2. In Rainbows
This is your subjective reviewer's personal favorite. Famously self-released in 2007, In Rainbows is simultaneously the culmination of everything the band had done previously and everything it's always wanted to do, all rolled into a collection of 11 songs, perfectly proportioned and expertly polished. The album's centerpiece -- and what I consider to be the band’s best tune -- “Reckoner,” occurs exactly 61.8% through the album, and the words “in rainbows” occur 61.8% of the way through the song -- following the rules of the Golden Ratio as it appears in nature and art. Whoa, dude.
There’s taut songs like "Bodysnatchers" and "Jigsaw Falling Into Place,” mellifluously sliding in between gorgeous jazz-fusion genre-benders like "Weird Fishes," "15 Step", and the synthy "All I Need," all building to the slow crescendo of the ethereal closer, "Videotape." It doesn’t have the grandiose message and overarching themes of some other LPs. Nor did it revolutionize the band’s trajectory or the industry at large (though its pay-what-you-wish release kind of did). No, this is simply the recordings of a band at its creative apex. Each song, on its own, is a personal favorite. And together they fit into this mixtape, demoing what all music should aspire to be -- a self-contained, sustained moment of holy shit.