With their debut major label single alone, the emotion-fortified Shiver, Coldplay prove they can shift between elated and crushed in a breath, as singer Chris Martin pours out music's oldest chestnut (unconditional yet unrequited love) with the shakiest of voices and a backdrop of epic guitars. For 10 tracks on Parachutes, he adds newfound meaning to the most tired and overused rock sentiments - love found, love lost, love unrequited - over acoustic guitars and emotionally fraught rock. and for once, all the cliches ring true because Chris Martin genuinely sounds like a man picking over the bones of his life, coming up with just as many reasons to be cheerful as seriously depressed. not that Parachutes is a depressing album - there's too much conviction to the guitars and hope in martin's words for that. Instead it's a beautifully tender balance that comes as close to perfection as anything that's come before it.
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