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October 10th, 2007
At 2am ET I got an email from w.a.s.t.e., Radiohead‘s official online merch store, with my unique download link for their brand new album, In Rainbows, released digitally, worldwide, today. If you’re curious, I paid £10 ($20 CDN) for the download.
If you know anything about the way record labels work, you’ll know that actual CD sales in stores do little to plump a band’s bank account – it’s all about the merch and ticket sales. Buying an album or t-shirt at a show is the best way to throw some money at a band you love…so what kind of diehard fan wouldn’t be happy to pay for something as awesomely executed as this? Way to go, w.a.s.t.e.!
I am curious to know how many ‘copies’ the band sold through this ‘revolutionary’ business model…we already know the average price fans were willing to pay was £5, with the minimum/maximum being $0.99/$200.
I promptly downloaded the album at 2am and loaded it up on my iPod, fully prepared to listen to the lot on my morning commute. When a coworker spotted me on the subway this morning and motioned for me to sit next to her, I kinda ignored her. DO NOT INTERRUPT MY IN RAINBOWS LISTENING PARTY!
I already had the chance to preview eight new Radiohead songs (Bangers n Mash, 15 Step, Videotape, Arpeggi, Down is the New Up, House of Cards & Bodysnatchers) some of which are on In Rainbows, and another bunch that will be on the bonus discbox, when the band debuted some of them at last June’s shows in Toronto. But hearing the final, mastered version is kinda something else.
In Rainbows is a fairly quiet album, but by no means should you listen to it on a quiet setting. Listening to it on actual headphones was an amazing experience – there are so many tiny little details and nuances, Jonny Greenwood-contributed, to be sure, that you could miss if you were listening on a shitty stereo. And Nude, which many longtime Radiohead fans will recognize (Big Ideas – Don’t Get Any) and has been kicking around the band’s live catalogue for years now, sounds incredibly luscious in its final recorded state – Tom’s voice is just majestic.
My favourite song is Videotape, an absolutely stunning song that may very well be the most perfect & beautiful closer to an album ever. It’s a 4:39 crescendo of piano and layered vocals that you just want to listen to over and over again.
I also love, love 4 Minute Warning and am sad that it isn’t on the proper release, but I’ll have to wait for the bonus discbox (release date TBD) to hear that one again. Its tracklist is:
1. MK 1
2. Down is the New Up
3. Go Slowly
4. MK 2
5. Last Flowers
6. Up on the Ladder
7. Bangers and Mash
8. 4 Minute Warning
If you didn’t purchase the In Rainbows download (as far as I know you still can!), NME.com is streaming the entire thing online. Thoughts?
Standout tracks: Nude, Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, Faust Arp, VideotapeTweet