Saturday, February 25, 2006
Ah, yes, the Coldplay question. Now. I like Coldplay. Here's why.
I remember first playing 'Shiver' on student radio in Nottingham when my mate Alex had been raving about them. I said, in knowingly pretentious tones, something along the lines of "Every once in a while a record comes along from a band that you can tell are really quite special. These guys are going to be huge." Quite what the listeners made of that, I don't know, as neither of them elected to respond. Still. I was proved right, as Coldplay are now probably the biggest band on the planet. All thanks to me. (Not really. It's Alex's fault.)
Anyway, I liked their first album, 'Parachutes', but wasn't entirely convinced. Their second took a while to grow on me. I caught them at Wembley Arena on the Rush of Blood To The Head tour, and was blown away. I've seen many acts disappear in the void of such a huge space. One of my fave bands, Blur, were lost in there, and they've got enough hits to fill any stadium. The Beastie Boys felt distant and tiny. But Coldplay filled it. More than that, they made it feel intimate. You believed it. After that, the album worked it's magic. The singles faded back to reveal the beauty of the other tracks. Over time, 'Warning Sound' and 'Amsterdam' took up permanent residence in my memory.
Last Summer, Coldplay were headlinig Glastonbury. The idea of not being there at the main stage wasn't even discussed. I had a copy of X&Y at home, but to be honest, it had yet to grip me. But, once again, I was impressed beyond words. They owned the festival. 'Fix You' came to life that night, jumping off the page. The back catalogue shone brightly into the night sky. But greater than that, they repeated the feat of that night at Wembley Arena, ten fold. In the middle of the set, they came down to the front of the stage for a mini acoustic set. Original, hardly, but effective? Unbelievably so. It felt like a tiny gig, but with 100,000 people sat around you. The reading of 'Til Kingdom Come', their song for Johnny Cash I've already raved about on here, was extraordinary. And lo and behold, more than 6 months later, X&Y has finally trapped me in it's spell. 'The Hardest Part', 'Low', 'Swallowed In The Sea' and 'Twisted Logic' are now melodic signatures written into my imagination.
Now. I can understand why people don't like Coldplay. Their songs are simple, widescreen musings on love or death. Their influences are clear. Chris Martin is over earnest at times, although I think he's alright really. Their ubiquity can grate. They aren't desperately rock n roll. But in spite of all that, I like their songs. I take what I can from them. I get my originality and attitude from elsewhere. I come to Coldplay for empathy, fragility and melody in huge brush strokes.
That's why I like Coldplay. Do you?
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