In Rainbows

Music review by
Heidi Kotansky, Common Sense Media
In Rainbows Music Poster Image
Moody, thought-provoking music best for teens.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 10 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive messages

One song touches on the fear that grips society today: "You can fight it like a dog/And it brought me to my knees/They got scared and they put me in…All their eyes wrapped around my face/Although everybody else can see." Also, a few tracks have a tinge of depressing lyrics such as "Your eyes/They turn me/Turn me on to phantoms/I follow to the edge of the earth/And fall off/Everybody leaves/If they get the chance" and "You only stick with me/Because there are no others."

Violence

A few poetic references such as "words are a sawed off shotgun." The last track is open to interpretation: Is the subject of the song contemplating suicide ("This is my way of saying goodbye/Because I can't do it face to face")?

Sex

"I don't wanna be your friend/I just wanna be your lover" is about as sexual as it gets.

Language

One mention of "hell."

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although the music and vocals on this CD are haunting and sound depressing, the lyrics really aren't. Most of the songs are obscure, but don't talk about anything that's not safe for teens. "Videotape," however, is the one track that is open to interpretation: Is the subject of the song contemplating suicide or does he just realize that he's just had the most perfect day and couldn't imagine another one like it?

User Reviews

Adult Written byMiddleAgedGeek March 21, 2012

Gorgeous classic from the best band in the world right now

Gorgeous, thoughtful, innovative music. Radiohead are a bunch of geeky geniuses, prodigious skills on their instruments and with their songwriting. Very sharp... Continue reading
Adult Written bySen0r_Cardgage March 28, 2010

A 2000s masterpiece, but perhaps a bit negative for younger listeners

A very brooding and engaging album from one of the best bands in existence today. For the most part, it's fine for kids, no swear words (except "hell... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMusicSavesLives January 26, 2009

Beautiful Beyond Expression.

Radiohead is a brilliant band, and this album really demonstrates this. This band is just... Breath-taking. The music is beautiful and thought-provoking and it... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old June 23, 2012

A kid

I may be a kid but music is one of my favorite things ever. This is a great album. Not as good as Kid A, OK Computer, The Bends, or Hail To The Thief in my opin... Continue reading

What's the story?

Radiohead does so many things well. They write wonderful poetic lyrics. They transform listeners into a powerful mood with every ebb and flow of their instruments. They're fronted by a haunting, yet somehow welcoming voice. And, they never just throw an album together to get something on the airwaves. All this remains true for the band's latest release, IN RAINBOWS, which fans were allowed to buy on the band's Web site for how ever much they wanted. No doubt the tracks will captivate diehard fans -- even if they can't decipher the mostly obscure lyrics ("Make a sound/Move back home/Get an invitation/With the edges/Sawn off").

Is it any good?

Each song is as intense as the next, both lyrically ("Your eyes/They turn me/Turn me on to phantoms/I follow to the edge of the earth/And fall off/Everybody leaves/If they get the chance") and musically (songs build force with guitar riffs, poignant string instrument solos appear with perfect timing, and Thom Yorke doesn't just sing, he pleads). Listeners will be left with a sense of calm, creativity, and contemplation.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the marketing behind Radiohead's new CD. Why do you think they allowed people to pay what they wanted for the songs? Do you think most people will pay as much as they would if they bought it somewhere that had it at a set price? Why was it only available through their Web site? Did all this create more of a buzz around the release? Was that intentional? Families can also talk about making something different. Why does Radiohead's music and songwriting stand out from other music out there? What is it about popular culture that makes so many artists try to sound the same? Do you think it's hard to be different?

Music details

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate