December 4, 2007

The Evolution of ... Coldplay

Coldplay has been one of my longtime favorite bands. They've gained considerable fame worldwide with their three major albums and numerous hits that each has produced, all the while coming up with a fairly consistant sound that doesn't get old, at least to my ears.

The group came onto the music scene in London, England, and released their first EP, entitled Brothers and Sisters, which was released on 1999. The three songs lay the foundation of the band's sound, quiet, calm, with a fairly high voice from their lead singer, Chris Martin. When they strike up the mood, they'll get into a great beat.

Only Superstition - Coldplay

They followed up Brothers and Sisters with their debut album, Parachutes. This album produced several major hits, including Trouble and Yellow. Another track, Don't Panic, gained fame in it's release with the Garden State soundtrack.
Parachutes further refined the sound that the group started with, with better guitar work and lyrics. The album is overall everything a debut album should be, and it's easily one of the finest alternative albums to come out of this decade.

Everything's Not Lost - Coldplay

Two years after Parachutes, Coldplay followed up with another monster hit, A Rush of Blood to the Head, which probably surpassed the first album in popularity, although it wasn't a huge jump away from Parachutes. Coldplay's most recognizable song, Clocks, as well as Daylight, The Scientist and God Put A Smile On Your Face are all part of this album and helped bring the group further into the limelight. A Rush of Blood to the Head is similar to Parachutes - similar style, song types and feel. It's a good album, but not a breakout success that their first album brought about.

Warning Sign - Coldplay

It was a three year wait before Coldplay came back with another album, this time X&Y, which, like their first two albums, brought quite a bit of success to the band. They also changed around their sound a little. There's more emphisis on the vocals, and the insturmentation takes more of a supporting role here. The album takes on a bit more of a consistant tone and speed. It's still got the same basic sound as that of the prior two albums, but it's less of a copy. Still, it doesn't quite hit the level of Parachutes.

What If? - Coldplay

Coldplay has, over the past couple of years, become heavily involved with various charities, such as Oxfam and LiveAid. A couple of years ago, they said that it would be a long time before anyone heard from them for a while, sparking rumours that the band was on the verge of splitting up. That's since been retracked, and the group has announced that they'll be coming back sometime next year with another album, title unknown.
One of the things that I've found interesting recently is the number of Douglas Adams references in their music. Don't Panic is a classic line and saying from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and their next album has a song and total length of 42 minutes, another major part of Adams' books. Recently, Coldplay has appeared on an EP called In the Sun, with REM's Michael Stipe, where they play along with him on the song In the Sun, which is quite good.

In the Sun - Michael Stipe & Coldplay