Monday, June 06, 2005

Coldplay medicine

You knew the critical backlash against Coldplay had to be coming. Still, Jon Pareles' essay in The New York Times is harsh -- "Coldplay, the most insufferable band of the decade."

(For the record -- Pareles isn't the reviewer who memorably dissed Jimi Hendrix in the '60s. That was future Bruce Springsteen manager Jon Landau.)

Coldplay has two songs I'd rank among the best of the past 10 years -- Clocks and The Scientist, and I enjoy Yellow and God Put a Smile Upon Your Face. But Pareles has a point. It is odd that a band as mopey as Coldplay is so huge, and they are a bit predictable. God Put a Smile Upon Your Face is about as close as they come to a change of pace.

Great bands can mix it up a bit. R.E.M.'s early releases had a few songs that complemented but didn't mimick their basic jangle-pop song, and they re-invented their sound for Fables of the Reconstruction and the next few albums. U2's classic The Joshua Tree built on the sound of their earlier work.

That means bands have to take risks that sometimes don't pay off. R.E.M. hasn't done much of note since Bill Berry left. U2 was headed downhill for a while but bounced back. Radiohead ... well, they just got weird.

Back in our CD buying days (1987-2003), we picked up a couple of Coldplay CDs. But I never really got into them. Sure, many bands have a couple of hit singles and some filler, but this was a different problem -- I just can't devote that much time to moping. In high school, I did, but the depressing Husker Du music in my tape deck wasn't quite as one-note as Coldplay.

I've only heard Speed of Sound from the new one, but I hope my expectations -- and Pareles' -- are offbase.

1 comment:

needle*spool said...

I heard that the new cd is awesome. personally, Im going to listen to it at Barnes and Noble first to make sure I like it.

(btw.. i randomly found this by pushing next on my blog.. just so you dont get weirded out)

I'll come back and tell you what i think when I listen to it.