Friday, July 18, 2008

Radiohead vs. Coldplay

This post is an extension of a conversation I had with some friends at the beach on Thursday. The question: Who's better, Radiohead or Coldplay? As a huge fan of both groups, I will now endeavor to compare their music, lyrics, and commercial success. Enjoy!

1. Success
In a span of eight years, Coldplay has achieved worldwide fame and amassed millions of record sales. Their meteoric rise has been unusual, a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster music industry. Their four albums, Parachutes, A Rush of Blood to the Head, X&Y, and Viva la Vida, have sold a combined 30 million copies. Songs like Clocks, Viva la Vida, Fix you, Yellow, and The Scientist have become mainstream radio staples. On the other hand, Radiohead's seven studio albums (Pablo Honey, The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A, Amnesiac, Hail to the Thief, and In Rainbows) have sold an estimated 23 million copies worldwide. Advantage: Coldplay

2. Lyrics:
Chris Martin's lyrics tend to be somewhat misty and unclear. Coldplay songs tend to focus on love, with an occasional venture into tales of death and other somewhat ambiguous territory. Martin is not the strongest writer, but he does have a knack for creating a catchy, memorable lyric that sticks with the listener. And almost all Coldplay songs have no objectionable material in them, making them into a bit of an anomaly in the modern music industry. Thom Yorke of Radiohead is obviously a stronger writer, but listeners may be put off by the dark undertones of most Radiohead songs. Themes vary wildly, but focus on songs of inner loneliness and pain. Additionally, Yorke occasionally uses strong profanity in his songs (i.e. A Wolf at the Door, Creep, and Myxomatosis). Advantage: Coldplay

3. Music
Coldplay's catchy but predictable soft alt-rock has won the hearts of millions of fans the world over, but also earned the undying hatred of almost as many critics. After the release of X&Y, the New York Times labeled Coldplay as " the most insufferable band of the decade". Coldplay earns heavy rotation on my iPod, and I would consider myself a huge fan of them. But compared to Radiohead, their music pales drastically. In my opinion, Radiohead far outshines Coldplay and nearly every other band on the planet. Their eclectic mix of styles ensures that each song will never grow old, that there will always be something new to hear the next time around. The members of Radiohead are brilliant, brilliant musicians, and they create songs that push the boundaries of the alt-rock genre into new and unexplored territory. Most music critics have nothing but praise to give this band, making them one of the most critically successful groups of all time. Advantage: Radiohead

So who's better? That's for you to decide. In my opinion, it's Radiohead, hands down (although I do have concerns about some of the song's content). But I know people who would beg to differ. What do you think? Leave a comment and tell us!