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X&Y

X&Y Album Cover

X&Y is the third album by Coldplay, released in England on June 6, 2005 and in North America on June 7. Preceded by the successful single “Speed of Sound”, which peaked at #2 in the UK and #8 in the U.S., the album debuted at the top of the UK album chart, moving 464,471 units in its first week, a success which put X&Y second in overall first week sales. The album became Coldplay’s first U.S. chart-topper, selling 737,000 units in its first week of release. X&Y was the best-selling album worldwide in 2005, according to the IFPI; it shifted 8.3 million units during the year.

X&Y is influenced by European electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk, as well as 1970s electronica from the likes of David Bowie and Brian Eno. Coldplay received permission from Kraftwerk to use the main riff from “Computer Love” for the track “Talk”, while Eno played backing synthesizer on the track “Low”. The album’s final track, “‘Til Kingdom Come”, was originally written by the band to be recorded by Johnny Cash, but Cash passed away before he could record the song.

This album has been released with the Copy Control protection system in some regions.

  • 10 The Oracle on X&Y

Album details


According to lead singer Chris Martin, the title X&Y is based on the ups and downs of his everyday life. Martin says “My whole day is a mixture of optimism and pessimism in its most extreme forms. And that’s what X&Y is to me. It’s two sides. I like the fact they’re very strong letters, very clear.” He has also stated that he chose the name X&Y because in mathematics X and Y represent the unknown, and that most of the tracks on the album are about the unknown and life’s unanswerable questions.

Prior to the release, Zero Theory was one of the many widely rumoured titles to the album.

The album’s cryptic cover art was designed by Tappin Gofton (aka Mark Tappin and Simon Gofton), who created the cover for The Chemical Brothers’ latest release, Push the Button. The blocks are the Baudot code-encoding (ITA2, a 5-bit alphanumeric encoding used by telegraphs) of the title of the album, X&Y (although due to an error in the coding process, the cover code actually translates as “X96”); the colours are just for aesthetics and have no specific meaning (though Chris Martin sometimes wears coloured tape on his hands while on stage, as a reference to the album). The CD booklet contains the ITA2-encoded alphabet, presented with the X&Y colour motif. The final page of the booklet contains the slogan “Make Trade Fair”, using the same encoded alphabet.


Critical reaction


The album’s reviews were fairly warm upon release, but certain critics, specifically from Rolling Stone, Mojo, The New York Times and Pitchfork Media, consider it below par, given the high standard set by A Rush of Blood to the Head, X&Y’s 2002 predecessor. Coldplay has also received some criticism for the similarities between the lead single “Speed Of Sound” and the Grammy-winning “Clocks”. Others have noted the striking U2 similarities heard throughout the album.


Track listing

  • Chart position: –

Trivia


  • The album’s lead single, “Speed of Sound”, was beaten to the top spot on the UK Singles Chart by the novelty song “Axel F” by the Crazy Frog.

  • The album is dedicated to “BWP”, which stands for Bruce W. Paltrow, the late father of actress Gwyneth Paltrow, the wife of singer Chris Martin.

  • X&Y’s success in its first week put it second behind only Oasis’ Be Here Now, which moved 695,761 units in its 1997 release.

  • The final track is a hidden track, however its existence was hinted at. The song listing on the back cover omits the song, however both the booklet and the CD label refer to an item called “+” after track 12’s name. The track’s name is ‘Til Kingdom Come. It was originally planned for Johnny Cash to sing it with Chris Martin. Martin recorded his part, but Cash died before he was able to record his.[1]

  • All 3 of the track listing locations refer to the names of the tracks, but instead of the conventional numbering system, the first six tracks are named X1 to X6, and the second set Y1 to Y6 – a reference to the name of the album.

  • Several special versions of the album were released (see below)

Release details

CDP 7243 4 74786 2 8

Special Editions


  • Special Dutch Edition (2CD):

It featured a different, unique album cover slip-case and a bonus disc with six unreleased songs; Things I Don’t Understand, Proof, The World Turned Upside Down, Pour Me (Live At The Hollywood Bowl), Sleeping Sun and Gravity.


  • South East Asia Tour Edition (CD/DVD):

It featured a different, unique album cover slip-case and a bonus DVD with six unreleased songs and the four single music videos; Things I Don’t Understand, Proof, The World Turned Upside Down, Pour Me (Live At The Hollywood Bowl), Sleeping Sun and Gravity; Speed of Sound, Fix You, Talk and The Hardest Part videos.


  • Australian Tour Edition (CD/DVD):

Practically identical to the South East Asia Tour Edition, other than a different, unique album cover slip-case. It featured a bonus DVD with six unreleased songs and the four single music videos; Things I Don’t Understand, Proof, The World Turned Upside Down, Pour Me (Live At The Hollywood Bowl), Sleeping Sun and Gravity; Speed of Sound, Fix You, Talk and The Hardest Part videos.


  • Latin America Tour Edition (CD/DVD):

Some consider it the ultimate edition of X&Y due to the addition of a track-by-track interview on the bonus DVD. It featured a different, unique album cover slip-case and a bonus DVD with six unreleased songs and the four single music videos; Things I Don’t Understand, Proof, The World Turned Upside Down, Pour Me (Live At The Hollywood Bowl), Sleeping Sun and Gravity; Speed of Sound, Fix You, Talk, The Hardest Part videos, and X&Y track-by-track interview.


Awards

Note: for all the certification definations see: Certifications

The Oracle on X&Y


May 12, 2010 – submitted by Andrew, United Kingdom

Q. In the X&Y album in the cover booklet there are many Baudot Codes as album art. I’m wondering if you could please translate them all and the ones on the single versions of the songs from it?

The Oracle replies:

To work out the one code you need to look at each vertical column as they are what represent each letter/character.

Therefore the album cover’s code says “X&Y”, the back has “Make Trade Fair” as a message and each of the singles is simply the track’s title e.g “Fix You”.

April 13, 2010 – submitted by Steve, United States of America

Q. Kind regards, I am an 18 year old male in question of the meaning of the album artwork for X&Y. Does it mean anything? To any of you gentlemen? I wonder this because I have a desire to get this tattooed on myself. I love your music, view of the world and outlook on politics. I share you inspiration as a fellow musician to change the world for the better. May there be no war. Peace and love.

Steve.

The Oracle replies:

It’s based on the Baudot Code representing each character of the alphabet. You can search online for more about the code (as I have already answered that question) but there is an amazing X&Y code generator that you might like. Maybe you could type in whatever you want and use that for your tattoo?

January 18, 2010 – submitted by Christina, United States of America

Q. Hello Oracle! How was your holiday?

I got X&Y for Christmas, and I was flipping through the inside booklet. What is written on the back page? Even with the key I couldn’t figure it out.

Thanks in advance!

The band wanted to have Make Trade Fair as the final message in code.