Radiohead – In Rainbows

2007 – XL Recordings


This is a great album. There is no denying that, and much has been written in that regard. I’m going to take a different approach with this post. I am going to focus in on one element that solidifies the entire album for me: the ride cymbal. I think it is a combination of the way it was recorded and mixed and that it is probably a really nice cymbal makes it a shining point of this LP. It cuts through the mix on a few of the songs and adds a brightness that might be lacking without it. Radiohead can get a little melancholy, even when their songs are upbeat, and I think the ride cymbal keeps adds a bit of freshness to it. Listen to “Reckoner”. The cymbal work here is sublime, the melody moves along behind the beat, there are strings that set a mood, and then the cymbal rings out on top, letting you know everything is alright. Near the end, when the guitar chords break down with just the bass and drums, you feel like the clouds have been lifted, and I think a lot of that is because of the cymbal. The next time you listen through this album, pay attention to the ride. You may hear what I’m talking about, or you may think I’m crazy, either way, you’ll be listening to a great album. Enjoy!