Coldplay are a divisive band. Some people love them, some hate them, others will heavily judge you as a human being if you like them, while even more see them as just plain dull. Now personally I can see why this band is divisive; undoubtedly if you’re looking for a band with lyrical substance to them, you’re going to be disappointed. Aside from maybe ‘The Scientist’ and ‘Fix You’, Coldplay aren’t known for clever wordplay or deep meaning lurking in their lyrics. Instead they serve to compliment and place emphasis on the feelings and ambience you get from the sonic quality of their work.
Coldplay have continued to innovate their music throughout their history and, even more impressively, have managed to remain one of the biggest bands in the world while doing it.
Their most recent album, A Head Full of Dreams, is a great example of this, ultimately putting the importance on the atmosphere that the instruments create and revolving the sound entirely around that factor. Now that may be a little pretentious as it is literally the musical equivalent of style over substance, but for me it does create some truly interesting songs to sit back and listen to. For example, ‘Hymn for the Weekend’ uses a terrific intro of Beyoncé’s mesmerising harmonies followed by the piano and the drums, slowly building into a beautiful chorus with bass, drums and Martin and Beyoncé’s combined vocals culminating in an anthemic and danceable track.
It’s songs like these that truly set Coldplay apart from other bands, songs like ‘Paradise’, ‘Adventure of a Lifetime’, ‘Yellow’, ‘Viva la Vida’… When broken down these may not necessarily be complex or revolutionary but are tailored for you to just sit back and listen. This is a skill that, despite not being as easy as people might think, Coldplay seem to have mastered, and is key to their 15+ years of huge success. While other bands might heavily rely on a signature sound that you strongly associate with them, Coldplay have continued to innovate their music throughout their history and, even more impressively, have managed to remain one of the biggest bands in the world while doing it.
Now being one of the biggest bands in the world can invite a lot of resistance; I’m sure there are a lot of people who probably see them as overrated and will eagerly debate me on how ‘insert band here’ is way better and deserves more success. I’m also not going to pretend that everything that they have created has been pure gold, as they are a band that places a huge importance on how they sound and when they don’t sound great then the whole song can fall apart.
That said I don’t think the pitchforks against liking Coldplay are deserved. I think a band that continually evolves its sound over a vast range of styles from the slow and harmonic style of ‘Fix You’ to the loud and atmospheric style of ‘Every Teardrop is a Waterfall’ is a breath of fresh air for pop music which is why Coldplay might divide but always interest.