Every Band Should Have Their Own LeftRightLeftRightLeft

I totally recognize that Coldplay is pretty much the “rock” band for soccer moms, and I also recognize that admitting to liking Coldplay (unless you’re a soccer mom) is terminally lame.  Hell, it’s so lame that if you admit to liking Coldplay while in Williamsburg, a swarm of hipsters surrounds you and silently judges you as if you were responsible for bringing the swine flu to an elementary school.

Whatevs, though.  I think they’re great.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of their albums since I first bought Parachutes, and Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends was without a doubt one of my favorite albums of last year.  I’ve seen them live twice, and they have a sincere desire to make sure you’re having as much fun as they are when they’re performing.  There’s no posturing to be cool or edgy; it’s just unabashed love, and I for one appreciate that.

Also, there’s this:

coldplay leftrightleftrightleft

“What the hell is LeftRightLeftRightLeft?” you ask?  Well, according to Coldplay.com, it’s the new live album they’re giving away to all concert goers on this (presumably) last leg of their tour.  Oh, and also anyone that can’t make it to a show who instead downloads it from their website.  Says their site:

Good morning. We’re pleased to announce that Coldplay will be giving away a live CD, LeftRightLeftRightLeft, at every remaining live show in 2009 (apart from festival shows). Starting with the band’s first North American tour date, at West Palm Beach in Florida on May 15th, every fan attending a show will be given a free copy of the nine-track CD, which won’t be available elsewhere. Also on May 15th, LeftRightLeftRightLeft will be made available as a free download right here at Coldplay.com, for all fans (and for the same time period). 

According to the band, the give-away is meant as a recession-busting mark of gratitude to everyone who’s supported them: “Playing live is what we love. This album is a thank you to our fans – the people who give us a reason to do it and make it happen.”

Hell yes, Coldplay.  Yet another reason for me to love you long time.

Seriously, though, you don’t have to be a soccer mom to appreciate free music.  The fact that Coldplay is giving away an album, both physical copies and digital ones online, is pretty stupendous/genius/the bestest.  Admittedly these are live tracks, so recording off the soundboard of a show that they’re already doing isn’t exactly what would qualify as a challenge.  Still, there’s the cost of mixing to take into account, and let’s not forget the cost of pressing thousands upon thousands of CDs.  Even if this is a cost that’s being absorbed by their record label (which seems unlikely if these rumors of them leaving EMI are true), it’s nevertheless a generous gesture.  Pocket change to them, perhaps, but all the same generous.

And the fact that they then plan to post it online for anybody who stumbles upon their site to take is quite bold.  Crikey, they’re practically becoming Radiohead with this dirty Marxist talk of making music available at any price (or, in this case, the best price: free) the listener should choose!

While I’m well aware of the fact that most musicians don’t have the wherewithal to make so bold of a gesture as to hand out a free CD of music, I do, however hope that Coldplay’s move inspires a few of the bigger artists out there (I’m not pointing fingers, but if I were to, my fingers would go straight to a band that’s name rhymes with Shmootoo) to follow suit.

Perhaps it’s just me, but one of life’s great pleasures is hearing the music you love live.  It’s always a great delight, and–at best–it’s a truly transcendental experience; however, no matter how effervescent the moment is, it’s nevertheless fleeting.  Time marches on, the once crystal clear memories fade into dull coal, and all we’re left with is a lingering sensation of how the moment felt.  Nostalgia can be a beautiful thing, but the moment is always better.

If LeftRighLeftRightLeft is any indication, Coldplay’s one of the few bands today aching to take you back to that moment as best as they can.  LeftRightLeftRightLeft is better than any tour shirt or poster because it’s not silent; it’s the song and the sound of the experience that made you feel alive.  After all, it’s the reason we listen.

Let’s just hope bands are listening to us.

One Response

  1. […] Death Cab or Wilco for becoming too “Mainstream” and love Coldplay even though, as Ben says, they’re the rock band for soccer moms. However, I think my largely uncritical, simple love of music gives me a refreshing perspective.  […]


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