Who would have thought in 2000, when Coldplay hit the airwaves with the quirky single “Yellow,” that the band would be mentioned in the same breath as U2 just two years later? Not me. While the band’s debut, Parachutes, offered up a handful well-crafted songs, record stores were no doubt making room in the bargain bin under “C.” But Coldplay hurdled the dreaded sophomore slump with 2002’s A Rush of Blood to the Head by taking its piano-driven pop and adding more dynamics to the songs. The album was nearly perfect and incited an influx of sensitive-guy bands with a piano player (see Keane). It surely made recording a follow-up a daunting experience—which could explain the three-year gap leading up to the release of X&Y. The album is more expansive, with heavy synth filling any empty space, and “Fix You” and “Swallowed in the Sea” are more grandiose than anything the band has done before, but it’s only after numerous listens that any of the songs begin to distinguish themselves. Even then it’s apparent that Coldplay could have used those three years to write better songs.