For some strange reason, everyone has it out for Coldplay. A band mocked and ridiculed, and even ostracized by music awards, Coldplay has done nothing wrong except make music, and ignore the rest.
I grew up listening to Coldplay. My childhood is chronologically ordered with Coldplay albums. I remember when my family moved to a new country for the first time; we were in a big, cold house, in a country where I couldn’t communicate with the kids at school, and most of the foods were new and unfamiliar. A Rush of Blood to the Head had come out the year prior, and to this day, songs such as God Put A Smile Upon Your Face and Politik are soundtracks to memories of me climbing over the back of the couch, looking into our new, cold, green garden with the un-easy feeling of trying to be familiar in an unfamiliar place.
Some of the most heart-wrenching (I love a good heart-wrench) songs known to man were written by the man, the myth, the legend, Chris Martin. Fix You, The Scientist, and Green Eyes never fail to get me going. Even Viva La Vida brings a tear to my eye with its earnestness. What are we going to do without Chris writing bangers about the coolest women ever? I’ve never even met Gwyneth Paltrow or Dakota Johnson, and they’re already my muses. If I were dating them, I’d write songs about them too.
One of the most endearing qualities of the frontman, and perhaps (but less prominently) the whole band, is their absolute nonchalance towards fame or recognition. All they want to do is simply make music. At award ceremonies, they avoid the red carpet with Chris retorting when asked, “We love these things [award shows] but red carpets are more for nice ladies. We look like the cleaners coming in to vacuum up.”
Coldplay’s M.O. is simply to make music that is true to themselves, raise money for charity, and try and save the planet. What’s so bad about that? In their upcoming tour, set to be the most carbon-neutral tour ever, the show will be powered by bicycles and kinetic-powered dancefloors, where fans jumping up and down to their songs will create real-life energy to power the show. It proves that amongst the harsh criticism Coldplay receives, they’re confident in their many millions of fans to show up and jump around.
Why do people hate Coldplay so? Perhaps it’s because they’re an easy target. Easily one of the best pop artists of the 21st century, they’ve sold over 100 million albums worldwide, and have been nominated for a Grammy nothing short of 36 times. With great admiration comes great criticism, and lots of people find Coldplay’s music to stick within their genre too much, the songs to be too similar to each other – too boring.
But isn’t that what artists do? Sure, there’s a growing trend today for music artists to be able to cover all different genres of music, to keep their audience’s ever-shortening attention span by trying their hand at pop, rock, folk, metal, etc… Look at Taylor Swift, who started out as a country singer, and merged her way into solid pop with her album 1989, then pop rock with Reputation, and finally folk music with her record-breaking albums Folklore and Evermore.
A popular New Zealand musician named Troy Kingi is halfway through his 10 10 10 series, where he’s releasing 10 albums in 10 genres in 10 different years. But if you look back to Frank Sinatra, or Prince, or Oasis – each artist has their own distinct sound and style. Prince was never criticized for not trying his hand at folk music, and I’m not quite sure why Coldplay receive that criticism for making music that is true to their own sound and ethos.
Coldplay’s songs have consistently hit the charts since their inception in 1996 with nine consecutive Nº1 albums, with Parachutes, A Rush of Blood to the Head, and X&Y being in the top 43 best-selling albums of all time in the UK, with X&Y being one of the fastest ever selling albums in the country.
Viva La Vida is perhaps the best known and the best liked of their discography, winning 3 Grammy awards, and my heart. My father listens to that album in its entirety while driving up into the mountains, and it forever has snowy evergreens, frozen-over lakes, and dark mountains as its accompanying visuals in my mind.
Luckily for us, we still have 3 more Coldplay albums to go before they retire in 2025, finishing up with 12 complete albums in their catalogue. I, for one, am gutted that Coldplay won’t be creating new music anymore, although I’m sure they’ll be making things in their own way. An artist never stops making art, after all – it’s part of who they are. As for us, we’ll always have their albums to listen to. I’ll be listening to Viva La Vida again, loving it like it’s the first time.