Sound — 9
The band have perfected the grand instrumental statement that has been evolving from their first recordings. The major shift is that these songs speak of fixing, hoping, and dreaming of a better tomorrow. It all adds up to beautifully inspiring music. There is a uniformly high level of quality among the 13 tracks on X&Y, but some tracks still stand out. The shift from funereal organ backing to anthemic guitar is sonically arresting midway through "Fix You" lending a grand sense of power to the closing lyrics. The band makes the first single "Speed Of Sound" seem nearly effortless. It is a fitting stargazing first cousin to A Rush Of Blood To the Head's masterpiece "Clocks." "What If" quite effectively showcases the endearing fragility of the upper range of Chris Martin's voice.
Lyrics — 8
The mood of Coldplay's last album A Rush Of Blood To the Head is probably best summed up in the gorgeous melancholy of "In My Place" and it's words of being lost and scared. X&Y kicks off at "Square One" with vocalist Chris Martin asking "is there anywhere you wanna go? Anything you wanna know?" He proclaims the "future's for discovering." Perhaps marriage to Gwyneth Paltrow and the birth of Apple have given him a new outlook on the world.As a lyricist, family man Martin certainly has lots to scribble down these days but, alas, he's no Morrissey. Intriguingly oblique at best, trite at worst (see Swallowed In The Sea), if it's broken, lost or vulnerable, Chris is still your man to sing about it. Nevertheless, there's plenty on X&Y for Coldplay's insipid disciples Snow Patrol, Keane and Embrace to feast upon for years, god help us.
Overall Impression — 9
Some listeners may complain about the similarity of many of these songs to each other, but when a band has perfected and honed its basic style to this degree, it is difficult to complain. The anthemic style of much of Coldplay's music has enlivened politically charged rock music from Pink Floyd to U2 but rarely has it been used to make the personal sound so positively timeless. X & Y, searches for relationships that last and maybe more, but the blend of soulful insights and melodic rhythms are worth inspecting further. The album begins with Square One, as good a place as any to start. Chris Martin sings, you're in control, is there anywhere you want to go? but quickly turns to You just want somebody listening to what you say, it doesn't matter who you are. Here lies the dichotomy that Coldplay explores the whole way through: we make the decisions about our lives that have the greatest impact but we cannot survive in isolationwe need others.