When you think of the biggest bands in our current world it’s an immediate and easy list to make. U2. Foo Fighters. Coldplay. The lead of the latter, Chris Martin, broke my heart this week by alluding to the idea that their next and seventh studio album, A Head Full Of Dreams, may indeed be their last. Likening the record to the seventh and final Harry Potter book had the music world in a spin. Is Coldplay breaking up? I am well and truly in the denial phase of the grieving process at even hearing the idea of this madness, and am choosing to use my little of the corner of the world to remind us all of happier times, when the band was starting out and there was no speak of this break-up blasphemy. This Record Rewind is dedicated to their debut album, Parachutes, which splashed onto the scene in spectacular fashion in 2000.
It was a messy start for Martin an co. on this record. Originally planning to record the entire LP in two weeks, touring and appearance schedules forced the process out over a matter of months. Chris Allen, the man originally charged with production ended up producing only one song on the track list, High Speed, stating that in their early sessions Coldplay were “not together at all”. After breaking again to go back and write, it seems timing was the key. Had the recording sessions gone as planned, we may have missed out on one of the biggest songs of the century as Martin had not yet penned the romantic, haunting and infamous Yellow.
Ken Nelson was finally brought on as the man for the job and has been quoted as describing the band as initially rushed and uptight, not at all the Coldplay we have come to love. Relaxing in the presence of Nelson however, the band played with tempo, mood and all together calmed the eff down. And the result was gorgeous. Early comparisons were rife, with the band’s success being credited to their Jeff Buckley-eque emotion and Radiohead’s alienating experimental sound of the time. I love the idea that lost Radiohead fans, scattered after losing all they knew to be true, wandered right into the arms of an awaiting Chris Martin and the rest is history.
Drummer Will Champion, to whose late mother Parachutes is dedicated, has even compared the sound to Lou Reed’s Perfect Day, where the lyrics are really, really happy and the music is really, really sad. The gorgeous tracks chosen to be released as singles demonstrate the elegance in balancing the two better than most, with Shiver, Yellow, Trouble and Don’t Panic the perfect examples of the genuine, uplifting and raw emotion we’ve come to expect from any Coldplay song.
The album went on to receive an array of accolades, landing at Number 1 in the UK and going 8x Platinum, 2x platinum in the US, a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album, the Best British Album at the 2001 Brit Awards and had since sold well over 8.5 million copies worldwide. They had the world at their feet. Matt Diehl of Rolling Stone nailed it early with his eloquent review, stating that “when Chris Martin moans about skin and bones / turning to something beautiful he could very well be talking about his own band.” Now in hindsight we know he was right.
Noel Gallagher has laughed that Coldplay will one-up U2 with this new record by hand delivering it to their fans. Well, my doors open! Please don’t leave us Coldplay. I am not ready to consciously uncouple.