Chris Martin responds: “Maybe we’re too feminine for the masculine and too masculine for the feminine."

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umm, ok....


NEW YORK - With some 20 million albums sold worldwide, it’s clear Coldplay has its share of fans. What surprises singer Chris Martin is all the people who actively hate the band.

Coldplay doesn’t inspire much ambivalence.

“Everyone tells me it’s very healthy,” Martin recently told The Associated Press. “It’s very depressing, but it’s very healthy. We always have this bubbling level of vitriol.”

Both sides can renew the debate with Tuesday’s release of “X & Y,” the band’s third album. The disc is an ambitious attempt to cement Coldplay’s status as one of the world’s top rock bands.

Britain’s New Musical Express magazine called it Coldplay’s best. Blender called it a masterpiece, giving it five out of five stars. Yet the influential Jon Pareles of The New York Times called Coldplay “the most insufferable band of the decade.”

The music is “supposed to be compassionate, empathetic, magnanimous, inspirational,” Pareles wrote on Sunday. “But when the music swells up once more with tremolo guitar and chiming keyboards, and Mr. Martin’s voice breaks for the umpteenth time, it sounds like hokum to me.”

Is it his hair?
Martin said he’s never been able to pin down the source of such antipathy.

“Maybe it’s something to do with my haircut,” he said. “Maybe we’re too feminine for the masculine and too masculine for the feminine. Whatever we go through personally and publicly, we’re so blessed because we have four of us and we’re best friends, so we go through it together.”

Coldplay took one recent criticism to heart. When the New York Daily News panned its concert as dull because of a concentration of slow-moving songs, Coldplay changed its set.

“That’s the great thing about people who hate us,” he said. “We can suck out the energy and make it into something positive. It’s like in ‘Back to the Future,’ where you have this device that can turn garbage into a time traveler.”

Certainly the initial signs for “X & Y” are positive. “Speed of Sound” is a beauty, immediately falling into place with the memorable melodies of “Yellow” and “Clocks” and darting up the sales charts. (The CD was No. 1 on amazon.com the day before its release.)

Martin, 28, has a handful of artists that formed his musical worldview. There’s the expected: the Beatles, Bob Dylan and Bob Marley; and a more up-to-date list: U2, Radiohead, Kraftwerk, Brian Eno and the Icelandic droners Sigur Ros. Much of the latter list is evident on “X & Y,” which often has a chilly, 1980s-inspired sound.

Martin had an upper middle-class upbringing and went to schools that commonly produce businessmen and lawyers. As a music-obsessed 15-year-old, he was curious what his teacher would say when he confided he wanted to be in a band.

“I thought he was going to have me expelled,” he recalled. “But, in fact, he said it was OK, and from that moment on, it was what I wanted to do.”

He’s undoubtedly far richer than any of his classmates. Coldplay’s own business impact is such that its record label, Capitol, explained away lower-than-expected earnings last year by telling Wall Street it was partly because the band’s disc had been delayed.

Martin, guitarist Jonny Buckland, drummer Will Champion and bassist Guy Berryman met during their first week at University College in London and formed Coldplay.

More than any band in recent history except for Jakob Dylan’s Wallflowers, Coldplay is typically seen as Martin and three other guys. U2’s Bono is the definition of a rock frontman, but even casual fans know The Edge.

Dreaming of topping U2
Part of that Martin ascribes to his tabloid fame as Gwyneth Paltrow’s husband. (Martin said he’s used to the paparazzi now. “I’ve just come to terms with the fact that there is a group of people out there who is interested in one side of things that I’m not really interested in,” he said).

Still, Martin maintained: “The four of us are non-negotiable. ... Anyone who knows anything can tell from listening that it’s reliant on all four of us.”

Even while acknowledging a musical debt to U2, Coldplay makes no secret of its desire to topple Bono’s gang as the world’s top rock band.

“To me, they’re like Mount Everest or the Taj Mahal or the Sears Tower,” Martin said. “They’re a great, great thing. And if you’re going to do something, you may as well aim to do something great. I’m not saying we’re better than them. I’m just saying if you’re going to aim for anything, you might as well aim for the best.”

That ambition is partly what caused Coldplay trouble when it began recording “X & Y.”

Coldplay dismissed longtime producer Ken Nelson, and went back to work with Danton Supple. The effect was like the Beatles once described in bringing organist Billy Preston to the recording studio: The band felt it had to behave and concentrate in front of a stranger.

Eventually, Coldplay finished an album that satisfied the quartet.

And that’s as much as Coldplay can do to quiet its detractors, he said.

“If everyone lays into this record or the tour and we haven’t put everything into it, then we’d be much more upset, because we’d know that we hadn’t really tried,” Martin said.

“As it is, from day one we’ve always put everything into it as passionately as possible and as naturally as possible, so we just have to accept it. No one can say that we don’t work hard or we don’t try hard. If people don’t like it, they don’t like it. What can we do about it? Nothing.”

PB, Monday, 6 June 2005 22:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

time to parole chapman

j blount (papa la bas), Monday, 6 June 2005 22:39 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

what if Hitler had listened to Klaus Nomi?

donut debonair (donut), Monday, 6 June 2005 22:43 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I really would like to beat the shit out of Chris Martin.

Cool Hand Luuke (ex machina), Monday, 6 June 2005 22:47 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Thought he'd be expelled for merely mentioning he wanted to start a band? How much more melodramatic can you be?

mike h. (mike h.), Monday, 6 June 2005 22:48 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

“Speed of Sound” is a beauty, immediately falling into place with the memorable melodies of “Yellow” and “Clocks”

Maybe because it's the SAME SONG as fucking "Clocks"

Curt1s St3ph3ns, Monday, 6 June 2005 22:51 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Martin had an upper middle-class upbringing and went to schools that commonly produce businessmen and lawyers."

i'm shocked

the battlefield was a place of hill and stone, Monday, 6 June 2005 22:57 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

It's a riches to riches story!

Jetlag Willy (noodle vague), Monday, 6 June 2005 23:00 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

It’s like in ‘Back to the Future,’ where you have this device that can turn garbage into a time traveler.”

I LOVE IT

Cunga (Cunga), Monday, 6 June 2005 23:02 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

More than any band in recent history except for Jakob Dylan’s Wallflowers, Coldplay is typically seen as Martin and three other guys.

Yeah, when will people STOP GOING ON about Jakob Dylan's Wallflowers?

Jetlag Willy (noodle vague), Monday, 6 June 2005 23:04 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Maybe it’s something to do with my haircut

Yes PRECISELY. *searches for stumpgrinder*

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 6 June 2005 23:04 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I will admit I liked him more back when he did a better job of shaving. Looked cute and boyish in the "Yellow" video, a look of innocence befits him.

miccio (miccio), Monday, 6 June 2005 23:06 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

yeah why not reference Rob Thomas instead of Jakob Dylan?

miccio (miccio), Monday, 6 June 2005 23:06 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

maybe they were just being nice to Jakob

miccio (miccio), Monday, 6 June 2005 23:06 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Not grey enough.

Jetlag Willy (noodle vague), Monday, 6 June 2005 23:10 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

if he grew the hair out and shaved every morning he'd be a cutie if still Bono Manilow.

miccio (miccio), Monday, 6 June 2005 23:10 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Funny, one of my best friends recently commented that Martin looks as if he's got downs syndrome in the video to Yellow.

My gfriend has a ticket to see them in Glasgow as some of her friends are going but she keeps trying to convince me that she doesn't like them that much.

I'd love to see Chris Martin go bankrupt. He's a prick and his music is utterly fucking awful. The new single is shit but not as bad as Yellow which is still the worst top 5 song in history.

Music Mick, Monday, 6 June 2005 23:39 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i'd like to see him in my bed. he's totally hott.

jed_ (jed), Tuesday, 7 June 2005 00:08 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

its that teacher's fault

Susan Douglas (Susan Douglas), Tuesday, 7 June 2005 00:22 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

It’s like in ‘Back to the Future,’ where you have this device that can turn garbage into a time traveler.”

that must be in the director's cut

Amon (eman), Tuesday, 7 June 2005 00:26 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

it's at the end man....

PB, Tuesday, 7 June 2005 00:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Haha I loved how Pareles was all like "Mr. Rebel" with that piece, you could feel the throwing of the caution into the wind, and I was like dude, everyone I know despises them.

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 7 June 2005 01:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

he's attractive in that repulsive way, know what i mean? like, the kind of guy you want to duck tape here and there before you make him feel masculine-feminine

Vichitravirya XI, Tuesday, 7 June 2005 01:37 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

What is a "bubbling level of vitriol"? Does this guy even know the English language?

ffirehorse (firehorse), Tuesday, 7 June 2005 03:51 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

the influential Jon Pareles of The New York Times

um... a lot of people get the NY Times, and so a lot of people end up reading Jon Pareles, but I'm not sure anyone finds his opinions very consequential. Am I wrong? Unlike, say, A.O. Scott for film or Michiko Kakutani for lit--people care what those NYT critics think (in the U.S. at least).

These Robust Cookies (Robust Cookies), Tuesday, 7 June 2005 04:22 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

A.O. Scott is nowhere near either "influential" or "Roger Ebert" (two things unfortunately close to each other in this land)

Vichitravirya XI, Tuesday, 7 June 2005 05:05 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

yr right, I might have been confusing "influential" with "interesting". But am I wrong in thinking that Pareles is neither one nor the other?

These Robust Cookies (Robust Cookies), Tuesday, 7 June 2005 06:11 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Maybe we're too feminine for the masculine and too masculine for the feminine."

Translation: "We're all hung like hamsters."

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Tuesday, 7 June 2005 11:47 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Maybe we're too feminine for the masculine and too masculine for the feminine."

IT'S CALLED MIDDLE-OF-THE-ROAD DUMBASS, QUIT 'EXOTICISING' IT.

Sociah T Azzahole (blueski), Tuesday, 7 June 2005 11:51 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"a more up-to-date list: U2, Radiohead, Kraftwerk, Brian Eno and the Icelandic droners Sigur Ros"

now that 'back to the future' reference makes sense!

N_RQ, Tuesday, 7 June 2005 11:53 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

and a more up-to-date list: U2, Radiohead, Kraftwerk, Brian Eno and the Icelandic droners Sigur Ros

yeh, woah! they're light years ahead of their time!

jesus.

shit, x-post.

and chris, this is why people hate you: because you spend so much fucking time worrying about what people think of you. stop responding to every piece of criticism, stop changing your set list because of a mediocre review (how little self-confidence can this band have?) and ... ach, just stop.

grimly fiendish (grimlord), Tuesday, 7 June 2005 11:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

This gets really old after a while. I guess everyone has to hate something. I like the new record. The last one got really old really fast, due to overplay (mostly by my fucking neighbors!!). The first one is great, still great.

I just don't understand why everyone is so angry at Coldplay around here. If you don't like "middle-of-the-road" bands, there are much worse enemies out there to strike out at. And how many I-Hate-Coldplay threads and posts does it take before you realize, "Hrm, maybe we've made our point."

It's like this is metafilter, and Chris Martin is GW Bush (a more deserving target). Geesh.

The Grauzone (The Grauzone), Tuesday, 7 June 2005 12:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Geesh?

Vicious Cop Kills Gentle Fool (Dada), Tuesday, 7 June 2005 12:27 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"a more up-to-date list: U2, Radiohead, Kraftwerk, Brian Eno and the Icelandic droners Sigur Ros. Much of the latter list is evident on “X & Y,” which often has a chilly, 1980s-inspired sound."

---Ok first what the fuck doesn't? Second THAT'S the uptodate list that inspired an 80s-sounding record? Can this guy fucking read? I guess tho liking shit that's 20 yrs old is kinda uptodate for a "rock band" right now. I quite like Coldplay, too. As it goes.

A Viking of Some Note (Andrew Thames), Tuesday, 7 June 2005 12:29 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Geesh is my favorite Smashing Pumpkins album

Zack Richardson (teenagequiet), Tuesday, 7 June 2005 12:43 (thirteen years ago) Permalink


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