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Record Rating: *****

Coldplay - X&Y - EMI In only two albums Coldplay have become international phenomenon, selling 20 million records around the globe. Their mantle of trophies includes NME Awards, Q Awards, Brit Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, and a whole bunch of Grammy Awards – for like The Beatles before them, this band made it big with their originality, mass appeal and rich melodies. They’ve managed to fill a vacuum in today’s music that too many bands before them simply couldn't.

So they are by all accounts, the biggest British act of recent times. Coldplay's third album, X&Y was released earlier this month to great fan fare the world over. The album was originally set to be released in late 2004. In the middle of that year, Coldplay had penned over 40 new songs for their third album. Several of these songs such as Ladder To The Sun, World Turned Upside Down and Poor Me had even been performed live on their last tour. However, they were scrapped and the band regrouped to write and record new tracks. Recorded after extended sessions in New York City, Chicago, and London – the band’s new album once again comes up with the goods, and it’s just gone to number one on the UK charts. The first single Speed Of Sound is standard Coldplay, and as with most of their songs it’s loud enough to give you a good feeling inside. After going through the eleven tracks, I have to admit that this is one of the few albums released in recent years with absolutely no filler tracks. Every song on this disc has the potential to be a chart topping single. The poignant lyrics have a strong resonance, as Coldplay’s candid commentary on the most fundamental elements of life connects with listeners in an intimate manner. A prime example would be the track Square One – where the band proclaims that at the very core, everyone’s most basic desires are the same. You just want somebody listening to what you say. It doesn’t matter who you are, lead singer Chris Martin belts out during the song’s infectious chorus. Beyond the album lyrics, Martin’s vocal performances also reached a new milestone. On Fix You (which undeniably is the best track on the album) he sings with burning passion bringing an undeniable honesty to this album. As the song reaches its stirring climax, the soaring guitars of Berryman and Buckland rise in unison and Champion hammers away on the drums, creating an all-encompassing sound that completely captivates listeners. But don't be weighed down by the hype machine - X&Y is a very good album but not Coldplay's greatest. The album does lose some points on unoriginality. Contrast Coldplay's situation to that of U2 after hitting it big with The Joshua Tree. Not content to simply release a follow up, Bono and his posse elected to tear their sound down and create something new, exciting and completely unexpected in Achtung Baby. Faced with a similar opportunity, Coldplay got cold feet, but they have years head of them to craft a more mature creative course.

The album is a bit redundant by the end; with the strongest material definitely showcased early on. But try telling that to stars like Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Justin Timberlake, Sylvester Stallone, Tobey Maguire (Spiderman) and Jennifer Love Hewitt who are among the card-carrying members of the Coldplay fan legion. And just before his passing, legend Johnny Cash was actually scheduled to record a track penned by the band. X&Y is the clear front-runner so far for Album Of The Year at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Highly Recommended!

Read our other reviews:

Anthems (16 All Time Rock Hits) - Various Artists       Daft Punk - Human After All       Engelbert - Let There Be Love       Gorillaz - Demon Days      


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