Capitol Records, 2000
REVIEW BY: Melanie Love
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/23/2005
It's rare for an up-and-coming band to get it right on their first try. Amazingly enough, Coldplay did. And then they proceeded to beat it straight into the ground by using the same formula for each of their albums that followed.
But what sounds tired and rehashed on later offerings from the British quartet manages to get away on the shiny, newness factor that surrounded their 2000 debut, Parachutes.
The album starts off strong with the plaintive, uplifting "Don't Panic," in which the band sets the tone for the rest of the album with lyrics like "We live in a beautiful world" juxtaposed with the previous lines of doubt and depression. Coldplay continue to toe that same line throughout the remaining 40 or so minutes of the album, but somehow succeed in never sounding too trite in the cliched sentiments of their lyrics.
The band follows along the same sentiments of indecision with their lovelorn first single, "Shiver," in which they interject their own brand of optimism into the hopelessness of unrequited love. Though they falter a bit on the simplistic, meandering "Sparks," they make up for it with the strength of the tracks that bookend it, the mysterious, brooding "Spies" and, of course, "Yellow," which shot onto the charts when it was released in June of 2000.
"Trouble" is still my favorite of the album, encompassing everything that brought Coldplay their monumentous success in one four-minute track. From lead singer Chris Martin's pleading falsetto to the swirling introspection of the lyrics, it's one of those songs that can be played a thousand times on the radio and still sound as fresh as the first time.
Parachutes starts to lose its steam at "High Speed," in which the repetitive lyrics miss the befuddled point the track is trying to create, though the atmospheric guitars are its saving grace. Winding down are the album's last two tracks, "We Never Change" and "Everything's Not Lost," which finish off Martin's plea for sense and something to look towards in the world that we live in.
At the end of the album, you come away with the sense that when Coldplay are good, they're great. Incredible, even. The only problem is, that when they're not, they're unremarkable, to say the least. But Parachutes manages to keep its head above water for most of its duration, and makes up for the few pitfalls with the power of the rest of the material. My only hope is that they stay away from churning out Parachutes again and again for the decades of their career to follow.