When Radiohead released In Rainbows in 2007,
it meant two things: a breakaway from the industry
CD release of music and a world tour for Radiohead.
Leaving their homes in Oxford 8212; and London 8212;
the five members returned to the road, and will
make a stop in Dallas on May 18 at Superpages.
In Rainbows is the 1990s icon’s seventh album
since the 2003 release of Hail to the Thief. In
Rainbows bagan as a download-debut experiment
by singer/guitarist Thom Yorke. Costing nothing or
anything to download the album from the Radiohead
Web site, In Rainbows was No. 1 in the United
States and Britain when it was released on CD a
few months later. Almost as experimental as their
music, the turn away from industry profit proves
Radiohead’s innovation and the freedom artists
have to control their music.
In Rainbows’ first track “15 Step” is a mix of
beat-drops and lyric pops. Yorke’s voice, which
seems always on the verge of sinking into unspoken,
sometimes mangled lyrics, is clear and high-spirited
8212; at least what is high-spirited for Radiohead.
The fourth track, “Arpeggi,” can sink a listener
back into that depressing moody melody that
Radiohead has mastered since its first album,
Pablo Honey, in 1992.
The evolution and the art-gone-music that is
Radiohead spans from the mid-1980s. The band
was first known as “On A Friday” and later bacame
Radiohead, a name officially dubbed and taken
from a song by the rock band Talking Heads.
Fighting through the exhaustion of releasing albums
such as OK Computer (1997), touring, and resting
in the years between album releases, Radiohead
became the icon of the return of the guitar to music
during a time that Britpop was exiting the music
scene. Bands like Nirvana and REM had also set
the stage for sounds with self-despising themes.
Radiohead is often categorized in the same genre,
music that ridicules itself and seems to highlight the
fear of mediocrity and mainstream society.
Listeners shouldn’t get caught up with that general
part of music history or try to force Radiohead
into a genre. The band has experimented with
electronica, techno dance sounds, minimal vocals
and heavy instrumentals 8212; particularly with the
guitar and piano 8212; and plays a distortion of music,
influenced by bands such as the Pixies.
It was the song “Creep” on Radiohead’s first album
Pablo Honey that brought the band attention.
“Creep” was praised for the melody and lyrics but
wasn’t expected to carry the band into success.
It was deemed the hit single of Pablo Honey,
which was followed by The Bends album in
1995. Radiohead toyed skillfully with an electronic
sound in the album Kid A (2000) with songs such
as “Everything in its Right Place” and “Morning
Bell,” but it was OK Computer (1997), themed
on a machine-run society without the technoelectro
sound, that brought Radiohead widespread
recognition. The album included radio hits “Karma
Police” and “Paranoid Android.” In 1998, OK
Computer received a Grammy for best alternative
music performance and was nominated for album
of the year.
After Kid A, Radiohead followed up with Amnesiac
in 2001. Together, the two albums, which were
released one year apart, complement the sound
Radiohead was producing at the time. After the
Hail to the Thief album release and tour in
2003, Radiohead nestled into a quiet existence
until In Rainbows. This album continues the
instrumental quality Radiohead has mastered
and alters the band’s specialty of existent/nonexistent
Radiohead band members include Yorke; Jonny
Greenwood, guitar; Colin Greenwood, bass; Phil
Selway, drums; and Ed O’Brien, guitar &- all raised
in Oxford, which remains their stomping grounds
after two decades of musical development. Except
for O’Brien, who lives in London. When Radiohead
comes to Dallas, it really will be “All I Need.