on January 14, 2001
"Parachutes" is a really astonishing debut album from the British band Coldplay. "Parachutes" is best described as a mood piece--mellow, melodic, acoustic guitar, mopey at times but ultimately convinced that "Everything's Not Lost."
Coldplay's sound is a mixture of shimmering guitars, keyboards, and Chris Martin's incredible voice. His voice is probably the cause of the many Thom Yorke, Fran Healy and Jeff Buckley comparisons--like those three singers, he makes very effective use of his falsetto. His voice just crackles with real emotion. They have a great tendency to pair rhythm acoustic and lead electric guitars, which produces a very specificly textured and meshed sound.
All the tracks on the album are worth a listen. Highlights include the sublime "Shiver" (truly swoon-worthy), "Yellow" (simply romantic), "Trouble," and the last track, "Everything's Not Lost."
Highly recommended to fans of Travis's "The Man Who" and Radiohead's "The Bends." Coldplay shares a general musical aesthetic with those two bands, but they also have their own sound and musical project. Listen to the sound clips, and you'll see how Coldplay is both familiar and unique. You won't be wasting your money if you pick this album up.
In "Parachutes" Coldplay has produced an album that is both simple and elegant at the same time. The guitars are stripped down, and largely acoustic. When electric guitars are used, they act as a nice counterpoint to Chris Martin's superb vocals. At the same time there is heavy used of keyboards, and the drums and bass actually act as a rhythm section instead of acting as rock and roll heavy artillery. The lyrics are as straightforward as the music, without being any less sophisticated for it. Martin sings of timeless themes like love, alienation and hope, but never seems trite or derivative. The end result is an album by a band that clearly recognizes that passion and talent are what make a band, not gimmicks and grinding guitars and morose wailing.
On a song-by-song basis, it would be almost impossible for me to pick a favorite song, for two reasons. First, every one of them is good, which is almost shocking in today's music market. Nonetheless, there is not a single song that I skip past, and more than that, there's not a single song that is noticeably sub-par when compared to the others. Secondly, Coldplay has actually produced an "album" as opposed to a collection of songs, another rarity today. Each song carries through common musical and thematic elements such that each one becomes something akin to a movement within a symphony.
That said, the songs are by no means redundant, and as such warrant some mention as individual entities. First off is "Don't Panic", a plainly stated case for hope in a difficult world, the chorus "We live in a beautiful world..." pretty much sums up this track. With great drum and keyboard work, "Don't Panic" sets the tone for the album.
Next up is "Shiver" a refreshing song about devotion in the face of unrequited love. I say refreshing because in a world of throwaway relationships, Martin actually places some hope in blind love. This is one of the prettiest songs on an album that has a lot of them (I know "pretty" is an odd description of a rock song, but you'll just have to trust me), and the heavy use of electric guitars is effective and fits in with the rest of the album.
Third is "Spies", which if I had to choose is probably my favorite song on the album. As Martin sings about paranoia, the discomfiture we all feel in our own skin sometimes, the song takes on a spooky, befuddled vibe that is difficult to describe but fascinating to listen to.
"Sparks" is another beautiful, mellow song about devotion and love within a relationship. It serves as a nice counterpoint to the well known "Yellow" (which received heavy radio rotation), in that its contemplative thoughtful love serves as a counterpoint to the overpowering infatuation considered in "Yellow".
Next up is "Trouble" which sets the stage with a beautiful piano melody. It also contains some of the most interesting lyrics as Martin sings of regret, and the desire and effort to overcome the mistakes of the past. Part apology and part introspection, this is a great track.
The seventh track is the eponymous "Parachutes", which despite only being forty-six seconds long is one of the prettiest love songs you're likely to hear in rock and roll today. It is followed up by "High Speed", which contains the most unusual arrangements on the album. Again, the tone is set by the first lyric "Can anybody fly this thing..." and the song goes on to consider what it takes to live in our complicated world.
The final two tracks perfectly bookend the album. "We Never Change" is Martin expressing his desire to live a simple, decent life that focuses on what's really important rather than the trappings and complications of modern life. And finally, "Everything's Not Lost" is another pleafor hope in a difficult world that perfectly captures what Coldplay is all about.
In the end this is truly and exemplary album. From start to finish it maintains a consistent musical vision that is a joy to listen to. Each track is a puzzle piece that fits into something larger than the sum of those pieces, but at the same time, each piece can be appreciated individually. Ultimately, this is the rare album that transcends categorization and is approachable by anyone who appreciates great music.
on March 2, 2003
I first bought this cd last summer because my friends and i enjoyed listening to "Yellow" after a crazy night of partying...I never thought i'd be purchasing a cd that would soon become one of my all-time favs. From start to finish its a very complete cd with many strong attributes and high points especially for a debut album. THe sky is the limit for Coldplay...heres a track by track analysis
1.Don't Panic 5/5 - beautiful two and half minute long intro song
2.Shiver 5/5 - Awesome, slightly faster song w/ great lyrics one of my favs on the cd
3.Spies 3/5 - this song slows way down and shows the odder side of Coldplay
4.Sparks 4/5 - slow soothing song...excellent
5.Yellow 6/5 - the original breakout single and still the best on the cd...a true classic
6.Trouble 6/5 - The second single and jsut as good as Yellow plus it has one of my fav music videos ever
7.Parachutes 4/5 - short interlude..but still awesome...had the potential to be an amazing song but was cut short
8.High Speed 3/5 - decent song but u still couldnt come close to calling it filler
9.We Never Change 5/5 - another excellent song
10.Everything's Not Lost 5/5 - GREAT album closer
You may not agree but ive listened to Radiohead extensively and coldplay may be similar but they blow Radiohead away. "Parachutes" and "A Rush..." just did alot more for me then any of Radiohead's efforts.
Bottom line is...Go pick up this album
on January 30, 2001
There is some similarity between Coldplay and Radiohead, but this does not prevent the band from making its own unique contribution to modern rock music. The track 'Shiver' is a poignant look at unrequited love that isn't warmed over, melodramatic, or contrite, a tremendous feat in and of itself. It's understated and that's where its power lies. I heard 'Yellow' on the radio and was instantly drawn to its unusual and memorable sound. 'Yellow' may be the most original love ballad I've ever heard. It is what initially compelled me to buy this CD, and it was most certainly worth it. 'Trouble' is another fantastic cut. The CD is full of gems. It alternates between rough and edgy and soft and subdued, sometimes all in the same song. The entire CD just *works.* Every track can stand alone, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, thanks to a common feeling of quiet, thoughtful reflection that flows from beginning to end.
Coldplay has established for itself a distinctive feel. This band should have a huge impact on the modern rock scene and I can't wait to hear more from them. My only regret is that the CD isn't longer, ten tracks wasn't enough, though I understand the Import has two additional cuts.
on November 27, 2000
We are all used to hearing one band or other be touted as the "latest and greatest" thing on earth. The more you hear the use of the label, the less attention you tend to give. However, the English band Coldplay are much more than the moniker suggests.
With "Parachutes", Chris Martin and his bandmates prove to be more than a Radiohead wannabe. His voice only bears a passing resemblance to Thom Yorke's own. With songs like "Shiver" and "Yellow", he doesn't lose hope that his love will be returned....someday. "High Speed" and "Don't Panic" lets the listener in on the universal secret: Life can be made better.
Being an eager music fan, I know that there are always new bands coming out, and the inevitable comparisons will be made. With this CD, Coldplay show that they have a future. Run, don't walk, and pick up this CD. The mellow vibe on this album guarantees that you can pop this into your CD player, and flow along.
on December 26, 2000
With the close of 2000 only a few days away, we take a look back at the music that really stood out this year. Well...ummmm...there really wasn't much to tell you the truth. American teens glued to MTV's TRL sat back and swallowed quickly-cliched, false-angst rap-rock and friendly bubble-gum pop. Radiohead released the excellent avant-garde "Kid A" but unfortunitly lost many fans because of their new sound. Eminem shocked audiences to the core with rhymes that make 2 Live Crew look like pre-schoolers.
And then there's Coldplay, one of the newest imports from the UK, and thankfully, they give people a wonderful close to an otherwise dissapointing year.
Although their sound is much a like "Bends"-era Radiohead and fellow Brit-rockers Travis, Stereophonics and Badly Drawn Boy, Coldplay is more apt to draw similarities to Jeff Buckley and accoustic Pink Floyd, with vocals that would make you think if Thom Yorke and Dave Matthews could somehow have a child together. Twenty-two year old vocalist Chris Martin conveys the emotions of a racked young adult trying to find meaning in a cruel and unknowing world. With lyrics like: "I awake to find some piece of mind/I said how do you live/As a fugitive," goes one song; "So I look in your direction/But you pay me no attention," goes another. Yet Martin and crew refuse to take you down a dark, brooding, depressing road, but instead, they fuse Martin's lyrics to beautiful melodies of slack guitars, wailing strings and sturdy beats.
The introduction song "Don't Panic" is an excellent example and sets the overall mood to the album. With its continuous beat and guitars that sound as if they were drifting along an ocean current, provided with Martin's intimate vocals, the song is as comforting as it is wandering, trying to find something better somewhere out there. The Jeff Buckley-esque "Shiver" continous that mood, shifting more emphasis on quick guitars and harder beats.
"Spies" is music that is pure atmosphere and haunting. With its wailing guitars, rolling keys and drums that come and go, the thin line between Radiohead and Coldplay are slightly blurred, yet don't somehow connect together. Thanks to Martin's lonely vocals set in the backdrop, you begin to realize that this band has a sound of its own right. With "Yellow," the band snaps out of its sour mood to wonder happily at the distant stars on a clear night.
If anything, Coldplay is excellent mood music coming out of the most cliched piece of rock: bass, guitar, drums, etc. But instead of making regular rock songs that grow tiring after two listenings (like the bland, tiring songs of the Counting Crows or Lenny Kravitz) Coldplay is embarking to experiment with their instruments, to see what kind of new sounds can come out of something played and worn out. As a result, the following music is for moods and scenery. It's the music for driving along the coast on a wintery day, (keep in mind I'm from Northern California) waiting to see what's going to be behind the next bend. It is simply 40 minutes of bliss.
Coldplay have a very bright future. With their originality and close lyrics to the heart, I'm sure that in future years you'll be hearing more from these guys. Afterall, Spin and Rolling Stone named it one of the best albums of the year.
on December 31, 2001
If there's one band to keep your eye on, it is Coldplay. Their 10-track debut has me craving for more. These guys are good! The sound of the album is incredible. It's like the music is soaring yet on the ground at the same time. Nevermind, that sounds stupid. Well, listen to the album. Hopefully you'll have an idea of what I mean.
Chris Martin's voice is unique. It's not Dave Matthews. It's not David Gray. It's not Thom Yorke. It reminds you of all 3 at different points but it's unique in it's own right. The lyrics are infectious. At times you'll swear the guitar riffs were stolen from Radiohead's "The Bends" or "OK Computer". Whether they were or not, they are very good.
"Yellow", being the big hit off the album, is an obvious standout. Other personal favorites are "Don't Panic", "Spies", and "Trouble". Starting with "Parachutes", the end of the album is notably slower and less "radio-friendly". Still excellent songs though. There is one glaring weak track: "Sparks". It sounds like the band got really bored one day and made that tenth track to fill out the album. Perhaps being sandwiched between the marvelous "Spies" and "Yellow" hurts it even more. In any case, with that one exception, the music on this CD is refreshingly well done and deserves to be bought by any music lover.
Also, I could've gone for a couple more tracks of this caliber. So, only 10 tracks + 1 disappointing track = 4 stars. There you have it. Superior work Coldplay!
Coldplay conquered their UK home territory when "Parachutes" was released there in July 2000. The album "officially" arrived in the US in November, and is finally making some headway due to the exposure of the hard-rocking singalong track "Yellow". Coldplay's "Paracchutes" is the logical extension of Travis' "The Man Who" of a year ago, and is equally compelling, mixing hard to resist melodies (at times rocking hard, at times very intimate) with touching lyrics about love, regret, hope, life.
"Don't Panic" is a stunning album opener, with the immortal line, and pseudo-motto for the band, "We Live in a Beautiful World". (An earlier version of this song can be found on the "Blue Room EP, without that guitar riff during the "Beautiful World" chorus.)
"Shiver", in the UK the first single from the album, starts off with a great riff and then showcases an interplay between vocals and guitar. One of the "harder" songs on the album.
"Spies" starts off with the electric guitar whaling away, to give room to the quiet vocals of Chris Martin, with the rest of the ban then joining in. One of the better songs on the album. (It also is the opening song on their current US tour: with the stage still dark, opening music of Ennio Morricone, yes he of the "spagetti westerns", eventually giving way to the band coming on stage and starting "Spies". If you have a chance to catch them live, don't hesitate! Go! Run!)
"Sparks" is a quiet song, with Chris leading on accoustic guitar and leading to a haunting chorus. It reminded me of Fiona Apple's most "desparate quiet" songs.
"Yellow" is the track that put the band on the US map, and while of course not bad, I find it to be one of the less compelling songs on the album. But a good "singalong" rocker, for sure.
"Trouble" is another piano-led, softer song. Then comes the title track "Parachutes", lasting all of 41 seconds, with Chris on accoustic guitar. After that, the album loses direction for a while, till we get to the closing track "Everything's Not Lost", which is a fitting finale as it nearly sums up what Coldplay is all about: strong melody, touching lyrics, emotions all around.
"Parachutes" is the best album of the year, so far... I know it is technically a Year 2000 album, but oh well... (Incidentally, the album's music samples which you can click on at the top of the page, are pretty good and representative of the album.)
on July 16, 2000
Like many people I was totally blown away by the Coldcut single 'Yellow',which must rank as one of the singles of the year. If you like Radiohead or Jeff Buckley,than I'm sure you'll really enjoy this c.d.The music is fairly low-tempo,student art rock from the U.K.There are just ten tracks on the c.d. and none of the tracks could be described as album fillers.Unlike many groups this c.d. is just 41 minutes long-so listening to the whole c.d. isn't the sort of chore you have with so many rap artists,who make c.d.'s so long that it is really difficult to get familiar with the songs. Coldplay's sound is not very original and there are no surprises on the c.d.But the songs are strong enough to be compared with any group.The first song 'Don't Panic' is a gentle mid tempo song with excellent rhythm,be it drumming or guitar.The chorus tells of how 'We live in a beautiful world'which sets the mood of the album off on a cheerful note.It is this kind of sentiment which has had many people comparing Coldcut to Travis-I think the comparison is well justified.Track 2 'Shiver' is one of the highlights of the c.d.,it was an early single.It is driven by some excellent guitar.There is no doubt the lead vocalist has a voice of great versatility and range,but one of the few drawbacks is that he sometimes mimics Jeff Buckley.And on this song the resemblance is uncanny.I think his voice sounds better when he isn't being so clearly influenced by another vocalist.Track 3 'Spies' is a more sombre song,but is excellent.Initially driven by an acoustic guitar and a beautifully echoed electic guitar chord on the chorus.Track 4 'Sparks' could easily have been on the Travis c.d. The Man Who...It is another excellent acoustically driven song.Than we have the sublime love song 'Yellow'.'Trouble' sees Coldplay using a piano for the first song-Excellent vocals on the song and a real potential hit single.The title track only lasts for about 30 seconds and divides the c.d. for the closing 3 strongly Radiohead influenced songs.If Thom Yorke can produce 3 songs of similar quality on there next c.d. we'll be in for something special. Coldplay's c.d. is a must purchase c.d. for any one who likes some of the groups I mentioned during the review.I totally believe it will be a contender for any top 10 album of the year list come December.
on March 15, 2001
Coldplay are huge in England and look to be cracking the American market now. Their gentle swooping guitars, infectious basslines and lightly resounding drums come together to create a sound experience quite like no other.
Other bands in England of their genre, Brit-Indie, include Radiohead (exclduing thier most recent album), Doves etc, but Coldplay have become current favorites in the UK.
Although the albums is not too varied, there are many wonderful songs, perfectly complemented by the voice of Chris Martin. Yellow is a complete classic with a beautiful melody; Shiver is more of a rocker but still has the same touchingly precarious sound. Coldplay do use some heavier guitars in their songs: the opening riffs in both Yellow and Shiver are pleasingly low-fi.
Other songs are great driving music (Sparks) Soaring beauty (Don't Panic) Painstaking Melodies (Trouble), Excellent falsetto (Spies) and acoustic gems (We Never Change).
Definately worth buying.