Wednesday, June 29, 2005

With their new album, X & Y, Coldplay has chosen to stick with what works rather than be adventuresome, and for the most part, it succeeds. The CD has twelve tracks and a hidden one dedicated to their hero, Johnny Cash. To me, Coldplay has always been about the sound first, and then the lyrics second. They excel at creating a mood using just a wash of sound (a technique that most people who dislike their music find boring and repetitive) and use Chris Martin's vocals as a solid hook. A few of the songs on this CD have already started appearing on the radio, like Speed of Sound and Fix Me. Almost all of them are very strong alone, but they don't necessarily function well as an album. Because they all exist on a thick foam pad of harmonies, they tend to detract from the memorability of any one song when you listen to the whole album at once. However, there are no songs which I hate, and all of them have grown on me over the past couple weeks. If you liked any individual song from their previous two albums, I'd recommend getting this album (as noted a couple days ago, their old song, Shiver, easily ranks as one of my favourite contemporary songs). Apparently not all of you readers will, since I currently have two votes for "You have horrible taste in music" in my weekly poll.

Last weekend while stuck on I-95 South, I had the chance to listen to an exclusive XM interview of Coldplay on their "Artist Confidential" series and found the group to be surprisingly urbane and witty for a rock group. In the one-hour interview, the band talked about how they formed, the significance of the new album title, and why they don't take the U2-approach to writing about world issues. Scattered throughout the Q&A, they played acoustic versions of Clocks, Kingdom Come, and another song from Rush of Blood to the Head which I can't recall. To my pleasant surprise, they're as strong live as they are recorded, with Chris Martin effortlessly hitting notes on pitch (unlike Tom Chaplin of Keane).

Now if only they could keep Chris Martin from looking like an epileptic muppet when he's playing the keyboard on camera, they'd be all set to take over the world.


Happy Birthday Kathy!

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