Coldplay, also known as one of the blandest, whitest bands on the planet, has announced that their new album is going to have a "Hispanic theme". Although decifering the handwritten message on the Coldplay website is somewhat maddening, more complete excerpts can be found in these articles from the BBC and NME.
In the band's own words, "The sights, sounds and flavours of Latin America and Spain have definitely been infused on this album." They go on to say that the record will have, "No maracas or castanets, but a vibrancy and colourfulness that owes much to the atmosphere of Buenos Aires and Barcelona."
Besides being totally ridiculous, this announcement is borderline insulting. The whole "maracas and castanets" reference in itself reflects an extreme level of ignorance about what "Hispanic" music really is. (Does anyone else find "Hispanic" to be an odd choice of words?) With their formulaic catalog of melancholy piano ballads, it seems that there are few bands less qualified than Coldplay to delve into the world of ethnic music.
Perhaps the band just included that statement to calm the nerves of their overwhelmingly non-ethnic fan base. After all, most bored middle-class suburbanites can only handle Latin music when there is a slightly brown person (emphasis on slightly, white folks scare easily) shaking their hips in the video and looking "spicy" on camera. Hello Ricky Martin and Shakira! If four gawky British blokes start doing anything besides looking pensive and awkward, people will get confused.
Thanks to my pal Party Ben for tipping me off to this story. Ben has been doing some stellar writing for The Riff, a blog curated by esteemed magazine Mother Jones. I actually pilfered the above picture from his blog entry and would be remiss not include some of his thoughts on the subject.
Maybe they can make some kind of special parrilla-themed edition for Argentina. Or perhaps the record label can churn out some special edition empanadas with Chris Martin's face on the side. Whatever helps move units, right?
"Who better than Coldplay," they continued, "with our spicy echoes of U2, Radiohead, and Travis, to explore these exotic flavours...like, you know, tomatoes." Singing about flavors has always been a focus of the English band, they say, describing early hit "Yellow" as being "inspired by a paticularly savory paella."
Rumored song titles on the new album include "Fix You (A Tasty Enchilada)," and "A Rush Of Blood To the Head After Eating This Spicy Hot Pepper." The album will come in multiple formats including a deluxe edition served with a side of guacamole and sour cream.