Thursday, June 16, 2005

Coldplay's latest lives up to hype

Since picking up Coldplay's "X&Y," it suddenly dawned on me. Although there are many talented groups that can produce strong albums, every generation can only boast a handful of great bands capable of producing epic works that define their time.

Until a week ago, I remained on the fence, despite being a big fan of Coldplay's first two albums ("Parachutes" and "A Rush of Blood to the Head"). But no more. Like the love affair I developed with U2's creative and continuing growth after catching them at the US Festival in May 1983, seeing Coldplay explode at Coachella in May 2005 and then listening (rather than ignoring the backlash via critics who have suddenly turned on Chris Martin and company) to "X&Y," it's clear Coldplay is the best band to emerge in the '00s. After hearing excellent songs such as "Yellow" when the band began getting airplay on KCRW at the beginning of the decade, I wondered if Coldplay was a fluke; I truly believed Travis was likely a stronger contender. But time has proved me wrong. Coldplay deserves comparisons with U2, while Travis has joined Oasis as a band that was unable to live up to its potential.

With each listen, the songs on "X&Y" open themselves up. Soaring choruses, beautifully moody vocals by tenor Martin, distinctive guitar work by Jon Buckland and driving rhythms courtesy of drummer Will Champion and bassist Guy Berryman. Coldplay is a group that writes and records great songs that bond with listeners on a widespread level that has not happened since U2.

Sure, people enjoyed Nirvana. But that was anger. A sonic revolution. Coldplay is all about the music, and the songs, and the energy that transports a weary and exhausted audience to a better place. Forget about the naysayers who haven't even listened to Coldplay's "X&Y." I have and I intend to keep on listening...

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