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Coldplay create sparse, emotional soundscapes, dripping with melancholy. The London-based quartet is singer Chris Martin, guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman and drummer Will Champion. Their debut album, Parachutes, was released in late 2000 in the U.S., and they quickly became a sensation. The record went No. 1 in the U.K. charts and won Best Alternative Music Album at the 2002 Grammys. Marked by Martin's falsetto-happy vocals, songs like "Yellow" and "Shiver" employ stop/start dynamics that allow serene verses to build to a crescendo, centering on the well-trodden theme of love. Sophomore effort A Rush of Blood to the Head took home two Grammys and earned a spot on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list. Hits "Clocks" and "In My Place" were wistful and romantic, labeled by some as radio-friendly Radiohead. The group's third album, XandY, became the best-selling album of 2005, and "Speed of Sound" topped the year's charts worldwide. After conquering the charts and the Grammys, Coldplay shifted their focus from chart-topping anthems to a more experimental approach for their fourth album, Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends (which nevertheless topped charts upon its release). With ambient maestro Brian Eno co-producing, the 2008 album was an intriguing progression for the band, featuring a mix of global influences, classical strings, heavy piano and glistening bits of dreamy electronics.
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