A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
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?
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?