Coldplay – X & Y (2005)

Coldplay had released two era-defining albums in the early 2000s, Parachutes and A Rush Of Blood To The Head. Both were postmodern masterpieces in rock and pop culture. They spent a little longer developing this album, X & Y.

For a start, this album is generally seen as a disappointment compared to the first two Coldplay albums. But hold it right there – the music here is still excellent. Let’s observe the album, track by track. The album borrows a lot of influences from Radiohead and U2. It’s a cool album. Let’s dive in.

Square One begins this album with its awesome keyboard/organ and Chris Martin stating: “You’re in control, is there anywhere you wanna go?” It bursts into a decent mid-tempo rocker. It has a great midsection riff in it, too. A good start by the group.

What If follows and it is a more melancholy piece, as you’d expect from Coldplay themselves. It talks about the ifs and buts of life. The lyrics and melody of this song really are wonderful. Nice job there.

For those of you who dig the surreal and perhaps melancholy side of Coldplay mixed together, White Shadows is a U2 like piece. Even though it’s not their best song, how can this be any worse than what was to be offered on Paracutes and A Rush Of Blood To The Head? It’s a solid song.

The next piece Fix You is a great song by Coldplay. It proves that Coldplay were leaders, not followers, despite the fact they wished to be an Oasis/Radiohead sonic hybrid as a band. This is a wonderful and beautiful song. Give it a listen. The guitar riff in the middle of the song is top.

Talk sounds like a continuation of the previous song. Perhaps it was intended to be, although this is not a concept album. It has a bunch of awesome sounds for us to hear, which are very difficult to hear in other places musically. Chris Martin reassures us throughout, this is a decent Coldplay song.

X & Y, the title track is a lot weaker than the previous songs. It’s not outright bad, but it has no really hook or riff in it to make it memorable. Still, the production and some of the sounds are really very good here, so it’s not all bad. A nice string section at the end is there though.

The radio ready Speed Of Sound kicks off with a great piano riff and lyrics that are solid about giving life a go. It seems to be a lyrical theme of this album. The chorus will just lift your soul up into happiness. Not many songs made in the 21st century do that, but this one certainly does. A good effort.

Probably the best love song Chris Martin ever wrote is this song. A Message is something Kurt Cobain should have heard to prevent his suicide, even though he did that way back in 1994. It’s such a simple and beautiful song and hits the spot powerfully. Underrated and epic.

Low, perhaps devoted to David Bowie, is a very weak track. It is backed up by a surrealistic keyboard sound and structure, but seriously, this one isn’t really that wow, unlike other Coldplay songs. It drags on a bit too.

The Hardest Part is a much better song, and Coldplay sound back on form here. It’s really beautiful, and reminiscent of earlier Coldplay songs. Chris Martin sounds much better with his singing here, and this song is a great one.

The follow up, Swallowed In The Sea is a calm ballad about taking the blame in respect to a relationship. It evolves into a love based song that just flows well. Not bad for a downtempo number, usually these sorts of numbers by a band such as Coldplay are dull. Not this one.

Next up, Twisted Logic is just that. It talks about the future, but it is not really a good song. It sounds off-key and dirge like. This could have been scrapped or redone easily. But considering the quality of this album, it’s not that bad.

‘Til Kingdom Come was a last minute effort. It’s an acoustic song devoted to the late Johnny Cash. But it’s a great listen all the same. The song is great, and is basically Coldplay meets country music. Nice. R.I.P. Johnny Cash. 

X & Y is definitely better than what critics assumed of it the first time that they listened to it. It’s almost as good as the first two Coldplay albums, but is variable and cohesive enough to show Coldplay as a great band and is worth a listen.

8/10

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