Review: LeftRightLeftRightLeft by Coldplay

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Open admission: I don’t really care for Coldplay.  That’s a careful selection of words – they aren’t a band to dislike, I just don’t particularly care about them.  Of course, they do have a few reasons to love them (see: “Clocks” and “The Scientist”), but I’ve otherwise considered them to be a mediocre Radiohead-cover band (see: “Speed of Sound”).

But then they did something a bit unexpected and released LeftRightLeftRightLeft for free.  I like free things, even if they’re mediocre.  Particularly, I like free music – this external hard drive has plenty of music I don’t always listen to, so why not add this?

I am here to bring glad tidings – this is good free music.  I’m not going to discuss the benefits or failings of the original recordings, but the quality of live music presented here is really excellent.  Layered sounds come through quite nicely, and Chris Martin’s voice never overpowers the instruments (and vice versa).

It’s very clear that Coldplay are excellent showmen, bringing quite a bit of energy to their performance.  It’s an interesting combo on this side of the headphones – there are big bold sounds (like U2), but presented in a personal way.  It’s like the band really cares about every note and word, yet manages to translate their feeling to the crowds.

The majesty of “Clocks” was particularly gripping to me.  I personally view the song as one of the best of this decade, offering musical cohesion and emotional fervor.  Live, the crowds are justifiably excited by the opening.  Suddenly, this special, individual song becomes global and powerful.  A song that jerks tears can also build momentum and bring forth clapping from the masses.  It’s pretty awesome.

The crowds of the recording are also an important note.  They’re never dropped entirely from the mix, but are kept generally low in most cases.  I think this is a good decision, allowing the music to speak without annoying whoops jumping in the way.

The quality of the individual songs can be argued, but that’s left for reviews of the individual albums.  What is in LeftRight is a great introduction to Coldplay and a very nice free album to add to your collection.  The score below isn’t a number (but so you know, the music would not get a 10).  Instead, it’s a clear reminder that free things are excellent, and we should be very thankful for this one.

RATING: GET IT NOW

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