What the hell, man? Are you in love or something? I’m utterly confused over In Rainbows. Don’t get me wrong, I love every bit of it, but you just don’t seem like your usual mocking, hate-filled self. The first two tracks (15 Steps, Bodysnatchers) are in the typical vein, the former is very similar to anything off Hail to the Thief, like “Where I End and You Begin,” and the latter could partner up with “Electioneering” and win the tag belts at the Rockitude Olympics.
Upon first listen, man, was I pumped up for another 8 songs of cynicism and electrobeats mixed with falsetto vocals, but that’s not what I received. When “Nude” opened up, and I felt like I was listening to an Isley Brothers record, I about lost my shit completely. Not in an angry way, just an “What the eff is going on” way. I was no longer in the mood to start some guff with my local government, an emotion your albums usually revive, but instead, I was suddenly in the mood to bed a lady. That’s right, “bed a lady.” Make a the love. When the strings swell, and you croon, “You’ll go to hell for what you did to me,” I just gots to get my freak-a-leak on. Sure, sure, the lyrics are still gloomy as all get up, but the way you sing it, man. It’s just baby making music.
It doesn’t help that you begin the next song, “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, with a sexual “Uhhhh,” and once more, you present a cut with a surprisingly mellow beat and tune. With the exception of those first two songs, nothing ever gets out of hand, volume wise. The R&B bassline in “All I Need” comes close to breakin’ them necks, and “Reckoner” almost springs up in your face and yells, “Dance, MOTHERF**ER!”, but it’s too much like a Marvin Gaye song to fully bring the noise. I mean, Marvin only wanted the people to get it on, kind of like that song by that one guy who told people to get it on. I think it was Al Green.
And it only gets more intense from there. “House of Cards” even kicks off with the line “I don’t want to be your friend. I just want to be your lover.” Everytime I listen to this thing, which is nearing 30 listens, already, I swear to myself I will impregnate a woman during its full 5 minutes and 28 seconds. Okay, maybe like through the first two verses or so, and maybe even the second chorus. We’ll have to wait and see.
Thomas, you do try and up the tempo a bit near the end with “Jigsaw Falling into Place,” but I think it’s an example of too little, too late. By this point, I’ve already been naked and humping for 25 minutes. You sir, have caused me to stumble, and I don’t appreciate it. You can’t have lyrics like “I am the one who just wants to share your life” and expect me to keep my clothes on. So, I suppose it’s a good thing you decided to close with “Videotape,” a slow down, slow burn of a jam, to help me settle my heartbeat, and maybe give me time to clean up the sweat a little.
I know what you’re going to argue here, Thom. You’ll say there are too many references to vile things like Mephistopheles and being eaten by worms for this album to be “sexy.” Well, shut up, I don’t want to hear it. You chose to end the album with the line “You shouldn’t be afraid, because I know today has been the most perfect day I’ve ever seen.” I shouldn’t be shocked you decided to end it this way, considering you brought The Bends to a close with “Immerse your soul in love,” but that was an existential thing. This time is different. I existentially have my pants off.
And, yes, I realize this new lyric is in reference to the day you die, but come on, we all know death is hot. Real hot. Supermodel hot. Giselle hot. As I mentioned before, it’s all in the way you sing it. And this go around, the way you sing is just like the way Zooey Deschanel looks: completely doable.
Keep up the good work, and maybe I’ll be a father soon,
Matthew Christopher Leathers
P.S. In Rainbows gets 3.5 out of 4. Not a complete score because nothing will ever be as good as Ok Computer, plus it doesn’t give me a boner and that’s easily worth half a point.
The new face of New Jack R&B? No diggity, no doubt?