Radiohead is a band that knows how to put an album together. The thematic nature of their albums coupled with the uniquely stylish artwork has made each of their albums feel entirely distinct from one another. The artwork on albums like OK Computer and Kid A match the sound so perfectly that it makes you wonder which came first.
Thankfully, the band’s latest full-length release is no exception to their running trend. The recently released In Rainbows discbox not only complements the music on the album, but almost completes it.
Containing In Rainbows on CD and two disc vinyl, a bonus CD of In Rainbows B-sides, an artwork booklet, and a lyric booklet, the discbox is a true collector’s item for the hardcore Radiohead fan. Priced at $80, the discbox may seem like a steep purchase, but if you can appreciate the coordination and presentation of the music and artwork, the discbox is well worth the money.
Featuring artwork by Stanley Donwood and Dr. Tchock, the In Rainbows artwork is of course very colorful without being too full of color. Rather than approaching a rainbow as one found in the sky after a rainstorm, Donwood seemed to be thinking of the kind of rainbow present in a puddle of oil or gasoline. It is very organic, but not in a good-for-you, healthy way.
The album itself may be Radiohead’s most organic work, yet like the artwork, tinges of static and noise infect the album as if to suggest that everything is not as clear or natural as it seems. Lyrically, In Rainbows is very dreary and sometimes pessimistic. Themes of loss and desire pair up in an end of days sort of way, specifically on the depressingly beautiful, “House of Cards.”
Similar ideas run throughout the B-sides disc, which isn’t necessarily a separate disc from In Rainbows, but an extension of it. The opening track picks up exactly where In Rainbows’ final track left off. With the second disc finishing up with the apocalyptic track, “4 Minute Warning,” (a reference to amount of time a bomb takes to fall from an aerial attack) Radiohead seem to be saying, if the end is near, at least we know it’s coming and can make the best of whatever time we have left.
Sadly, if you don’t already own the discbox, you won’t. Any leftovers have been sold and the band has no further plans of production. But don’t fret, CD and vinyl versions of In Rainbows will be available in stores on January 1st.

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