Coldplay’s third album, X & Y, is due to be released on June 6, but fans of the British rock group didn’t have to wait until then to hear the group’s new music. The first single from the album is entitled “Speed of Sound”, and was released on April 18. The song is heating up in the digital arena, and is holding its own on the radio. The single is currently #2 on iTunes after shooting to Number 1 the day after its release. It is currently the No. 27 song on Billboard’s Hot 100, after rising to a peak position of No. 8 in its first week.
Since getting together in 1998, Coldplay has received both critical and commercial acclaim with their debut album Parachutes (2000) and its followup, A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002). Their brand of melodic, beautifully composed songs, mixed with Chris Martin’s passionate lyrics have created a legion of fans all over the world, not to mention a new breed of groups trying to be the “next Coldplay”, including Keane, Snow Patrol and Athlete.
“Speed of Sound” is a very “Coldplay” song. The radio edit of the track is about 4:30 long, and is defined by impressive piano work, and sweeping vocals from Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. The song, at first listen, immediately reminded me of “Clocks” from A Rush of Blood…. It certainly is a song that would have fit in well on the second album, in terms of the music, if not the lyrics, which include “Where to, where do i go? If you never try then you’ll never know”. Not the best lyric that Chris Martin has ever committed to paper. However, the single is still quite good, and it sounds beautiful, but I was expecting some impressive about-face by the band that sent the music in a different direction. If the whole of X & Y plays like “Speed of Sound”, then Coldplay will remain the kings of Britpop, while churning out another impressive album. That will do for the vast majority of Coldplay devotees, but may leave others wanting something more. Perhaps expectations are unduly high.
Coldplay will spend the summer and beyond supporting the new album in Europe and North America. During the early portion of the tour in Great Britian, Coldplay will be supported by groups including Supergrass, Interpol, Doves and Elbow.
On an interesting sidenote, the cover art for both the single and the forthcoming album looked like random, meaningless shapes, until an ambitious fan cracked the code. Check it out.
The single is available for download on iTunes or through Coldplay’s official Web site.
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