There is a line is the movie "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" where a couple meat-head friends are razzing each other over a game of Mortal Kombat, and one of them says "You know how I know you're gay? You like Coldplay." So, I guess I'm gay. I'll tell the wife.
I do indeed like Coldplay, and this album is why. It is their best by far, which is a shame as they're five deep, including an ill-conceived live album released after their second outing. (Too soon.) Still, I do enjoy the entire oeuvre, even if people want to call them a poor man's U2 via Radiohead circa The Bends. OK, well I called them that just now, but whatever.
Parachutes has soul, plain and simple. The soul of young musicians struggling, or at least not fattened by the sweet buffets of success. There is some desperation in the songs, and that not to make a marketable album, but a desperation to convey depth and emotion through song. There is less confidence, less bombast; and in the case of Coldplay, less proves to be more.
When I hear the breakout hit "Yellow", I am always reminded of the day I heard it on the radio as I was driving down the summer dusk-soaked 8 freeway, coming home from a cable installation job in Alpine. The window was rolled down, sleeves rolled up, and sweat was drying on my brow. The air was crisp and smelled of pine with a tinge of diesel. A full workday was behind me, the promise of rest ahead just beyond the drive. It was the kind of moment that causes me to reflect on all the good in my life, and even the bad that I've survived. Despite the simplicity of the tune, and the similarity it has to many modern hits, how can I not love it to this day?