Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


That Coldplay are bland, overrated and uninspiring goes without saying. Unfortunately, it’s what has to be said that is going to cause problems me here.

Back in the summer of 2000, Coldplay were just another Travis wannabe, coasting on the success of the dire ‘Yellow’ and a fortuitous Glastonbury appearance. And it was looking like that was as far as it was going go, their time was going to pass as quickly as it had come, ‘Yellow’ would be consigned to the reduced bin of musical history and we could get on with our lives.

But what happens when the wannabe not only eclipses but also obliterates their idol’s public profile?

Five years on, ‘A Rush Of Blood To The Head’ and one celebrity wedding later, Coldplay are still with us, and crazy frogs aside, it seems that their momentum has become as irrepressible as glacial flow.

But all this window-dressing has distracted us from the fact that, at some stage in the recent past, Coldplay have morphed, albeit slowly and practically imperceptibly, into an amalgam of the House of Love and early U2. In theory, this should be a good thing.

And it almost is. The songs have gained texture and are loaded with an organic feeling that that they used to lack. Where the early singles sounded forced and unwieldy, ‘X&Y’ makes for a more satisfying listen. What’s more surprising that is that ‘Talk’ not only contains the riff from Kraftwerk’s ‘Computer Love’ but is co-credited to Herren Hütter and Bartos – a pair known alleged to have removed former band mates from writing credits when reissuing their earlier albums – and Brian Eno plays keyboards on the aptly named ‘Low’. So not only is ‘X&Y’ reasonably good, it’s also officially credible. Damn them.

But this doesn’t mean that all is well. It’s a shame that Coldplay haven't yet grown out of their reliance on the piano as a source of melody, as the more predominantly guitar-based songs sound a lot stronger and better suited to the restrained production of the album. The intro to ‘What If’ sounds too close for comfort like Elton John’s ‘Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word’ and Chris Martin’s voice just isn’t strong or interesting enough to withstand repeated listening.

That Coldplay are bland, overrated and uninspiring goes without saying. Unfortunately, it’s whether I don’t like this album or that I don’t want to like this album that is causing me problems.