I promised David a review of Coldplay’s newest while I was in Moscow, so here goes.
My biggest worry before the album came out was that it wouldn’t be as good as 2002’s A Rush of Blood to the Head, and my fears were confirmed. It isn’t. But in reality, that’s okay. AROBTTH was one of the best albums ina long time, so it would be astounding if that could be equaled. X&Y is still a wonderful album, and it should please many fans. But it’s not quite as good.
There are a number of fabulous tracks on this record. Coming from anyone else, I would be astounded, but from Coldplay I am not. Fix You is a wonderful song, and they finish the guitar solo as it should be finished (instead of wasting the buildup like the Doves did on Pounding). A Message is loosely based on one of my favorite hymns, My Song is Love Unknown, and it works pretty well. Swallowed in the Sea is great as well, and the central message of The Hardest Part is a good one. There are a couple of more experimental songs – Twisted Logic and the title track – which are alright, but don’t really add to the album. The U2 ripoff songs simply come across as U2 ripoffs and fail in that respect. Oddly enough, the “hidden” track originally written for Johnny Cash is one of the best songs on X&Y. It makes me wonder what it would’ve been like if Cash had written it.
I would be the last to get annoyed at albums that are too long – the Weezer disease of albums under half an hour annoys me. Good albums need room to breathe. But though I hesitate to say it, X&Y is too long. It clocks in at 62 minutes, over an hour. I still haven’t listened to the album all the way straight through. Who has that kind of time? A few of the songs could have been better served by having a few minutes shaved off here and there. Also, as some reviewers have complained, the sound is a little too processed, and I’m mostly inclined to agree. Some of the tracks would be a bit better if they had fewer effects.
Overall verdict: very good album, but it’s overshadowed by Coldplay’s sophomore effort. Maybe next time they can get over that hill.
B-Side to get: Things I Don’t Understand. It’s better than some of the songs on the album.