Coldplay Review Royale: Ghost Stories

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Wes’ Words

There are few media punching bags bigger than Coldplay. Yes, you have your Nickelbacks, Justin Biebers, and Shia Lebeoufs, but no one is less deserving of all the ragging they get than Coldplay. Sure they aren’t exactly hip and have dipped since their first few albums, but I would argue their biggest crime is being too earnest and wearing their heart on their sleeves. Sure Chris Martin is a bit of a cheeseball, but he has written some great songs and released at least three worthwhile albums with the band. Their latest, Ghost Stories, is the UK band taking a break (for the most part) from their arena rock ways in favor of a quieter, more melancholic sound. At only nine tracks, Coldplay show a welcome amount of restraint, even if they only hit on half the tracks.
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NME: British Homerism or Different Tastes?

NME

I was originally going to piggy-back on Todd’s post from a couple weeks back dealing with premature “Best of 2012” lists for my post today.  The premise was not going to be so much ripping on the websites (Paste, NME, etc.) that released premature lists, but to try to identify current musical trends, and to some degree the sites’ biases and inclinations.  As with many of my ideas for posts, they start in one place and end up somewhere completely different, or more focused on a particular topic.

When looking at NME’s (which stands for New Musical Express for the uninitiated) list, what struck me more than anything was the amount of British artists in the Top 20 that I was unfamiliar with.  British artists Alt-J, Jake Bugg, The Maccabees, The Cribs, Toy, and Tribes all appeared in the Top 20.  What I decided to do was investigate whether some of these artists being in the Top 20 is a result of British homerism (as NME is a British publication), or whether American sites which I follow more closely are failing to keep tabs on lower-profile British acts.
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The Smashing Pumpkins Review: Oceania

The Smashing Pumpkins

Oceania

new Smashing Pumpkins album cover

One confession before I jump into this review: I have pretty much tuned out to anything Billy Corgan has done since he left the Smashing Pumpkins to release Mary Star of the Sea, with his new band at the time, Zwan. Why is this? Partially, it’s because the Zwan project lacked the punch and ingenuity of the Pumpkins, but also, everything I heard from Corgan through his music and through his words made me want to keep away. From all the anecdotes I have heard about the guy, it sounds like he is one of the more unlikable people on the planet. From all of the other original Smashing Pumpkins all hating him at this point, to relaunching the band with only one of the other original members, Jimmy Chamberlain, for what was pretty strictly a cash grab with the 2007 release of Zeitgeist, to various personal and critic anecdotes I have heard about his despicability in person, I have wanted little to do with the guy’s music.
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Top Ten Thursday: Conception

With the great disappointment of Mylo Xyloto (Coldplays new concept album that dropped earlier this week) still being fresh in our heads, we at LxL wanted to remind the world that there are indeed good concept albums out there. Apologies to Austin, who got particularly screwed in this weeks voting, but nonetheless, here is what we came up with:
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Coldplay Review Royale: Mylo Xyloto

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Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto

I can’t say that I’ve been completely “in” on Coldplay since the release of X & Y, and it is hard for me to put a finger on exactly why I stopped listening to them.  I didn’t really enjoy X & Y all that much, but one mediocre album rarely dissuades me from completely removing a band from my musical consciousness.  Never was there a moment where I said to myself “Screw Coldplay”, “They’re sellouts”, or “Chris Martin should strap himself to a bomb, go on stage with U2, and flip the switch”.  I think what happened was, even without paying particularly close attention to Coldplay post-X & Y, I knew that they had begun fully transitioning into “arena-rock band” mode, while focusing less on the sparse piano and simple guitar ballads that won my affection to begin with.

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