Coldplay may or may not be the worst thing to happen to popular music in the last five years - that's a debate for another time and place - but one thing's for sure, the success of their benign stadium rock has let loose on the charts an abhorrent assortment of the blandest of bands.
The floodgates have opened and inanely competent nondescript (not even ugly enough to have the fortune of being called ugly) white boys like Keane, Athlete and Snow Patrol have evidently all been given keys to the MD's washroom.
Ah, you say, what has the band's image got to do with the music? Ah, I say, bloody everything. As my old PE teacher (a dead-ringer for 'Magnum P.I.') used to say: "You look good, you feel good; you feel good, you play good." And thus, it follows, if you look like you've been kitted out at Littlewoods and had your hair cut by your gran, your music will be painstakingly, arse-numbingly dull.
And the dictum is well proven here because 'Chocolate' is one helluva crashing bore. Whereas the interminable 'Run' was very 'Yellow', this - with its Celtic flavour - is very Travis. (If you haven't already guessed, these are not very promising touchstones.) And, as with 'Run', they see fit to adhere to a woeful plodding tempo which, one assumes, is a deliberate attempt to crush my ailing soul.
Surely singles should, to quote a scary hairy Danish dance duo, move your feet. That's why God invented the 7". This drivel leaves you rooted to the floor like Wes Brown during a set-piece for the opposition.
Any good music in the history of the universe has relied on at least one of two elements: excitement and intensity, and you don't have to be a particle physicist to conclude that this tepid track has neither.
This is a recording designed to fit into a banal lifestyle, without friction, without fuss. It slots in nicely with that trip to Ikea, that purchase of a deluxe double-disc DVD, that Pizza Hut meal deal...
It's merely music for people who have given up on music.
1Anthony Smith's Score