26 Jul, 2008 Coldplay v Cloud Play
As I have previously said, I prefer not to listen to much music during the period when we are actively creating our own. The reason being that listening to the finished and often already successful works of others somehow manages to make me far to self conscious with regards to our still yet embryonic ideas.
Nevertheless like so many others I was itching to hear the new Coldplay album – complete with goofy title – that I simply could not resist, and for some obvious reasons.
The first being that I really do admire them. Very few bands have made four consecutively great records after all. Although that said there could be something in the notion put forward by a respected girl friend of mine who insinuated that Coldplay’s one failing was that they lacked ‘heat’. When I pushed for her to describe what ‘heat’ was in the context of rock music, she said it was plain old ‘sex appeal’ in another guise, and that it was a requirement for all truly great bands and any real star.
Thinking that she may have been on to something I then asked her out of curiosity if REM had ‘heat’ in that case? ‘Certainly not she flashed back!’. Uh…how about Franz Ferdinand or even the genius that is Arcade Fire? ‘You must be joking on both accounts’ she snorted. How about Dylan? ‘By the truckload’ she grinned!’ I think I got the picture but beyond that I was understandably too scared to enquire about the likelihood of Simple Minds delivering in the ‘heat’ department. (What does she know anyway?)
Continuing. The second reason why I was so curious to listen to ‘La Vida Whatever’ was that Brian Eno is involved in the production of the majority of the tracks. I am an unashamedly huge fan of Eno’s and have been so ever since the early days of Roxy Music. One of my few regrets over the years of Simple Minds is that we never had the opportunity to work with Eno, leaving me a tad jealous of all of those who have. Sad, huh? But it is the truth. On that I am also reading a great new book on the life of Eno titled On Some Faraway Beach, it is almost as good as his music.
Anyway. The third and final reason being that I met the band a few months back when they came to Sicily in order to shoot a video clip for the first single ‘Violet Hill’. Spending a few days at Villa Angela in Taormina, they seemed to be still humbled by their increasingly elevated position and for me that is always an attractive thing. I liked them and truly wished them well with the challenges that their new release would bring. I hoped that the record would deliver and that they would reap the same rewards brought by their previous titles.
And boy did they come up trumps! The album has been No1 for weeks now, and that success has been repeated seemingly on every planet, star, and rock in the galaxy! More importantly for me however is that fact that I love listening to it! As I have every day this week during my morning hike up the hills surrounding Mount Etna – the very same peak on which they choose to set the video in fact. In that ancient and mysterious landscape the music sits perfectly. And especially so when I lay on my back on the stone dyke wall and gaze up to the fast moving white clouds that seem within touching distance from my fingertips. It is pretty high up after all!
Coldplay becomes Cloud play in an instant, and all else is forgotten!