Saturday, November 3, 2007

Cool Music to Play for Company - Coldplay and the Chills

Friends are coming over for dinner, and you're wondering what music you should put on. The same old crap yet again? I don’t think so. Try these instead:

 A Rush Of Blood To The Head
You have to hand it to these guys. They are right up there with emo (the genre, not the comedian) when it comes to the male sensitivity sweepstakes. And while I’m not crazy about their third album, and have only heard a little of their first, this one - their second- is quite good. Kind of like a U2, but more emphasis on the melo than on the drama.
Let’s skip over “Clocks”. You know the song – the one with the pretty piano. You’ve heard it. You like it. Let’s move on.
There’s the other one that’s slower – “The Scientist” - which you may have heard, too. Not bad.
My biggest problem with this record is that their lyrics get a little sappy. Chris Martin likes to sing about women saving him, and I’m sure he knows the ladies just eat that stuff up. Yet, I have to admit, these lyrics are attached to two of my favorite songs here – “Warning Sign” and “Amsterdam”. So basically they fake sincerity real well.
And they’re good at throwing in unexpected chords or textures that add more depth to a song. On their third record, “X&Y”, Chris Martin spends too much time singing way up there in a higher register (I guess this time the woman saved him by grabbing him by the balls.) and his voice isn’t strong enough for that. On “A Rush…”, his singing is in the middle range, simply filling in the spaces left by the other instruments, where it’s much more effective.
Other highlights are “Daylight” and “God Put a Smile On Your Face”.
It’s one of those rare CDs that won’t irritate normal people, but also won’t bore those of us who prefer to not be anesthetized.
It’s a hard album to dislike. God knows, I tried.

Submarine Bells
If you’ve read any previous posts, you’ve noticed that I have the habit, while recommending an album, of trying to inoculate the recommendee against what might be annoying about it. Well, try as I might, I can’t think anything about “Submarine Bells” that falls into that category, except perhaps its preoccupation with mortality. Well, you’re probably a little more pre-occupied with that now, too. And besides, the Chills wrap it up in music that can’t fail to stir you.
They are a guitar based pop band that occasionally revs things up loud. But for the most part they occupy a more subdued middle ground that keeps things from getting too out of hand.
“Heavenly Pop Hit” is exactly that, except for the hit part. And it goes on from there. “Don’t Be - Memory”, tucked away on the second half, is the great one here, but I didn’t come to that conclusion until about the twentieth listen. There were too many other songs that came close. And besides, the wife disagrees – her vote is for “Singing in My Sleep”. It’s hard to argue with her (in general).
The Chills hail out of New Zealand, which experienced a bit of a pop renaissance the late 80s. They released several records before ”Submarine Bells”, and only managed one more afterwards before breaking up.
It's a great “lost” (that is, if anything is ever lost anymore in this digital age) album of the 90s.
This is the music from which great memories are made.

Now playing: Coldplay - Warning Sign
via FoxyTunes

Now playing: The Chills - Tied Up in Chain
via FoxyTunes

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jaybee: Thank you for cool music to play for company. I've been out of the loop on both the am and fm dial and need the help!