The Celebration of Mediocrity

For some reason, Coldplay are seen as national treasures. They dominate the airwaves; and the festival bills. You can’t escape them. They are everywhere music is, they even played the whole of a ceremony for a major international sporting event.

It baffles me. Besides a few good, catchy singles, they are awful. Their album songs start nowhere, go nowhere and finish nowhere. The composition is usually terrible and the music can border on painful to listen to.

Despite that, I kept thinking the next album would be better and from their second up to Mylo Xyloto bought every single one. They sit amongst my CD’s like blood stains on a white wall. We all have albums we are embarrassed to own and for us (as Emma shares my view), it’s Coldplay.

Parachutes:

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Emma owns Parachutes, and to be fair it’s not a dreadful debut album. It’s also remarkably average. There’s no doubt that Yellow and Trouble are good songs, but this only reinforces the Coldplay stereotype rather than redeems the album. The rest of the album is instantly forgettable.

Rating: 4/10

A Rush of Blood to the Head:

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I’ve listened to Coldplay’s second album more than most, however I never really truly got into it. Again, the singles are good songs – Clocks, The Scientist, In My Place, and the rest of the album falls flat. You see now why I’m grouping the reviews together? Every Coldplay album merges into the last in one stream of unforgettable tripe for 90% of the time held up by 10% of decent-ness. Daylight and A Whisper are two god-awful tracks.

Rating: 3/10

X&Y:

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The most disappointing of Coldplay albums. And yet, it somehow manages to explain Coldplay perfectly. The best singles can be found amongst X&Y; including the much maligned Fix You. The terrible album tracks are also there: What If, Swallowed In The Sea, however amongst it all is a gem. Til Kingdom Come is, hands down, the best track Coldplay have never released. And yet, in true Coldplay fashion – it can only appear as a hidden track. For that, X&Y gets marked down.

Rating: 2.5/10

Viva la Vida:

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My favourite Coldplay album. Of the 10 songs found within it, 5 were released as singles – meaning half the songs are listenable! Even the album tracks are decent, with 42 an attempt by Coldplay to step outside of their comfort zone and write something without a chorus. It worked, and I appreciate that. The first Coldplay album I bought, and the only one I vaguely like.

Rating: 5/10

Mylo Xyloto:

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I’d argue MX is the worst of all of the Coldplay albums I own. Convinced to buy it after hearing Paradise, it only contains three decent songs. Out of 14, that just isn’t enough. I really tried to listen to it and love it, however was never able to. The album when I finally gave up trying to like Coldplay.

Rating: 2/10

As for the rest… we heard Magic and decided not to bother with Coldplay’s attempt following MX. Magic was an awful song, with none of the usual tricks, which draw unfortunate listeners into their singles. I haven’t heard anything from their latest album, and nor do I want to. My Coldplay phase is over, and thankfully at that.

In hindsight, it would be much more advisable to buy a Coldplay greatest hits album, or in this day and age just download their hits. I never thought I’d suggest downloads, however Coldplay’s infuriating inconsistency merits it.

Coldplay have made a career violating modern society’s desire for one or two tracks rather than an album. I’d almost admire that, if younger me hadn’t wasted so much money buying their worthless attempts at making music.

My main problem with Coldplay can be summed up: they have no soul; they possess no character. They are only in music to make money.

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Music is simply poetry with instruments. A poet writes with their heart. They write words with emotional meaning, not necessarily aiming to make it rich or famous, but more to tell a story of passion and power.

Lyrics do the same job. Both art forms can bring audiences to their feet; both can reduce adults to tears. Both come from the heart and the soul, both allow fans to relate.

Athlete’s Wires is one of my favourite songs of all time. It’s packed full of emotion, first distress, and then hope. Joel Pott, their lead singer, wrote it about his daughter being born prematurely. It’s impossible to listen to it and not hear, even feel, the emotion.

The problem is; Wires is an exception in our time. Music now is more about money rather than passion. The focus of artists is veering more towards singles instead of writing a set of songs that they feel something for.

I have every Coldplay album except their last two. I only like two of their non-singles. Coldplay have made a career out of high selling singles, with little effort focused on the rest of their catalogue.

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Albums these days are less about showcasing music, and more about simply making as much money as possible.

Why does everything surrender to the cheap enticement of money?

Our culture is lazy, born out of the obsession with downloads. It skips the need to hear anything but what you know.

People demand music; therefore simple economics states if you can supply it, it is a great way to get rich. Furthermore, you can earn more if you don’t bother to tour.

While this is great for individuals, it’s clearly bad for the art form. Going are the days of emotion, arriving are the days of soulless tripe.