So...what if Coldplay kept their trademark sweeping melodies while shifting the lyrical focus to hopeful visions for the future? The result may be something very much like X&Y. 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.
The "future's for discovering"
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 its 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.
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.
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.