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Coldplay at their very best!
X&y - Coldplay
Member Name: DonPaolo
X&y - Coldplay
Date: 17/01/12, updated on 19/01/12 (108 review reads)
Advantages: 5 great singles, many other gems, great riffs, rhythms and lyrics
Disadvantages: Barely any. Maybe one or 2 weaker tracks
About a week ago I listened to this album from start to finish for the first time in a couple of years; I'd really forgotten how much I enjoyed it and felt compelled to review it. So here goes...
X&Y is the 3rd studio album from Coldplay, released in 2005 after a lengthy and protracted recording and production process. There was a massive amount of anticipation surrounding the release following the success of its predecessors, and that pressure clearly led to the band being very picky about getting things right.
--- Overall Views: ---
I had been a fan of Coldplay's previous albums, whilst not getting quite as carried away as many others were; I thought they were very good, but not great. However, with X&Y, they took a great step up in my estimation and created a highly accomplished album with greater depth. Until this point, they had had several great singles, but to me their album tracks were often leaving a lot to be desired, and just seemed a little like filler. This issue disappeared with X&Y, where every single track has substance, offers something different and is worth listening to.
Although the musical styles of the tracks do vary, they all have a multi-layered and rich sound, which is testament to the time and effort put into production. There are also many more instances of the band being a little braver, with various electronic influences and synthesisers playing key parts, and a good helping of catchy hooks and guitar riffs thrown in which I hadn't expected.
This makes the whole album a real pleasure to listen to, and it's not surprise that Coldplay actually got 5 singles released from this album ("Speed of Sound", "Fix You", "Talk", "The Hardest Part", "What If" and "White Shadows").
--- Track Breakdown: ---
1. "Square One"
A synthesised start to the album, followed by a quick and catchy piece of percussion. This song builds in momentum and then gives way to a more powerful chorus and strong guitar riffs - a significant indication that there will be a few surprises on this album, and it won't just be a textbook Coldplay sound. With Chris Martin's occasional falsetto used in a more upbeat and rocky song, there is a definite new dimension here. Great stuff!
2. "What If"
Beginning softly with vocals and a piano, this is more of a ballad. It's a nice follow up, without being brilliant, and you know that the band aren't just throwing all of their best stuff at you within the first 4 or 5 tracks.
3. "White Shadows"
I didn't realise Coldplay were capable of this kind of track. It's another quicker one, with some great rhythms and guitar riffs. I would love to see more like this from the band - possibly my favourite from the album!
4. "Fix You"
One of the stand-out tracks, a stirring and powerful song. Unfortunately this has resulted in it being one of the most criminally overplayed songs ever. Programs such as X Factor, Britain's Got Talent and many other reality shows have almost ruined this song for me, using it as the go to option for conveying the cliché of a contestant going on an 'emotional journey'. Such a shame...
The slower and gentle opening to this song once again builds to a great chorus, and Coldplay again show they can construct a song with real substance and feeling, which also combines some catchy riffs and rousing lyrics. This is another of the album's top songs in my view.
6. "X & Y"
One of the album's slower tracks, X&Y still has a rich sound. It's overall feel is a little bit of a departure from the regular Coldplay style, but this is a pleasant change which adds some variety to break up the album a bit more.
7. "Speed Of Sound"
One of the best selling singles from the album, and a typical example of an early Coldplay classic. Speed of Sound was instantly compared to their previous hit 'Clocks', and there are definite similarities here. A great pop track!
8. "A Message"
Beginning with the soft twang of acoustic guitar and vocals, this is yet another track which offers more than meets the eye at first. It builds both musically and emotionally, and definitely feels like it could have been another single.
This is a mirror image of some of the previous tracks, starting with a quick beat, and becoming more intense with great lyrics and guitar pieces. Then it dissolves into a slower final third, almost drifting away - a solid and interesting track.
10. "The Hardest Part"
A more gentle-sounding song, which still manages to include a nice guitar solo towards the end. I don't have a great deal to say about this one - but it's a good album track.
11. "Swallowed In The Sea"
This slower song stands out for the lovely poetic quality of the lyrics. It doesn't have a traditional chorus, but consists of a series of longer verses which return alternately to the eponymous line "Swallowed in the Sea". A pleasure to listen to and a great bit of variety on the album.
12. "Twisted Logic"
More experimentation from the boys (but only a little bit really). This is one of the less memorable tracks on the album, and in my view it doesn't quite work. Never mind - it's surrounded by brilliance!
"+" or "Til Kingdom Come"
A lovely little bonus track tucked away at the end of the album. This is a beautiful and simple song, quite different from the other 12 tracks, and one of my favourites.
--- Final Thoughts: ---
X&Y is Coldplay's most accomplished album, bursting with great singles and very impressive album tracks. The production and depth of the sound makes it an exciting and absorbing record to listen to from start to finish, and it's been a real pleasure to revisit it. I believe the band are at their best like this, with crescendos, driving drum beats, catchy riffs and simple, often beautiful lyrics. Great work all round by a great band!
Summary: A lively, exciting, rich record by Coldplay - the best they have done