Coldplay, in all its naming-a-baby-Apple glory, has certainly done a lot in their relatively short career. From becoming a critics’ darling after their debut Parachutes, to reaching U2-like stardom with X&Y, they’ve certainly covered the bases. Now, in addition, they have birthed a whole new movement in pop music. Simple piano work mixed with dramatic instrumentation and vocals, the Coldplay trademark sound is being duplicated furiously.
Keane, with its second album recently released, is on the forefront of this new genre. The Fray and Snow Patrol work the same angle, and even established bands like Deathcab for Cutie have most recently moved in the Coldplay direction. Is this move towards the over-melancholy/vaguely uplifting sound good for popular music or is it damaging the already dilapidated mess that is radio rock? Are you keen on Keane and Co.?
Carlye: Yes, ma’am.
While on my pathetically short lunch break during Panhellenic Orientation this weekend (Yes, I’m in a sorority. Yes, I actually love living with 75 girls under one roof. And no, we don’t have pillow fights in bras and thongs.), I went with a couple of girls to grab food at Za’s. While leaving, I heard the beginnings of a random song playing, and could only think, “Ahh, I love this song! What’s the name of this!?”
After faintly hearing the phrase “Everyone knows I’m in over my head, over my head…” in the distance, I was completely shocked and quite appalled. I have no problem admitting that I’m quite conceited with my musical tastes, and the fact that I was subconsciously drawn into one of The Fray’s songs made me sick. However, after coming home to write this column, I realized how goddamn ridiculous I was being.
This new genre of I-love-my-feelings lite-rock is awesome. It’s about time that artists capitalized on music you can cry to, sleep to, or even cry-yourself-to-sleep to. We all have listened to Coldplay, even as background music, but we’re all way too pretentious to admit it. I’m not ashamed that I like this new and improved version of elevator music, and you shouldn’t be either. Hell, at least its better than Country.
Brian: No, Sir!
These bands make music for the purpose of being played in the background when Sophia Bush is emotionally tormented on an episode of One Tree Hill. A droning organ and repetitive piano melody is countered by a U2/arena rock distorted guitar with a rhythm fast enough to keep the label “ballad” away but slow enough to keep it boring. Despite the awkward Sufjan Stevens reference in Snow Patrol’s “Hands Open,” most of the Coldplay babies, like Daddy C., write lyrics more general than President Bush’s answers at a press conference. I think this is the worst direction for pop music to be moving towards.
I would prefer, heartwrenchingly, Pete Wentz’s Screamo-poppers to rule the airwaves over Coldplay’s musical offsprings. Pop music shouldn’t be so serious. I don’t want to listen to songs used in The Lake House trailer on the radio. Each song The Fray comes out with is an attempt to be the song of a generation. In trying to attain massive meaning, these sentimental bands accomplish nothing. Ballads died with hair-rock, and even though our post-9/11 world loves stupefying sentimentality, it’s time for us to realize that we need to dump the Coldplayers the way we dumped rock rap and boy bands. We need dance music!