X&Y by Coldplay

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X&Y by Coldplay
X&Y by Coldplay

Album Released: 2005

X&Y ::: Artwork

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1.Square One4:47
2.What If4:57
3.White Shadows5:28
4.Fix You4:54
7.Speed Of Sound4:48
8.A Message4:45
10.The Hardest Part4:25
11.Swallowed In The Sea3:58
12.Twisted Logic5:01
13.Til Kingdom Come4:12


EMI's shares fell on news of the delay to this album's release, such was the perceived importance of the third Coldplay release.

Sensibly, Chris Martin knew the importance of this third Coldplay album too, and took his time. Apparently, around sixty songs were written then whittled down. That's good, as it means X&Y mostly avoids that 'second half is rubbish' thing that went down with the first two Coldplay albums.

Coldplay have finally pushed their sound forwards instead of sideways. There's acoustic strumalongs, a layering of instruments that aren't just bass, guitar, and piano, and carefully constructed songs. Martin stays with his own tried-and-trusted formula for lyrics consisting of simple but strong emotional words, then stringing them together in a way that's suitably vague, though hardly Bob Dylan.

"Square One" pushes all the right buttons, the opening electronic sequence revealing Martin had spent time listening to Kraftwerk. It's simple and he sings beautifully over the top, then the drums come in to thrilling effect when added to the fairly spooky electronics. Then the guitars - they sound epic in a 1980's U2 kind of way, as opposed to the guitar-work on previous Coldplay albums, which were usually overshadowed by piano. Plus the lyrics are actually about something! So "Square One" is easily one of the best songs on the album, and kicks things off in fine style. "What If" follows that, and maintains the standard - a typical Coldplay ballad, done well and retaining the epic quality with the guitars.

Highlights, highlights, highlights. Actually, a lowlight and a highlight arrive right together at the end of the album. "Twisted Logic" tries far too hard to be 'an epic album closer', the guitars reverting to the earlier Coldplay style. Actually, it sounds much like an average track from A Rush of Blood. Far far better though is the acoustic almost folky singalong "Til Kingdom Come", the 'hidden' bonus track at the very end of the album. That one song is proof of the thought that's gone into this record.

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning (blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews)

Maybe I'm the only person in the world who thinks this, but to my ears this is Coldplay's most substantial album yet. It's not far removed from A Rush of Blood to the Head, which did admittedly sound different from Parachutes, but anyone who listens to Coldplay expecting stylistic experiments and artistic innovation needs a good solid dose of Can to set them straight.

Instead, the problem is that lots of people who came on board with Parachutes will have now outgrown the group, realizing that there's a whole bunch of more interesting music out there, leaving Coldplay hanging in the mainstream. Which is kind of a shame, because X&Y has a better ratio of good songs to bad songs than the band's first two records, and more robust melodies, and those are just about the only fair criteria by which to grade a Coldplay album.

The band is competent and kind of poignant, but they're never going to blow anyone away with fantastic musicianship or genre inventions - the riff in "White Shadows" for example sounds like the guitarist wants to be The Edge Mark II. Still, I'm not too fussed if they can string together enough good songs like that one.

Although Chris Martin is still over-emoting about the minutiae of his feelings, these songs do seem more meaningful than before. Lights will guide you home and ignite your bones. And I will try to fix you doesn't make a whole lot of literal sense, but it's nice as the softly-dramatic chorus of the best song on the album, "Fix You", a song about how Martin cares about Gwyneth Paltrow and/or little baby Apple, and how he wants to fix them.

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by Reviewer: Fyfeopedia (blogging at Fyfeopedia [Defunct])

Coldplay wisely took their longest sabbatical yet after A Rush of Blood to the Head, a hiatus that gave Chris Martin ample time to pen a plethora of songs that could either be retained or discarded at his leisure. It's rumored that he wrote something like sixty songs during that time, which theoretically should avert the consistency problems that had plagued his work since the band's inception.

Despite the extra breathing room afforded by three years bereft of deadlines and studio pressures, the band still abstained from any major experimentation, and thus X&Y is hardly a radical departure. While it's true they assimilated some minor influences, as evidenced by moments like the nod to Kraftwerk on "Square One", at heart Coldplay left their core sound intact, preserving the style that saw them become one of the most successful bands of the new millennium.

While X&Y is quite a strong album, even with the rumored sixty track surplus, it's still rather erratic. The highpoints dwarf the failings however, and the result is an album that's a good deal better than the band's sophomore effort.

As mentioned already, album opener "Square One" betrays hints of a Krautrock influence, in particular owing a debt to Kraftwerk. The song is hardly a parody or homage however, as a closer listen reveals only superficial tributes to Kraftwerk. At its heart the song is classic Coldplay, albeit with more of a rock edge than the band are customarily associated with, a trend that surprisingly recurs throughout the album.

So "Square One" is a highlight, adroitly crafted with stunning vocal melodies and a rich sonic palette. And while the song has a relatively complex structure, each element gels perfectly, resulting in a song that more likely than not Coldplay wouldn't have been able to produce previously. So although the track fails to branch out in new directions from a stylistic perspective, it nevertheless demonstrates a refinement of the band's sound, indicating at least a modicum of growth and progress since their last outing.

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by Reviewer: Evan Lublinski (blogging at Evan Lublinski's Album Reviews)