“The band as musicians are flawless, but it’s still no hard task to tell a Coldplay song from a U2 song or a Radiohead song”
Digital Release: September 12, 2011
Physical Release: September 12, 2011
The evolution of music is something that is as old as time, and so is the evolution of sound within a particular act. No music act should ever cling to the same rock when it comes to music or be in a position where they’re resting on the same credentials thirty years on from now (if they’re still lucky enough to be around), and neither should any act ever be content with staying on one rock for their entire career, so it therefore stands to reason that no act should ever shoe-horn themselves into a position where growth, maturity and musical exploration is impossible. Exploration of sound is imperative, if not for the continued interest or popular media then for the continued interest of their most loyal listeners.
Perhaps not noticeably, Coldplay’s progression from their MOR-rock beginnings spent dwelling in U2’s shadow have always been a step – or maybe a deliberately low-key shuffle – in the right direction, when you manage to ignore the fact that the album that should’ve followed the brilliant ‘A Rush Of Blood To The Head’ shouldn’t have been ‘X&Y’, until of course, U2 themselves strayed into MOR-rock territory. And possibly because of it’s high ambitions, buzz single ‘Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall’ got by because it didn’t so much clunk along in the same piano-led fashion Coldplay are renowned for – it had a charming gallop to it despite being their mostly easily digestible lyrical affair thus far, and added with it’s spacial freshness and faultless musicianship, it gave the impression that the band had learnt how to create an accompaniment which could home Chris Martin’s vocals at last, rather than making them sound like they put a downer on everything the band put their hands to.
Suffice to say a lot has been resting on the shoulders of the proper lead single ‘Paradise’, and on it’s opening you could be led to thinking Coldplay’s earlier learnings have gotten the better of them and already spoiled it, but the orchestral strings are simply one of many a nod to past Coldplay with nods to future Coldplay maintaining the balance. Not to say that the song is perfect: without pillaging too much to say it’s an outright influence, ‘Paradise’ boasts a thumping percussion loop and bass making an entrance like a wrecking ball backed up with high-flying strings, only to be removed when the whining echo of Gwyneth Paltrow’s beaux adds a pathos-less verse about a girl or something, before being joined once again by the post-apocalyptic verve. Once the song climaxes, Martin’s falsetto creates grandiose at a volume and pace that hasn’t ever been seen by the band before – they tried it on ‘Fix You’ (most of ‘X&Y’ in fact) and somewhat succeeded in terms of the song’s connotative value, but the unnecessarily depressing ordeal of having to actually listen to it can’t keep people awake long enough to be pissed off anymore.
That’s where ‘Paradise’ succeeds – it’s bold and dramatic with chilling harmonies and well-placed passing noise, proving that the band as musicians are flawless, but it’s still no hard task to tell a Coldplay song from a U2 song or a Radiohead song. Martin’s lyrics and his slow-paced delivery only really resolve to the listener’s forgiveness at one point – the chorus, and that only arrives half-way through and is only held together by a sequence of “Ohhh” chanting from the rest of the band.