The ABC of X&Y

Not out in the actual real shops til next weekend me loves and hot from the excitable little hands of the record company, Coldplay’s follow up to the brilliant A Rush Of Blood To The Head is the slightly more succinct X&Y and I’ve had it on replay all day…..


Square One

Starts off just like an ELP version of Also Sprach Zarathustra!!! Nice… The eighties are all over this album in a wonderful way. This one is really melodic with some quite nice drums; a bit Cure-y now that I listen to it again. A good start.

What If

This one begins uncannily like Elton John’s Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word (and yes, that is a good thing in my book), just Chris and piano building over the first minute and a half to a Yellow-style mid-tempo thing. Still really nice.

White Shadows

This one has U2 written all over it (the synths by Brian Eno might contribute to that). Again more beautiful vocals from Chris (the album is full to the brim with them). Not sure why this doesn’t completely kick for me, it’s just missing the little something it needs to be really special.. Maybe it’s the lack of a strong bass riff in the verses (and yes, that is the radio presenter in me looking for the single!) Having said that still out of the top drawer for most bands…

Fix You

Another slow burner with Chris hitting the higher registers. Very piano heavy, very pretty, very nice til it hits full throttle near the end and gets all anthemic. Can see it being huge at gigs.


Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Easily the best track on the album – big 80s sound (almost U2 again), big sweeping melodies, great hook and a Kraftwerk sample too!! Could listen to it all day…


Maybe this one will be a grower… Bit Sgt Pepper era Beatles-y now that I think of it. Don’t know if it works…

Speed Of Sound

The finest single A-ha never released (and yes, that’s a good thing too!) The logical choice for first single off the album and one of their best releases to radio…

A Message

Mid-tempo track… Starts off simple with just a guitar and voice and slowly builds to an almost Phil Spector wall of sound kind of vibe. Somewhere in the middle ranking for the album but getting better with each listen.


Another variation on the 80s theme but a bit vanilla for me; too little melody, not hugely memorable.

The Hardest Part

Nice (almost country!) piano driven thing (dare I say foot tapper?!?!?!) that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on AROBTTH and another grower.

Swallowed In The Sea

Finally Coldplay get biblical with a 12 minute retelling of the story of Jonah and the whale complete with sound effects and gregorian chants. Just made up that last sentence; would have been a far more interesting album if it’d been true, eh? This one is old school Coldplay again, all lovey dovey lyrics and big sweeping anthemic choruses. My addled brain (remember I have been up for 19 hours at this stage!) thinks the guitar riff in the centre section sounds like a slowed down Come Up And See Me (Make Me Smile)…. Seriously…

Twisted Logic

An almost Radioheadesque big finish that’ll play very smoothly late at night after coming in from the pub with one last bottle of beer in your hand and the patio/balcony doors open on a warm Summer evening…

‘Til Kingdom Come (Hidden Track)

The not-so-hidden track is the one they wrote for Johnny Cash that was unrecorded at the time of his death – starting with Chris and acoustic guitar with piano in an almost Dylan-like song of love (aren’t they all?) Just beautiful.


Better than Parachutes?Yes. Better than AROBTTH? Not so sure – will let you know in a few months. Will it be in my top ten list at the end of the year? Almost definitely.