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Comparing The New Wilco and Coldplay Singles

At a glance, there's not a whole lot in common between Wilco and Coldplay. The former undoubtedly have more indie cred. (The benefit of having an album rejected by a label, as happened with Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.) The latter are clearly the more popular. But I think both bands perform similar functions for their fans. They give comfort. They offer wisdom. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I don't think people gravitate towards either group because they're looking to lose their mind or rock out. Wilco and Coldplay are comfort bands. And they each have new music out.

"I Might" is the first single from Wilco's upcoming The Whole Love, due September 27. Over some nicely rinky-dink organ and tastefully noisy guitar, Jeff Tweedy sings about pissing blood and letting go as the rhythm section chugs along to a bouncy garage-rock rhythm. This is a trick the band has pulled before-setting dark, desperate lyrics to head-bopping music-but here the familiarity is a boon. There's an appealing ease and elegance to the track that, provided you don't fixate on the lyrics, makes it great accompaniment to a backyard barbecue. If the rest of The Whole Love carries a similar vibe, we can look forward to an album closer in tone to the casual charm of the band's 2007 effort Sky Blue Sky than the experimental forays of, say, 2004's A Ghost Is Born.

Coldplay's as-yet-untitled new album is supposedly due this fall, and "Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall," is the grandly uplifting debut track. All the band's trademarks are in place-chiming guitar; Chris Martin's broadly buoyant lyrics; booming drums. Like Wilco, Coldplay isn't doing anything too different from what we've heard them do before, but they're doing it well. The British superstars are cresting, not coasting. And during these hot, hazy months, when discomfort comes so easily, veteran bands offering their usual gifts is a refreshing thing.

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