Coldplay, Parachutes (2000)

With Radiohead about to go head to head in the charts with its Mighty Clone Army, it's an opportune moment to revisit one of its most prominent clones of recent times, Coldplay. Coldplay's Parachutes (or, as it's soon to be retitled, Triple J's Hottest 100 Volume 8) was scathingly reviewed by I Hate Music with the one-liner 'cf. Muse' (and Muse with 'cf. Radiohead'), but that's not entirely fair; she left out Travis.

It's clearly a problem for Coldplay, and for those who didn't get around to buying their smash-hit debut album until May 2001 (ahem). Familiarity breeds contempt, after all, and not only will the late-comer realise that he or she has heard the first five tracks sixty-eight times on Super Request, but that he or she has heard passable substitutes five hundred and ninety-five times on The Bends.

It isn't entirely fair to accuse Coldplay, Muse and Travis of shamelessly ripping off Radiohead. They've also ripped off Jeff Buckley. And, as Travis reveals in the b-side cover version on its new single, Queen.

But. But. Does this matter? How many bands have ripped off the Beatles? How many ripped them off while they were still recording? The number is as limitless as the grains of sand on a modestly-sized beach. Ripping off is not in itself a musical crime (as long as the Fraunhofer algorithm isn't involved), and the more members of the Mighty Radiohead Clone Army there are, the happier I'll be.

And I'm perfectly happy to spend a quiet hour with Parachutes (or, as it's soon to be retitled, Radiohead's MTV Unplugged). There's nothing that speaks to teen angst better than slow guitars and falsettos. Unfortunately, I'm fourteen years too late to be experiencing teen angst, but hey, it's been a tough year.

Coldplay have done us all a great favour, too, by co-opting a new colour for depression songs, which formerly had to make do with boring ol' blue. It's about time yellow lost its sunny feel-good connotations.

Don't take my flippant comments too seriously: this is a good album (although the thought of it inspiring a Coldplay Clone Army gives one pause; surely the telomeres of the next generation will be dangerously short?). And with Radiohead exploring strange new places these days, what's wrong with other bands squatting in the rooms they've left behind? Travis and Coldplay strumming guitars in the lounge room after dinner, Muse in the kitchen screaming 'Plug In Baby': sounds like a good share-house to me.


First published in Records Ad Nauseam, 31 May 2001.
This page: 31 May 2001.

©2001 Rory Ewins