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Coldplay

X&Y (Capitol)

In a span of five years, Chris Martin has gone from being an irritating bloke mewling about yellow stars to his current role as movie-star boinker and fruity-name bestower. Inside the music business, he's also seen as the man most likely to resuscitate the industry, and X&Y, the latest from the Coldplayers, offers the breath of life.

Songs like "Square One" and "Speed of Sound" start small, but they quickly grow to enormous size, thanks to fully engorged production and anthemic choruses that embrace melodramatic gestures beloved by the masses. Even the melody of Kraftwerk's ironically distanced "Computer Love" is transformed into arena fare via the rousing "Talk," and while the title cut initially recalls the wimpiness of old, it eventually builds to a crescendo designed to inspire fans by the millions to sway in the light of their glowing cell phones.

At times, Coldplay's populist gestures feel overly blatant, but there's no denying their effectiveness. Celebrity watchers who know Martin only as Mr. Paltrow, Apple's daddy, will have to adjust their thinking. He may not be yellow, but his star is on the rise.

 
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