When Coldplay released their first album, "Parachutes" and their first single, "Yellow", no one would have ever thought that they would rise to the status they have now, even with the mass success of "Yellow". But in 2002, they released "A Rush Of Blood To The Head" and with singles like "In My Place" and "Clocks", they became one of the biggest bands on the planet. Adding just as much to their stardom, Chris Martin started dating the movie star Gwyneth Paltrow and eventually married her. Now he is as big a star as can be and has a child called Apple. In some respects, Martin is still the same person. He still promotes the Make Trade Fair campaign. He still dresses like your average next door neighbor. He still tries to look like Thom Yorke in photo shoots. The release of X&Y
, however has highlighted a new part of Martin's personality.
Chris Martin - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Jonny Buckland - Guitar
Will Champion - Drums
Guy Berryman - Bass
Coldplay released the unimpressive single "Speed of Sound" to kick off X&Y
. Sounding like a reworked version of "Clocks" (from "A Rush of Blood To The Head"), some fans were dissapointed, the mainstream fans loved it and the rest of us waited for something better from the release of the album. Coldplay essentially had two options with the release of X&Y
. They could make a record that would top the charts and was full of (probably) uninspired pop songs. Or they could go "OK Computer" and use their credibility to experiment with their sounds more. After hearing "Speed of Sound", most people knew which option Coldplay had decided to take. Sure, they do try to fool you by adding beeps at the start of the first track, by having Tetris looking artwork and by nicking a Kraftwerk riff, but this is as mainstream as Coldplay has ever been. When a band has released two good albums, it's hard to believe that this is the best they could come up with in three years. Full of such terrible lines as "My song is love" and cliches such as "When you get what you want but not what you need", X&Y
is both predictable and a major step back for the band. Being the band that they were, Coldplay essentially had to reinvent themselves to make a good record. It seems like they have tried to do that, but then abandoned the idea halfway through the process. Chris Martin is still sad but this time it's really hard to believe. He's just been married and had a daughter, not to mention his last album sold 11 million copies.
Of course the album isn't all bad. There are some good moments that are definitely worth hearing. The first is track 4, "Fix You". It boasts an anthemic section similar to the end part of "Politik" from the last album. "Twisted Logic", while blatantly ripping off Radiohead progresses nicely to the end. It really is a shame to see what Chris Martin has turned into. He used to be a nice well spoken gentleman from that nice little English band. Now he's just not that anymore. His attempt to simultainously be Thom Yorke and Bono just don't work. His personal life is common knowledge, and however little they do know about him, the general public feel as if they know Chris as their next door neighbor. He cannot be Thom Yorke, because no one sees him as misunderstood. He can't be Bono because all he does is write some charity website on his hand at concerts. So we are left with someone who is not really Chris and an album which is not an accurate reflection of who he is.
The biggest problem with X&y
is the lack of passion and the fact that it just doesn't seem like a real album from the guys who wrote "Yellow". Instead, we are faced with something totally different and far insuperior. Listeners who can make it all the way to the end are rewarded. Possibly the album's best song, "'Til Kingdom Come" seems like a last minute effort. It has not much besides an acoustic guitar, Chris' voice and some light organs. In the song, we finally hear Chris sounding as humble he has been for years, and if X&Y
is anything to judge from, as humble as we are likely to hear him for quite a while. The issue of X&Y
being bad really isn't the problem. The real problem is that it's just not very good. It becomes very hard to believe that with 50 songs and 3 years, this is the best they could give us. Maybe they are trying too hard. Maybe the fame has gone to their heads. Whatever the case, this does not feel like a true representation of the band or of Chris Martin. Maybe next time they can pull out an OK Computer
or a Joshua Tree
. The biggest difference between Radiohead and Coldplay lies in their attitudes. While they don't seem to want to say it, Radiohead, like Coldplay do care what people think about them. The difference is that Radiohead still do what they want with their music and people love them anyway. It's hard to invision 11 million people buying this album and being satisfied with it.
- Has a few of the best Coldplay tunes yet
- Interesting use of a Kraftwerk riff (They use the riff from "Computer Love" on the song "Talk")
- Chris' falsettos are quite lovely
- Boring and uninspired
- Some really godawful lyrics
- This is the best they could come up with in 3 years?
'Til Kingdom Come
FINAL RATING: 3/5