like this free-download-offer thing was a little bit of a promotional stunt to sell the physical CD early next year. To that I say: Oh, fuck you. So your favorite band lets you have the record for free at a sound quality that is better than ITunes by the way, six months or so before the actual release, letting you have the record at the same time as the press, lets you participate in this current dogmatic debate over what music’s monetary worth is, lets you be a part of it in a way, and you whine. Go fuck yourselves if this is you. You were given a gift and now you’re shitting on them for it. You’re welcome! Next point; a lot of the griping also seems to be about the recorded songs themselves. Most of In Rainbows has been in Radiohead’s live set for the last five years at least, some tracks for even longer. So among the superfans, there is this hyper-familiarity with most of the songs years before they make it on a record. So now there’s all these blogwipes going; “They ruined ‘Naked'”, or Videotape or whatever. A musician’s music developes over time. There was a reason those songs didn’t end up on Amnesiac, or Hail To The Thief, it’s because the band felt they weren’t ready yet. Songs evolve, and as a Radiohead fan, you have a sort of unprecedented look into a band as it developes its songs for a few years on the road. You really get to watch Radiohead write albums on the road, in a way. So, obviously there’s something else you can complain about; that they ruined your live favorite by recording it in a slightly different version than what you heard at their shows and then they have the audacity to give it to you for free? Those bastards. Obviously everyone has the right to critique an artist’s work, but telling them that they recorded a song ‘wrong’? Well, that’s second guessing and it’s not allowed.
I’m getting tired, so, in closing, In Rainbows is fucking gorgeous, quite possible as good as Hail…, probably better than Kid A / Amnesiac. Go downoad it, and seriously shut up.

1 thought on “‘In Rainbows’ Obviously The Biggest Controversy Of Our Time”

  1. Hear, hear! People need to wake the fuck up, and appreciate what they are given.

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