Up With the Birds

My coworker Rob is very funny. He sees things in black and white, but more energetic. Perhaps seeing things in Red and Green. Except this tendency seems to render him … colorblind, in a way.

This is Rob. At work, he’s in charge of being enthusiastic, directing customer relations and anything involving a “high five.”

He seems to assume that if you do not love something, you must hate it. For example, he asked me how I liked Coldplay’s new album. Frankly, I did not even know they had a new album. After I told him that, he said, “Oh, you hate Coldplay.”

I spent a week with him at a conference in Florida and we had a conversation like that at least every day. It just does not click with him. At some point you have to hear about something for the first time.

Coldplay was one of those bands that I listened to when they first came out because they were popular. And they were new. They were not just a new band; they had a new sound as well. Looking back, they were kind of like U2.

Graffitied guitar, ragged jacket, bangles, tape on the fingers. British white trash. From the 80’s, but modernized.

As time went on, I would hear Coldplay being played on the radio or on my friends’ stereos. And I realized something: Coldplay was exactly like U2.  They are overrated. Plus, I do not like Chris Martin, but that has little to do with how much I listen to his music. And all of their instruments are just covered in paint. It just makes them look trashy.

Before I listened to Mylo Xyloto, I did a little research. First off, the title does not mean anything. Personally, I think most album names and covers had either too much or too little thought put into them. I think an album’s name and cover should let you know how the artist felt or what the artist was thinking about while writing and recording the album. I know other people just want it to be catchy, which is fine. I just want to say that when I read that an album title does not mean anything special, I translate that to mean the album should not mean anything special to me.

Then I read that Martin said it was going to be more acoustic and intimate than their last one. And that Charlie Brown was supposed to have accordion in it. As a player of an accordion, I got excited. And it tells me that they were just looking to be weird and different. Frankly, I think it dehumanizes them; makes it so I do not relate to the music. But that is just me. I read that Martin said it was a concept album. And somehow that concept tied into the album artwork. So that made me feel good.

Then I read that their producer, Brian Eno, was responsible for something called “enoxification.” I looked it up. It does not mean anything. If you are going to make up words, at least give them a definition. I took this as a sign that Coldplay is weirder than I originally thought, which was already pretty weird.

When I loaded the album into my iTunes, I was hit with something I would call “not acoustic.” In fact, as the album went on, I barely noticed any acoustic guitar. Us Against the World and U.F.O. keep a bit of that. And Major Minus has some acousticality (acousticality here meaning traits of acousticism), but only really at the beginning. I liked what I heard, and I would like to hear more of it. An acoustic version of Major Minus, perhaps? Just saying.

I realized that the electronic influences were probably that “enoxification” Brian Eno took care of. I have felt like the 80’s have been making a comeback, and this album is further proof.

How about we just let the 80’s die? Please?

I did not pick up on the concept of the album. Martin said it was supposed to be a love story with a happy ending. Early on, Paradise talks about a girl who is looking for … well, paradise and a relationship. But it took me until listen number 4 or 5 to get that from more than a couple of songs.

Do not put words in my mouth; I liked the album for what it was. I just got my expectations up. This will go right next to my other Coldplay albums that pop up occasionally when I put my iTunes on random.

Up With the Birds is easily my favorite song, despite the fact that they sample Brian May and Leonard Cohen. I feel like sampling is cheating. The song actually made me feel like being up with the birds. I got its relation to the album’s concept the first time I listened to it.

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6 thoughts on “Up With the Birds

  1. Wait, why is Queen tagged here? Anyway. I totally concur on the Coldplay = U2 + 20ish years. I’d never really made the connection. While both are commendable for making several pop hits that I think were influential on the genre I do find their sound to be fairly homogenous and well, poppy. Distinctive too. I’ll listen to them and think “ya the XX’s” (insert decade) but rarely get really into it.

    • Simply because they sample Brain May. I thought it would be easier to tag it with Queen, rather than Brain May.

      I feel bad for those bands who only really get listened to when iTunes is on shuffle.

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