Is Jon Pareles warming to Coldplay?

OMG it's jon pareles' fave singer.jpgThat might well be a trick question, because based on the NYT music critic’s June 2005 invective against the band he certainly couldn’t have gone the other way. Still, Fishbowl noticed a definite improvement in his attitude in the past six months, based on today’s analysis of the past year in music (John thinks 2005 was “a year for unheroic, unambitious pop.” Also, Black Eyed Peas, where is the love?).

We totally disagreeed with his facile, unsupported assertion that musicians had reason to be inspired by important questions in the 2004 election year but not in the prettytumultuousbyanyone’saccount aftermath, but that’s beside the point. Consider his original take on Coldplay’s calculated, heartless, manufactured sound:

…[they] have mastered all the mechanics of pop songwriting, from the instrumental hook that announces nearly every song they’ve recorded to the reassurance of a chorus to the revitalizing contrast of a bridge. …Coldplay is meticulously unified, and its songs have been rigorously cleared of anything that distracts from the musical drama…

Now, compare and contrast with this gushing, ringing endorsement:

Some of 2005’s blockbusters were knockoffs that traded expansive thoughts for petty ones. Coldplay, the English band that’s openly eager to become “the next U2,” came up with more of its grand, chiming, would-be anthems, only to ruin them with lyrics unworthy of the music’s splendors. Like a cheesy self-help guru, Coldplay inflates listeners’ vague fears and insecurities, then offers itself as a panacea: “I will fix you,” Chris Martin vowed.

I know, that doesn’t sound like love. And he still thinks Chris Martin is a wanker. But look! He said the music had splendors! See, I told you: warming.

Pop Comfort Over Ambition [NYT]
The Case Against Coldplay [NYT]
Letter: What Coldplay Does Right [NYT]

Related:
Gwyneth to Pareles: I Will End You [Style.com]