by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Photo by lilie-melo - liliem.over-blog.com

Radiohead - "Reckoner". Instead of heartbeat, I've got heartbeats. Instead of tomorrows, I've got tambourine. Every bang and scatter of drums is another movement of hands. That's what we do, us. We wander & wander, we get lost and try to get found, and we move our hands. From windowglass to desk-top to kitchen table; from handle bars to steering wheels; from bus-poles to tree-trunks. Clasp your hands at your chest, clasp them behind your back. Then in hush you'll move your hands from fumbling to touch, from shoulder, to hand. to hip, to fingers against her cheek. Clasp her hands and keep them clasped with yours. Don't tremble, don't blink. Instead of heartbeat, you've got heartbeats. Instead of tomorrows, you've got tambourines. "In rainbows," Thom Yorke sings, lingeringly, with his hundred reflections; and you can hear what it sounds like to come back to life.

[Photo by the marvelous lilie-melo]


Also: Dan wrote a piece on his friend N's band Bad Flirt at ajisignal.com. They have a show on Sunday at La Sala Rossa.

Posted by Sean at October 26, 2007 8:30 AM

Easily my favorite song on an amazing record.

Posted by sjoswick at October 26, 2007 10:25 AM

It's funny to me that so many people like this song best when it's the one I wish they had left out! Like, I think the album would've been stronger if they'd switched this out for "Bangers and Mash," not only because I think that's the best of all the new songs, but because the record gets a bit too same-y in mood and tempo after "Bodysnatchers."

Posted by Matthew at October 26, 2007 10:45 AM

Have you heard the newly recorded "Bangers and Mash" somehow?

The only songs on the album I really have time for, individually, are "Reckoner", "Nude" and "Videotape". But they're so beautiful. I love the modesty of the approach, the way all the beauty resides just in guitar tones and drum sound. (Thom's vocals are in a lot of ways the least compelling parts of the record.) The saminess is what redeems the album for me - the songs, separately, don't stand up as well as Kid A or Amnesiac. But instead there's just 40 minutes of loveliness. It's weird to hear a Radiohead album that feels influenced by Spoon (the emphasis on instrumental tone, the modesty of arrangement, the amount of *space*) - makes me think y/our Jim Eno/REM dream might one day manifest. There's also a lot of Sea and Cake in this one...

I find "Reckoner" ridiculously moving, though; not the lyrics or even the vocals at all. Just the persistence of it, the way the percussion GOES AWAY and then comes back; so generous in its return. So warm. Skin on skin, and starlight, somehow.

Posted by Sean at October 26, 2007 10:52 AM

Thank you thank you for comparing Radiohead to Spoon. Those bands are two my favorites and with In Rainbows you just voiced thoughts that I was too afraid to articulate out loud. And thank you for featuring them; I like to think my email had something to do with that. :)

But I find Thom Yorke's voice to be the most moving part of all, at least in terms of individual songs. I probably wouldn't listen to House of Cards on repeat if it weren't for Thom's falsetto in the beginning and end (and dare I say that it reminded me a little bit of Bob Marley in Don't Worry, Be Happy?), and I found his falsetto particularly at the climax of Reckoner.

Posted by Phoenix at October 26, 2007 5:52 PM

That song just stands out, one of the best things they've done. (1st listen = !?!?, 2nd listen = wow, 3rd listen=dear lord, 4th listen = I AM IN LOVE).

Thinking about the early lyrics of the song ("feeling pulled apart by horses" "pay the right price"), I feel like this song is expressing some horrible thing or reality, but in a very beautiful way, having totally accepted it, that there is nothing else you can do, but still smiling.
Thom said he wanted to write his angry songs in a very sunny/smiling way, as Bob Marley did on Uprising, and I feel like he's finally succeeded.

So your comments about "generosity" and persistence above ring very true Sean...

Posted by Matthew in London at October 28, 2007 3:33 PM

..Been waiting for a post including some new Radiohead stuff. Very awesome that this is the song you chose that stood out to you, I completely agree. Thanks for the post.

Posted by tim at October 28, 2007 5:02 PM

This is also my favorite one from IR. The building moment when the drums come back is one of my favorite radiohead moments of all time, you express as grandly as ever, sean, the reason for it's beauty.

Phoenix: That would be Bobby Mcferrin, not Bob Marley. Never Bob Marley.

Posted by Moka at October 29, 2007 5:15 PM

also this is interesting if you haven't noticed:


the part with the voices before the drums come back are saying "in rainbows". This clip dubs the instrument and main voice so you hear it.

Posted by Moka at October 30, 2007 12:04 AM

You write so beautifully about music. This website is really a treasure. Thank you for this.

Posted by d at October 30, 2007 12:29 PM

OK, am I the only one who hears the Red Hot Chili Peppers in this one?

Posted by JKelly at October 30, 2007 12:33 PM

yes. yes yes and yes! i love the way you write about music. this is one of my very favorite songs on the album, along with 15 step, bodysnatchers, nude, and jigsaw and videotape. shit, that's more than half the album, isn't it? oh well. the only ones i really didn't care for were 'all i need' and 'house of cards', both of which seem to be on so many's best-of lists. i love how that works. anyway, i'm happy to have stumbled upon this wonderful and well-produced blog. i will definitely be returning.

Posted by Emily at December 19, 2007 6:58 PM

JKelly, you're not the only one who hears it! as soon as i heard the start fo reckoner for the first time i heard the chilis... i dunno if it's the similiarity toi the riff of scar tissue or some other song.... but it definately sounded like i'd KIND of heard it before.

Posted by Emanruse at February 20, 2008 2:46 PM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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