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Monday, April 30, 2012

Coldplay -- Parachutes


Coldplay's debut album starts off interestingly enough. Chris Martin insists "We live in a beautiful world" on album opener, "Don't Panic," but his band seem less certain, the guitar and drums sliding through offsetting rhythms. "Don't Panic" holds the same honor as "The Guns of Brixton" from The Clash album I (not controversially) reviewed last week: it backs up a really great scene from the excellent show, "Rescue Me."

After a strong, ambiguous start, the rest rest of the album is just vaguely pleasant to the point that it's almost not pleasant anymore. This is sort of "rock" music, if rock music incited a nice mid-day nap instead of rioting. "Don't Panic" is a take from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but that series' final work, "Mostly Harmless" could be an alternate title for Parachutes.  While Parachutes is almost gratingly gentle, it's not necessarily bad--there's something there, even if what it is isn't quite tangible. The musicianship is decent, the songs are mixed well (if you've got a bass player, might as well let everybody hear him, right?), there's some atmosphere, and it doesn't go on longer than it needs. It seems like Coldplay have a decent head on their shoulders, but could use a little ambition. And, no, creating a safer version of "Subterranean Homesick Alien" does not fill that quota:

2000 Nettwerk
1. Don't Panic 2:16
2. Shiver 4:59
3. Spies 5:18
4. Sparks 3:47
5. Yellow 4:29
6. Trouble 4:30
7. Parachutes 0:46
8. High Speed 4:14
9. We Never Change 4:09
10. Everything's Not Lost 7:16


Neal said...

Funny. I would have actually ranked Coldplay's more evenly with X & Y. It might have something to do with X & Y getting too much radio and media play (which tends to tire me out on songs... I know U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb suffer a little from this, or at least for me).

I might also have more of a desire for quietly moody music. I was listening to Parachutes on a bus ride with the youth group I was volunteering with, and a student said they were "the most mellow music" he'd ever heard. He meant it in a downer way, somewhat as your review suggests, but it was my cup of tea at the time. I am a rather mellow person, period, but I was also quietly moody the year I bought Parachutes: I had just graduated the year before and was substitute teaching, scratching a living, and not really enjoying living with my parents. I wasn't sure where I was going or what I was doing, and something quiet and soothing fit the bill.

Rush of Blood and X & Y pick up the pace, which is definitely more universal, but I definitely still have a connection to the mellowness of Parachutes. And you have a more personal connection to X & Y.

Can we even separate reviews from ourselves? Particularly music reviews? If we listen to a song more than once (by choice), it may have as much connection to who we are at the moment as strengths of its own merit. Possibly.

Enough musings for now.

Nicholas said...

Nice. I guess with this band it is all in where you are. I kind of expand on that idea in my upcoming review of their live album.
I don't think absolute separation is possible. I try to be as objective as possible but know my own opinion is always the trump card--unless something is truly, truly awful.

Mark said...

yeah, I love this album and think it is there best. When I first heard "Trouble" on the radio, it was the weirdest and most haunting (yet beautiful) thing there was on the radio.

they used a Telecaster, piano, bass, and drums like few others

(btw, I came to this review via craig's brother!)

Nicholas said...

Sweet. Glad you like this album, even if it isn't my favorite.
And go Craig's Brother!