If you’re a Coldplay fan, you are probably aware that there are 264 hours (give or take a few) until X&Y, the band’s third album, hits stores on June 7. You might even be counting those hours — because Coldplay most certainly are.
“We’re in that period where it’s like we’re waiting for exam results — we’ve worked as hard as we could and now we have to wait for this period until things get marked,” frontman Chris Martin explained. “And so it’s probably the healthiest thing for us to go around and try to convince people that it’s good.”
“Even when you get exam results, there’s a sense of relief, even if you get a bad mark,” bassist Guy Berryman added. “I mean, it’s been so long in the making, and it’s been such an emotional ride, with many, many hours spent in the studio. So it’s nice that it’s finally coming out.”
And Berryman’s not kidding about the “many, many hours” that went into the album. In fact, the final version of X&Y is actually the third version of the record the band made … and it’s absolutely nothing like the record they started making last year (see “Coldplay Album Preview: X&Y A Complex Stadium-Rocker” ).
“We set out to push ourselves forward in every direction — and we ended up with an album that sounded like we’d gone backwards rather than forwards,” Berryman said. “So we had to step it up a few notches and work hard at it to get it right.”
The record was initially scheduled to hit shelves last year, but when Coldplay weren’t happy with the progress they had made, the tunes were scrapped, and that date was pushed to January of this year. But as 2005 approached, the bandmembers were hoping for — they called it a “flat,” “passionless” recording — and the tunes were once again ditched. As January came and went, the band knew it had to knuckle down and finish off X&Y — but as expectations for the record grew larger, completing it became tougher and tougher.
“We were thinking too much about the fact that it was going to get such a big release, and that we’re going to have to tour it and do all these interviews,” Martin said. “And we were getting a bit intimidated by that.”
But the light bulb finally went off with a song titled, fittingly enough, “Square One.”
“The song ’Square One’ is exactly that. It’s a call to arms for the four of us. A plea to each of us not to be intimidated by anything or anyone else,” he said. “When we finished that song, it felt very much like we could do our own record, and we didn’t have to think of anyone else’s demands.”
Inspired by the tune, they buckled down and ran through the rest of X&Y in about a month. And now, as the hours tick down … is there anything the band would change about the record?
Actually, just about everything.
“We kept [adding] finishing [touches to] the record until it was way too late. That’s why we don’t listen to it at the moment, because we’d just find something to go back and change,” Martin said. “That’s the case with everything we do. We’re just last-minute sort of people.”