Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Coldplay Sincerity Watch 2005
Hua Hsu at Slate:

"But there is something suspicious about overdramatizing the terms of those emotions... It's strange for a man as morally outspoken and well-meaning as Martin to defer to such generically pop instincts—to retreat to the ambiguous power of crying "Aaahhh." But it's almost stranger for him to offer a collection of songs infected with the same low spirits as 2000. The State of Coldplay has never been stronger and Martin, with his celebrity wife and new child, has cobbled together a pretty good life. If it's not the sadness of worldly affairs that gnaw at the aching heart of Coldplay's songs—and the lyrics suggest not—it can't possibly be his own life, either. Maybe it's those bastard shareholders. Worse yet: Maybe it's nothing at all."

What's that now? Three major critics to raise this point. As apparently empty an issue as this apparently is, it's apparently proving quite popular.

(Over at Metacritic, X&Y is pulling in a rather mediocre 68.)

Update. No. We only said it was "apparently proving quite popular." Really. And that's kind of our entire point.

To be honest, we're not interested in debating the Science of Proper Criticism. We simply think it relevant that three reasonably intelligent Proper Critics have now said the same thing - "I used to be able to believe Chris Martin. Or at least buy what he was selling. Now, for whatever reason, not so much." It proves nothing. But maybe it suggests that, while stupid, silly and below us, the issue of sincerity might be worth considering. Then flogging of course. But, first, considering.

Yes, sure. Sincerity is a flawed criteria for the Proper Critic to place upon music. We actually agree. Wholeheartedly. But a few smart people people - including one who was previously praised for his Proper Criticism - have now listened to the record in question and come back sighting it as a major concern they had. That kinda makes us think that maybe perhaps this could possibly be something more than a "non starter."

("The artist's intention is irrelevant" is a great thing to say. But a really hard thing to actually follow in practice. We might argue - not that we are, but not that we won't someday - that there is worth in looking at ahhrrt from both perspectives. Just a thought. Flog away. We're making like Mike and walking away.)

Next week's topic: "When Will We Wake-Up And Get Past The Ultimately Baseless Idea Of Love"
The Week After: "Your Mother."

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