Release Date: Jun 7, 2005
Record label: Capitol
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
After Radiohead stubbornly refused to accept the mantle of world's biggest and most important rock band by releasing the willfully strange rocktronica fusion Kid A in 2000, Coldplay stepped up to the plate with their debut, Parachutes. Tasteful, earnest, introspective, anthemic, and grounded in guitars, the British quartet was everything Radiohead weren't but what the public wanted them to be, and benefited from the Oxford quintet's decision to abandon rock stardom for arcane art rock. Parachutes became a transatlantic hit and 2002's sequel, A Rush of Blood to the Head, consolidated their success by being bigger and better than Parachutes, positioning Coldplay to not be just the new Radiohead, but the new U2: a band that belongs to the world but whose fans believe that the music is for them alone.
Even in a music industry driven barmy by falling sales and file-sharing, the level of paranoia surrounding the third Coldplay album is startling. The process of getting to hear it appears to have been dreamed up in conjunction with Frederick Forsyth. No courier or Post Office employee is to be trusted with the CD. Instead, the reviewer must meet a representative of EMI at a designated location (you half expect him to be disguised as a blind accordionist, but EMI appears to have missed that particular trick).