Saturday, 17 December 2011

Coldplay - Parachutes


It's been an exciting and unbearable 11 years since Coldplay dropped Parachutes on the world. The platinum album was heavily praised for it's maturity and general likeliness by the British public. We have hit singles and slow, dreary songs hitting the edge of depressing music. Fans were labelled and arguments began in the years following, which led Coldplay on to a slippery slope down to unforgettable smugness above the rest of us swines. In the following years, 'Yellow' was used for just about every acoustic guitar beginner pack. The piano based song 'Trouble' has been positioned way above Yellow in many 'Top 100 British Singles', on the mass music video channels us Brits witness on Sky TV.

Released in 2000, this Parachutes was considered one of the few.. I'm going to say it... 'Post-Britpop albums'. How sickening, what world are we living in that we have to label an album 'Post-Britpop'. I'm almost choking just reading the 'genre', fuck me... So this Alternative album features a variety of songs from slow, tarnished acoustic tracks, to thunderous, exciting songs with venomous guitar work and splendid drumming. The opening track 'Dont Panic' features the melodic lead guitar and layered rhythm guitar, it's a very short song but hey, it's the right length in my opinion.

The five minute thriller of 'Shiver' is by far the most energetic song on the album. It's widely ignored amongst the general singles, the compact sound doesn't give an overproduced vibe, it's just right. The intro is brilliant and the volume raises perfectly with the vigorous riff and textual drumming pattern. Chris Martin delivers a solid vocal with clear cut emotion, this is 2000 after all. 'Spies' has a beautiful guitar riff, with excellent vocal delivery again. The eerie atmosphere only captivates the listeners concept of the album, with some brilliant lyrics which are clearly heard.

Delightful bass work is heard on 'Sparks', with a laid back mood and slow, easy listening guitar work. The song never really picks up, but the chorus does come into effect with some keyboard notes, but other than that nothing really grabs my attention as a listener. It's gives a far darker image than the previous few tracks, saying this, Parachutes is generally a dark album. 

Reputation aside.. 'Yellow' is one of the better songs on the album. Forgetting the pointless, alternative lyrics referencing different situations linking it to being Yellow????????!!?!??. So the track is actually string with a nice little chorus and a great intro. The guitar work is very basic but this aside, the song actually sounds catchy and has that dirt, gritty feel when the band are just playing together without Chris Martin giving his 'romantic' vocal. Like I said, in the years following the release of Parachutes, this song became known for it's basic, beginner chords for starters on guitar. It's followed by the darker, more skilled 'Trouble'. This is my favourite Coldplay song, because it's just straight up and direct with great piano work and a decent vocal to go with it. Lead guitar enters and exits at various moments giving a slide effect, alongside the acoustic guitar heard on the left side of the track. The bass is hard hitting but doesn't put me off. Drumming is incredibly basic but it just pushes the song and keeps it simple, so the piano can take lead with Martin's vocals.

The 50 second title track 'Parachutes' features an acoustic guitar with Chris Martin giving a vocal, it's not exactly exciting but for the song lengh, it's well worth the position on the album. Next up is 'High Speed'. This has a nice little structure sounding very Ok Computer era Radiohead, until Chris Martin breaks out the reverb on his vocal, sounding like Damon Albarn. The track doesn't grab my attention and is classed as that filler track. The final few minutes are actually really strong and feature some of the best drumming and guitar work on the album, with bass taking control of the track.

We're given the slow, sad, lengthy 'We Never change' next. Including the slight use of bass and slow acoustic guitar work. Eventually the vocals improve and the lead guitar enters with a simple reverb added to give the song some atmosphere, but I don't think it makes much difference to be honest. This track is pure filler, one of those later tracks which the band wrote and couldn't be bothered to expand on. It allows the listener a little bit of a breather and a cup of tea, before listening to the key, best track on the album 'Everything's Not Lost'. The opening lyrics are Chris Martins best ever.. "When I'm counting up my demons, saw there was one for every day. With the good ones on my shoulder, I drove the other ones away". The guitar work is fantastic and simple, with bass again taking control behind the scenes with a strong riff. The drumming is minimal and allows the mood to be brought out by the vocals. Piano is solid and opens up the song rather well, with a great introduction to the second part of the song, where things speed up and brighten with Martin giving a repeated verse to end the track in glory. Previous filler aside, this is a great end to the album. It's solid, it sticks and it generally has good lyrics, impressive for Coldplay's standards as of today.

Sure, Coldplay have there haters.. But so do many, many other artists. This album was marketed very well and without any beginnings or start up, Coldplay managed to pick up fame instantly, selling records in the millions. I'm not saying this is bad, they clearly wanted fame instead of originality and control over musical output. This album was a stepping stone for ColdplayColdplay are a band, they know how to write a decent track, they know how to perform live and they can play their own songs perfectly. The sad, gloomy style is Coldplay, nothing will change this. Tracks like Yellow and Trouble are strong songs, even though they're considered depressive, dark songs. The biggest flaw for this album is the lack of originality and general rawness of a debut album, sure tracks like 'Shiver' are brilliant to hear and are actually really good, but it's been produced well, not in a  good way, but it takes out all that excitement and raw energy a debut album should have. 

7.2

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