Make your own great­est hits with Cold­play’s best

Cecil Whig - - ACCENT - By J ill Cluf f

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.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY DARA MCBRIDE

Deborah Arnold in­cludes a haiku in one of her books.

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