It's easy to despise Chris Martin. He's handsome. He's British. He's married to Gwyneth Paltrow. He fronts Coldplay, a milquetoast rock band that's somehow become a multimillion-selling behemoth. His constant self-effacement smacks of wanton disingenuousness; his quasi-political posturing suggests brand-polishing à la Wal-Mart's goodwill-securing charitable donations. But here's the thing: Coldplay actually make gloriously unobtrusive background music that's tough to actively hate. They're like soothing wallpaper, all surge and drift and interchangeable emotions; even the new, Brian Eno-produced Viva La Vida (Capitol) passes by every listen like a humid summer breeze, apparently dissolving from memory—until some future, random time when the strains of one tune or another resurface, driving you to mild distraction. Damn you, Coldplay, you purveyors of modernist pop pap!
Fri., Nov. 14, 7:30 p.m., 2008

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