13 Years Ago: Coldplay’s ‘Parachutes’ Album Released
Coldplay’s debut, ‘Parachutes,’ which turns 13 today, caught fire on both sides of the pond and has since been certified platinum in both the U.S. and U.K. (British fans ate it up quite a bit more than their yankee counterparts). For some reason, it also won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album two years after its release.
Anchored by one-word singles ‘Yellow’ and ‘Trouble’ (six out of the 10 tracks have single-word names), ‘Parachutes’ brought sensitive-guy pop — a staple of U.S. airwaves in the ’70s — back to the mainstream. And with his dishy looks and high pipes, Chris Martin secured a place in the heart of just about every of-age female radio listener on the planet. (What is it about a man stretching his voice beyond the normal range and sounding more feminine that’s so oddly sexy?) Another single, ‘Don’t Panic,’ was later re-released as the lead track on the wildly popular ‘Garden State’ soundtrack, earning ‘Parachutes’ even more attention.
Also of note was the sparse, acoustic instrumentation, which included Martin’s matter-of-fact piano playing (‘Trouble,’ ‘Everything’s Not Lost’) and the twinkling, octave-laced guitars of Jonny Buckland, which would come to define the band’s later sound. It was nothing super innovative or new, but ‘Parachutes’ was and is an enjoyable listen, front to back.
‘Parachutes’ is also an interesting study in the different needs of Transatlantic fans. British audiences chew up and spit out singles like pieces of bubblegum, road-testing them at football (i.e. soccer) stadiums and pubs, sometimes adding them to the national canon (see: ‘Yellow’ or Robbie Williams’ ‘Angels’). The American market is less socialist about its music, as audiences chase down single feelings or ballads and then drive them into the f—ing ground on radio (see: ‘Yellow’ or ‘Trouble’). Both ways work — and for that, Coldplay will forever be thankful.