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  • X&Y
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on June 7, 2005
It's hard to believe but it's been three years since Coldplay released A Rush of Blood to the Head. Now they are back with their third record X&Y. All of Coldplay's releases share one thing in common; they take some time getting into. When I first listened to Parachutes in the fall of 2000 I was not impressed. After a week it was the only thing I listened to for a six months. When A Rush of Blood to the Head came out it also took a few weeks for it to grow on me. The same thing applies to X&Y.

Starting off with the opening track "Square One" it is apparent that the record is a little more sonically dense than the band's previous efforts. While X&Y is a far cry from being experimental it's just enough of a change to make the new songs fresh. "What if" starts off as a slow piano song that finally builds up to a crescendo that exemplifies the transformation of Coldplay's sound. "Fix You," "White Shadows," Low" and "Twisted Logic" are instantly fan favorites. The hidden track "Til Kingdom Comes" was written for the late great Johnny Cash who passed away before he could record the song. It is a shame Cash did not get a chance to record it, but it makes a fitting and positive end to the album.

X&Y was a long time in coming but it was worth every bit of the wait. I cannot wait to hear how these new songs translate live. As one of the most eagerly anticipated albums of the year Coldplay does not disappoint with X&Y.
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on June 7, 2005
It's hard to beat the emotional pull evoked by the elegant piano ballads 'Amsterdam', 'Warning Sign', 'The Scientist', and 'Clocks' from AROBTTH, but Coldplay just might have done it with the more guitar-oriented X&Y.

'Square One' is a great opener that shows that Britpop can be edgy. 'White Shadows' has a tremendous beat that makes you feel like busting out some dance moves. 'What If' and particularly 'Fix You' are beautifully recorded and represent their best work to date. 'Low' and 'Twisted Logic' are the most experimental tracks from Coldplay thus far.

Coldplay has never been a bigger target for criticism, but in X&Y they've built on past success to create a bigger, more vibrant sound that propels their music to new heights.
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on June 7, 2005
Capitol Records is right to use Coldplay as the reason their stock rises or falls. With the release of X&Y, Coldplay has really taken their place as one of the more influential bands of our time. The reviews here have been mixed, but those one-star reviews really should be ignored on the release date. No one can give a fair review after one listen. I've been listening to this album all day....start to finish and over again.

This is by far Coldplay's breakthrough album. Yes, even more so than A Rush of Blood to the Head. I really don't understand all the comparisons to U2. Yes, Martin's voice sounds a bit like Bono's, but the musical style is completely different. X&Y is unmistakably Coldplay. The same vocal style, the same lullaby crooning, and the same ethereal crecendos. Only this time, they've added a synth here and there. The synths, however, don't overpower the live instrumentation. It's used merely as a support element. The result is that the music sounds more lush and has much more depth than in the first two records.

The first half of the album is so sonically uplifting it gives me chills. "Square One" and "Fix You" are almost reminiscent of Pink Floyd in their use of layered guitars (wow, the guitars on this album!) and layered vocals. The song "What If" is almost reminiscent of Sigur Ros in its ending swell. The very upbeat songs, "White Shadows" and "Talk" are also magical in their own right. The second half of the album starts out strongly with "Speed of Sound". This track is the only one that's of the same style as the first two albums. It's almost a perfect blend of "Clocks" and "Moses" (from the Live 2003 set). The album takes a less exciting turn after this song that begins to recover with "Swallowed in the Sea" and finishes strong with the amazing "Twisted Logic". Then, after it seems to end perfectly with this track (and 30 seconds of silence), the hidden track "Til Kingdom Comes" arrives like an encore. While not at all like the other tracks on this album (rumor has it that it was written for Johnny Cash), this is still a pretty cool little song.

All the rumors about Chris Martin's marriage to Gwyneth and his new fatherhood status ruining this album are completely unfounded. Yes, a song or two is probably about Gwyneth, but it's not gushy, rather it's done quite tastefully. This is an incredible album by Coldplay. Sadly, I think people's expectations were so high that no matter how good it is, it won't be as universally loved as A Rush of Blood to the Head. Too bad, this is truly the defining Coldplay album.
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on June 7, 2005
Thanks to the relentless punch of the publicity machine, we all know that Coldplay now has a new album, and as it happens, "X & Y" turns out to be a good one. It's been a wild ride for the English band. Since their 2002 "A Rush of Blood to the Head," Coldplay have turned into international superstars, often inviting comparisons to U2 (and the comparisons are fairly accurate, as far as this reviewer is concerned) and developing a diverse mix of fans. Coldplay's latest album treads familiar ground, with a few welcome surprises and more of the same brand of sweeping rock listeners have come to expect. A moody piano, a subtle string section, and Chris Martin's earnest voice highlight the ballad "What If," while "White Shadows" is a mellow rocker whose guitar recalls the Edge from U2. But the song that almost made my jaw drop is "Talk," which steals the hook from "Computer Love" by Kraftwerk (I am not kidding). Coldplay influenced by the German synth quartet? Yes, it's true. The rest of the album follows a similar pattern: big sweeping melodies, choruses that soar kite-high, and no real duds. While odds are "X & Y" will be just as big a multiplatinum seller as its predecessor, it should also prove that Coldplay is more than "That British Band Whose Lead Singer Married That Hollywood Actress."
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on August 16, 2005
Coldplay's X&Y shows a decent amount of variation from previous recordings, such as their famed A Rush Of Blood To The Head (which by the way is a great CD as well). In that CD, they were well in boundaries of contemporary rock and most definetly set a standard upon themselves for future records that would be just as outstanding. X&Y is this record (hopefully one of the many to come). Coldplay's songs seem to be uncomparable (ie: you can't compare bluegrass with heavymetal) to their previous recordings. Personally, I was instantly spellbound by Fix You, and the excellent way that they use the instruments to create an atmosphere that is so captivating. Additionally, the vocals provide an even better sound to it. What If? is a slow ballad that starts off with the piano. It's the only song that is comparable to songs such as Everythings Not Lost, Beautiful World, and The Scientist to name a few. Honestly, the very beginning off X&Y was quite different. I was expecting a gradual change like from the orchestral background or piano into the vocal parts, however it just started of with the melody. At first I wasn't so big for it, but as a previous reviewer says, after you listen to it a lot you get used to it and it sounds quite normal. Speed Of Sound is another cool song, the melody is upbeat and the whole song is great. One final point I have to make is that Coldplay definitely is a music group that spends time on their songs and makes the best of that time. Lots of artists out their come out with new CD's in months, but the quality is just not there. Coldplay takes a little while for their CD's but the songs are so good they could last till a couple more of their CDs came out. X&Y is definitely a must get.
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on July 14, 2005
Four stars... When I thought about writing this belated review, I was thinking more along the lines of three stars, because a middle of the road rating shows my ambivalent feelings toward Coldplay's "X & Y" released this summer. Do Ithink it's a masterpiece? No, I don't. Do I think it's a let down? Absolutely not. So what is it about this album? Is it special?

First let me say that I'm happy with the direction the band is taking. They are their own band and have been from the beginning despite Radiohead-lite allegations. (Note: does anyone think this band is really as idiosyncratic as Radiohead?) Obviously, their inspiration starts and ends with U2, or at least it sounds that way. And with this album, they take it one step further and do an all ballad album, like a space rock LP of variations of "A Sort of Homecoming." I'm glad mostly because it will upset music critics. Pitchfork gave it a low rating, stating it was "inoffensive." Shows what they're after... Music isn't good unless it's offensive, bleak, and difficult to digest... (why do we listen to these critics?) That's precisely what I like about this album and the people who will buy it; they don't listen to these pretentious plebians who consider themselves our "intellectual superiors." Oh well.

The album feels like it wwants to be a step forward from the classic "Rush of Blood," but it only feels that way. The atmosphere of the entire album is very clean, air-y, sonic, produced... The songs themselves sound like a retreat from their past, superior material. But even though the first two albums might be slightly better for varying reasons, this is the album I'd rather listen to. The songs may be infinitely calculated, but there's nothing wrong with maturity or lovesongs, made evident by "Fix You," "Talk," and the Clocks-rip "Speed of Sound." A great album.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
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on June 9, 2005
There have plenty of reviewers of this album that want their "Old Coldplay" back. They want Parachutes or ROBTTH. Lots of piano, quiet, moody songs. Some of Parachutes was so quiet you could barely hear it! This is NOT the same album done a third time (neither was ROBTTH). This is Coldplay moving forward. It is a more rocking record with a richer, full sound. Put earphones on and your head will spin upon first listen! But after a few plays all the way through the songs begin to sink in and mean something more. I feel this is Coldplay's Sargent Pepper (not blasphemy, I hope). All the songs feel connected, and I hear a lot of love songs here. Inspired by GP? Who knows, they are beautiful. Coldplay has gotten a lot of flak in reviews so far but the fans know what they like. It's a wonderful CD.
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on March 27, 2006
The recipe for Coldplay's massive commercial success with their "X&Y" album is simple--first, have some incredibly banal, faux-uplifting, lowest common denominator lyrics on hand; start the tune off with an atmospheric, drumless intro; then steadily build up to a 'big', 'anthemic', densely-produced chorus; end the song with a little outro to ease the listener out of the song. Then, repeat the process until there's enough material to fill out a full album. Oh, and give the album's first single--"Speed Of Sound"--an opening piano riff that's a virtual clone of the one from their previous smash hit "Clocks".

That's essentially what's going on here. I'm not denying that the band has talent for nicely-produced, tuneful pop-rock songs that are sometimes even ear-catching. The thing is though, these guys are trying to turn basically every song into some kind of soul-stirring anthem, and that's simply never going to happen with such consistently lame, obvious, witless, and crassly-calculated lyrics about how they will "try to fix you" and how "you don't have to be alone". To put it another way, the 'hugeness' of the music is incompatible with the thinness of the lyrics, and it really gets to be disheartening by the end of the album.

I'll admit that Chris Martin's vocal delivery isn't BAD. He does have a nice falsetto, and he knows how to use it effectively, sometimes when you're not expecting it. Frankly, he even manages to beat Bono at his own game--Martin's vocals aren't nearly as pretentious and overblown as Bono's are. However, it's still laughable how Martin takes the shallow lyrics so damn seriously all the time as if they're high poetry--the melodically toothless intro on "Swallowed In The Sea" is the most eyeroll-inducing example of this.

Musically, the band does have talent. Nice use of atmospherics, bass lines, and overtones help make the music highly listenable--their co-producers Danton Supple and Ken Nelson probably deserve at least some of the credit for this. The group also knows a thing or two about assimilating musical influences--they neatly weave Kraftwerk's "Computer Love" melody into "Talk" (the composers of the original "Computer Love" ARE credited here in the booklet); the bit before the chorus on "Speed Of Sound" instantly recalls "Running Up That Hill" by Kate Bush, another influence the band has openly admitted to.

The only way I can understand anyone thinking this album is a masterpiece is because they simply haven't listened to that much music. I mean, it's 2006, folks. This album, which came out in June of last year, really doesn't offer us anything musically that hadn't already been done, and with far better lyrics matched to it. If you took a really talented lyricist and singer, a Jackson Browne for instance, and stuck him in front of Coldplay, the difference could be tremendous, supplying the group with an emotional center that it so desperately lacks. As it is, the group remains stuck at, ahem, "Square One"--okay, okay, not THAT bad (sorry, I couldn't resist), but you get the idea.
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VINE VOICEon April 22, 2007
There's no denying the U2 influence on "X&Y." Chris Martin's soothing voice, mixed with soaring vocals and a huge rock sound, are reminiscent of U2's best work over the years (see U2 - The Best of 1990-2000). Other U2 elements are present as well: hopeful but questioning lyrics, tight staccato beats, swirling or chiming guitars, a bit of piano, an anchoring bass and serious musicians who truly want to change and heal the world through music, one weary person at a time.

Like Bono, Martin's voice has good range, and he can even hit the higher notes with a bit more ease (probably because he's younger than Bono and cigarettes and drink haven't yet ravaged his pipes). Also like Bono, Martin writes beautiful, transcending lyrics that really do inspire.

"Square One," one of the album's best songs, leads things off: "From the top of the first page/To the end of the last page/From the start of your own way/You just want someone listening to what you say," croons Martin. Right off the bat, there's a storybook, conceptual feel to this CD. Despite his rock-star status (or maybe because of it), Martin sounds just as insecure as many of us; check out the fragile tunes "What If" and "Fix You," for instance. "X&Y" seems to be an album about finding one's way in this tough world, taking risks and fulfilling your potential. Martin's sad lyrics are often redeemed by the hopeful tone of the album, and it's a rare feat to pull off a piece of musical work that contains such great songs AND meaningful lyrics. Unlike most multi-platinum sellers, "X&Y" has an understated edge to it that gives it a leg up.

With its killer high-pitched riff, giant rock sound and big sing-along chorus, "Talk" gets the award for the most arena-ready and accessible song on "X&Y." "You can take a picture of something you see/In the future, where will I be?/You can climb a ladder up to the sun/Or write a song nobody has sung." "Speed of Sound" also contains commercial appeal (like all these songs), and was indeed released as a single in the mid-'00s.

"X&Y's" title track is the album's most romantic, a lush love song that aims for the stratosphere via airy lyrics, a peaceful string section and mesmerizing guitar: "You and me are floating on a tidal wave, together/You and me are drifting into outer space," croons Martin. "Swallowed in the Sea" has a similarly beautiful sound and message, with Martin singing, "I could write a book." This fully loaded line almost brings the album full circle. Almost.

"Twisted Logic" contains a darker sound and hesitant vibe at first, but soon the music changes and becomes positively soaring and uplifting. The sprightly acoustic hidden track is also a gem, a love song with personal, heart-wrenching lyrics. Martin's voice sounds close and weary, his most Bonoesque vocals of the album. "For you I'd wait, till Kingdom Come/Until my days, my days are done/Say you'll come, and set me free/Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me." Words don't get more poignant than that.

The interesting thing will be to witness where Coldplay goes from here. U2 lifted its sound to more adventurous, interesting territories as they moved on (see Achtung Baby), and so too could this important band.
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on November 26, 2005
Sometimes I hate myself for liking Coldplay so much, because really...they aren't anything too out of this world. They aren't very original and don't sound too different from everything else on the radio. And yet I have all 3 of their cds and they get regular play. First cd is really mellow and almost pure atmosphere music. 2nd cd has a lot of hits and was highly acclaimed and blah blah blah. This is the one that spawned the radio darlings Clocks and The Scientist. But anyway, back to x&y- or should I say, the mock U2 album. I swear they must've studied every U2 guitar book they could get their hands on because on nearly every song I hear these familiar chords and think what the hell...? wait a minute..?

But it still works, and the songs are still good. Chris Martin's got one of the best falsettos out there and even though the lyrics are really simple and almost cheesy at times, they still get stuck in your head and you still develop a rather large soft spot for them. They've got a knack for writing really great emotive love songs. They take the everyday and make you sing along to it. It's as if you could've said/thought of all the same things, but for some reason it wasn't validated until you heard Coldplay sing it.

x&y sounds like they went to space and back. it's full of dynamic catchy swirling melodies...more intricate than any of their other stuff. not much is new lyrics wise, they pose all the same questions.... present all the same musings on love and life and confusion, but nevertheless it's classic coldplay and just as addictive as everything else they've put out. I'd like to see them live someday, but their ticket prices are ridiculous and they sell out within an hour. Dammit!
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