Coldplay’s sixth studio album, Ghost Stories, comes out on May 19th. It is streaming on iTunes right now and after about six listens, it’s safe to say it might be my second or third favorite Coldplay album. But this blog isn’t about Ghost Stories. It’s about their third album, X&Y and how sharing music with someone you have feelings for is a risky move.
If I had kids, my first piece of advice when it came to relationships would be, “Don’t share your favorite songs with someone you’re just starting a relationship because if it falls apart, the music does too.”
X&Y was released in 2005, around the time I was in my first real relationship. I remember “Speed of Sound” premiering and thinking, “This song is how my heart feels!” I watched an episode of “The OC” with the woman I was dating just to hear a snippet of “Fix You” at the end. Then the album came out and I listened to it non-stop. I told her she should listen to it. I had it playing in the car on a CD (remember those?) I played it on my laptop. It was everywhere. It was our soundtrack.
Then, depending on which era Mark you asked, the relationship ended either terribly because she was selfish (2005 era Mark) or logically due to many reasons that were both our faults, a “conscious uncoupling” if you will (2014 era Mark with the assist from Gwyneth Paltrow.) After the breakup, every song was about her. I remember thinking, “I too will wait Til Kingdom Come!” Fuck that song. I didn’t want her to get “Swallowed In the Sea!” Well, that song is stupid. In fact, the one song I hated at the time, “The Hardest Part,” became my favorite from the album.
And that’s the danger with music. I still remember where I was when I heard The Darkness’ “I Believe In a Thing Called Love” (freshman year, dorm room with Alan, about 730am, getting ready for class, it playing on MTV.) So many songs, so many memories, forever intertwined.
I made this mistake again years later with Shout Loud Louds’ album “Our Ill Wills.” Now, that relationship ended fairly clean and didn’t destroy my soul too much, so after some time, I was able to listen to it without feeling like I needed to write terrible poetry about hearts and shit.
I remember when Hailey and I first started dating, I found it really hard to share music with her. I didn’t want to. It made me nervous. The first time I played her some Super Furry Animals, I thought, “Shit, I’ve loved them for almost a decade. If this ends, so does this 10+ year relationship.”
So that’s my advice to everyone: be careful with your music. Don’t give it away quickly. You might feel strongly about someone. You might think you love them. But wait until you know because when you lose that person, you lose those songs. And that’s “The Hardest Part” (OH SHIT YOU SEE ME TIE THIS INTO A COLDPLAY SONG FROM X&Y? WHAT “A MESSAGE” OH FUCK YEAH I DID IT AGAIN GIVE ME A BOOK DEAL NOW.)
So with Ghost Stories coming out, I decided to try X&Y again and see if years have changed my mind. And they haven’t. Not one bit. It feels terribly over-produced, like Coldplay is trying really hard to be the loudest, Coldplay-iest Coldplay they can. I really don’t like “Fix You,” which is probably one of their five biggest songs. “The Hardest Part” and “A Message” are the only songs I really like. Otherwise, it’s a terrible album.
Is it because of her or because my musical tastes have changed? I don’t know. Never will.
Great post, Mark! I feel the same way about books. I’ve stopped lending them out to guys I’m interested in. Not worth having to consciously uncouple from a favorite book or song or album.