Monday, October 24, 2011
I've got a hell of a lot on my plate at the moment, but before I dive into all the work I have to do this morning I figured I'd throw out a pretty random question I'd like an answer to: Am I the only one who doesn't care one bit about Coldplay anymore?
Now before anybody mouths off and says, "I always thought they were awful," please just cut it out. Parachutes was a damn good record and A Rush of Blood to the Head remains one of the best and unexpected pop releases of the last decade or so. The latter is the often dark, lovely and powerful work of a band really finding its footing and improving upon its debut by giant strides; it cemented Coldplay as the kind of band that wasn't merely going to be a flash in the pan. And to be fair, of course, they haven't been at all. They're huge. Massive. The new U2, if you believe a lot of network morning show hyperbole.
But here's the thing: They really kind of suck now.
The band's been on a downward trajectory since Rush, first with X & Y, which was a decent record but one that felt like a pale copy of its immediate predecessor. Then of course came Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, an album whose name pretty much summed up what you were getting yourself into by listening to it and spelled out in no uncertain terms the kind of band Coldplay wanted to be: wildly pretentious and completely in love with their own bombastic art-rock self-importance. Yes, Viva La Vida was actually a damn good pop song, but the rest of the record was just -- meh.
And now we get Mylo Xyloto, released today. Again there's more soaring, more hollow grandiloquence, apparently more of the band in matching clothing (dear God) -- only this time around, if you can imagine it, the proceedings have been taken to a whole new stratospheric level because the record isn't simply sporting an obnoxious mouthful of a title, it's a 100% concept album. And what is the concept, you ask? Well, let's let Chris Martin (aka Mr. Gwyneth Paltrow, and the seeds of the problem could very well lie there) explain it to you. From Wikipedia:
"The album is 'based on a love story with a happy ending', in which two protagonists: Mylo and Xyloto, who are living in an oppressive, dystopian urban environment, meet one another through a gang called 'The Lost Boys', and fall in love."
Oh for Christ's sake.
Again, though, here's the thing: I'll bet that if I listened to it a few times I'd really grow to like it -- but I'm not willing to. And that's what I'm kind of trying to figure out -- how a band I once enjoyed so much now barely even summons a passing interest from me. I'm not the least bit excited about a new Coldplay record, and I'm not sure I ever will be again.
I mean, I like Rihanna -- I really do -- but could you ever have imagined Coldplay doing a duet with her?
Update: Interestingly, I hadn't seen this in today's Salon: "Why I Can't Hate Coldplay Anymore."