Mix and Match: In Rainbows (Foreground Version)

And now we introduce a new feature here at Essential Listening: Mix and Match.  Here, we’ll have some fun putting songs, albums, ideas and other stuff from music near each other to find the effect.  It’s like mixing different kinds of soda.  Maybe.

Anyway, we’ll start this feature with a Radiohead and Grizzly Bear blend.

I finally got Veckatimest today (and it’s quite the album… but more on that in a review later).  Upon the first few listens, something struck me about “Foreground,” the closing track: it was similar in style to In Rainbows’ last song, “Videotape.”

But there was something else.  “Foreground” was just better.  There was great instrumentation, a stunning vocal delivery, and powerful emotion.

In Rainbows features quite a bit of Radiohead emotion, through the mournful yelp of “Reckoner” to the pleading lust of “All I Need.”  But “Videotape” seemed like just another Radiohead look at alienation from technology.  In fact, it was much less than that: it was a boring song that lacked any of the striking power of other Radiohead piano pieces.

So I decided to Mix and Match through substitution.

In Rainbows (Foreground Version)

  1. 15 Step
  2. Bodysnatchers
  3. Nude
  4. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
  5. All I Need
  6. Faust Arp
  7. Reckoner
  8. House of Cards
  9. Jigsaw Falling Into Place
  10. Foreground (by Grizzly Bear)

It’s an easy switch for this first edition of Mix and Match.

What does the move yield?  Instead of a great buildup to a non-existent finale in the original version, Foreground Version flows brilliantly in the closing stages.  “Foreground” seems like the fit that “Videotape” never was: emotionally charged, musically ambitious and actually enjoyable.

This new version of In Rainbows is actually preferable, in my mind, to the original.  By getting rid of the baggage (“Videotape”) and adding a better component, I will probably enjoy Foreground Version each time I listen.