My In Rainbows Discbox…

…arrived yesterday. Happy times! It contains two CDs, one of the album and one a bonus disk, two LPs together containing the album, and liner notes. It cost £40 ($81). So was it worth it?
Well, the music on the bonus disk (the main reason I shelled out for it) is pretty good. The first track, “MK 1”, is a one minute instrumental reworking of “Videotape” from the original album. It transitions into the second track, “Down Is The New Up”, which is both of a piece with the experimentally-tinged rock of Hail to the Thief and easily better than the majority of that album (only “2 + 2 = 5”, “Sit Down. Stand Up.” and “A Wolf at the Door” best it). Next up is “Go Slowly”, is an “Exit Music (For a Film)” or “Nude”-style ballad. It has a subtlety to it that neither of those songs do; its melodies are understated rather than bombastic, and when Jonny Greenwood comes in with an distorted electric guitar line, it doesn’t clobber you the way Jonny’s parts tend to. And the thing is, it works. “MK 2” is next, and like the first one it’s an atmospheric instrumental. It’s played on what sounds like Jonny’s favorite instrument, the Ondes-Martenot, and moves smoothly into “Last Flower To The Hospital”, which continues Thom Yorke’s apparent love of schizophrenic lyrical/musical combinations by setting phrases like “snot-nosed little punk” over a lilting piano melody. “Up On The Ladder” keeps sounding like it’s going to build up from a basic guitar riff and some sweeping synths lines into some kind of awesome climax, and never does. “Bangers & Mash” is the best pure rock song they’ve put out since “Electioneering”, maybe even since “Just”. And despite bringing back the three-guitar assault strategy of The Bends, it feels like “Idioteque” in that it has a pretty insistent, weirdly danceable beat. “4 Minute Warning” is a pretty sedate piano ballad.
I really wish they hadn’t tacked the “MK”s in, as they’re pretty obvious filler. “Up On The Ladder” is frustrating just because it’s so obvious they could have made it a lot better. And “4 Minute Warning” is just kind of boring. But the rest of it is great. So, overall, was it worth $81 for four great songs? Because I’m an insane Radiohead fanboy, yes, yes it was.

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