Tuesday, June 15, 2004


The English have a reputation for being cold and emotionless. But if one considers all the celebrated pop culture representatives from the UK, you’ll discover quite the opposite. The English are actually impossibly sappy. Actors like Hugh Grant and Rupert Everett are all wimp, all the time. Best selling authors like Helen Fielding and Nick Hornby are renowned for their stories with characters bearing their insecurities and constantly harping on their emotional instabilities. Perhaps, I suggest, the Brits are too in touch with themselves.

And truthfully, their music is no different. Coldplay, the Paltrowed foursome currently crowned as “the biggest band in the world,” don’t curse, don’t drink and don’t smoke. Moreover, they sing lyrics like “look at the stars/see how they shine for you.” And considering Chris Martin, lead singer and songwriter of the band, named his child Apple…well, nowadays, they’re not looking any tougher.

If you thought Coldplay was an exception, here are two bands that make a Dr. Phil episode look positively heartless:

- Keane, a Brixton threesome consisting of drums, bass and piano, has no guitarist. They don’t “crank it to 11.” They don’t have any three-minute solos. And they certainly don’t “rawk out.” But they do have ten sublimely hypersensitive songs about sympathy, sunshine, and, you know, love. Using Coldplay’s “The Scientist” and Ewan McGregor’s performance in Moulin Rouge as their blueprint, Keane’s debut is strong enough for a man but still made for a woman. Those who tend to eye-roll at earnestness should proceed with caution.

- Hailing from Northern Ireland, charming rockers Snow Patrol insert a bit more testosterone into their cup of earnest tea. With a driving rhythm section and pulsing guitar, The Final Straw is their third album and strongest to date. In fact, Universal Records is betting that Patrol’s first single, “Run,” will be this summer’s “Yellow.” And that’s a pretty safe bet considering the soaring, goose bump-inducing chorus—“light up/light up/as if you have a choice/even if you cannot hear my voice/I’ll be right besides you, dear.” This is the Straw that will break the cynical back


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