I’ve been listening to Coldplay all day, I haven’t done that in a few years. I was not fortunate enough to attend last night’s concert, but before it happened I wasn’t interested. I hear it was ‘the best concert ever!!!’ or ‘a spectactular show’, but I just haven’t felt the same about Coldplay as I used to. I think the last time I seriously listened to them was around 2006 or 2007. Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends was a decent album, but I only listen to a couple track from it every so often. Mylo Xyloto is as good as forgotten. But then I think of everything before that.
Parachutes came out 12 years ago and at the time it was considered mellow Britpop. It was something that wasn’t as adventerous, but an album that could cross over to North America because it was safe enough, but also good enough. It was what Coldplay once was, before the strings, bombast,ever-changing costumes and set designs. It was the sound of 4 young, talented musicians who were just trying to make a break writing catchy melancholic (yet uplifting, songs.
A Rush of Blood to the Head should be considered the best album in their discography. It expanded their sound dramatically. The production on the album really polished their sound from Parachutes modernizing it and turning what were once songs into anthems. It also showed that they were going to turn into your standard rock band. They experimented and were willing to change their sound, something they continue to do to this day. Sure they’ll never be credited for unique innovation, but they have not become boring. This is my favourite Coldplay album. I think the first single ‘In My Place’ is the weakest track on the album, but every other song has been my favourite from the album at one time or another. I can still listen to it completely and enjoy it, truly the sign of a great album.
X&Y was a bit of a change, though first single ‘Speed of Sound’ sounded almost the same as ‘Clocks’ from AROBTTH. They hired Brian Eno as a producer and added some more electronic elements, but also brought back the acoustic feel from Parachutes on a couple tracks. It was under-appreciated by the press and casual fans, but I think it could one day be my favourite Coldplay album.
As the previous paragraphs can probably suggest, my Top 5 Coldplay songs will be dominated by their earlier works. I have much more attachment to that time of their career, but that’s not to say that I don’t enjoy some later songs, even putting one on the following list.
5. Clocks (from A Rush of Blood to the Head)
‘Yellow’ was the first hit for Coldplay, but ‘Clocks’ really solidified them for me. Following a single as popular as ‘The Scientist’ was no small task and ‘Clocks’ kept the band’s momentum up with something different but still distinctly Coldplay, likely the first single to do so.
4. Everything’s Not Lost (from Parachutes)
As I listened to Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head that many times, it takes awhile for some Coldplay songs to grow on me. This and the number 1 song are like this and only for the fault that they are at the end of the album and sometimes you just don’t make it to the end of an album. This is just a beautiful song that carries the familiar theme of remembering to always look on the bright side of life.
3. Strawberry Swing (from Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends)
That opening guitar line that carries the melody just grabs you into and you’re stuck. This is one of the most relaxing Coldplay songs that is like a wave you can just keep riding. As with many Coldplay songs it really is just a love song: “Without you, it’s just a waste of time”, but really it is the music that keeps you coming back to this song.
2. A Message (from X&Y)
The sentimental one. It plays out as ‘a message’ from a lover/friend/etc. to the one who left/got away/missing. It hit at the right time to really resonate and while it may not feel like anything special, like so many Coldplay songs, they can really hit home at certain points. That’s really part of their ability to remain so popular, they write songs that you can just relate to, or at least they used to. My favourite moment in the song and possibly in all of Coldplay from 3:50 – 4:08: “…That I’m nothing on my own, I love you, please come home.”
1. Amsterdam (from A Rush of Blood to the Head)
Coldplay’s perfect example of a slow build. It starts off with Chris Martin singing and playing the piano, some harmonies come in later, but with about a minute and a half we get organ, and shortly after it all comes together with everyone joining in. It ties together it’s album perfectly really showing the songwriting ability of the band. ‘Amsterdam’ is one of those songs that just feels right when walking while snow gently falls, it’s an end, but a gentle one.