Why I Believe X & Y Is Receiving Mixed Reactions: - U2 Feedback

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Old 05-31-2005, 02:10 PM   #1
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Why I Believe X & Y Is Receiving Mixed Reactions:

I posted this in the Coldplaying.com forum, but judging from some of the reactions on this board, I believe I should post it here too.

I've been reading a lot of reactions on this board, from people who have been comparing X & Y to Parachutes and complaining that it doesn't stack up. Many consider Parachhutes superior. Some believe AROBTTH is superior as well. Many people seem to be disappointed. I, on the other hand, really love this new album. I must qualify this by saying that I am a huge Radiohead fan. What do I mean by this?

Coldplay are following a similar trajectory that Radiohead followed in their early career.

Don't necessarily take this statement at face value - I don't believe X & Y is much like OK Computer (Radiohead's third), but the similarity is that Coldplay's albums are beginning to live up to the band's name:

They're getting colder.

Parachutes is filled with raw emotions, but a very simple and stripped down structure. It's basically just piano, a single electric guitar, bass, and drums. It is occassionally accented by Martin's rhythm guitar, but that's about it. The raw emotion of the songs shine through because the arrangement is rather bare.

With AROBTTH, Coldplay began to change. They knew they had to evolve if they were to become something more than the other English bands they were being lumped with in the Post-Oasis/Radiohead Brit Rock scene. Their sound grew more complicated, and evolved, but I believe some of the emotion was lost. Many of the songs on the album retained it, such as Amsterdam, The Scientist, and In My Place. But songs like 'A Whisper' and 'Daylight' left me feeling colder than I had on the previous album. As the songs evolved and instruments and layers were added, something in the music changed. I didn't see this as a bad thing - with a good band, if you lose the emotion of a song you oftentimes gain something else. It all depends on whether the listener minds sacrificing raw emotion for something closer to intellectual introspection.

X & Y sees the completion of this musical arc. There aren't any songs like 'Yellow' or 'The Scientist' on X & Y. Even 'Fix You' doesn't contain the raw emotional bombast that 'The Scientist' has. X & Y is very musically layered. There are synths all over the place, multiple, criss-crossing electric guitars, and ambient noises in the background. Martin's lyrics have changed as well. This album is full of intellectual questions - questions about fate, communication, distance, technology, meaning. Parachutes was basically a collection of love ballads, with few exceptions. I love Parachutes to death - it's a fantastic album, but it should not be compared to AROBTTH or X & Y. Each album is what it is. I see Parachutes as Chris exploring love and the simple things in life, and creating brilliant, catchy ballads like Talk, Everything's Not Lost, and Trouble. AROBTTH sees him digging deeper, and the other bandmates evolve with him - their musical styling becomes more complicated and obtuse as his lyrics and longings become more intellectual in nature. X & Y sees this evolution to fruition.

But I love this new album. It's nowhere near as immediate as Parachutes, or even AROBTTH. It requires repeated listenings. It requires you to reflect on your own thoughts and beliefs. It's not immediately accessible, and therefore not as immediately gratifying. I think this is why people are reacting the way they are. With all of these 'The Next U2' comparisons, some are probably expecting to be immediately moved and emotionally affected ala 'One' or 'Where The Streets Have No Name' or 'Beautiful Day'. But these U2 comparisons are bollocks. Coldplay's music has always been veering, with each new album, towards intellectual introspection, and further away from raw emotional bombast ala 'Sunday Bloody Sunday.' I don't mind in the least bit. I was expecting this, and I was prepared, and I love these songs. I love the album more and more with each listen - it makes me think, it makes me question, and it moves me in ways that simple ballads like 'Yellow' cannot.

Take this album on a drive through the countryside as the sun begins to set. Allow yourself to be consumed by the album's questions, concerns, thoughts, and doubts. Let go of any expectations that X & Y will be 'Parachutes Redux' and take it for what it is - an amazing, brilliant album that yearns to find the answers to the questions residing inside all of our minds.

-Miggy
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Old 05-31-2005, 02:27 PM   #2
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Oh. I thought it was cause the album is boring.
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Old 05-31-2005, 02:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dalton
Oh. I thought it was cause the album is boring.
or because they think they're U2
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Old 05-31-2005, 03:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dalton
Oh I thought it was because the album is boring

Originally posted by one4u2
or because they think they're U2
Or both
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Old 05-31-2005, 03:09 PM   #5
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second the motion
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Old 05-31-2005, 03:34 PM   #6
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Interesting thoughts, Miggy D. I'm going to give the album more chances, but as I said elsewhere on B&C, "X&Y" didn't grab me immediately like the previous album did.

I, personally, like my music warm.
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Old 05-31-2005, 03:43 PM   #7
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Interesting and original post, Miggy (unlike most of the others in this thread so far). I am waiting for the album to be released before listening to any of it, excluding 'The Speed of Sound,' but I will keep your thoughts in mind when I do listen to it. I love it when bands get more complicated, more inaccessible, deeper. Maybe that's why Kid A and Zooropa are my favorite Radiohead and U2 albums.
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Old 05-31-2005, 03:46 PM   #8
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I love Coldplay, but I hate synths. what a predicament!
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Old 05-31-2005, 03:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by HeartlandGirl
Interesting and original post, Miggy (unlike most of the others in this thread so far).
I'd just like to repeat this statement. It's refreshing to see someone who actually wants to provide some kind of insight/feelings/information/interpretation/or flat out intelligence actually take the time to write something like that up.

I too still have heard nothing from it other than Speed of Sound and I watched their performance on SNL. I gave up long ago on downloading leaked albums (and have also given up on putting too much stock into knee jerk impressionistic opinions of any variety, especially those based on mp3 leaks). What I do put stock into is people who actually have put some thought and time into what they're listening to and writing about (as Miggy D obviosly has).

I look forward to hearing the album in CD quality and giving it some serious time and listening.
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Old 05-31-2005, 04:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by u2popmofo

I look forward to hearing the album in CD quality and giving it some serious time and listening.
That's exactly what this album deserves, and nothing less.

I hope you enjoy it.

And thank you for the compliments.


-Miggy
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Old 05-31-2005, 04:39 PM   #11
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Great post, Miggy


I'm also joining those who are waiting for the cd


I can't wait to put on my headphones and really listen to this album. I have liked everything I've heard (Some live tracks from Coachella and SNL) though it did take a couple of listens for me to really get into "Speed of Sound"... but I like music like that. Not immediately catchy but something that kind of hits you out of the blue and one day, as you're listening, you kind of go "Oh, hey, this is a great song!"

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Old 05-31-2005, 05:51 PM   #12
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I listened to X&Y and thought it was a pretty solid effort by Coldplay. The more you listen to it, the more you will like it. One thing for everyone to listen for, the chorus in the song 'The Hardest Part' sounds identical to the chorus in 'Wild Honey'. I guess if Coldplay want to be the best band in the world, why not copy the current best band in the world!
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Old 05-31-2005, 06:01 PM   #13
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People crack me up.
Bono rants and raves about no one taking on the challenge then when a band does take up the challenege all the die hards get upset.
As far as I'm concerned there is room enough for several good bands.
They didn't ask for the U2 comparison.
We know how journalist are sometimes unfair to our boys and so they will be to Coldplay.
U2 could be criticized just as much as Coldplay.
I'm not shocked by the snobbery on this board, just tired of it.
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Old 05-31-2005, 06:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by HeartlandGirl
Interesting and original post, Miggy (unlike most of the others in this thread so far).
Quote:
Originally posted by
u2popmofo

I'd just like to repeat this statement. It's refreshing to see someone who actually wants to provide some kind of insight/feelings/information/interpretation/or flat out intelligence actually take the time to write something like that up.

I was going to say something similar but they said it better. Miggy, your thoughtful post made me want to buy the record and I don't own any Coldplay records (yet).
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Old 05-31-2005, 06:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Iskra

They didn't ask for the U2 comparison.

I'm not shocked by the snobbery on this board, just tired of it.
Don't let the door hit you on the way out
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