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Martin’s lyrical sophistication drives ‘X&Y’ to success

Kelly Duoos | Thursday, September 1, 2005

Coldplay’s summer release has already familiarized pop music consumers with two successful radio singles. At this point, a lesser band’s album would be exhausted of worthwhile music having released the only good tracks on the album. Luckily, Coldplay’s singles only comprise the tip of the “X&Y” iceberg, leaving so many more rewards to be found by a willing listener.

Unlike previous efforts, the newest album is far more beat driven. Evidence of this is found in the tracks “Square One,” “White Shadows” and “Low.” However, long-time Coldplay fans have nothing to fret about. Traditional piano power ballads, including “What If,” “Hardest Part” and “Kingdom Come,” are given their fair share of space on this album. Songs like “Fix You,” “Speed of Sound” and “A Message” reveal the band’s middle ground between the two poles.

All the compositions seem to start with a little less power than they end with, and the transitions between tracks flawlessly balance the dichotomy of sentiment. Coldplay’s ability to write an album that sees through each and every song to its emotional climax – and that this formula doesn’t seem repetitive or contrived – is amazing.

What hasn’t changed, however, is each tune’s reliance upon lead singer Chris Martin’s vocal ability. He fully captures the striking beauty of each melody with the smoothest British voice and the most genuine emotion and sincerity you’ve heard in a long time. Not surprisingly, the band’s lyrics are as deep conceptually as the album is musically.

The theme of the whole album seems to be summed up in a line from the track “Talk”: “I’m so scared about the future and I want to talk to you.”

That’s exactly what the listener wants to do. And it’s exactly what the listener feels like Martin is doing. His introspective lyrics of self-examination were written for all of us who are struggling to find our way through life, relationships and the search for a larger meaning (or meaninglessness).

Coldplay offers no solutions. Instead, the band simply offers the comfort of another human being addressing the issues that continue to consume the thoughts of contemplative people everywhere.

The theme of loneliness is often explored in “X&Y.” Although no concrete answers are offered within the album’s songs, none should be expected.

But at least fans didn’t turn on this album, unlike many others, to escape the thoughts in their heads. And isn’t that refreshing?