WHY ARE COLDPLAY CONSIDERED SO UNCOOL?
'The epitome of fucking blandness.' 'Banal ditties with no balls'. 'Dreary old farts'. 'Music for people who don’t like music'. 'Dull as dishwater'. 'Coldplay is absolutely the shittiest fucking band I’ve ever heard in my entire fucking life'.
Wow. Strong words, people of Britain. Thoughts I do not echo, and I've just never understood why Coldplay are considered SO uncool. I certainly don't think they deserve to be, and I'm here to try and talk you round to my way of thinking. Sure, I could have reviewed their latest album 'A Head Full of Dreams' - released on Friday - like the rest of the internet, but I thought this would appeal to my ego more. So you're stuck with it.
Admittedly, there have been instances where the band have not helped themselves. When releasing 'Mylo Xyloto' Martin called it 'the story of a war against sound and colour by a supremacist government', which appears to embody the very essence of c***yness. Even Martin himself - in 2008 - told 'The Telegraph' 'we aren’t cool and never will be.'
I have always really liked Coldplay though. I like Chris Martin, I like his voice, and I like his songs. I almost feel like I'm committing blasphemy admitting that, though, and that's wrong. If you don't like Coldplay, you at least have to respect them.
The band have been active for 15+ years now - no easy feat for a group of any generation - and have sold over 75 million records worldwide. This makes them the most popular guitar-based band to have emerged and consistency sold such great numbers in decades. They're incredibly popular, but just aren't widely liked. I feel one of the possible reasons for this is that Coldplay seem intent on pleasing the mainstream audience, with songs that incorporate 'flavour of the month' artists and sounds, such as the XX with 'Magic', Bon Iver with 'Midnight' and Rihanna with 'Princess of China'. They are thought of as an alternative rock band, but work with some of pop's biggest names. On their latest album, they even hired the same team of producers that were behind Rihanna’s 'Umbrella', Katy Perry’s 'Firework' and Ylvis’ novelty hit 'What Does The Fox Say'?They never particularly stray from people's comfort zones musically, cause havoc or are rude, and there is something distinctively un rock and roll about them. For the genre they are a part of - broadly alternative rock - this probably goes someway to understanding why no one would call them 'cool'.
Additionally, the problem may also lie with lead singer Chris Martin himself. Raised in Devon, Martin grew up in a house with it's own paddock and tennis court. His Father was an accountant and magistrate, and also had a business he sold in 1999 for £9m. His Mother was a teacher, and Martin himself attended boarding school at Sherborne, before reading 'ancient world studies' - and achieving a first - at University College London. Liam Gallagher, he ain't.
If you (rightly) ignore this though, and you actually start to listen to the band's music itself, the criticism they often receive begins to feel wildly unfair. Of my favourite Coldplay songs, there's 'In My Place', the first single from 2002 album 'A Rush of Blood to the Head' with its rocking, cymbal crashing intro before it settles into a love lorn ballad, 'Viva la Vida' and it's soaring melodies and an understated string accompaniment, 'Yellow', a sweeping ballad that sounds like Jeff Buckley in the 21st century and is instantly catchy and heart-melting but never too syrupy, 'Clocks' with it's signature Chris Martin piano hook and falsetto chorus, before we look at 2005's 'Fix You'. Undoubtedly one of the most iconic songs of the decade, it's a majestic, heart wrenching ballad and only Coldplay could have made something that special to so many people.
They're great live, too. Who remembers those free, neon wristbands that flashed in unison during the band's tour of album 'Mylo Xyloto'? They were controlled by radio waves operated by thousands and thousands of workers backstage, and apparently the band barely broke even on a night. Ticket prices have not gone up in over seven years. Every show is a spectacle, and Martin often steals the show with his boundless energy.
Look, obviously not everyone will love Coldplay, and not everyone will like Coldplay. Music taste is subjective. I've just never understood why Coldplay receive flack that bands like 'Travis' never did. Maybe even bands like 'The Stereophonics'. Coldplay are one of the biggest bands in the world - a statement confirmed recently when they accepted an invitation to perform at the 2016 American Super Bowl - and have crafted some of the most melodic, iconic and recognisable songs of the last decade and a half. Personally, I think that's pretty cool.