Radiohead are one of my favourite "difficult listening" bands. You've got to be a certain mood to get it, but there will always be a place in my i-pod for most of the songs on their six albums, even if they're not what you need when you are trying to feel the burn at the gym. Nearly as bad as Primal Scream and Massive Attack in that regard. Has anyone else ever tried riding an exercise bike to "Unfinished Sympathy"?
Anyhow, there's a seventh Radiohead album now with the online release of "In Rainbows". You go to www.radiohead.com and download it, paying whatever you think it might be worth. Or if you're an obsessive you can pay £40 to get the download plus CD plus vinyl plus collectors' packaging.
I don't need vinyl so I paid £5 for the basic download, which I understand is about par for the course. For that, I got a simple zip archive containing the tracks in mp3 format.
And it's simply marvellous. The last Radiohead track to really affect me was "Karma Police" from 10 years ago. There have been some really interesting tracks since then, but nothing on that kind of level of emotional connection. For example, when I first heard "Karma Police" it was on the car radio. I had to pull the car over and it was ten minutes after it had finished that I was together enough to drive on.
Now, all ten tracks on this album are never less than interesting - all are complex and experimental. But it's "Reckoner" that stands out and gives me monster goosebumps even at the thirtieth time of listening.
There's even a track, "Jigsaw Falling into Place", that's unfashionably danceable - there's even a chorus dammit. It might even work with aerobics, which would spoil this weight-loss routine I've invented called "Radioheadercise" where you shrug along to their music until you're too depressed to eat.
All in all, if you've enjoyed any three tracks from any of Radiohead's albums, you'll love this one to pieces. If you've never heard of them, or hated near everything they've done then this album is unlikely to convert you.