As ‘My Universe’, the widescreen collaboration between Coldplay and BTS, comes to a close, its lyric video displays a sentence not uttered in the song zooming through the cosmos: “We are all one in the universe.” It sums up the song’s sentiment perfectly – a subtle manifesto of togetherness despite the walls society might try to put up between us.
“We really don’t believe in any boundaries or separation of anything really, and so the song ‘My Universe’ is about someone being told they can’t love a certain other person, or can’t be with this race, or they can’t be gay, whatever it might be,” Coldplay frontman Chris Martin explained on The Kelly Clarkson Show earlier this month. “And we thought it would be good to sing this with BTS because maybe we’re not supposed to be together.”
While he’s right that some might view his band teaming up with the Korean superstars as out of leftfield or an unusual pairing, the two acts joining forces makes complete sense. Both have used their platforms to advocate for love and acceptance in their songs and charity partnerships. Both share a predilection for a poetic and heartfelt approach to their music; as well as being two of the biggest bands in the world, they are also two of modern pop’s deepest thinkers, imbuing their lyrics with touching statements on love and life.
‘My Universe’ is no different. Written by members of both bands, it’s rooted in a relationship that might be forbidden but whose beauty can’t be extinguished. “You, you are my universe / And I just want to put you first,” Martin cries on the blissful chorus, but it’s in the verses where the track’s heart really comes to the fore. “In the night, I lie and look up at you / When the morning comes I watch you rise,” the Coldplay frontman narrates over gentle, celestial synths and shuffling guitars. “There’s a paradise that couldn’t capture / That bright infinity inside your eyes.”
Given the song’s subject matter, it would be easy for it to slump into despair or anger, fuelled by unnecessary barriers of discrimination. Yet it remains hopeful throughout, BTS’ Suga rapping: “After all, this hardship is just brief / Always shine as bright as you are now.” Despite the ugliness the world often wields, they’re keeping the faith that love can still conquer all.
Once our current boundary of the pandemic has been conquered both bands will return to the stadiums around the world that they’re used to packing out. The sparkling euphoria of ‘My Universe’ will fit right in in that environment, a shooting star of a song that barely puts a foot wrong (the Daft Punk-style robotic vocal processing that appears midway through is a little grating). It promises to be a spine-tinglingly stunning potential addition to Coldplay and BTS’ setlists in the future but, until then, is a beautiful reminder that our differences needn’t divide us. As Jungkook puts it, “We are made of each other, baby.”