Review Summary: One of the best EPs I've heard, with one of the best songs I've heard.
I hadn’t listened to Coldplay in a while. I’d forgotten how much I like them. Well, not really. I still liked them, they were just kind of out of sight, out of mind. X & Y
was a while ago now, and all’s been a bit quiet on the Coldplay front of late. So browsing through my iTunes collection I came across an EP I downloaded a year ago but never really gave a listen to. Of course I’m talking about The Blue Room EP
. I downloaded this because of one song I heard on the TV, and largely neglected the rest. Quite ignorant of me. I’m quite dismissive of EPs, to my own detriment. This is one I should have got in to a long time ago. This is vintage Coldplay, and a couple of the tracks are some of the band’s best work.
Coldplay released three EPs before taking the leap of faith and putting down a full-length. Slightly unusual, but in hindsight I guess it’s fair to say it worked. This EP is without question the pick of the bunch. It’s the most refined, complete and balanced effort they released prior to the impressive debut album Parachutes
. But it also makes up an important part of Parachutes
- namely High Speed
and Don’t Panic
. The ambling, gentle High Speed
drifts along, interrupted occasionally by the slightly more upbeat choruses. The most memorable part of the track is Martin’s repeated cries that “We’ve been living life… inside a bubble
”. This original version of Don’t Panic
is equally as striking as the Parachutes
version, with it’s unwavering optimism so blatantly at the core of this song. For some this might just be far too cliché and reminiscent of U2
, with lines like “We live in a beautiful world, Yeah we do, Yeah we do
”, but for me it’s a brilliantly constructed positive and uplifting two and a half minutes of music. Bigger Stronger
introduces the album with a Radiohead
-inspired track mocking many of the vices of modern Western society. Martin’s vocals are loose and indifferent and the restrained electric guitar work is used to great effect, both supporting the vocals and in its own right during the solo and break.
The highlight of the EP is unquestionably the stunning ballad See You Soon
. For mine it’s one of the best love songs I know. I’m not even sure if it’s a love song. I don’t think anyone knows for sure what this song is about. And it doesn’t even matter. The guitar part is one of the most delicate and beautiful I’ve heard and Chris Martin’s vocals are breathtaking. Just about as pure and sincere a song as Coldplay’s written. This is one of their most emotive pieces of music - and it’s almost entirely down to the sublimely crafted music, separate from the lyrics. As you can probably tell, this is the song that I downloaded this EP for. This is one of Coldplay’s best songs, ever. No other word describes it more accurately than ‘beautiful’.
The ambient, almost psychedelic intro to Such A Rush
gives the closer a dreamy, spaced-out feeling seen on few other Coldplay songs. The ambience continues for the first two minutes before Martin’s vocals pick the track up from the floor while maintaining the vague outlook. When he is calling out “So slow down, just slow down
” you get the feeling that if this track went any slower it wouldn’t exist. But the sombreness is discarded in the final minute of the song and album, as the drums come in and Martin’s vocals become coarse and much more powerful, before once again returning to the mellow, subdued feeling of the first four minutes to close out The Blue Room
This is a very solid EP from a band on the cusp of their big break. This had all the makings of something special, which I for one think Coldplay have become. The ability to write remarkably emotive and poignant songs was clear and the platform had been set. The raw emotion of the album is dramatically evident on all five tracks and the sincerity and innocence of the song writing is tangible. This is a fantastic EP. And See You Soon
is possibly the best song of 1999.