80. Counting Crows – Hard Candy

Counting Crows - Hard Candy

80. Counting Crows – Hard Candy (2002)

1. Hard Candy
2. American Girls
3. Good Time
4. If I Could Give All My Love (Richard Manuel Is Dead)
5. Goodnight L.A.
6. Butterfly in Reverse
7. Miami
8. New Frontier
9. Carriage
10. Black and Blue
11. Why Should You Come When I Call?
12. Up All Night (Frankie Miller Goes to Hollywood)
13. Holiday in Spain
14. Big Yellow Taxi

Who is/are Counting Crows?

According to the verified Twitter page (@CountingCrows); “Letters from Adam: My Boyhood Among the Outlaws”.

Erm…

Why did you buy this album?

I can’t remember. I may have had an HMV voucher burning a hole in my wallet…

What’s it like?

I think it’s safe to say that Counting Crows have never reached the heights of their debut album ‘August and Everything After‘. Released nearly a decade later, this album is essentially more of the same, but much less engaging.

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

I barely notice this album now. I’ve heard it a few times for this write-up, and I still struggle to remember anything about it, so I wrote down my immediate thoughts after finishing a listen through and going through the next;

“What have they done to ‘Big Yellow Taxi‘? Thank goodness it’s not the version with Vanessa Carlton on.”

“Right, the album’s starting again. This opening track’s okay.”

“Sheryl Crow’s on this one*. Takes a while to get going though.”

“How did we get to track 6? I don’t remember 3, 4, and 5, but I’ve surely just heard them?”

“Is that it? Have I just listened to the whole album again without noticing?”

“‘Big Yellow Taxi‘! No! No! Bad, Counting Crows, bad! Leave Joni alone!”

Any stand-out tracks?

Well, hidden track ‘Big Yellow Taxi‘ certainly stood out, though not for any good reason…

American Girls‘ is better than expected, but is over just as it starts getting really good.

Rating out of 10?

4/10.

Next up: The Cranberries – Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?

*’American Girls‘. Far better than it has any right to be.

Advertisements

79. Counting Crows – August and Everything After

Counting Crows - August And Everything After

79. Counting Crows – August and Everything After (1993)

1. Round Here
2. Omaha
3. Mr. Jones
4. Perfect Blue Buildings
5. Anna Begins
6. Time and Time Again
7. Rain King
8. Sullivan Street
9. Ghost Train
10. Raining in Baltimore
11. A Murder of One

Who is/are Counting Crows?

“Counting Crows is an American rock band from Berkeley, California, formed in 1991.” Wikipedia, succinct as ever.

Why did you buy this album?

This album was purchased fairly recently, once I realised that, despite knowing it really well, and having heard it numerous times since it came out, I didn’t actually own a copy.

What’s it like?

It’s mostly jangly alt-rock, with catchy hooks and singable melodies. There are obvious influences from R.E.M. (yay!) and Van Morrison, though one particularly scathing contemporary review says the resemblance to the latter is a “weak imitation”.

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

I like this album a lot, though that may be more due to the familiarity of the tunes; you couldn’t switch on a radio or TV in early 1994 without hearing ‘Mr. Jones‘. There is some filler, however, and I doubt I’d be alone if I said ‘Perfect Blue Buildings‘ and ‘Ghost Train‘ are completely forgettable.

Any stand-out tracks?

The singles ‘Mr. Jones‘ and ‘Round Here‘ are obvious highlights, and I also really like ‘Time and Time Again‘ and ‘Rain King‘.

Rating out of 10?

7/10.

Next up: Counting Crows – Hard Candy

78. JP Cooper – Raised Under Grey Skies

JP Cooper - Raised Under Grey Skies

78. JP Cooper – Raised Under Grey Skies (2017)

1. We Were Raised Under Grey Skies
2. September Song
3. Good Friend
4. All This Love
5. The Only Reason
6. Passport Home
7. She’s on My Mind
8. Wait
9. Change
10. Closer
11. Beneath The Streetlights And The Moon
12. In The Silence
13. Momma’s Prayers (with Stormzy)
14. Masterpiece
15. Tidal Wave
16. Party
17. Lost Boy Dreaming
18. Passport Home (Piano Version)
19. September Song (Guitar Version)
20. Perfect Strangers (Band Version)

Who is/are JP Cooper?

According to Wikipedia, JP Cooper “is an English singer and songwriter.”

Succinct.

Why did you buy this album?

I didn’t buy this one. My wife brought this home from work one day, having been sent one as a promo copy.

What’s it like?

It’s chart-friendly pop and soul, with gospel and acoustic influences. It’s very well produced, with a nice mix of material.

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

It’s okay, but not really to my taste. I can appreciate it for what it is, and it’s a well-written, well-performed, and well-produced piece of work, with JP’s voice being particularly of note.

Any stand-out tracks?

Opener ‘We Were Raised Under Grey Skies‘ has grabbed my attention each time it’s appeared, as has the Stormzy-featuring ‘Momma’s Prayers‘.

Rating out of 10?

6/10.

Next up: Counting Crows – August And Everything After

77. Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto

Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto

77. Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto (2011)

1. Mylo Xyloto
2. Hurts Like Heaven
3. Paradise
4. Charlie Brown
5. Us Against the World
6. M.M.I.X.
7. Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall
8. Major Minus
9. U.F.O.
10. Princess of China
11. Up in Flames
12. A Hopeful Transmission
13. Don’t Let It Break Your Heart
14. Up with the Birds

Who is/are Coldplay?

In the era of home/mobile assistants, I thought I’d ask Microsoft’s Cortana this question. It responded “Coldplay are a British rock band formed in 1996 by lead vocalist and keyboardist Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland at University College London.”

If this looks familiar, it is…

Why did you buy this album?

This is the first of our Coldplay albums that I didn’t buy for myself. Instead, this was on my wife’s Amazon wishlist, and bought for her either as part of a birthday present, or as a stocking filler.

Based on the singles released from it, I doubt I’d have bought it otherwise…

What’s it like?

Overall, it sounds like an overproduced electronic mess, with little or no coherence. Which is odd, because according to the Wikipedia, “‘Mylo Xyloto‘ is a concept album and a thematic rock opera. The album tells the story of a war against sound and colour by a supremacist government, set in the world of Silencia, an Orwellian society.” I urge you to read the rest here…

It’s essentially the plot of the Queen juxebox musical ‘We Will Rock You‘, which itself is essentially a variation of Rush’s ‘2112‘ concept album, both of which have better music than this Coldplay album.

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

I didn’t like the album first time round, and don’t particularly like it now. Everything that interested me about the previous two albums has gone, to be replaced with awful sounding electronics, that “Para, Para, Paradise” lyric*, and Rihanna…

Any stand-out tracks?

Not for any good reasons. ‘Major Minus‘ sticks out for sounding like Kasabian** covering U2 and being exactly as dreadful as that description sounds.

Elsewhere, ‘Paradise‘ stands out for the awful, awful, awful chorus, and ‘Princess of China‘ for being a) a “duet” with Rihanna***, and b) the most generic pop garbage Coldplay have ever spewed forth.

Rating out of 10?

2/10. Bonus point for using Brian Eno again.

Next up: JP Cooper – Raised Under Grey Skies

*Quite possibly one of the most irritating and infuriating choruses I have ever heard.

**Shudder.

***Becoming the first of only two Rihanna songs I have ever (consciously) heard, the other being ‘Sledgehammer‘ from ‘Star Trek Beyond‘.

76. Coldplay – Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends

Coldplay - Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends

76. Coldplay – Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008)

1. Life in Technicolor
2. Cemeteries of London
3. Lost!
4. 42
5. Lovers in Japan / Reign of Love
6. Yes (includes hidden song Chinese Sleep Chant)
7. Viva la Vida
8. Violet Hill
9. Strawberry Swing
10. Death and All His Friends

Who is/are Coldplay?

Okay Google, who are Coldplay?

“Rock band”.

Thanks, Google. *sighs*

Why did you buy this album?

I don’t know. I have wracked* my brain trying to remember, and for the life of me can’t. I assume it was a good idea at the time.

Perhaps it was part of a 3-for-£xx offer…

What’s it like?

This album is a change of style for Coldplay (thankfully). Apparently, producer Brian Eno wanted a different sound for each track, and the band complied. There are world music influences, most noticeably on ‘Lost!‘ and ‘Strawberry Swing‘, along with more lush orchestration, and singer Chris Martin’s voice is allowed to drop to a lower register than previously heard. Thank goodness…

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

This album surprised me this time round, as I liked it more than I remembered.

The things that annoy me about Coldplay in general – Chris Martin’s falsetto, a reliance on “hidden” tracks, and a failure to capitalise on experimentation in their music – are still here though. The tracks that do move away from this, such as ‘Life in Technicolor‘ and ‘Yes‘, are an improvement, but are brief flashes of what could have been.

Any stand-out tracks?

Life in Technicolor‘ immediately stands out, being both instrumental and good. Sadly, the rest of the album is downhill from there.

There are moments throughout the rest of the album that could be brilliant, notably the aforementioned ‘Yes‘, ‘Violet Hill‘, and the 2-4-1 track ‘Lovers in Japan / Reign of Love‘, but the different ideas just don’t carry on for long enough.

Rating out of 10?

6/10.

Next up: Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto

*racked?

75. Coldplay – X&Y

Coldplay - X&Y

75. Coldplay – X&Y (2005)

1. Square One
2. What If
3. White Shadows
4. Fix You
5. Talk
6. X&Y
7. Speed of Sound
8. A Message
9. Low
10. The Hardest Part
11. Swallowed in the Sea
12. Twisted Logic
13. Til Kingdom Come (hidden track)

Who is/are Coldplay?

Okay Facebook, please let people display more than “Musician/Band” please…

Why did you buy this album?

After the, shall we say, lacklustre ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head‘, I was prepared to give Coldplay another chance on the basis of lead single ‘Speed of Sound‘, which I didn’t hate, and positive reviews from the likes of Q, who gave it 5 stars.

I duly ordered this album, and it became the last CD I recorded onto cassette to listen to in the car…

What’s it like?

This is a more electronic album than the previous two, ramping their sound up from indie-band-made-good to potential stadium fillers. The opening moments of first track ‘Square One‘ even remind me of a Yes track, which is no bad thing.

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

I don’t like this quite as much as I first did, though I do prefer it to both ‘Parachutes‘ and ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head‘. However, it has dawned on me during listening to this album that I really, really don’t like Chris Martin’s voice…

Any stand-out tracks?

Talk‘ has a great hook, though that’s principally because it was lifted from Kraftwerk’s far superior ‘Computer Love‘. ‘Twisted Logic‘ and ‘Square One‘ are probably my favourites, at least based on recent listening.

Fix You‘ also gets a notable mention as a song that was fantastic at first, but has since been killed by overexposure*.

Rating out of 10?

6/10.

Next up: Coldplay – Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends

*See also elbow’s ‘One Day Like This‘, AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black‘, and, sadly, Barenaked Ladies’ ‘One Week‘. (Smash Mouth’s ‘All Star‘ has also been killed by overexposure, but that at least is well deserved.)

74. Coldplay – A Rush Of Blood To The Head

Coldplay - A Rush Of Blood To The Head

74. Coldplay – A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002)

1. Politik
2. In My Place
3. God Put a Smile upon Your Face
4. The Scientist
5. Clocks
6. Daylight
7. Green Eyes
8. Warning Sign
9. A Whisper
10. A Rush of Blood to the Head
11. Amsterdam

Who is/are Coldplay?

According to Twitter (@coldplay oddly enough); ‘Kaleidoscope EP out now on CD/vinyl/download/stream – get it from https://parlopho.ne/KaleidoscopeEP #AHFODtour runs through 2017.’

Ohhhkay then…

Why did you buy this album?

It seemed like a good idea at the time…

In 2002, I had just graduated, and was working full time in a music shop in Manchester city centre. As such, I had money to spend, some of which went on Q magazine, who raved about the new Coldplay album in their 4 star review. I, less critical then than I am now, took Q’s review to be a good thing, and followed their advice. It would be the last time…

What’s it like?

Where ‘Parachutes‘ saw Coldplay aiming for Radiohead’s old territory (the latter having moved on to ‘Kid A‘ electronica at that time), ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head‘ sees them aiming their sights on U2’s stadium rock crown. The sound of ‘Parachutes‘ is extended and amplified, with a wider musical range throughout. Allegedly.

Although it didn’t get the Mercury nod, ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head‘ still won best album awards from Q, NME, and the BRITs, and another Grammy.

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

At the time, I was disappointed by this album, and 15 years later, I still am. There’s very little on it to get excited about, and even the then ubiquitous singles fade from memory as soon as they’ve been heard.

Any stand-out tracks?

No. I can’t remember any of them immediately after listening, and I’ve spent the best part of a week trying.

Rating out of 10?

3/10.

Next up: Coldplay – X&Y