What Happens If Radiohead's Album Is Terrible?

Photo: Courtesy of Nasty Little Man

Assuming all goes well with the release of Radiohead's new album tomorrow morning — let's say that, by some miracle, the servers don't melt and we're able to download the MP3s we paid our hard-earned $0.06 for — people will actually have to talk about the music, right? In just these past ten days, In Rainbows has received more hype than Cloverfield, Halo 3, and the second coming of Christ combined (approximately). Sure, everyone agrees that it's going to topple the record labels, inspire world peace, and bring Tupac back to life … but that's all based on the assumption that the songs are actually good. What if they're not? What if all the buildup amounts to nothing, and Rainbows turns out to be the Snakes on a Plane of British krautrock-y electro-pop albums? Will bands just go back to the old methods of music distribution? Maybe Trent Reznor will re-sign to Interscope and people will abandon file-sharing networks. Then Clive Davis will jack up the price of CDs to $50 apiece, all concert tickets will cost as much as ones to see the Police, and the sky will collapse, we figure.

There's a lot riding on this, Radiohead! Don't screw it up!