Has there been any other band that have endured such a prolonged kicking by the cool kids as Coldplay over the last decade?
On one hand, they are a hugely popular, continent-straddling, stadium-filling, radio-friendly rock band with a social conscious. Millions around the globe adore their music and whatever they do in the next few years, they can be guaranteed mega-success.
On the other hand they are vilified for exactly the same reasons.
Coldplay apparently have as many detractors as they do fans. Why is that? They’re at worst capable musicians. They play pleasantly accessible tunes. Although not the most exciting vocalist, Chris Martin can actually carry a tune in a bucket. The band have transcended their original Travis-like strummed indie sound and managed to expand their audience beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.
Coldplay aren’t the second coming, but neither are they the audio equivalent of Beelzebub. What they are are a skilful band that have found their niche and now fill stadiums around the globe. Yes, they have a formula, but it’s a formula which has worked for them and it would take a band that’s either stupid or insanely brave to meddle with it.
Coldplay are not stupid. They were smart enough to call up Brian Eno and work hard on recording the best album of their career. True, they may not stir the spirit for those of us with album collections in the quadruple figures, but they manage to stir the spirits of the wider public, which is why they are as successful as they are.
Viva la Vida was something of a leap of faith for the Coldplay fan who buys their music from the supermarket. For the rest of us it was the first wholly interesting and fulfilling Coldplay album, with a number of tracks which finally cemented their status as one of the truly important bands of the recent decades. It may have taken them four albums, but they finally managed to record tracks as good as “Life in Techicolour”, “42” and “Death and All His Friends”, along with a clutch of consistently great tunes, the best of which is the title track, which may well stand as Coldplay’s greatest moment to date.
It seems then that Coldplay’s greatest crime is that they are successful and good at what they do. At the end of the day, if you don’t like them, there are so many other bands out there that you probably do like, so why spoil everyone elses enjoyment of them?