nce in a while a voice comes along that is beyond music. The songs may not be the most wonderful or elaborate things you’ve ever heard, but the voice has fire. This is the case for Coldplay. Singer Chris Martin has a voice that conveys strength and vulrnebility. Parachutes owes many of its finer moments to Martin’s vocal chords.
Coldplay, whose members met at London University College, released The Safety EP and The Blue EP before this debut hit the shelves. In fact, it wasn’t until the spring of that same year that the buzz on them got around when they released their single ”Yellow”. The song is rhythmical, beautiful, cheerful, and easy to remember with the constant repeat of the word ”yellow”. It has Chris Martin singing about the stars shining for you. Only a bit of promotion was needed to get this single flying worldwide. And so, with the press hailing them as the new Radiohead (by this time Thom Yorke and friends had gone all weird with Kid A) they spread their popularity.
Parachutes has beauty written all over it. I mean, it starts with ”Don’t Panic” in which the band exclaim ’...we live in a beautiful world...’. They carry on by seeing ”Sparks”, having your skin and bones turning into something beautiful in ”Yellow”, proclaiming eternal love to you in the 46 seconds long title track and tell you how ”Everything’s Not Lost”. Despite some people categorizing Coldplay as rock, the group is a pop band with a knack for simple poetry. The darker moments of the album come in the shape of ”Spies”, a spooky yet beautiful song about ’them’, the ones who are after you, about escaping life, and being stuck. There is also ”Shiver”, a song about a stalker, which is also the most upbeat of the entire album. If you stop for a minute to think about the roller coaster like guitar (turning the rhythm guitar into the lead) and the spunky melody, it’s quite a twisted track lyrically ”...so you know how much I need you/but you never even see me/do you?....//but on and on/from the moment I wake/to the moment I sleep/I’ll be there by your side/just you try and stop me...//...did you want me to change?/well I’d change for you...” Oh yes, it’s obsession.
The finer moments of Parachutes are blended with some boring sappy songs such as ”Sparks”, ”We Never Change” and ”High Speed”. There are only so many times you can listen to a man slowly whine along to soft guitars and strings. But still, he whinges with a powerful voice. A voice that is in many ways wasted on songs that are alright but not bewildering.
Coldplay’s debut album is a fine effort for a first time outing. If more of the songs were like ”Shiver” and less like ”We Never Change” it could’ve been exciting. But Parachutes leaves you wishing for more of some elements than others and, in the meantime, skipping tracks. What holds the album together are the better songs and as mentioned, the voice. Whether this is enough I’m not sure. I actually had the pleasure of seeing Chris Martin perform a few of the songs live in an acoustic setting (summer of 2000 in Pilton, Englan). And I can confirm that few people can, on their own, hold an audience in such a way or sound so fantastic outside the comfort of a studio enviroment. It was magnificent. It sounded better than the album.
Reviewed by: Setareh Yousefi
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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