If the rumours are true, in a few weeks time we should have a brand new Coldplay album on our hands. That news might make you sigh and roll your eyes but look a little deeper into your soul and you could be surprised by what you find.
Everyone loves to hate Coldplay, but secretly a lot of us also think they’re brilliant. They’re an easy target for vitriol with their heart-on-their-sleeve emotional songs and frontman Chris Martin’s do-gooder preaching and hippie outlook. They’re not edgy or sexy, dangerous or even that exciting. They’re the musical embodiment of the concept of basic, but we all secretly have a little soft spot for them whether we like to admit it or not.
The thing with Coldplay is they inspire this incredibly pure euphoria that can completely blindside you. When they accepted the Godlike Genius award at the 2016 NME Awards, their ceremony-closing live set did exactly that, turning a room full of super cool musicians into air-punching giddy fans. Even I wasn’t immune – after spending weeks grumbling about the band being far from Coldplay, as soon as ‘Viva La Vida’ hit I was stood up on a chair, singing along, arms aloft.
Their power really lies in their simplicity. They make songs that are easy to sing along to and songs that have just the right emotional swells to make you feel caught up in it all. They’re the kind of band who were made for festival headline slots and watching with all your mates. They are uplifting, even in their more heartbreaking songs – a kind of musical comfort blanket.
Coldplay might not ever be the coolest band in the world, but they’re aware of their limitations in that field and some to have made peace with that. You get the sense that Martin would like to be more of a fingers-up, mad fer it Gallagher type of rock star, but he’s also self-aware enough to know he couldn’t pull that persona off. Instead, he gets the piss taken out of him by the Gallagher brothers, Liam once astutely assessing that he “looks like a geography teacher”.
There’s also the sense that he’d like to be more of an inventive musician rather than someone who bleeds Radio 2 drivetime belters. Perhaps that’s why this upcoming new album is reportedly more “experimental”. What that means in Coldplay’s world, though, is likely not 10-minute ambient soundscapes and jarring techno-noise but more pop classics with subtle undertones of something new. That’s fine though because that’s who Coldplay are and going off on a mad tangent isn’t part of their huge appeal.