Oct. 9, 2007
As I await Radiohead's "In Rainbows"... I'm waiting in line as I write this. Foolishly, I forgot to pre-order Radiohead's new pay-what-you-can digital album, so I am stuck on the band's Web site, registering for a copy that would have already been neatly e-mailed to me if I'd just planned ahead a bit. It's a slow process made slower by all the last-minute traffic sucking the bandwidth out of the band's site. The site is clunky—despite all the times I've attempted to buy the digital album, my virtual shopping basket is still reading as empty—and it looks like I'm going to be stuck here for a long while. I feel like a parent who waited until Dec. 23 to hit the mall for Christmas shopping. It's awful, yes, but also exciting in a way. Since digital music, CD release dates haven't been exciting occasions on par with movie release dates or even television broadcasts. Music leaks to the Internet months in advance, so albums are old news by the time they're officially on the market. While Kanye West and 50 Cent's Sept. 11 sales showdown called attention to the rapper's shared CD release date, it still didn't change the fact that anyone who really wanted to had already downloaded both albums. But it's different with Radiohead's In Rainbows: Even the major music critics—and the band's publicists—hadn't heard the album before today, so today's virtual release is a genuine event. Rolling Stone even live blogged their first listen. I'm not going to rush an insta-review of the album—that is, if I ever get my hands on a download of it; their site still isn't letting me check out—but there are plenty of bloggers who have already churned out their snap judgements, which are aggregated here. Unsurprisingly, they love it.