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Coldplay - X&Y

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X&Y

Coldplay

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After Radiohead stubbornly refused to accept the mantle of world's biggest and most important rock band by releasing the willfully strange rocktronica fusion Kid A in 2000, Coldplay stepped up to the plate with their debut, Parachutes. Tasteful, earnest, introspective, anthemic, and grounded in guitars, the British quartet was everything Radiohead weren't but what the public wanted them to be, and benefited from the Oxford quintet's decision to abandon rock stardom for arcane art rock. Parachutes became a transatlantic hit and 2002's sequel, A Rush of Blood to the Head, consolidated their success by being bigger and better than Parachutes, positioning Coldplay to not be just the new Radiohead, but the new U2: a band that belongs to the world but whose fans believe that the music is for them alone. To that end, Coldplay's third album, X&Y -- slightly delayed so it follows Rush of Blood by nearly three years, but that's no longer than the time separating OK Computer and Kid A, or The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree -- is designed to be the record that elevates Coldplay to the major leagues, where they are at once the biggest and most important band in the world. It's deliberate and sleek, cinematic and pristine, hip enough to sample Kraftwerk and blend in fashionable retro-'80s post-punk allusions without altering the band's core. Indeed, X&Y is hardly a bold step forward but rather a consolidation of Coldplay's strengths, particularly their skill at crafting surging, widescreen epics. But if X&Y highlights their attributes it also brings Coldplay's weaknesses into sharp relief. Forget the fact that they, by any stretch of the imagination, do not rock -- rocking is simply against their nature. They are a meditative band, reflecting on their emotions instead of letting them go in a cathartic blast of noise and rhythm. This isn't a problem -- after all, there have been plenty of great bands that do not rock & roll -- but their terminal politeness does cripple their music, preventing it from being as majestic as its aspirations. Coldplay is well scrubbed and well behaved, possessing a textbook education in classic rock and the good sense to never stretch any farther than needed. They are the perfect middlebrow rock band -- clean, pristine, and rational, seemingly smart since they never succumb to pounding, primal riffs, but also not weird enough to be genuine art rock. It's ambitious, yet its ambitions are modest, not risky, so their ambitions can be fulfilled without breaking a sweat. And since their sweeping yet subdued theatricality does recall the more majestic moments of Radiohead and U2, they have won millions of fans, but another crucial reason that Coldplay have a broad appeal is that lead singer/songwriter Chris Martin never tackles any large issues, preferring to endlessly examine his feelings. Like on Parachutes and Rush of Blood, all the songs on X&Y are ruminations on Martin's doubts, fears, hopes, and loves. His words are earnest and vague, so listeners can identify with the underlying themes in the songs, and his plain, everyman voice, sighing as sweet as a schoolboy, is unthreatening and unassuming, so it's all the easier for listeners to project their own emotions into the song. But for as impeccable as X&Y is -- and, make no mistake, it's a good record, crisp, professional, and assured, a sonically satisfying sequel to A Rush of Blood to the Head -- it does reveal that Martin's solipsism is a dead-end, diminishing the stature of the band. Where U2 is big in sound, scope, ambition, and intent, Coldplay is ultimately big music about small things, and even if X&Y is a strong, accomplished album, its limited, narcissistic point of view is what prevents the quartet from inheriting the title of the biggest and most important band in the world. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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X&Y

Coldplay

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1
Square One 00:04:47

Richard George, Strings - Jon Bailey, Assistant Engineer - Chris Martin, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Lead Vocals, Writer - George Marino, Mastering Engineer - Chris Athens, Mastering Engineer - Mark Phythian, Programmer - Peter Lale, Strings - Coldplay, MainArtist - Guy Berryman, Producer, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Will Champion, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Writer - Jonny Buckland, Producer, Electric Guitar, Writer - Carmen Rizzo, Programmer - Jake Jackson, Assistant Engineer - Dan Porter, Assistant Engineer - Will Hensley, Mixing Engineer - Brad Spence, Assistant Engineer - Taz Mattar, Assistant Engineer - Rob Smith, Assistant Engineer, Programmer - Tim Roe, Assistant Engineer - Chris Tombling, Strings - Keith Gary, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Michael H. Brauer, Mixing Engineer - Adam Noble, Assistant Engineer - Danton Supple, Producer - Robert Smith, Assistant - Ann Lines, Cello, Strings - Greg Warren Wilson, Strings - Audrey Riley, String Arranger, Strings - Mike Pierce, Assistant Engineer - Mathieu LeJeune, Assistant Engineer - Matt McGinn, Guitar, Technician - Bryan Russell, Assistant Engineer - Andrea Wright, Assistant Engineer - Susan Dench, Strings - Adam Scheuermann, Assistant Engineer - Jon Withnall, Assistant Engineer - Matthew McGinn, Writer - Laura "Melhewish" Melhuish, Strings

2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

2
What If 00:04:57

Michael Brauer, Mixer, Engineer - Richard George, Violin - Jon Bailey, Assistant - Ken Nelson, Producer, Engineer - Ted Jensen, Engineer - Chris Martin, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Writer - George Marino, Mastering Engineer, Masterer - Chris Athens, Engineer - Mark Phythian, Engineer, Programmer - Peter Lale, Viola, Strings - Coldplay, MainArtist - Guy Berryman, Producer, Guitar, Vocals, Writer, Bass, Synthesizer - Will Champion, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Vocals, Writer - Jonny Buckland, Producer, Guitar, Writer - Carmen Rizzo, Programmer - Jake Jackson, Assistant - Dan Porter, Engineer - Will Hensley, Mixer, Engineer - Brad Spence, Assistant - Taz Mattar, Assistant - Rob Smith, Programmer, Assistant - Tim Roe, Engineer - Keith Gary, Mixer, Engineer - Adam Noble, Assistant - Danton Supple, Producer - Audrey Riley, Strings - Mike Pierce, Engineer - Mathieu LeJeune, Engineer - Matt McGinn, Technician - Bryan Russell, Engineer - Andrea Wright, Engineer - Susan Dench, Viola - Adam Scheuermann, Engineer - John Withnal, Assistant - Chris Tumbling, Violin - Lavra Melhuish, Violin - Anne Lines, Cello - Greg Wilson, Violin - Jon Withnall, Engineer

2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

3
White Shadows 00:05:28

Richard George, Strings - Jon Bailey, Assistant Engineer - Ken Nelson, Producer, Engineer, Production - Chris Martin, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Lead Vocals, Writer - George Marino, Mastering Engineer - Chris Athens, Mastering Engineer - Mark Phythian, Engineer, Programmer - Peter Lale, Strings - Brian Eno, Synthesizer - Coldplay, MainArtist - Guy Berryman, Producer, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Will Champion, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Writer - Jonny Buckland, Producer, Electric Guitar, Writer - Carmen Rizzo, Programmer - Jake Jackson, Assistant Engineer - Dan Porter, Assistant Engineer - Will Hensley, Mixing Engineer - Brad Spence, Assistant Engineer - Taz Mattar, Assistant Engineer - Rob Smith, Assistant Engineer, Programmer - Tim Roe, Assistant Engineer - Chris Tombling, Strings - Keith Gary, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Michael H. Brauer, Mixing Engineer - Adam Noble, Assistant Engineer - Danton Supple, Producer - Robert Smith, Assistant - Ann Lines, Strings - Greg Warren Wilson, Strings - Audrey Riley, String Arranger, Strings - Mike Pierce, Assistant Engineer - Mathieu LeJeune, Assistant Engineer - Matt McGinn, Technician - Bryan Russell, Assistant Engineer - Andrea Wright, Assistant Engineer - Susan Dench, Strings - Adam Scheuermann, Assistant Engineer - Jon Withnall, Assistant Engineer - Laura "Melhewish" Melhuish, Strings

2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

4
Fix You 00:04:54

Richard George, Strings - Jon Bailey, Assistant Engineer - Ken Nelson, Producer, Engineer, Production - Chris Martin, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Lead Vocals, Writer, Guitarra - George Marino, Mastering Engineer - Chris Athens, Mastering Engineer - Mark Phythian, Engineer, Programmer, Recording Engineer - Adam Ayan, Mastering Engineer - Peter Lale, Strings - Coldplay, MainArtist - Guy Berryman, Producer, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Will Champion, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Writer - Jonny Buckland, Producer, Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals, Writer, Guitarra - Carmen Rizzo, Programmer - Jake Jackson, Assistant Engineer - Dan Porter, Assistant Engineer - Will Hensley, Mixing Engineer - Brad Spence, Assistant Engineer - Taz Mattar, Assistant Engineer - Rob Smith, Assistant Engineer, Programmer - Tim Roe, Assistant Engineer - Chris Tombling, Strings - Keith Gary, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Michael H. Brauer, Mixing Engineer - Adam Noble, Assistant Engineer - Danton Supple, Producer - Robert Smith, Assistant - Ann Lines, Strings - Greg Warren Wilson, Strings - Audrey Riley, String Arranger, Strings - Mike Pierce, Assistant Engineer - Mathieu LeJeune, Assistant Engineer - Matt McGinn, Technician - Bryan Russell, Assistant Engineer - Andrea Wright, Assistant Engineer - Susan Dench, Strings - Adam Scheuermann, Assistant Engineer - Jon Withnall, Assistant Engineer - Laura "Melhewish" Melhuish, Strings

2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

5
Talk 00:05:11

Karl Bartos, Writer - Richard George, Strings - Jon Bailey, Assistant Engineer - Ken Nelson, Producer, Engineer, Production - Chris Martin, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Lead Vocals, Writer, Guitarra - George Marino, Mastering Engineer - Chris Athens, Mastering Engineer - Mark Phythian, Engineer, Programmer - Peter Lale, Strings - Coldplay, MainArtist - Guy Berryman, Producer, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Will Champion, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Writer - Jonny Buckland, Producer, Electric Guitar, Writer, Guitarra - Carmen Rizzo, Programmer - Jake Jackson, Assistant Engineer - Dan Porter, Assistant Engineer - Will Hensley, Mixing Engineer - Brad Spence, Assistant Engineer - Taz Mattar, Assistant Engineer - Rob Smith, Assistant Engineer, Programmer - Tim Roe, Assistant Engineer - Chris Tombling, Strings - Keith Gary, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Michael H. Brauer, Mixing Engineer - Adam Noble, Assistant Engineer - Danton Supple, Producer - Robert Smith, Assistant - Ann Lines, Cello, Strings - Greg Warren Wilson, Strings - Audrey Riley, String Arranger, Strings - Mike Pierce, Assistant Engineer - Mathieu LeJeune, Assistant Engineer - Ralf Hutter, Writer - Matt McGinn, Technician - Bryan Russell, Assistant Engineer - Andrea Wright, Assistant Engineer - Susan Dench, Strings - Adam Scheuermann, Assistant Engineer - Jon Withnall, Assistant Engineer - Laura "Melhewish" Melhuish, Strings - Werner Schult, Writer

2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

6
X&Y 00:04:34

Richard George, Violin - Ken Nelson, Producer, Mixing Engineer - Chris Martin, Producer, Guitar, Piano, Lead Vocals, Writer - George Marino, Mastering Engineer - Mark Phythian, Engineer - Peter Lale, Viola - Coldplay, MainArtist - Guy Berryman, Producer, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Writer - Will Champion, Producer, Drums, Backing Vocals, Writer - Jonny Buckland, Producer, Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals, Writer - Dan Porter, Assistant - Will Hensley, Mixing Engineer - Rob Smith, Assistant - Tim Roe, Assistant - Chris Tombling, Violin - Keith Gary, Mixing Engineer - Michael H. Brauer, Mixing Engineer - Danton Supple, Producer - Audrey Riley, String Arranger - Susan Dench, Viola - Gregory Warren Wilson, Violin - Lavra Melhuish, Violin - Anne Lines, Cello

2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

7
Speed of Sound 00:04:48

Richard George, Strings - Jon Bailey, Assistant Engineer - Ken Nelson, Producer, Engineer, Production - Chris Martin, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Lead Vocals, Writer, Guitarra - George Marino, Mastering Engineer - Chris Athens, Mastering Engineer - Mark Phythian, Engineer, Programmer - Peter Lale, Strings - Coldplay, MainArtist - Guy Berryman, Producer, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Will Champion, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Writer - Jonny Buckland, Producer, Electric Guitar, Writer, Guitarra - Carmen Rizzo, Programmer - Jake Jackson, Assistant Engineer - Dan Porter, Assistant Engineer - Will Hensley, Mixing Engineer - Brad Spence, Assistant Engineer - Taz Mattar, Assistant Engineer - Rob Smith, Assistant Engineer, Programmer - Tim Roe, Assistant Engineer - Chris Tombling, Strings - Keith Gary, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Michael H. Brauer, Mixing Engineer - Adam Noble, Assistant Engineer - Danton Supple, Producer - Robert Smith, Assistant - Ann Lines, Strings - Greg Warren Wilson, Strings - Audrey Riley, String Arranger, Strings - Mike Pierce, Assistant Engineer - Mathieu LeJeune, Assistant Engineer - Matt McGinn, Technician - Bryan Russell, Assistant Engineer - Andrea Wright, Assistant Engineer - Susan Dench, Strings - Adam Scheuermann, Assistant Engineer - Jon Withnall, Assistant Engineer - Laura "Melhewish" Melhuish, Strings

2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

8
A Message 00:04:45

Richard George, Strings - Jon Bailey, Assistant Engineer - Chris Martin, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Lead Vocals, Writer, Guitarra - George Marino, Mastering Engineer - Chris Athens, Mastering Engineer - Mark Phythian, Programmer - Peter Lale, Strings - Coldplay, MainArtist - Guy Berryman, Producer, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Will Champion, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Writer - Jonny Buckland, Producer, Electric Guitar, Writer, Guitarra - Carmen Rizzo, Programmer - Jake Jackson, Assistant Engineer - Dan Porter, Assistant Engineer - Will Hensley, Mixing Engineer - Brad Spence, Assistant Engineer - Taz Mattar, Assistant Engineer - Rob Smith, Assistant Engineer, Programmer - Tim Roe, Assistant Engineer - Chris Tombling, Strings - Keith Gary, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Michael H. Brauer, Mixing Engineer - Adam Noble, Assistant Engineer - Danton Supple, Producer - Robert Smith, Assistant - Ann Lines, Strings - Greg Warren Wilson, Strings - Audrey Riley, String Arranger, Strings - Mike Pierce, Assistant Engineer - Mathieu LeJeune, Assistant Engineer - Matt McGinn, Technician - Bryan Russell, Assistant Engineer - Andrea Wright, Assistant Engineer - Susan Dench, Strings - Adam Scheuermann, Assistant Engineer - Jon Withnall, Assistant Engineer - Laura "Melhewish" Melhuish, Strings

2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

9
Low 00:05:32

Richard George, Strings - Jon Bailey, Assistant Engineer - Chris Martin, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Lead Vocals, Writer - George Marino, Mastering Engineer - Chris Athens, Mastering Engineer - Mark Phythian, Programmer - Peter Lale, Strings - Brian Eno, Synthesizer - Coldplay, MainArtist - Guy Berryman, Producer, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Will Champion, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Writer - Jonny Buckland, Producer, Electric Guitar, Writer - Carmen Rizzo, Programmer - Jake Jackson, Assistant Engineer - Dan Porter, Assistant Engineer - Will Hensley, Mixing Engineer - Brad Spence, Assistant Engineer - Taz Mattar, Assistant Engineer - Rob Smith, Assistant Engineer, Programmer - Tim Roe, Assistant Engineer - Chris Tombling, Strings - Keith Gary, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Michael H. Brauer, Mixing Engineer - Adam Noble, Assistant Engineer - Danton Supple, Producer - Robert Smith, Assistant - Ann Lines, Cello, Strings - Greg Warren Wilson, Strings - Audrey Riley, String Arranger, Strings - Mike Pierce, Assistant Engineer - Mathieu LeJeune, Assistant Engineer - Matt McGinn, Technician - Bryan Russell, Assistant Engineer - Andrea Wright, Assistant Engineer - Susan Dench, Strings - Adam Scheuermann, Assistant Engineer - Jon Withnall, Assistant Engineer - Laura "Melhewish" Melhuish, Strings

2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

10
The Hardest Part 00:04:25

Richard George, Strings - Jon Bailey, Assistant Engineer - Ted Jensen, Mastering Engineer - Chris Martin, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Lead Vocals, Writer - George Marino, Mastering Engineer - Chris Athens, Mastering Engineer - Mark Phythian, Programmer - Peter Lale, Strings - Coldplay, MainArtist - Guy Berryman, Producer, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Will Champion, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Writer - Jonny Buckland, Producer, Electric Guitar, Writer - Carmen Rizzo, Programmer - Jake Jackson, Assistant Engineer - Dan Porter, Assistant Engineer - Will Hensley, Mixing Engineer - Brad Spence, Assistant Engineer - Taz Mattar, Assistant Engineer - Rob Smith, Assistant Engineer, Programmer - Tim Roe, Assistant Engineer - Chris Tombling, Strings - Keith Gary, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Michael H. Brauer, Mixing Engineer - Adam Noble, Assistant Engineer - Danton Supple, Producer - Robert Smith, Assistant - Ann Lines, Strings - Greg Warren Wilson, Strings - Audrey Riley, String Arranger, Strings - Mike Pierce, Assistant Engineer - Mathieu LeJeune, Assistant Engineer - Matt McGinn, Technician - Bryan Russell, Assistant Engineer - Andrea Wright, Assistant Engineer - Susan Dench, Strings - Adam Scheuermann, Assistant Engineer - Jon Withnall, Assistant Engineer - Laura "Melhewish" Melhuish, Strings

2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

11
Swallowed in the Sea 00:03:59

Richard George, Strings - Jon Bailey, Assistant Engineer - Ken Nelson, Producer, Engineer, Production - Chris Martin, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Lead Vocals, Writer - George Marino, Mastering Engineer - Chris Athens, Mastering Engineer - Mark Phythian, Programmer, Recording Engineer - Peter Lale, Strings - Coldplay, MainArtist - Guy Berryman, Producer, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Will Champion, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Writer - Jonny Buckland, Producer, Electric Guitar, Writer - Carmen Rizzo, Programmer - Jake Jackson, Assistant Engineer - Dan Porter, Assistant Engineer - Will Hensley, Mixing Engineer - Brad Spence, Assistant Engineer - Taz Mattar, Assistant Engineer - Rob Smith, Assistant Engineer, Programmer - Tim Roe, Assistant Engineer - Chris Tombling, Strings - Keith Gary, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Michael H. Brauer, Mixing Engineer - Adam Noble, Assistant Engineer - Danton Supple, Producer - Robert Smith, Assistant - Ann Lines, Strings - Greg Warren Wilson, Strings - Audrey Riley, String Arranger, Strings - Mike Pierce, Assistant Engineer - Mathieu LeJeune, Assistant Engineer - Matt McGinn, Technician - Bryan Russell, Assistant Engineer - Andrea Wright, Assistant Engineer - Susan Dench, Strings - Adam Scheuermann, Assistant Engineer - Jon Withnall, Assistant Engineer - Laura "Melhewish" Melhuish, Strings

2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

12
Twisted Logic 00:04:31

Richard George, Strings - Jon Bailey, Assistant Engineer - Ken Nelson, Producer, Engineer, Production - Chris Martin, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Lead Vocals, Writer, Guitarra - George Marino, Mastering Engineer - Chris Athens, Mastering Engineer - Mark Phythian, Programmer, Recording Engineer - Peter Lale, Strings - Coldplay, MainArtist - Guy Berryman, Producer, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Will Champion, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Writer - Jonny Buckland, Producer, Electric Guitar, Writer, Guitarra - Carmen Rizzo, Programmer - Jake Jackson, Assistant Engineer - Dan Porter, Assistant Engineer - Will Hensley, Mixing Engineer - Brad Spence, Assistant Engineer - Taz Mattar, Assistant Engineer - Rob Smith, Assistant Engineer, Programmer - Tim Roe, Assistant Engineer - Chris Tombling, Strings - Keith Gary, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Michael H. Brauer, Mixing Engineer - Adam Noble, Assistant Engineer - Danton Supple, Producer, Mixing Engineer - Robert Smith, Assistant - Ann Lines, Strings - Greg Warren Wilson, Strings - Audrey Riley, String Arranger, Strings - Mike Pierce, Assistant Engineer - Mathieu LeJeune, Assistant Engineer - Matt McGinn, Technician - Bryan Russell, Assistant Engineer - Andrea Wright, Assistant Engineer - Susan Dench, Strings - Adam Scheuermann, Assistant Engineer - Jon Withnall, Assistant Engineer - Laura "Melhewish" Melhuish, Strings

2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

13
Til Kingdom Come 00:04:10

Richard George, Strings - Jon Bailey, Assistant Engineer - Ken Nelson, Producer, Engineer, Production - Chris Martin, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Lead Vocals, Writer, Guitarra - George Marino, Mastering Engineer - Chris Athens, Mastering Engineer - Mark Phythian, Programmer - Peter Lale, Strings - Coldplay, MainArtist - Guy Berryman, Producer, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Will Champion, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Writer - Jonny Buckland, Producer, Electric Guitar, Writer, Guitarra - Carmen Rizzo, Programmer - Jake Jackson, Assistant Engineer - Dan Porter, Assistant Engineer - Will Hensley, Mixing Engineer - Brad Spence, Assistant Engineer - Taz Mattar, Assistant Engineer - Rob Smith, Assistant Engineer, Programmer - Tim Roe, Assistant Engineer - Chris Tombling, Strings - Keith Gary, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Michael H. Brauer, Mixing Engineer - Adam Noble, Assistant Engineer - Danton Supple, Producer, Mixing Engineer - Robert Smith, Assistant - Ann Lines, Strings - Greg Warren Wilson, Strings - Audrey Riley, String Arranger, Strings - Mike Pierce, Assistant Engineer - Mathieu LeJeune, Assistant Engineer - Matt McGinn, Technician - Bryan Russell, Assistant Engineer - Andrea Wright, Assistant Engineer - Susan Dench, Strings - Adam Scheuermann, Assistant Engineer - Jon Withnall, Assistant Engineer - Laura "Melhewish" Melhuish, Strings

2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2005 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

Album Description

After Radiohead stubbornly refused to accept the mantle of world's biggest and most important rock band by releasing the willfully strange rocktronica fusion Kid A in 2000, Coldplay stepped up to the plate with their debut, Parachutes. Tasteful, earnest, introspective, anthemic, and grounded in guitars, the British quartet was everything Radiohead weren't but what the public wanted them to be, and benefited from the Oxford quintet's decision to abandon rock stardom for arcane art rock. Parachutes became a transatlantic hit and 2002's sequel, A Rush of Blood to the Head, consolidated their success by being bigger and better than Parachutes, positioning Coldplay to not be just the new Radiohead, but the new U2: a band that belongs to the world but whose fans believe that the music is for them alone. To that end, Coldplay's third album, X&Y -- slightly delayed so it follows Rush of Blood by nearly three years, but that's no longer than the time separating OK Computer and Kid A, or The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree -- is designed to be the record that elevates Coldplay to the major leagues, where they are at once the biggest and most important band in the world. It's deliberate and sleek, cinematic and pristine, hip enough to sample Kraftwerk and blend in fashionable retro-'80s post-punk allusions without altering the band's core. Indeed, X&Y is hardly a bold step forward but rather a consolidation of Coldplay's strengths, particularly their skill at crafting surging, widescreen epics. But if X&Y highlights their attributes it also brings Coldplay's weaknesses into sharp relief. Forget the fact that they, by any stretch of the imagination, do not rock -- rocking is simply against their nature. They are a meditative band, reflecting on their emotions instead of letting them go in a cathartic blast of noise and rhythm. This isn't a problem -- after all, there have been plenty of great bands that do not rock & roll -- but their terminal politeness does cripple their music, preventing it from being as majestic as its aspirations. Coldplay is well scrubbed and well behaved, possessing a textbook education in classic rock and the good sense to never stretch any farther than needed. They are the perfect middlebrow rock band -- clean, pristine, and rational, seemingly smart since they never succumb to pounding, primal riffs, but also not weird enough to be genuine art rock. It's ambitious, yet its ambitions are modest, not risky, so their ambitions can be fulfilled without breaking a sweat. And since their sweeping yet subdued theatricality does recall the more majestic moments of Radiohead and U2, they have won millions of fans, but another crucial reason that Coldplay have a broad appeal is that lead singer/songwriter Chris Martin never tackles any large issues, preferring to endlessly examine his feelings. Like on Parachutes and Rush of Blood, all the songs on X&Y are ruminations on Martin's doubts, fears, hopes, and loves. His words are earnest and vague, so listeners can identify with the underlying themes in the songs, and his plain, everyman voice, sighing as sweet as a schoolboy, is unthreatening and unassuming, so it's all the easier for listeners to project their own emotions into the song. But for as impeccable as X&Y is -- and, make no mistake, it's a good record, crisp, professional, and assured, a sonically satisfying sequel to A Rush of Blood to the Head -- it does reveal that Martin's solipsism is a dead-end, diminishing the stature of the band. Where U2 is big in sound, scope, ambition, and intent, Coldplay is ultimately big music about small things, and even if X&Y is a strong, accomplished album, its limited, narcissistic point of view is what prevents the quartet from inheriting the title of the biggest and most important band in the world. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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