There are just some albums you can’t leave alone. Those albums that are timeless, you can listen to in whatever mood. They are musically, lyrically and emotionally perfect. You want to share them with the world, let everyone realise you’ve been right all along, and that your favourite album is in fact the Greatest Album Of All Time. But what if this album that you cherish is so deeply embarrassing, so unacceptable, that you never tell anyone? Well this is your chance to let it all out. In this new feature for WestWorld, we have invited our contributors to bare all and tell us their most embarrassing album love.
When I decided to be the first person to stick my head above the parapet and disclose to the public my deepest darkest secret, there was no question about which album I should pick. I’ve loved some terrible albums in my 21 years on earth; The Grease Soundtrack, Bright Idea by Orson, Bob the Builder’s album. But none come close, both in terms of embarrassment felt and love felt, to Coldplay’s sophomore masterpiece A Rush of Blood to the Head.
Stop rolling your eyes and hear me out. You see, I don’t like Coldplay. I want to punch Chris Martin as much as the next man. They’re drab stadium rock for middle-aged accountants. But there’s just something about them on A Rush of Blood to the Head which is kinda great. The sorrow and heartbreak that Chris Martin cheaply peddles normally actually seems genuine, heartfelt. His usually whiny voice is soaring and delicate. The usually annoyingly grand and over the top production is replaced instead by a hollow emptiness. Yes the drums are huge enough to fill a stadium, but they’re playing to no one.
Let’s just look at the songs themselves. Opening with the light and dark contrast of ‘Politik’ you immediately feel the detachment that Martin feels. “Look at earth from outerspace” he mutters, a lonely balding astronaut before imploring you to “Open up your eyes”. Sorry to disagree with you Chris, but to be honest the best way to enjoy this album is to close your eyes, get rid of inhibition you have about Coldplay and just lose yourself in the swirling worlds the songs create.
The singles taken from the album are huge, chart-topping slabs of music genius. Don’t pretend you haven’t drunkenly welled up at The Scientist. And don’t pretend like you haven’t caught your self air pianoing along to clocks. These are great pop songs, wrapped in a layer of intimacy that, no matter how trite you think it is, genuinely pulls on the heartstrings.
I think the worst confession I have to make about the album is the fact I didn’t discover it when I was a child. Instead, I really got into it aged 17, at a time when I was developing my music taste and shunning everything in ‘the mainstream’. But for some reason, Coldplay’s emotional rollercoaster spoke to me more than teenage idols Jamie T, The Clash and Public Enemy combined. I learnt how to play all the songs on guitar, but never showed anyone. I learnt every single word, but never let anyone hear.
I don’t feel like I’m the only one though. In 2011 NME put the album in their 50 Darkest Albums Ever list. Even Jay-Z is a fan. Its greatness as an album should not be forgotten because of the huge douchebags Martin and Co have become. I mean seriously, what was the whole matching outfits thing with Viva La Vida?
Back to the album though, and there’s a serious discussion as to which track is best. Is it the festival/crying favourite ‘The Scientist’? Is it the twinkling closer ‘Amsterdam’? No, obviously it’s mega-ballad ‘Warning Sign’. If you don’t personally feel heartbroken after hearing Chris Martin belt out “And the truth is, I MISS YOU” the you have no heart to break. To put how much I love this song into context, I once got so wrapped up in the swirl of emotions, I knocked a glass of red wine clean across my room, breaking the glass and staining my carpet. Man, it really gets to me. From the naked feeling guitar, to the tender, falsetto at the end caving in and crawling “back into your open arms”, the song’s a masterpiece and criminally underrated.
You can laugh all you want at me. Heckle me. Throw rocks. I will stand by this album to the hilt.
By Christian Northwood