It came out of nowhere. Four days ago, on Monday, a short announcement appeared on Radiohead's blog, Dead Air Space. Seemingly apropos of nothing, it signalled the arrival of a new Radiohead album in the most incongruous way possible.
Well, the new album is finished, and it's coming out in 10 days;
We've called it In Rainbows.
Love from us all.
This low-key announcement is at odds with the buzz this is sure to generate. Radiohead's last album, Hail To The Thief, was released in 2003 - it's been a long wait for Radiohead fans. This new album has been supposedly knocking around for years, with the band looking for a label to release it on. Finally they seem to have struck on a solution - to distribute the album themselves. Therefore, In Dreams probably won't be available in the shops.
Fans can get ahold of the album in two ways:
1. Order a digital copy, paying whatever you want and recieving a link to a downloadable file on Wednesday 10th October.
2. Order a "discbox". From the site itself:
THIS CONSISTS OF THE NEW ALBUM, IN RAINBOWS, ON CD
AND ON 2 X 12 INCH HEAVYWEIGHT VINYL RECORDS.
A SECOND, ENHANCED CD CONTAINS MORE NEW SONGS, ALONG WITH DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHS AND ARTWORK.
THE DISCBOX ALSO INCLUDES ARTWORK AND LYRIC BOOKLETS.
ALL ARE ENCASED IN A HARDBACK BOOK AND SLIPCASE.
THE ALBUM DOWNLOAD AUTOMATICALLY COMES WITH THIS PACK.
YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE FILE DIGITALLY FROM THE 10TH OCTOBER 2007.
DISCBOXES ARE BEING MADE TO ORDER AND ARE PRICED AT £40.00 INCLUDING POSTAGE.
SHIPPING WILL BEGIN ON OR BEFORE 3RD DECEMBER 2007.
I'm of two minds about this. Part of me is slightly put out by the fact that the album won't be available in the shops. There's a certain thrill in heading into town on a designated day to pick up a new album from one of your favourite bands. I distinctly remember waiting outside Tower Records in town the day Hail To The Thief was released, totally hyped about bringing it home and listening. It added a physical element to the purchase. The fact that my first listen of this will be online saddens me somewhat. Then again, part of me is totally dumbstricken in a good way, awed at this marketing tool. In allowing fans to purchase a totally free download of the album, Radiohead are almost sure of losing money. Say what you will about their music or their politics, but you have to hand it to them; this sure is a novel idea.
Which leads me onto my own confession: I opted to pay nothing for the download. My reasons for this are manifold:
1. I've supported Radiohead for roughly 6 years now. I've bought all their albums, several EPs, a couple of shirts and I've seen them live twice. It's fair to say I've spent a considerable amount of money on them.
2. The very fact that the option to pay nothing exists means we don't have to feel guilty. Radiohead expect some people to pay nothing.
3. There is no guarantee that I will actually enjoy this album. Okay, the chances that I won't are slim, but they do exist.
4. The discbox. I've yet to place an order and I pretend to be deliberating over it in my head but if I'm being honest I know I will end up shelling out the 57 euro (or whatever it is) for it.
Even though I would have been dizzy with excitement if this happened two years ago, I'm still curious to see what this will turn out like. Expect a full review sometime next week.