Make your own greatest hits with Coldplay’s best
As the gleeful Super Bowl halftime show proved – Coldplay is back, and they’re here to stay.
(Thank goodness. Was anybody else worried that the breakup between Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow would not only separate two lovely people but tank the music?)
No one rocks a stadium anthem like Martin and his atmospheric falsetto. But there is also no one better for a narrative ballad and slow-building love song. Now seven albums in, I give you their best – consider it an early greatest hits.
Best mellow tune(s): Because of lead singer Martin’s gorgeously transparent tenor and his wicked ability at the piano, this band has turned out some of the best mellow tunes of the last 15 years.
Start with “Trouble” and “Everything’s Not Lost” from their first album Parachutes. Proceed directly to the lovely acoustic “Green Eyes” from A Rush of Blood to the Head, then on to the organ-assisted “Fix You” from X&Y. Then carefree “Strawberry Swing” from Viva La Vida. Next is the relatively unheard “Us Against the World” from Mylo Xyloto and then spare, lovely “Midnight” from Ghost Stories and end up with introspective “Everglow” from their latest album, A Head Full of Dreams.
Seriously, you could make a mix of just their mellow tunes. And it would be amazing.
Album to love all the way through: The album Viva La Vida is one of the most brilliantly complete set lists I have ever listened to. (Followed closely by the brilliant, Grammy-winning, Rush of Blood to the Head).
Here, it’s all about the music. With very little emphasis on hooks or catchy lyrics, the experimentation takes over and the result is mesmerizing. The songs just flow in and out of each other. There is a melodic arc circling over the entire thing that makes you feel like each one is connected. Yes, you can listen to the songs alone, but collectively, they shine – and it is fantastic musical experience.
What to skip: The beauty of Coldplay is that pretty much everything is good. Perhaps the most disappointing was brooding, uneventful Ghost Stories, which Martin penned during his breakup and reflects the tumult and detachment of that period. But even that yielded the lovely techno bit “A Sky Full of Stars.”
Song even your mom would love: That would have to be the achingly melancholy classic “The Scientist” from their seminal album A Rush of Blood to the Head.
Rarely has such a raw and real song been penned. From the wrenching lyrics to the thrumming piano to the genius backpedaling music video to that last lilting high note – it’s just perfection that anyone can fall in love with.
Best new stuff: Their new album, A Head Full of Dreams (what is it with these guys and heads?) is the most fun the group has had in years. You can feel looseness and a freedom to their work that has been lacking in other albums. Be sure to catch the joyous single “Adventure of a Lifetime” and Tove Lo-assisted “Fun.”
Extra credit: In addition to lending their songs to many a movie soundtrack, the guys have written a few original tunes, including one for Hunger Games: Catching Fire called “Atlas.” It’s less showy than their usual crowd-pleasers, but it’s a slow burning wonder that builds in intensity and percussion as is goes along.
Jill Cluff is a sometimes librarian who is married to one giant and mom to two boys. She loves all things book- and food-related – often at the same time.
Deborah Arnold includes a haiku in one of her books.