Track of the Day: 'Yellow' by Petra Haden and Bill Frisell

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Bear with me: Coldplay is pretty dull, but if you take away Chris Martin’s whingeing singing, it’s redeemable. This is probably the weirdest song choice from a 2005 collaboration between Petra Haden and Bill Frisell. Haden, daughter of the great bassist Charlie, is a former member of the Decemberists who’s behind fascinating projects like a solo, a capella cover of The Who Sell Out. Frisell is a versatile jazz-ish guitarist. “Yellow” is already soft rock—might as well remove the bass and drums and strip it down to the basics, just Haden’s voice and Frisell’s multitracked, fuzzed-out guitar. It turns out there’s a great melody and chord progression in there.

To paraphrase my Coldplay-loving colleague Derek, this Coldplay song is awesome, if you ignore the lyrics.

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