Coldplay, formed in 1996 by lead singer Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland, is considered one of, if not the most, popular bands of the last decade. The British-based alternative rock band stormed onto the world stage in 2000 with the release of their first single “Yellow”, which was released later the same year on the band’s first album, Parachutes (Parlophone Records).

The band began rehearsals and bits of recording in 1999. They recorded a few demo tracks for the album, but then decided to take a break in order to allow time to write more songs. When the band got back together, again with producer Allison, things did not seem to be going well for the band. According to Allison,

“They started up playing in the rehearsal room and they really weren’t together at all. And I was very honest with them, I just sort of said ‘Look this simply isn’t good enough’.  The interesting, most significant thing that did occur out of the fact that we didn’t end up starting the album on that day of the rehearsal was that Chris Martin had not written ‘Yellow’ by that time”

The album still did not start being fully recorded until several months later, when the band got a new producer in Ken Nelson.  All the recording for the album took place between September 1999 and May 2000 at Matrix, Wessex, Parr Street, and Rockfield Studios in London.

The first song the band recorded that eventually landed itself on the album was called “High Speed”, and was actually recorded for a separate EP.  The song was recorded some months before primary recording began for the album.  According to Chris Allison, the producer of the track,

“You’ll notice it is quite a bit different to the other tracks, because there are other sounds going on in it: we wanted to mix a soundscape in with the classic rock sound on that particular track. I thought ‘High Speed’ was a really good marriage between the classic rock sound and the new sound that was developing out of it, something that was more atmospheric”

The album’s cover is a photograph of a globe taken with a disposable Kodak camera.

 

Track List

Side one
1. Don’t Panic (2:17)
2. Shiver (5:00)
3. Spies (5:19)
4. Sparks (3:47)
5. Yellow (4:29)

Side two
1. Trouble (4:31)
2. Parachutes (0:46)
3. High Speed (4:14)
4. We Never Change (4:09)
5. Everything’s Not Lost (5:39) (includes hidden song “Life is for Living”) (1:37)

Coldplay Members

Chris Martin- lead vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboard

Jonny Buckland- electric guitar, piano (track 4), backing vocals

Guy Berryman- bass, acoustic bass (track 7)

Will Champion- drums, percussion, backing vocals

 

Thoughts…

Our Quick Pick 5

  1. High Speed
  2. Don’t Panic
  3. Spies
  4. Yellow
  5. Sparks

 

This album, looking way back at it now in 2016, is so different than what Coldplay sounds like now. And if you ask me, that’s not a bad thing at all. I don’t think it is a bad thing whatsoever for a band to evolve its sound over the course of its career. To me, that signifies an awareness of the ever-changing reality of the music world and also a creative drive to not be stuck in any one place musically for too long. The album as a whole has a very subdued, mellow feel to it.  There is a lot of acoustic guitar work, and somber falsetto singing by Martin. However, if you look at these two aspects, these two things have always been a constant of the band.  

It almost feels as though this album was produced in ambient solitude. A lot of the songs feel very lonely, as Martin reflects on “the thought of all the stupid things I’ve said” and “I awake to find no peace of mind”. However, in the solitude, there is a feeling of hope from Martin’s songs.  

Although it is vastly different from the music that they make today, this album was a great beginning for one of the most successful bands ever.  

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The album cover
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The back of the LP cover
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Each member of the band during recording. Pictured: Chris Martin (top left), Jonny Buckland (top right), Will Champion (bottom left), Guy Berryman (bottom right)
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