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

Coldplay – A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002)

After the success of their first album, Coldplay went further in their second recording in many aspects. They branched out and developed their sound to the point where they used some tasty instrumentation for us to hear. They put it all into this, their second album.

A Rush Of Blood To The Head refers to the sudden decisions that people make on impulse. It’s an interesting way to acknowledge things, let alone name an album. But this album is a good listen for sure.

We enter this album with Politik, a great piece defining life and times. It’s a good song and not actually about politics. It’s a piano driven piece with extra arrangements and instrumentation which are tasty.

The following song In My Place may lack meaning but it’s a great poppier piece of work than what you’d expect. Chris Martin sounds so reassuring throughout, despite the fact the lyrics are far from that. A good single to boot.

God Put A Smile Upon Your Face has a strangely tuned acoustic guitar, a pounding rhythm and Chris Martin trying to figure out if he is a bad person when he sings this one. It’s an underrated Coldplay piece and a great song. Good to hear.

The Scientist is not at all a happy song. It’s about breaking up in a relationship and going back to the start of it all. It’s a tearjerker ballad for sure. The piano is this is incredibly beautiful, as is the song itself. It’s now a classic song in rock history, and deservedly so.

The intricate piano-led ballad Clocks sounds so great it is often one of Coldplay’s most played songs on commercial airtime. It’s a good one as Chris Martin sings beautifully about closing walls and ticking clocks. We all run out of time some day.

The eastern sounding Daylight follows. It has a string section which has an unusual sound but adds spice to the mix. It’s a semi-psychedelic piece that doesn’t sound out of place. It holds up very well.

Green Eyes is a firey and passionate love song to a lady with green eyes. It’s relatively simple compared to the other songs on this recording, but it’s still excellent. For the most part, it’s just Chris Martin and an acoustic guitar, but it works so well on many emotional and intellectual levels.

Warning Sign reminds the listener to hold onto love. It’s a profound and mature sounding song that develops with a variety of instrumentation before Chris Martin desires to crawl back into a woman’s open arms. Very good indeed.

The follow up is quite weak. A Whisper is a good song, but not special. Despite this, it’s psychedelic enough in its own right to promote a neo-psychedelic vibe. In that respect, it does better than the other elements of the song. But it still sounds weaker than the other songs.

The title track A Rush Of Blood To The Head refers to human stupidity as we mentioned earlier. The song itself is okay, but not incredibly special. It’s an interesting way to cover the best and worst of human emotion though.

Amsterdam comes as the last song, and it’s nothing special really, as the song before it. It does have a nice ending but just seems way too slow. We end the album now understanding the concept of having A Rush Of Blood To The Head.

Coldplay went mega after the release of this album. It inspired legions of musicians to follow. The only problem after the release of this album was that Coldplay sold out the quality of their music once they achieved success. This album, along with Parachutes are Coldplay’s best efforts. It is a good way to begin the 21st century musically.

8/10

Coldplay – Parachutes (2000)

Some might say that Coldplay killed rock music. That is a highly negative and incorrect assumption. In fact, Coldplay kept guitar driven music alive throughout the 2000s and did a very good job of doing so, with nobody special keeping the rock and roll flame burning afterward. This release, coming out during the dawn of the new millennium, set English music onto a new trajectory.

This album is more than the hybrid Oasis/Radiohead style the band professes to offer. It made singer Chris Martin and the rest of the band pop/rock superstars, which they still are to this day. Their first two albums, in particular, were amazing, and this is the first of those two.

Don’t Panic with its strummed acoustic intro gives vague reassurance to the meaning of existence. It’s a very short song being just over two minutes and introduces the band’s sound. Indeed, we are halfway between Oasis and Radiohead for the most part, but the songs are original in any case/

Shiver follows which tells a lover not to do so in the cold of the night. It’s a good pop song, and we can already sense the quality of the album by this point. It’s really nice sounding music.

The follow up is the James Bond 007 inspired Spies. It shows the paranoia, panic, and imagination of a particular spy trying to survive. It’s an unusual twist on an unusual concept.

After that, we have Sparks with its melancholy sound and fantastic guitar parts. Chris Martin, although not the world’s greatest singer by any means, sings this song nicely.

Yellow is a great hit single and is a love letter to not just a potential lover, but the world as well. “Look at the stars, look how they shine for you, and everything you do. And it was all yellow.” Great lyrics.

Trouble is about being stuck in a bad situation. It refers to a spider’s web and being stuck in that. Boy, these guys could write great songs! At least better than any of their contemporaries of the time.

The shortest track on the album, the title track Parachutes is a low fi recording of Chris Martin singing and picking acoustic guitar away, whilst reminding his lover he will always be there for them. Quite romantic.

The outer space influenced High Speed is just thrilling to hear. It has strummed acoustic guitars, space noises, and a super trippy outro. It’s one of the most underrated Coldplay songs you will hear. Nice job on the sound and mix here boys.

We Never Change pines for the simple life and things that stay the same, which is difficult in these internet and technologically driven times. It’s a great concept in a song, sounds so subtle and nicely done.

Everything’s Not Lost comes next and it finishes the album nicely, with reoccurring slide guitar and keyboard patches. It also has the hidden track Life Is For Living after some silence, and it’s also worth listening to, unlike most hidden tracks.

Coldplay went mega after the release of this recording, and we had A Rush Of Blood To The Head afterward. It’s a simple and fantastic album and has influenced legions of musicians all around the world to this day. If you like melancholy niceties and an original twist on music, try this album as it is likely you will enjoy it, for that reason. It’s a unique listen.

8/10