Left to right: Will Champion (drummer), Jonny Buckland (lead guitar), Chris Martin (vocals, piano) and Guy Berryman (bass).
Look at the stars Coldplay
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
And it was all yellow
is an acclaimed British
soft rock group who, after several low-key releases, hit the big time in 2000 with the single "Yellow
". The following album, Parachutes
(2000), debuted at number 1 in the UK, won a Grammy and has since gone multi-platinum worldwide. The follow-ups, A Rush of Blood to the Head
(2002), and X&Y
(2005), continued the commercial and critical success — though they also gave the band a reputation for their songs sounding too similar (the singles "Speed of Sound" and "Clocks" being frequently singled out for comparison).
Their fourth album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
(2008), changed this
by Brian Eno
, it introduced "exotic" instruments such as an Ominous Pipe Organ
, a Honky-Tonk Piano and elaborate string sections, as well as changing the fundamentals of their sound to include more experimental time signatures
and unusual song structures. Despite the predictable They Changed It, Now It Sucks
whining from some fans, it became the most paid-for downloaded album of all time. Joe Satriani
sued the group shortly after the album's release, claiming they had plagiarized "substantial original portions" of his song "If I Could Fly" (this was before the song won a Grammy) — however, this was settled out of court and dropped. Later that year, the EP Prospekt's March
was released, containing additional songs from the album's sessions and a remix involving Jay-Z
The band's next album, Mylo Xyloto
(2011), continued the evolution, incorporating electronica elements. While the album was not as well-received by critics as previous efforts, it still charted well and soon went multi-platinum (as usual).
Their latest, Ghost Stories
, came out in May 2014. While the previous two albums were decidedly Lighter and Softer
, given Chris Martin divorced shortly before production
, the depression is easy to spot.
The band has also released three Live Albums
— Live 2003
(from Sydney), LeftRightLeftRightLeft
(2009), which is available for free from their website
, and Live 2012
, which is also a DVD.Members:
Discography with singles:
- Chris Martin - The band's leader, and a rather famous celebrity. Serves as the band's lead vocalist, lead pianist, rhythm guitarist (usually an acoustic), and primary songwriter. He was married to Gwyneth Paltrow from 2003 to 2014.
- Jonny Buckland - Lead guitarist. Has a recognisable signature minimalist sound, and has been compared to The Edge.
- Guy Berryman - Bassist. He is also a member of the completely different supergroup Apparatjik.
- Will Champion - Drummer. Was sacked early in the band's career, but quickly re-hired (causing Chris to get himself drunk on Vodka as punishment.) Occasionally sings lead vocals.
Coldplay provides examples of the following tropes:
- Album Single: Coldplay's singles include "Yellow, "the Scientist", and "Viva la Vida".
- Album Title Drop: Subverted for the most part. Every album has a Title Track, but the only one to mention the album title was A Rush of Blood to the Head. A partial example is "I don't want to follow Death and all of his friends".
- Animated Music Video: "Strawberry Swing", though credit for the idea and execution go to Shynola.note
- April Fools' Day: "Coldplay launch their own fragrance, Angst by Coldplay". Also fits under Self-Parody and Take That (at the critics describing them as too angsty).
- Arc Symbol: Taken Up to Eleven in Mylo Xyloto. Every single song has its own symbol◊, some of them obvious but others only understandable in context (e.g. the butterfly representing "Paradise" is mentioned in the lyrics).
- Audience Participation Song: Many, the biggest being "Viva La Vida" ("Whoooooah oh oh oh oh!").
- Awesome McCoolname: Will Champion. Hell yeah.
- Badass Baritone: Chris is a tenor, but on "Yes" he mostly sings in a low baritone voice.
- Bald of Awesome: Will Champion (sometimes)
- Being Evil Sucks: A common interpretation of "Viva la Vida".
- Big Brother Is Watching You: "Major Minus", based off of the Big Bad of the Mylo Xyloto Myth Arc who is very much the Big Brother of the story.
- Book Ends: The entirety of the album Viva La Vida. "Life in Technicolor" fades into the same series of notes that "Death and All His Friends" and the hidden track "The Escapist" fades out on.
- Boy Band: When they first started, the group created an alter ego boy band called Pectoralz as a joke. No gigs were performed under the name.
- Break Up Song: Ghost Stories is full of them.
- Careful With That Axe: Chris's wailing in the live b-side "Pour Me". It's brief, but incredibly disconcerting.
- Comic Book Adaptation: There is one in development for Mylo Xyloto, scheduled for release in early 2013.
- Concept Album: Mylo Xyloto has one hell of a story. It takes place in the Orwellian society of Silencia, run by Major Minus via media and propaganda. His goal is to strip the streets of sound and color to drive away creatures named feeders that use such energy to hunt. The two words in the album title are actually two names. Mylo is a silencer tasked in hunting down sparkers such as Xyloto, that create sparks with light and energy. Mylo discovers his sparker powers through Xyloto and his affiliation with the Car Kids, a sparker faction founded by Mylo's parents.
- Apparently their new album Ghost Stories is one as well. Taking partial inspiration from Chris' rocky relationship with his wife Gwyneth Paltrow (at least at the time of the album recording), the album revolves around a man going through dramatic and sudden breakup, with the tracks representing the man's state of mind leading up to his eventual acceptance of the situation.
- Concept Video: The aforementioned "Strawberry Swing".
- The video for "The Scientist", in that it uses reverse narrative.
- "Hurts Like Heaven" too, and it serves as a prequel to Mylo Xyloto's Comic Book Adaptation.
- Eaten Alive: In the music video for "Talk", the band members suffer this fate at the hands of a giant toy robot at the end. Though to be fair, one of the band members stole a knob from the robot.
- Epic Instrumental Opener: "Life in Technicolor". It originally had lyrics, which were cut out at the last minute. The non-instrumental (but still epic) version was released later as "Life in Technicolor II".
- Fading into the Next Song: Happens quite a bit in Mylo Xyloto note . It is a Concept Album, after all.
- Very subtle but still there: If you listen closely during the very last few seconds of "Viva La Vida", you can hear the intro of "Violet Hill" start up before the track truly ends. Also happens with "Life in Technicolor" into "Cemeteries of London".
- "White Shadows" into "Fix You" on X&Y.
- Follow the Leader: As Mitch Benn said, "Everything sounds like Coldplay now".
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Chris and Jonny. The entire band, to a lesser extent.
- Heart Beat Soundtrack: At the end of "Don't Let It Break Your Heart".
- Hidden Track: "The Escapist" on Viva la Vida and "Til Kingdom Come" on X&Y.
- As well as "Life is for Living" on Parachutes. Viva la Vida has a second one at the end of "Yes", titled "Chinese Sleep Chant".
- Ghost Stories has a really weird example. The ninth track on the album's title is listed as "O," despite the fact that the first song that plays is actually titled "Fly On." "O" is, in fact, the hidden track that plays about five minutes after "Fly On" ends.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: The protagonist of "Viva la Vida" used to rule the world, now he sweeps the streets he used to own, looks back on his reign and laments his fate.
I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemies' eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing
"Now the old King is dead, long live the King!"
One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand
- Indecipherable Lyrics: The hidden track to "Yes", called "Chinese Sleep Chant".
- Intercourse with You: "Yes" (the first part) can easily be interpreted as this.
- The track "Another's Arms" off of Ghost Stories has some pretty sexual lyrics as well.
- Knife-Throwing Act: In the music video for "Magic", this is featured. In the extended edition of the video, Chris Martin's character is stabbed through the heart. Lucky for him, this is only a dream.
- Line-of-Sight Name: Before the band became famous, Chris had a song in mind that began like this: "Look at the stars/Look how they shine for you/And all the things you do." Unfortunately, at the end of every few lines, he drew a blank where he felt some lyrics should go. While singing the unfinished song to a dart-playing Jonny Buckland, he noticed a copy of the Yellow Pages off to the side. You can probably figure out the rest from there.
- Long Runner Line Up: Eighteen years and counting.
- Love Makes You Evil: "A Rush of Blood to the Head" is about the narrator burning a building to the ground to try to get his lover back. Doubles as Through the Eyes of Madness.
I'm going to buy this place and see it burn
Do back the things it did to you in return
- Lyrical Dissonance:
- "42". At least, the jaunty part in the middle.
You didn't get to heaven, but you made it close!
- "Shiver". It's strongly implied that the song's protagonist is following his love around, trying to keep her from freaking out.
- And of course, "Viva la Vida" (the song, not the album). The lyrics are not as happy as the melody suggests.
- "Don't Panic". A gentle, lovely melody about the fact that people are slowly killing the world. The music video makes it a little more obvious.
- Measuring the Marigolds: "The Scientist".
- Myth Arc: Mylo Xyloto has one. See Concept Album.
- New Sound Album: From indie darlings to big arena rock band, and then from that to artsy-fartsy Middle Eastern strings and 7/4 time signatures.
- Plagiarism: "Viva La Vida" alone got accused of plagiarizing:
- Protest Song: "Violet Hill", which also offers a bit of a Take That with the line "And a fox became God".
- Record Producer: They drafted in the godfather of ambient music and all-around awesome guy Brian Eno for Viva La Vida. It shows.
- Before, Sigur Ros producer Ken Nelson co-produced the first two albums and four tracks of the third.
- Rock Opera: Mylo Xyloto is one - the story of two people (Mylo and Xyloto) who are "living in an oppressive, dystopian urban environment" meeting and falling in love. And yes, it has a happy ending.
- Mylo Xyloto is less of a rock opera and more of a nuanced story, with some basic, traceable things throughout. It really doesn't live up to the "concept album" standard set by a certain English band.
- Recurring Riff: In the beginning of "Life in Technicolor" and the entirety of "The Escapist" is the same series of notes.
- The music video for "Life in Technicolor II". It is a rock concert, complete with pyrotechnics. It's also a puppet show.
- Chris Martin's guest role in an episode of Extras Chris Martin appears to film a charity appeal video together with Andy, but the only thing he's interested in is promoting the 'Coldplay Greatest Hits Album'.
- Chris and Jonny's appearance towards the end of Shaun of the Dead.
- The aforementioned "Angst by Coldplay" advertisement...for such an earnest band, they like this trope a lot.
- Silly Love Songs: "A sky full of stars" and Magic are two examples-
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: This is the key thing that distinguishes them from the musically similar Radiohead. While Radiohead falls more on the "Cynical" side, Coldplay falls more on the "Idealistic" side. Thus, throughout their career, they have been branded a Lighter and Softer alternative to the mostly grim Radiohead.
- Shout-Out: From "1.36": "How soon is now?/Yeah, how long is never?"
- At this performance of "Clocks" in Paris, around the 3:00 mark, Chris sings a snippet of "Madness", the then-most-recent single from Muse.
- "Us Against the World" references the gospel hymn "When the Saints Go Marching In".
- Something About a Rose: The end of the music video for "Viva La Vida" ends with the four band members turning into rose petals.
- Studio Chatter: A notable bit at the beginning of "Strawberry Swing".
- If you listen closely, you can hear some towards the beginning of the build-up into the distorted riff on "42".
- Textless Album Cover: A Rush of Blood to the Head. Honorable mention to X&Y, which is written in a code. (the back card has the band and album name, still)
- Title Track: All before Ghost Stories had one - two in the case of Viva La Vida.
- Word Puree Title: Mylo Xyloto.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Most of their songs have vague-ish meanings, so when they want to get really cryptic, this tends to happen.
Now I never meant to do you wrong, that's what I came here to say.
But if I was wrong then I'm sorry, I don't let it stand in our way.
As my head just aches when I think of, the things that I shouldn't have done.