When will Coldplay come to China?
What happened to this band that once so aptly sang the "Trouble" after the lost love, was able to bury itself in the convolutions of a scientist's brain, transformed the merciless passage of life into a garish piano dance number and the title of one borrowed her shortest and most beautiful songs from the golden mantra of a cult book for nerds and students?
I have to admit that I despair of Coldplay. I can't understand how it can be possible that four really gifted guys who wrote a bunch of immortal songs suddenly stopped making music. Or at least music that wants to touch you. How sensitive were the world and self-observations of this band. In the meantime, her songs are driven by a sentimentality that is rarely sure of taste.
Just take “Such A Rush”, one of the tracks that the British released in 1999 on their long out of print EP with the wonderfully fitting name “The Blue Room”: “Such a rush to do nothing at all”, sings, no : Martin begs for cool, restrained guitar sounds until he, accompanied by nervous use of the drums, turns into an increasingly urgent complaint about humanity, who is only chasing after the flow of money.
Music from millionaires
Coldplay, it seems, have long since succumbed to this flow of money themselves. With more than 80 million records sold, they have long been one of the big names in the business, whose sales reliably provide the shareholders of their record company with a nice Christmas dividend. One of the unpleasant consequences, however, is that you listen to the music more from record to record.
From “X&Y”, the rather airy than difficult third record, which is still determined by melancholic hymns, to “A Head Full Of Dreams”, one can observe the development of a group, probably apart from the outlier “Everyday Life”, that has completely given up her musical model in favor of a haphazard whirling together of pop standards and performance trends.
I can still remember that moment when I heard "Don't Panic" for the first time. This gentle melancholy, Chris Martin's warm, wistful voice, the hope called out against all odds: "We live in a beautiful world, yeah we do" - Coldplay described the not always easy days of my teenage life so simply, so clearly. I felt understood. Others were probably no different; you just have to remember the beautiful opening sequence of Zach Braffs "Garden State" when the lonely hero in his bed stares at the ceiling with wide open eyes and sounds "Don't Panic". Nothing more had to be said.
Ode to deodorant
Coldplay never stood for complex songwriting. Many of the texts are shockingly simple. The only difference between say “In My Place” and “A Head Full Of Dreams” is that the suffering in the world that is on display (probably also set to music by Martin's wolf-like howling on many earlier songs) is now the celebration of one more than once gave way to empty pop optimism. Everything here wants to be colorful, big, still conciliatory, but rather in a way that prances all doubts out of the world. Yet it is above all Martin's sometimes whimpering, sometimes energetically whining voice that has become the band's trademark. For some reason, however, the group no longer trusts its vocal organ - it is reliably cooked soft in a sometimes unbearable sound sauce.
When the British met a little over 19 years ago at University College in London, they were - according to their own statement - a bunch of uncool students who actually didn't really want to finish their studies (which none of the four did) . Instead, they wanted to extend their adolescence by a few years and founded the group "Starfish" a little awkwardly. A name that didn't really fit in with their music, which was influenced by Echo & The Bunnymen and later also Travis.
That's why Martin listened to the advice of his friend Tim Rice-Oxley to rename his band 'Coldplay' because it would fit like a fist to the melancholy soundscapes and wistful ballads. By the way, Rice-Oxley would almost have become keyboardist and fifth member of the band if he hadn't made the way into the charts with Keane himself (“Hopes And Fears”).
Until Coldplay made a breakthrough with “Parachutes” - in 2000, when they first performed at Glastonbury with “Yellow”, they made the crowd dance dreamily - it was too much for tracks like “Ode To Deodorant” (no joke!) solemn odes like “Sparks” are a long way off. This music expressed with every single chord that it was addressed to all the supposedly uncool, the losers and the failed, the incorrigible world wretches. And when some of Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Nick Drake, Nick Cave, Elliott Smith and R.E.M. Perhaps if they hadn't heard, Coldplay may have enabled more than a few people to enter the world of comforting pop.
The sad do not dance
I can still very clearly remember a moment that should forever be THE Coldplay moment for me: On one of those school ski trips where you slide down slopes in a very unsafe manner, but basically only try every evening, To get closer to the opposite sex, slightly drunk, the crowd of students gathered in a kind of village disco. After the usual R&B numbers and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” had been played and the most terrible hits were still a few hours away, the piano of “Clocks” played. Suddenly the dance floor emptied and the music faded into nothing. - You could have thought. But while I listened to the words "Confusion never stops / Closing walls and ticking clocks / Gonna come back and take you home / I couldn't stop that you now know, singing" and closed my eyes tight, I saw them again for opened for a moment that it wasn't just me. But the parquet remained empty. The sad do not dance.
“A Rush Of Blood To The Head” was already a record for everyone - but for a moment it forced the majority on chants that heralded the feelings of an insecure minority. There were songs with such great titles as "God Put A Smile On My Face" and introverted ballads that, for whatever reason, were called "Amsterdam". Songs that you could hear crying when your loved one abandoned you. Or under the sheets when the world shifts ominously again.
One must not forget: Colplay were once able to deliver great dramas in five-minute format (“Politics”) and Martin sang such banal lines as “Yeah the truth is / That I miss you so” so animated that you really took these feelings away from the guy. The songs are now called “Fun” and “Magic” and albums like “Mylo Xyloto” come with stupid narrative concepts. Brian Eno had taught them not to have lunch together anymore and to think in colors instead of tones.
After “Talk” (with the Coldplay, well, congenially brazenly entrusted to Kraftwerk) and “Fix You” (the richly thickened separation pain tralala that will probably appear forever in the playlists of young lovers) you can understand why the band is in the Following "X&Y" tried to find a different style. Perhaps the musicians had realized that their Weltschmerz had become stale, or that the emotions they evoked no longer corresponded to the reality of millionaires they had long since become.
The new U2
Coldplay was attested very early in their careers that they basically had what it takes to become the new U2. Regardless of whether the band took the well-oiled business model of the Irish as a model to make music for the large audience, Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Will Champion and Jonny Buckland were more oriented towards A-ha - which they also like to once covered. The music of the British has in common with both bands the tendency to the grand gesture, which oozes out of every crack on “Viva La Vida” and even glued small, innocent songs like “Starwberry Swing” with sweetener.
From now on every attempt to make use of music history seemed either involuntarily comical (“42”, with its transition from an elegiac pop song to the fragile electronic number, appears like an over-motivated, colorfully made-up bastard of Radiohead's “Paranoid Android”) or became the same on the case for the lawyer (keyword: Joe Satriani). But “Viva La Vida And Death And All His Friends”, as the album with the full title is awkwardly called - and thus also manifested the band's claim to make music for every mind - was at least not a bad record despite some bad taste.
I never understood why Coldplay did not focus much more on the career path of their self-declared role model R.E.M. have oriented. Michael Stipe and Co. always knew how to preserve their identity, even on controversial excursions into other genres, by proceeding carefully, almost introspectively, concentrating on certain topics and giving each musician enough space to contribute their own ideas. In retrospect, they did this with an impressive consistency. And that's probably why the dignified exit from the music world succeeded.
What remains when Coldplay retires?
Just imagine for a moment that Coldplay actually got serious with their announcement to get out of the ring after the half-baked “A Head Full Of Dreams”. Then the hideous “Mylo Xyloto” (including the flat singles “Princess Of China”, “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall”!) And the intellectually and emotionally shocking breakup record “Ghost Stories” would last forever. In all seriousness, didn't Martin even listen to Dylan's “Blood On The Tracks” or at least “End Times” by the Eels in order to process the “concious uncoupling” by Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow? Perhaps he was too busy listening to the jingling of gold chains by some rappers or rummaging through bookstores in California for esoteric books. Now it's all about finding the right producer to serve the TikTok audience.
When Coldplay write love songs (unfortunately, they can't be forbidden), they are always moved by themselves. When they produce sad ballads (which they do far too seldom now), they are usually downright drunk with their own sadness. One could cynically claim that the “Coldplay principle” has long been deciphered and that the former Britpoppers are making the best of their situation since they have been copied by all over the world. But that alone does not explain why this band, which always wanted high, not only released great singles, but also had a bunch of great B-sides up their sleeves (just hear: “Crest Of Waves”, “For You "," One I Love "," I Ran Away "," I Bloom Blaum "," Help Is Round The Corner "...), suddenly just stopped making music.
I have to admit, I am now with Coldplay like a good childhood friend you meet again at a class reunion. In the meantime, after a long period of suffering as a single, he got to know a woman and even had children with her a little rashly. And now he no longer wants to talk about everything that previously moved us together. Instead, he says that he recently started preparing slow food, jogging every morning and playing with the idea of having a street dog freed from a Romanian kennel for his own use. And when he tells that, he seems to be moved by himself. Somehow, each of his movements, which are cautious despite everything, shows that he really wants to be cool. But in a soft way that pretends not to hurt anyone.
You want to shake this guy and then you don't because all the beautiful moments of the past stuck too much to risk for a lousy, caustic comment on a far too long evening. Instead, you will be calling less often, soon only once or twice a year. No break because it wasn't necessary. But the bitter flicker of a disappointed love.
After “A Head Full Of Dreams”, Coldplay made another record, an actually irritatingly experimental, with a few exceptions complex world music recording. With jazz and gospel excursions. Maybe they will find their way back to their musical roots, you could think and be a little happy. But now greets Chris Martin with "Higher Power" on TikTok ...
If you like, follow the author of these lines on Twitter and on his blog (“Melancholy Symphony”).
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