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Billboard Reviews X&Y

April 20, 2005 5:51 AM

Coldplay offers up a bigger, louder version of its widely loved pop/rock sound on its third studio album, "X&Y." Due June 7 in North America via Capitol, the 12-track set is led by the soaring single "Speed of Sound," which has already racked up massive U.S. radio airplay since being delivered to stations yesterday (April 18).

Befitting the importance of the album's fortunes to Capitol parent EMI (shares in the company dropped 16 percent in February after it blamed release delays of albums by Coldplay and Gorillaz for lower than expected profits), extreme security measures have been put in place for media playbacks. Journalists are required to listen to the set on an iPod locked inside a clear case, with a security guard perched outside an open door.

Coldplay blew up worldwide on the strength of its 2002 sophomore set, "A Rush of Blood to the Head," and much of the music on the new album seems crafted for maximum impact to large live audiences. The set opens with "Square One," a dark, pounding tune that bristles with energy and will likely become a concert favorite.

"White Shadows" sports a danceable beat and a taste of frontman Chris Martin's vocal acrobatics, while the peppy, vaguely menacing "Low" seems primed for arena airplay. "Twisted Logic," which at first recalls the measured midtempo rock of Radiohead circa "The Bends," also features a swelling finish.

But there are plenty of Coldplay's now patented anthemic ballads, such as the piano-driven "What If?," where the lines of each verse begin with the titular question. Drumless for its majority, "Fix You" builds to a multi-tracked vocal conclusion and a solo piano outtro. Martin pledges to uplift the listener at times "when you try your best but you don't succeed / when you get what you want but not what you need."

"A Message" would make a logical choice for a second single, its strong sonic debt to U2 belied by Martin's unabashedly sentimental lyrics: "My song is love, love unknown / And I've got to get that message home."

Martin, who married actress Gwyneth Paltrow in late 2003, extends the love-dominated theme with the consecutive songs "Hardest Part" and "Swallowed in the Sea," the latter of which mourns for lost loved ones. Built around fast but folky acoustic strumming in the vein of Nick Drake, the bonus track "'Til Kingdom Come" puts it even simpler: "for you I've waited all these years."

One surprise is "Talk," an early version of which was leaked online earlier this year. The band has since completely revamped the song structure, adding different lyrics and ratcheting up the guitar levels. The cut retains the melody from Kraftwerk's "Computer Love," with the main riff played on guitar as opposed to the synthesizers that marked the original.

Coldplay is gearing up for an April 29 warm-up show at the Joint in Las Vegas, and a headlining slot the following night at California's Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. A European tour begins June 15 in Hamburg.

Source: Billboard

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X&Y Artwork Code Cracked

April 16, 2005 9:51 PM

Apparently some people who are way too into math have figured out the meaning of the recently unveiled cover artwork of Coldplay's new album, 'X&Y.' It came down to understanding the 'baudot' code, which has been used extensively in telegraph systems. You can read the full story over at Stereoboard.

The funny thing is, I think most of us already knew it meant X&Y. You can actually almost see those characters if you squint hard enough. These math folk, at the very most, have just confirmed it for the rest of us.

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'Speed of Sound' Available as Ringtone

April 12, 2005 11:23 PM

CNET News, Internet Week, Billboard and many other news sites are reporting that Coldplay's first single off of the upcoming X&Y, 'Speed of Sound,' is now available to download as a ringtone, a full week before the track hits radio airwaves.

If you're a Cingular Wireless customer, you can download the exclusive ringtone right now by visiting Cingular Extras. They even have the album cover available as a free graphic download.

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Melting Your Heart and Your Brain at the Same Time

April 10, 2005 3:39 PM

A very astute member of the discussion forum tracked down a great little video clip from MTV Europe in which Jon and Chris explain the meaning of X&Y and what it's like to see Coldplay live, respectively.

Chris, in a very tongue-in-cheek manner, says that in going to see them live one should expect to see "four very attractive young men playing music that is possibly the sexiest music ever created and will melt your heart and your brain at the same time...it's an other-worldly experience."

You can see the amusing clip for yourself over at MTV Europe.

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Secret Gig in Cologne, Germany

April 08, 2005 6:32 PM

NME is again reporting on a secret gig played as part of Coldplay's current warm-up tour:

Coldplay played more songs from their new album 'X&Y' at a second secret gig in Europe last night.

The band played an impromptu set at the Gloria club in Cologne (April 7) the second date on a 'secret' tour.

The band are playing shows in between promo work, to road test songs from their third album, which is out on June 6.

In Germany, Coldplay played two more new songs for the first time, 'Talk' and 'Fix You.'

The setlist they are reporting for the Cologne gig is as follows:

  1. Square One
  2. Politik
  3. Speed Of Sound
  4. God Put A Smile Upon Your Face
  5. Warning Sign
  6. Talk
  7. X&Y
  8. Yellow
  9. Low
  10. The Scientist
  11. Til Kingdom Come
  12. Clocks
  13. What If
  14. In My Place
  15. A Message
  16. Fix You

As always, I'd love to hear from anyone who attended this show.

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