April 4, 2005


I went to London in July 2000, solo for the first time, and promptly picked up, along with a pile of Lion Bars, the various music "rags" to read on the tube from the airport to town. They were all trumpeting the Hot Single by the New Band: "Yellow" by Coldplay. I had no idea who they were, but after reading so many glowing reviews, I bought the single that first day. Without going into boring drama, I needed some sort of rescuing from a magic new song, the way music fans do. A fix. I lucked out with "Yellow," a gorgeous tune which first struck me as odd because it was a hit single that actually bore the line "Oh what a thing to do." How un-cockrock! I loved the chorus with that "your skin and bones turn into something beautiful" - the way Chris Martin's voice cracked all over it was positively swoony.

That next Monday, July 10, the album Parachutes was released and I bought it that day, thinking I personally had discovered them. I remember sleeping in my cousin's house in Wales with "Trouble" playing over and over. "They spun a we-eb for you." This was the same summer of David Gray's "Babylon" playing everywhere. "Sensitive" male singers were mewling against Fred Durst's faux rage.

It's hard today to reconcile that fresh band - with its moptop-haired, recently deflowered lead singer and his college educated "mates" - with today's mega-corporation of a band. A group with such huge wheels steamrolling behind it that its label has warned that their fiscal year will be seriously fucked by the 3-month delay on the new CD. Coldplay leapt to almost-U2-like proportions without the countless years of albums and touring that got U2 to the lofty point they're at today. I admit Coldplay do not yet give the impression that they only leave their moated country homes to make records so as to pay British taxes, but it's close to that when the moptop singer jets around with a patrician American movie star wife, who herself swans around self-conciously like Grace Kelly II. The same singer has developed a sanctimonious Sean Penn-like penchant for attacking photographers. They spun a web for him.

There is a huge unfair backlash against Coldplay. Even a lesser album cut like "High Speed" is better than most of the utter shit being foisted to Internet coolies today. I loved their last album and I do not buy into the stupid bullshit that they are somehow less because the masses love them. It was a beautiful record and one that the fucking Bravery will never make, I promise you that much. Now that they are about to release their 3rd CD, I am nervous about the high possibility of true suckage. If Embrace's "Gravity" was a castoff, I guess I should not be worried, but really... where do they go? Do they rehash previous work? Change up styles? What will satisfy my expectations? Will we carry on about how good the record is and then, in a few years, admit it really was a letdown? Will the fucking Gyllenhalls and other US Weekly stars flock to the shows? Will that make us be more critical of the CD?

Whatever! All will be revealed in two months when the horribly named X & Y, with its equally meaningless album cover, comes out. The official songlist is out now (see below). Which ones of these will we love like "Trouble" or "The Scientist"? Will these songs become embedded in the public consciousness or --- will this flower just fucking wilt?

1. Square One 2. What If 3. White Shadows 4. Fix You 5. Talk 6. X&Y 7. Speed of Sound 8. A Message 9. Low 10. The Hardest Part 11. Swallowed In The Sea 12. Twisted Logic

notice that it does include the leaked Talk, which, if you have not heard it, is pleasing if not extraordinary.

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