Radiohead—In Rainbows: 6/10... but it's "free!"Rachael Yamagata—Happenstance: 6/10
Vanessa Carlton—Heroes and Thieves: 8/10
I've been listening to the new Radiohead album, In Rainbows. I have limited experience with Radiohead, but I didn't really like the earlier stuff I'd heard all that much. But, it's hard to pass up a free "honor system" CD from a well-known band, so I downloaded it at radiohead.com and checked it out. It's not so bad; I'd probably buy it if I could get it in CD form for a non-insane price. [Hey idiot, "sane" is a word. —ed.] Really, the background music is pretty decent. It's just that the vocalist's voice really grates on me. I have other CDs by people with obnoxious voices and singing habits, though, and I can live with it and call it quirky if the rest of the album is good enough. As it stands, I'd say that In Rainbows is decent. It's above the point where I'd be upset if I paid for it. But it's not good enough that I'm going to go back to their website and pay them for compressed MP3 versions of it. I haven't paid for any compressed music, and this is not the album to make me start. I like uncompressed music and printed album art... call me old-fashioned. Anyway, my favorite tracks on here are 15 Step, All I Need, and Reckoner. Download the album yourself and check them out.
Upon a recommendation by someone who knows I like Fiona Apple, I checked out Happenstance by Rachael Yamagata too. And yes, it does sound a bit like Fiona. Actually, I'd say it's right between Apple and KT Tunstall. Honestly, if Rachael's song I'll Find a Way were on a Fiona Apple album, I'm not sure if I'd notice that it wasn't Fiona unless I was really paying close attention. If Worn Me Down were on KT Tunstall's latest album I'd notice that the voice was wrong (KT Tunstall has a higher voice), but it would still fit in. I think if you like either, you'd probably enjoy this CD at least a bit... also check out I Want You, another nice track. Overall, another decent CD, but not particularly standout.
Finally, I picked up the latest Vanessa Carlton CD, Heroes and Thieves. It's, well, pretty much just like her previous two albums. That's not a bad thing, and the music isn't terribly repetitive; it's just that she was pretty talented for a young girl to begin with, and is slowly getting better, but the music doesn't sound dramatically different—the biggest change to me is that her piano has been pushed to the back for several songs. It's mostly the same basic sound, though, and I'm fine with that. Check out Nolita Fairytale, the titular Heroes and Thieves, and More than This. If you like those, you'll like this CD, and especially if you liked the piano, you'll like her other two CDs too.
Next up is the first album by The Bird and the Bee (featuring the delightfully catchy song Fucking Boyfriend, which I heard for the first time Sunday night), and an older CD by Muse, Absolution. I'm also assembling a playlist of great music to play when I have other people over, so I've been listening a lot to a lot of my old stuff these days. My big playlist of favorite songs "Extended Play" is well over a week and a half of non-stop music, but I've trimmed "Sexy Party" down to 58 hours, in case I need to have a party that starts Friday night and lasts through the wee hours of Monday morning.