Coldplay

Coldplay's Official Website!

By Brad East

WHEN: 1998-present

CULPRITS: Chris Martin (lead vocals, keyboards, guitar), Jonny Buckland (lead guitar), Guy Berryman (bass guitar), and Will Champion (drums)

ALBUMS: Safety EP (1998); The Blue Room EP (1999); Parachutes (2000); A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002); Live 2003 (2003); X&Y (2005); Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008); Prospekt’s March EP (2008); Leftrightleftrightleft (live; 2009)

HOW: I remember sitting in a friend’s living room in late 2000 and, when the music video for “Yellow” came on, wondering aloud who this new Coldplay group was, and being told that they were sort of like a British Dave Matthews Band. That turned me off for a while, assuming they were just one-off knock-offs from across the pond.  It ultimately took A Rush of Blood to the Head, the one-two punch of “Clocks” and “The Scientist“, and the ensuing mad rush of popularity to return Coldplay to serious consideration.  I quickly fell in love, brushing off the fact that it felt uncool to like such an enormously popular band.

WHY: The release of X&Y felt epic and potentially game-changing, but only ended up being the latter for disappointing reasons.  The album was such a drag, such a letdown, such a monumental collapse of expectations that if Coldplay had fizzled out, broken up, or continued to release semi-popular mellow nothing-records I wouldn’t have been surprised.  The two events that confirmed this sad future would decidedly not happen were seeing them live at Austin City Limits in 2005 (as the nightcap to Arcade Fire and Wilco, no less), and the 2008 release of Viva La Vida. Coldplay’s supposed reputation for being full of themselves, or stuffy, or a big faceless arena band were quickly allayed by their rollicking, personal, loose performance at ACL, and Chris Martin in particular sealed the deal with his self-deprecating charisma and on-stage energy. (Not only did he dedicate “Til Kingdom Come” to Johnny Cash, he couldn’t stop referring to how awesome Arcade Fire’s performance was, and how much better they were than he. Self-aggrandizing pretty boy? I don’t think so.)

Viva La Vida confirmed the band’s ability to recognize mistakes, reshape and grow musically, and move forward even in the midst of extraordinary criticism and groundswell backlash. I think if that album had been released as the debut of an unknown independent band it would have been hailed as a triumphant and significant first work, promising a bright future to look forward to. As it is, I think they’ll settle for what they got: middling to laudatory praise, excellent sales, and renewed enthusiasm. Not a bad trade-off.

SONGS: Before anything else, I must note that my wife, a Coldplay fan from the beginning and a bit of a purist, thinks I am certifiably insane for not including “Amsterdam” in my list.  My reason is simple: the song is wonderful, even potentially great, but shoots itself in the foot with the goofy and ridiculous decision, at the climactic moment, instead of lifting the register of Martin’s voice, to drop an octave.  It sounds absurd. And therefore it is not included.

Patrick, my partner-in-crime here at 80MFL, thinks I’m wrong, and a bit daffy, for including the supposedly overrated “Clocks” at the expense of “Talk” or “The Message” from X&Y; but then again, he also thinks X&Y is a solid album, so that excludes his opinion on this matter from the outset.

The mix as it stands is ordered as a series of waves. Tracks one through three are offbeat upbeat start-offs; four through eleven are a mostly hollowed-out midsection, with a couple punchy songs intermingled to retain attention. Twelve through fifteen are a set of raucous, hard-hitting singles that keep your feet moving until the dust-settling, lengthier concluding three tracks.  I’m happy with the choices and with the order, but for our collective musical sake, I hope it was wise, as it usually is not, to ignore my wife’s advice.

As a side-note from Patrick, he says you have to check out this incredible video for “Life In Technicolor II“, as well as the video for “Strawberry Swing“, which was directed by Shynola. Enjoy!

LINK: Click on the list below to see the 80MFL iMix, where you can listen to samples, download what sounds good, or get the whole thing!

Click the list for our Coldplay iMix

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~ by eastbk on August 23, 2009.

One Response to “Coldplay”

  1. Brad, I must say that I really like your list. I think your “how” section is right on the mark. I did enjoy X&Y when it was first released, but that lasted about a week. It quickly lost my interest and I was ultimately disappointed in it.

    Good job, my friend, good job.

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