Thursday, January 18, 2007

I Have a Soft Spot for Coldplay

Everybody has guilty pleasures. It's inevitable really. Some people like to tune the air guitar for The Corrs' "Summer Sunshine" and others like to close the door and act all emotional to some Goo Goo Dolls. It's ok -- you are human my friend.

Coldplay is my achilles heel.

Parachutes, the debut album from the English quartet, is a quick dose of melodic acoustic pieces. Chris Martin sets up the same format for almost every song -- tiptoing drums, a slow acoustic strum, a lazy bass, and usually Martin letting his fingers get some exercise on the piano. Man, that sounds boring to the highest degree, doesn't it? Luckily, the band triggers more uprising tunes just at the right moment. "Yellow" remains to be one of the best songs of the millenium to me. Nike commercial guitars and lyrics like "look at the stars, look how they shine for you," -- sounds like generic British music -- yet it has been on repeat. Weird.

A Rush of Blood to the Head, the second LP, had a high amount of pressure put upon it. Parachutes received a Mercury Music Prize nomination, and the general assumption was that Coldplay had the talent to go somewhere. Coldplay were also hearing rumors about a split. A Rush of Blood delivered. The music had a new energy. The music now seemed like it fitted an arena, instead of clubs. I spent a summer on the beach listening to this album over and over. I do wish "Clocks" wasn't in Peter Pan trailers and Kodak commercials though. It always seemed like when I heard the famous piano progression I'd hear an overvoice saying a catch line like "Let life treat you right." Cue the epic ending of "Clocks".

X&Y had even more hype to pull through than A Rush of Blood did. Chris Martin was in the position to make Coldplay the band on the top of the mountain. Maybe, just maybe, U2 would be knocked off the thrown which they had ruling only because of default. No one had really challenged them on a commercial level in a long time. The pattern continued with X&Y -- Coldplay made their sound bigger. Every song now had a keyboard/synthesizer in the backround to build an exaggerated atmosphere. X&Y is also the album in which Coldplay's influences are blended together the most -- U2 and Radiohead. Edge guitars are heard on almost every song. "Fix You" loaded more ammo in Coldplay's movie soundtrack arsenal. Specifically, the end of movies. You, Me, & Dupree didn't waste time with that idea. X&Y was Coldplay inflating their sound to the fullest.

Nothing hits the spot more for me than Coldplay. I know the rock-a-meter for me is not too high when two of the three discs in my stereo at the moment are Coldplay. Maybe John Mayer and Jason Mraz will enter soon. As my brother in-law says, "Joe, you have lost your man card." I'll tear it up to hear "In My Place" a few more times.

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