Locked: A Crash Course on Coldplay

The love locks of Paris.

It seems like everyone has an opinion on Coldplay. Today, I asked a good friend what hers was. Mixed reviews it seems.

My opinion? Let me say this about Coldplay, they are the only artist that I have gone out and bought every one of their albums. This is saying something as I currently have some 1,633 different artists on my itunes. The “too mainstream” argument, which is often used against Coldplay, is one I can’t stand. Get over yourself. It is not a crime for music to be likeable or for bands to be successful.

Through the years I feel as though the band has only matured and gained even more substance from their release of the beautiful and introspective Parachutes. To be honest, I wasn’t really interested in this album when it came out. But it probably had more to do with the fact that I was twelve and was more engaged by the other A-class talent* on my Now 6 compilation CD: Britney Spears, Destiny’s Child, *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys… I had no patience for the mellow “Yellow” when it was up against JLo’s epic “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.”

Anyway, all this to say I saw the error of my ways when I first heard “God Put a Smile Upon Your Face.” I asked a particularly artsy friend about it (culture was not a strong point of my hometown) and she recorded Rush of Blood to the Head onto a cassette tape for me. I’ve loved the band ever since.

Coldplay usually make a big musical step every time they release an album. Here’s the list.

Parachutes : A strong debut. A subtle, yet masterful, work of brilliance (I’ve since gone back and realized); the lyrics are honest, interesting and introspective while the music is more simple compared to their later works. Fav picks: “Shiver” and “Everything’s Not Lost.”

A Rush of Blood to the Head : My first love. More rock sounds, but still fairly melancholic. It has less introspection and more confidence. Fav picks: “God Put a Smile Upon Your Face” and “Amsterdam.”

X&Y: A successful experiment. This was the moment the band seemed to be branded as “mainstream,” and the extra money that comes with this label was evident in their sound. “It’s Coldplay does Radiohead” said the NME as they experimented with morphing sounds and musical shapes. Fav picks: one of the best songs of all time, “Fix You” and “Swallowed By the Sea.”

Viva la Vida Or Death and All His Friends and Prospekt’s March EP: Hello money. With crazy, crazy success the band employed a full orchestra, tried their hand at some honky-tonk and bluesy sounds, and dropped (by a couple octaves) Martin’s recognizable falsetto voice. The results are stunning. I would say this is the most music-focused album. Fav picks: “Life in Technicolour I & II,” “Lovers In Japan” as well as “Prospekt’s March” and “Glasses of Water” from Prospekt’s March.

Mylo Xyloto: The sum of all of their parts: some subtle, heartfelt melodies, some rock, some experimentation, some grand orchestration, some mainstream pop elements, and overall a whole lot of hopeful, happy vibes from a mature and truly successful group. Fav picks: “Hurts Like Heaven” and “Us Against the World.”

Coincidentally, while having the conversation about Coldplay with my friend, I mentioned a beautiful bonus track on X&Y. Later that evening, we went to the cinema and heard the song, which was released seven years ago, used in The Amazing Spiderman. A Doodledrops sign! It had to be shared.

Chris Martin wrote the song for, and was originally supposed to record the piece with, Johnny Cash, but Cash passed away before they were able to do so. “Til Kingdom Come” is hiding after the final track “Twisted Logic” in X&Y. I almost feel as if I shouldn’t reveal this secret song, but if you’ve actually read through all of these ramblings, I think you’ve paid your Coldplay dues.

“Til Kingdom Come” by Coldplay

*Side note: Creed’s “With Arms Wide Open” also made it onto Now 6- Congratulate him for us, Julia!

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9 comments

  1. Reblogged this on janisdaniela and commented:
    L’amour se verrouille de Paris.
    Il semble que tout le monde a une opinion sur Coldplay. Aujourd’hui, j’ai demandé à un bon ami ce qui lui appartenait. Commentaires mitigés qu’il n’y paraît.
    Mon opinion? Permettez-moi de dire ceci à propos de Coldplay, ils sont le seul artiste que je suis sorti et j’ai acheté tous leurs albums. Ce n’est pas peu dire que j’ai actuellement quelques 1633 artistes différents sur mon itunes.

  2. Saw them live at the AC in Toronto a few years back, and was impressed. Chris Martin walked up and down the aisles singing to individual (lucky) people. It felt like a small intimate venue… But it was thr AC. I say any artist that can give he crowd that personal touch is a true artist. It also helps that he sounded raw, and live.. not over produced and auto-tunned like many artists that give live shows today. Definitely would see them live again 🙂

    • They’re definitely one of the only artists I would go and see in a stadium setting. I could only imagine how electric the atmosphere must have been. It’s great to hear that they can connect with their audience. It’s not that common in a venue like the ACC.
      Did you go to the show that they filmed for their concert DVD? With the giant orange glowing balls?

  3. Paris Love locks remind of Jerusalem’s prayer wall and Tokyo’s wishing trees – cool! Each is aimed at finding blessing(s).

    Coldplay – ‘Moses’ is the song that stands out melody-wise and lyrically on the 2003 Live album and DVD. ‘One I Love’ and ‘Everything’s Not Lost’ also count with me. ‘Yellow’ is also one of the big songs for me with mom dealing with leukemia and passing – a point of connection within the song. I enjoyed all that was Live 8 and Coldplay singing ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ with the Verve’s Richard Ashcroft. Beyond this, there were songs Coldplay aimed at de-escalating the Iraq conflict – they count too.

    A good post! Take care, 🙂

    • It’s amazing how many songs Coldplay has recorded beyond their studio albums. My favourite is “For You” which I performed a ballet piece to a few years ago. Songs have such an amazing ability to stir up memories and transport you back to a certain time or emotion. Thank you for sharing your connection.

      All the best.

  4. Pingback: Hot Shots of 2012 | Snapshots and Needle Drops

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