Record review

Phases & Stages


X&Y (Capitol)

Surprise, Chris Martin went totally sappy on us. Not that London's Coldplay was ever serious and brooding, but their third effort after the multiplatinum Parachutes (2000) and A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002) is like rice paper: see-through. Not that X&Y is a disappointment. Quite the opposite. Divided in half, X's and Y's, the album combines what we've come to know as trademark Coldplay (the Y's), crowned by first single, "Speed of Sound," with forays into the more electronic (the X's), Martin's piano replaced by synthesizers. Perplexing for a band that hit it big with the sparsely beautiful "Yellow," opener "Square One," the clubish "White Shadows," and Kraftwerk-inspired "Talk" all strive to fit in with the dance-punk trend. Where the album excels is in ivory heavies "What If," "Fix You," and "Twisted Logic," the darkest and best track on the disc. All said, X&Y is a very pretty piece awash in cliché. It's a definite step backward from the passionate and substantial Rush of Blood toward the less mature Parachutes, somehow lacking something bigger. Expectations are a bitch.


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