Nine songs to meet Coldplay

Four college roommates playing together who become pop stars without breaking their friendship or starring in scandals.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
26 May 2023 Friday 04:50
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Nine songs to meet Coldplay

Four college roommates playing together who become pop stars without breaking their friendship or starring in scandals. This is how angelic and innocent they are (and sound) Coldplay, the British quartet that with a 25-year career behind them since the release of their first EP (Safety, 1998), have carved out a niche for themselves among the greatest in music thanks to to the string of hymns dressed in music as sweet and colorful as the tours on which they present it. And they have demonstrated this through nine published albums from which we extract nine emblematic songs to find out how they were born and how they have reached the stars.

The song that launched the band to fame more than 20 years ago, was born from Chris Martin's attempt to imitate Neil Young to play a prank on his colleagues during the recording of Shiver, the first single from the album. "My microphone broke down and while I was waiting I started singing like Neil Young," he commented in an interview with broadcaster Howard Stern, where he claimed to have composed it in 10 minutes. As the rest of the band was playing video games, Martin went to play in the bathroom to discover that he liked the echo that the room gave off, and that it inspired the choruses of the song. Regarding the meaning of the yellow color that gives the song its title, the result of many interpretations, he says that he has none in particular. "It's a feeling more than a meaning."

One of Coldplay's best-known hits was born from a guitar riff in the wake of British trio Muse. “It just came along, it wasn't planned,” Martin explained, recalling how he taught it to Jonny Buckland, the guitarist, who wrote the chords. The song was written when the album was already finished with ten songs, but Martin got to the piano and finished it in one night, and although the original idea was to save it for the next album, the insistence of the manager, Phil Harvey, made the song included as the eleventh song from their second album, ultimately winning the Grammy for best recording.

One of the most romantic songs of the band was born as a result of the death of Bruce Paltrow, father of Gwyneth Paltrow, who at that time was the wife of Chris Martin. The Coldplay leader composed the song to help the actress overcome her trance, and used a keyboard bought by her mother-in-law shortly before she died on which no one had come to play. "I plugged it in and it had an incredible sound," explained the leader of the group, noting that this sound permeated the entire album after having wanted to use a church organ, something that was not possible.

Guardiola's fetish song for Barça during the club's best years owes its name to the last painting by Frida Kahlo, painted by the Mexican artist shortly before her death in 1954, entitled Viva la vida. The song talks about Louis XVI, the last absolutist king of France who was beheaded in 1789, and the revolutions, such as the one of 1830 that illustrates the album, the work of the painter Eugène Delacroix. It so happens that part of the album was recorded in Barcelona, ​​with producer Brian Eno guiding the group through various churches in the city where they tried out the choirs that have made Coldplay famous.

The best-known song from the fifth album could have had a very different ending, as it was written for the winner of The X Factor talent show to perform in its 2010 UK edition. It was drummer Will Champion who insisted on including it on the album. disco, a conceptual work that tells the story of two people who grow up separately in an oppressive city. Paradise explains the story of one of them, a girl who flees from her life through fantasy.

The disco rhythm of the song is no coincidence, since the late dj and producer Avicii collaborated in its production. It all started with Chris Martin's fondness for Katy Perry, which opened the door for him to electronic dance music, imitating her repetitive chord patterns. "I wanted to have a song that came from that world," a song that would make them "jump up and down." Years later, Martin collaborated with the Swedish DJ on what would be his last song, 'Heaven', recorded in 2018, whose video clip was published posthumously the following year.

Literally another of the hymns of the British band -which had the collaboration of Beyoncé- where a change in the lyrics substantially transformed its meaning. Martin wanted to title it “Drinks on me” (More drink) to convey the euphoria of being in a bar drinking and having a good time. But when presenting the subject the band threw the idea back, because it did not fit with the image of Coldplay. It was then that they changed it to "Drink from me" (Drink from me) going on to explain what it means to have an angelic person in life.

Hidden under a sound structure in a positive key as Coldplay's usually are, Orphans hides a tragic story, that of Rosaleen, a Syrian girl whose father dies in a bombing. It is a song dedicated to the orphans of the Damascus war that contrasts with the happy and carefree tone of the song, an anomaly that extends to the entire album, the most different, most vindictive and the only one that did not have a tour at the express wish of the band, which only gave two concerts in Amman.

The most recognizable theme of the last album had the collaboration of the Koreans BTS, global K-Pop stars, a job for which Coldplay traveled to South Korea in the midst of a pandemic, overcoming the demanding anti-covid restrictions, and which was captured in a documentary of 13 minutes. The song is sung in English and Korean, and talks about the difficulties of love stories, a subject that Martin uses to explain his relationship with BTS, two different styles that achieved a happy union through music.