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Music / Coldplay

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Left to right: Will Champion, Jonny Buckland, Chris Martin and Guy Berryman.

Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
And it was all yellow.
— "Yellow"

Coldplay is an Alternative Rock group from London, and easily one of the biggest bands to come from that genre as well as one of the most popular bands in the world during the 2000s and, by extension, the single most commercially successful band of the 21st century.

After forming in 1996 at university and issuing several low-key releases during the back-end of the '90s, they hit the big time in 2000 with the breakthrough success of their single "Yellow", which would later be included on their debut album, Parachutes. The rest of their oeuvre leading up to the mid-2000s — A Rush of Blood to the Head and X&Y — continued the success, but 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, 2008's Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, changed this. Produced by Brian Eno, it rewrote the band's fundamentals, introducing experimentation of both the instrumental variety (ex: Ominous Pipe Organ, honky-tonk piano, elaborate string sections) and the arrangement variety (ex: weirder time signatures, unusual song structures). Despite some fan pushback, it was the highest-selling album of the year worldwide.

Between The New '10s and now, the band has experimented further by diving into the genres of anthemic electronica (Mylo Xyloto), lush ambient/alternative pop (Ghost Stories), upbeat pop rock (A Head Full of Dreams), art pop (Everyday Life), and space pop rock (Music of the Spheres).

The band has also released four Live AlbumsLive 2003 (from Sydney), LeftRightLeftRightLeft (2009), which is available for free from their website, Live 2012, which is also a DVD, and Live in Buenos Aires in 2018, later re-released as The Butterfly Package including said concert, plus another one filmed in São Paulo and their A Head Full of Dreams documentary.

Related Acts:
  • Apparatjik (Berryman)


  • 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.
  • Phil Harvey - Creative director (often considered by fans and even the band themselves as being a fifth member due to his involvement in the band's visual imagery).

Discography with singles:

Look at the tropes, look how they shine for you...

  • Advertised Extra: Tove Lo in "Fun". Though given a feature credit, she never sings any lines on her own and is really just a glorified backup singer.
  • Album Closure: One of the first lyrics in Music of the Spheres is "I'm not going to make it" ("Higher Power"). The final lyric of the album is "Together, that's how we'll make it through" ("Coloratura").
  • Album Title Drop: Subverted for the most part.
  • Alien Sky:
    • Invoked in "Speed of Sound":
      Look up, I look up at night
      Planets are moving at the speed of light
    • At the end of the "Higher Power" music video, there's not one, but two planets clearly visible in the sky, both extremely close to Kaotica (where the music video takes place).
  • Always a Bigger Fish: In "Lost!":
    You might be a big fish
    In a little pond
    Doesn't mean you've won
    'Cause along may come
    A bigger one
  • Angelic Aliens: Angel Moon from the Music of the Spheres music videos is delicate, translucent, and luminescent. She moves in a graceful, willowy manner.
  • Animated Music Video:
    • "Strawberry Swing", though credit for the idea and execution go to Shynola.note 
    • Also "Hurts Like Heaven".
    • Aardman Animations created a mixed-media video for "Daddy" with real-time puppetry and hand-drawn animation.
  • 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: Exaggerated 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).
  • As the Good Book Says...: "Viva la Vida" includes biblical references; for one example, the line about pillars of salt and sand references the story of Lot's wifenote  and the parable of the wise and foolish buildersnote .
  • Audience Participation Song: Many, the biggest being "Viva la Vida" ("Whoooooah oh oh oh oh!").
  • Autotune: "Midnight" utilizes a soft vocoder on Chris' vocals that becomes more apparent when played live and fielded many comparisons to Bon Iver.
  • Back to Front: The music video for "The Scientist" has a reverse narrative, starting at the end of the story and concluding at the beginning with every scene shown backwards.
  • Being Evil Sucks: A common interpretation of "Viva la Vida".
    Just a puppet on a lonely string.
    Oh, who would ever want to be king?
  • Big Brother Is Watching You: "Major Minus", based off of the titular Big Bad of the Mylo Xyloto Myth Arc, who is very much the Big Brother of the story.
    They got one eye watching you
    And one eye on what you do
    So be careful who it is you're talking to
  • Bittersweet Ending: The story of heartbreak from a recently-terminated relationship chronicled throughout Ghost Stories ends on a note of acceptance from the protagonist in the finale of "O", who's willing to move on but will never forget what the relationship meant to him.
  • Big Friendly Dog: One of them joins the band in the woods in the "Midnight" video.
  • Bookends:
    • Viva la Vida:
      • The opening track "Life in Technicolor" fades into the same ambient sample that the hidden final track "The Escapist" builds its foundation and fades out on.
      • "42" begins and ends with Chris quietly singing the same lyrics over piano.
      Those who are dead are not dead
      They're just living in my head
    • Ghost Stories:
      • The opening track "Always in My Head" prominently uses the same angelic choir sounds as the hidden final track "O".
      • The song "Another's Arms" begins and ends with the same lines.
      Late night watching TV
      Used to be you here beside me
      Used to be your arms around me
      Your body on my body
    • A minor one on A Rush of Blood to the Head; both the opening and closing tracks ("Politik" and "Amsterdam", respectively) are exactly 5:19. More interestingly, they're both tuned up with A4 at 448Hz, whereas most music nowadays has A4 at 440Hz.
  • 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 essentially and conceptually a breakup album, considering it was made around the time when Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow divorced.
  • Broken Record: Invoked in "Higher Power":
    I'm like a broken record
    I'm like a broken record and I'm not playin' right
    Drocer nekorb a ekil mi
  • Call-and-Response Song: "Adventure of a Lifetime" turns into this in its outro.
  • Call-Back: "Adventure of a Lifetime" is the band's second video involving animals discovering instruments and playing them after "Paradise" (although the "Paradise" video was just the band members in suits, "Adventure" has motion-capture monkeys).
  • The Cameo: Noel Gallagher provides the epic guitar solo on "Up&Up".
  • Careful with That Axe: Chris's wailing in the live B-side "Pour Me". It's brief, but incredibly disconcerting.
  • Changing Chorus: "Viva La Vida":
    • The last four lines of the first chorus:
      For some reason I can't explain
      Once you'd gone, there was never
      Never an honest word
      But that was when I ruled the world
    • The last four lines of the remaining choruses:
      For some reason I can't explain
      I know Saint Peter won't call my name
      Never an honest word
      But that was when I ruled the world
  • Character Title: "Major Minus" from Mylo Xyloto, despite being a Non-Appearing Title. It also doubles as an Antagonist Title, as he's the Big Bad of the Mylo Xyloto comic adaptations.
  • Cherubic Choir: Used to beautiful effect in "O", with Chris Martin's children providing the vocals.
  • Christmas Songs: "Christmas Lights" is a melancholic one about heartbreak at Christmas.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: There is a comic adaptation of Mylo Xyloto, released 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 that create sparks with light and energy, and Xyloto is the sparker most wanted by Major Minus. Through Xyloto, Mylo discovers that he has sparker powers and is affiliated with the Car Kids, a sparker faction founded by his parents.
    • 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 a dramatic and sudden breakup, with the tracks representing the man's state of mind leading up to his eventual acceptance of the situation.
    • Music of the Spheres takes place in a galaxy called "the Spheres" which consists of nine planets, two natural satellites, one star, and a nebula. Each planet represents a song on the album. The worldbuilding is expanded in the album's music videos — music is banned across the Spheres, but ambitious rebels defy the rule all while being hunted by the Silencers, the people who enforce the ban.
  • 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.
    • "Higher Power" has Chris dancing on the Cyberpunk alien planet Kaotica, before obtaining Super-Speed and leaving the planet.
    • "My Universe" tells the story of three bands living in The Spheres; Coldplay, BTS, and Supernova7. Music is forbidden across the Spheres and the bands are on different planets (Calypso, Floris, Supersolis), but they're united by DJ Lafrique on her Alien Radio ship through her "holoband". They come together to sing while being hunted by the Silencers. Near the end, the Silencers discover DJ Lafrique's ship, but she puts her ship into hyperdrive and escapes. Dance Party Ending ensues.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Chris Martin tends to get a little wacky in live performances when he's not playing an instrument. Some fans also haven't the slightest idea what the hell he's even talking about in some of his interviews.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: As a tribute to MCA, they performed The Beastie Boys' "Fight For Your Right" not as the typical firery teenage rebellion song, but a more introspective look into the mind of the frustrated teenage singer via different instumentation and slower tempo, about the clear feeling of powerlessneess he has dealing with his parents and school in his attempts to have something for himself.
  • Creator Thumbprint: Chris Martin is often depicted on cycles of some kind in his music videos ("Paradise", "A Head Full of Dreams", "Champion of the World").
  • Cue the Sun: The UK music video for "Trouble" takes place in a dimly-lit warehouse but ends with a sunrise...that turns out to be fake and part of a theater backdrop.
  • Cypher Language: For their album Music of the Spheres, each planet has an accompanying alien language.
    • Specifically for their single "Higher Power", they created an alien Wingdinglish Cypher Language called Kaotican. It was used heavily during the early marketing as a puzzle for fans to crack.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • The original European music video for "Trouble" in comparison to the more well-known one, which has Chris singing while tied to a chair in a dark warehouse juxtaposed with Buckland and Champion forcing Berryman into another chair.
    • Ghost Stories also counts, as it's much darker than most of Mylo Xyloto and is actually kind of depressing, with a Bittersweet Ending to contrast Mylo's Happy Ending.
  • Death by Music Video: The video for "Talk" ends with the band in their UFO being eaten by a giant robot because one of the members stole its power knob earlier.
  • Deliberately Monochrome:
    • The video for "Midnight", which uses both negative and thermal infrared imagery, is entirely in black-and-white (aside from some Splash of Color-esque effects) except for the final shot.
    • The video for "Talk" as well, invoking the style of early sci-fi movies, where the band is traveling in a Flying Saucer and wake up a giant robot. Which then eats their ship, with them in it.
  • Disappeared Dad: "Daddy" is from the perspective of a kid whose father has run away. To make matters worse, it's his birthday.
  • Distinct Double Album: Everyday Life has a Sunrise and a Sunset half, though it fits on a single CD.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The sound of Parachutes shifts towards Indie Rock at times, and the album as a whole is incredibly soft-spoken compared to its more bombastic, arena rock-y successors.
    • Their early EPs a bit more so to Parachutes, with Chris's vocals being more timid and their sound being more straight-forward indie rock in comparison due to their less polished production and containing more atmospheric feelings, having notable influences of Psychedelic Rock and Dream Pop in them. A good point of comparison is the different versions of "Don't Panic" recorded for Parachutes and The Blue Room EP.
  • 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.
  • Either/Or Title: Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener:
    • "Life in Technicolor" for Viva la Vida. The track originally had lyrics, but they were cut at the last minute. The non-instrumental (but still epic) version was released later as "Life in Technicolor II".
    • Inverted with Ghost Stories, which has an Epic Instrumental Closer in the ambient hidden track "O".
    • The title track to the Sunrise half of Everyday Life opens the album with a gorgeous string composition.
  • Epic Rocking:
    • Most of the tracks from A Rush of Blood to the Head (and at least two from Parachutes) exceed five minutes in length, with its Title Track nearly reaching six.
    • B-sides "Gravity" and "Up&Up" have also exceeded six minutes.
    • The "Lovers in Japan/Reign of Love" medley is almost seven (whereas "Chinese Sleep Chant" and "The Escapist", as hidden tracks, are considered separate to "Yes" and "Death and All His Friends" respectively).
    • Live renditions get similar treatment, with the Live 2012 version of "Yellow" falling just behind the seven-minute mark and certain songs from Live 2003 extending a minute longer than their original studio recordings.
    • "Arabesque" from Everyday Life is the latest track to exceed the five-and-a-half-minute mark, inspired by the long-form songwriting of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. Several of Kuti's children make guest appearances on this track, as well as a posthumous spoken word sample of his own ("Music is the weapon, music is the weapon of the people").
    • Music of the Spheres features the track "Coloratura", which is the band's longest track to date at just over ten minutes.
  • Ethereal Choir:
    • The strange child-like noises during the beginning, bridge and end of "Charlie Brown" can be this. Doubles as Creepy Children Singing.
    • The angelic choir that appears in the first track and hidden finale of Ghost Stories; the album's finale also features Chris Martin's own children singing to this effect.
  • Evil Brunette Twin: Used in the music video for "Magic". Chris Martin not only plays the hero, but also the villain, a mix of Stage Magician and Dastardly Whiplash.
  • Face Death with Dignity: "Death Will Never Conquer", a B-side to "Viva la Vida", is a cheery song sung by a person who accepts their mortality, begging to their loved ones to "let them go" when they die, even if, at the end, they mention they don't want to go.
  • Fading into the Next Song:
    • Viva la Vida contains very subtle transitions between "Life in Technicolor" and "Cemeteries of London", and "Viva la Vida" and "Violet Hill".
    • Happens quite a bit in Mylo Xyloto — "Mylo Xyloto" transitions into "Hurts Like Heaven," "M.M.I.X." transitions into "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall," "U.F.O." transitions into "Princess of China," and "A Hopeful Transition" transitions into "Don't Let It Break Your Heart," which then transitions into "Up With the Birds".
    • On Ghost Stories, there's a split-second overlap between "True Love" and "Midnight", and "Oceans" has an ambient outro that effectively sets the stage mood-wise for — and transitions into — "A Sky Full of Stars".
  • Fake Band: In Music of the Spheres:
    • Supernova7 in the "My Universe" music video, an alien band from the fictional planet Supersolis.
    • "The Weirdos" are a fictional alien band that purportedly created the song "Biutyful" (sometimes credited as featuring both Coldplay and The Weirdos). The band is composed of puppetsnote  and appears in the music video for their song. The puppets, alongside Chris Martin, also did a live interview and performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to promote "Biutyful".
  • Fast as Lightning: In the “Higher Power” music video, Chris is given "electric powers", including Super-Speed. Flurries of colourful electric light follow him as he runs.
    This boy is electric and you’re sparklin' like the universe connected
    And I'm buzzin' night after night after night
  • Forbidden Love: "My Universe" is a song about defying this. Chris Martin has stated that it's 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."
    And they said that we can't be together
    Because, because we come from different sides
  • Foreshadowing: The vocal harmonies that close "Viva la Vida" can be heard in the final four bars of the second verse.
  • Gratuitous Panning: The opening guitar of "Warning Sign" is panned to the right.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Chris and Jonny. The entire band, to a lesser extent.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: At the end of "Don't Let It Break Your Heart".
  • Hidden Track:
    • The band has an affinity for including extra songs omitted from the tracklist on the tail-ends of others.
      • On Parachutes, "Everything's Not Lost" contains one called "Life is for Living".
      • On Viva la Vida, "Yes" contains one called "Chinese Sleep Chant", and "Death and All His Friends" contains one called "The Escapist".
    • On X&Y, the album-closing hidden song "Til Kingdom Come" (left off the tracklist, but credited as "+" on the disc and booklet) is uniquely given its own standalone track.
    • Ghost Stories has a really weird example. The ninth and final track on the album's tracklist 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 two minutes after "Fly On" ends.
    • "X Marks the Spot" on A Head Full Of Dreams.
    • The physical release of Everyday Life features a chain of eight hidden tracks in between the Sunrise and Sunset halves which play a field recording of Westminster Chimes and other ambient noise. Each one is represented by a single character ultimately spelling "GOD=LOVE"; if one wishes to get technical this now means the band has three hidden tracks titled "O".
  • Hologram: Holograms seem to be commonplace in the Spheres from Music of the Spheres:
    • The same group of multicolored holographic dancers appear in the official music video for "Higher Power", along with the official audio video and Coldplay's 2021 BRIT Awards performance of the same song.
    • In the "My Universe" music video, DJ Lafrique helps Coldplay, BTS, and Supernova7 communicate by transporting them as holograms to each other's planets.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: The protagonist of "Viva la Vida" is a king that once had everything but now has nothing as he 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 a song about sexual frustration, with lyrics like:
      We were dying of frustration
      Singing 'Lord, lead me not into temptation'
      But it's not easy when she turns you on
    • "Lhuna", their collaboration with Kylie Minogue, is so sexual that Chris ended up deeming it too adult to put on an album.
  • In the Style of: Chris has retroactively admitted to "Speed of Sound" most directly stemming from listening to a lot of Kate Bush, with the song's drumbeat taking explicit leads from Bush's song "Running Up That Hill".
  • Kids Rock: Children sing in the backing of “Orphans”, and Chris’s son Moses provides the “boom boom ka” beat.
  • 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. Luckily for him, this is only a dream.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: "Don't Panic" seems to be sung from the perspective of one. The narrator spends the song lamenting about the Earth being destroyed by either an apocalypse or the human race's own negligence, notes in the chorus that "we live in a beautiful world" (perhaps sarcastically), but ends the song with something of a change of heart, stating that everyone has a loved one they can hold onto.
  • Life/Death Juxtaposition: Rampant throughout Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. The title translates to "Long Live Life or Death and All His Friends". The first song begins with the word "life", "Life in Technicolour", and the last song begins with the word "death", "Death and All His Friends". This fits with the album's themes of life, death, revolution, and rebirth.
  • 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.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: "Fly On" and "Daddy" are straight examples, while "Amsterdam" starts off as this but turns into a rock song near the end.
  • Long-Runner Line-up: Twenty-five years and counting. Considering they've announced their intention to retire in a couple of years, a good candidate for this trope's Logical Extreme.
  • Longest Song Goes Last: Parachutes, Ghost Stories, A Head Full of Dreams, and Music of the Spheres.
    • Specifically for Music of the Spheres, the finale "Coloratura" is Coldplay's longest song to date at over 10 minutes.
  • 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.
  • Lucky Charms Title: "Til Kingdom Come", while officially left off the track list, is credited as "+" in the X&Y disc label and album booklet.
  • 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.
    • "Viva la Vida" is not as happy as its melody suggests.
    • "Don't Panic" is a gentle, lovely song about the fact that people are slowly killing the world. The music video makes it a little more obvious.
    • "Orphans" is a peppy, hoot-along anthem about...the Syrian Civil War?
  • Lyrics/Video Mismatch: The stories portrayed in the music videos for "Talk" and "The Scientist" fit their songs' lyrics shakily at best.
  • Magicians Are Wizards: Invoked in "Magic."
  • Measuring the Marigolds: "The Scientist".
  • Miniscule Rocking: Happens on several albums, both as standalone songs (such as the title track on Parachutes and Chris' piano solo "Postcards from Far Away" on Prospekt's March) and ambient interludes (the title track, "M.M.I.X." and "A Hopeful Transmission" on Mylo Xyloto, as well as "Kaleidoscope" and "(Colour Spectrum)" on A Head Full of Dreams).
  • Motif: In Music of the Spheres, "We are all one in the universe" and "Everyone is an alien somewhere".
  • Multilingual Song: Verse two of "Arabesque" from Everyday Life is sung almost entirely in French before switching back to English for the hook.
  • Myth Arc: Mylo Xyloto has one. See Concept Album.
  • Named After Their Planet: Those from the planet Kaotica are called “Kaoticans.”
  • Never Bareheaded: Beginning around 2006, Jonny Buckland is never seen in public without a hat (usually a baseball cap). This also includes livestreams.
  • Never Trust a Title: No one would guess "Viva la Vida" would be an English song about a fallen king.
  • New Sound Album: Pretty much every one after their debut.
    • Rush and X&Y elevated the Britpop- and indie-influenced stylings of Parachutes into a bigger, arena-friendly sound, with the latter incorporating elements of electronic music and space rock.
    • Viva la Vida eschewed amplifying previous sounds to invent a new one entirely out of art pop with influences including Middle Eastern strings and 7/4 time signatures.
    • Mylo Xyloto is a mashup of all of their older styles, ranging from catchy electronica ("Every Teardrop is a Waterfall") to Parachutes-esque ballads ("Us Against The World") to epic arena rock ("Charlie Brown").
    • Ghost Stories ranged between ambient music ("Midnight", "O"), piano ballads ("Fly On"), subdued trip hop/downtempo ("Another's Arms"), and EDM produced by Avicii ("A Sky Full of Stars").
    • A Head Full of Dreams takes the arena rock sound from Mylo Xyloto and expands it with the pop tendencies the band was slowly leaning in.
    • Everyday Life goes back into a more traditional sound, but expands it with French horn sections ("Arabesque"), gospel music ("Broken"), blues ("Guns") and even soul ("Cry Cry Cry"), all of this thanks to the collaboration of musicians from different genres and cultures.
    • Music of the Spheres harkens back mostly to the arena pop rock from Mylo Xyloto and A Head Full of Dreams, while incorporating space influences to it. However, it does deviate from it a few times, with the acapella "Human Heart", the bluesy indie rock "People of the Pride" and the ten-minute Progressive Rock closer "Coloratura".
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Viva la Vida", "Midnight", "Princess of China", "The Scientist", "Hymn for the Weekend", and "Adventure of a Lifetime", among others.
  • Ode to Youth: "Viva la Vida".
  • One-Man Band: Each band member plays one of them in the video for "A Sky Full of Stars".
  • The Oner: The music videos for "Yellow" and "Christmas Lights" are shot in a long take.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: "Chinese Sleep Chant" is straight-up shoegazing, complete with breathy vocals.
  • The Power of Love: The narrator of "Amsterdam" feels like their life is in a downward spiral, but finds solace in a lover that's able to help them out of their hole.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • Given how clean Coldplay's lyrics usually are, Everyday Life implemented the F-word enough to get a Parental Advisory label.
      • The first example is in a field recording of unlawful police detainment played in the crescendo to "Trouble in Town".
      • Next is "Arabesque"; having sung the line "We share in the same blood" in the chorus, Chris chooses to punctuate the end of the song with "Same fucking blood!" And to top it off, Chris drops three more in "Guns", once in each chorus and another in the second verse.
    • Music of the Spheres has exactly one F-bomb, located in the first verse of "People of the Pride", a rock song about rebellion and anger at oppression.
  • Product Placement: The Beats Pill in the music video for "Adventure of a Lifetime".
  • Protest Song: "Violet Hill", which also offers a bit of a Take That! with the line "And a fox became God".
  • Pungeon Master: Expect Chris Martin to make many puns about a certain color whenever "Yellow" is brought up in an interview.
  • Rearrange the Song:
    • "Don't Panic" was originally on one of the band's first EPs, The Blue Room, before achieving success as a single from Parachutes. The EP version of the song has a considerably more spacious and ethereal dream pop-like sound, and also features a different, quieter vocal recording of Chris.
    • "Lost!" received several variations; it was rearranged for piano ("Lost?") and essentially re-released with a verse from Jay-Z laid over an instrumental portion of the song ("Lost+").
  • Re-release the Song: "High Speed", like "Don't Panic", began life as a track on their early EP The Blue Room before being transferred to Parachutes; however, the song wasn't changed at all.
  • Record Producer:
    • They drafted in the godfather of ambient music, Brian Eno, for Viva la Vida. It shows.
    • Before, Ken Nelson co-produced the first two albums and four tracks of the third.
  • Recycled Lyrics:
    • "If you never try, (then) you'll never know" appears twice on the same album, X&Y, in both "Speed of Sound" and "Fix You".
    • "All I know / Is I love you so" is the intro for "Biutyful" from Music of the Spheres. The line was also used in the chorus of "Ink" from Ghost Stories, where it was followed with " much that it hurts".
  • Rewind Gag: The video for "The Scientist" plays backwards from Chris lying on a mattress on a random British street, him walking through the countryside, him getting up and walking after a massive car crash (that killed the girl he was driving with and sent said car down a hill) leaves him uninjured, the crash itself, and the events up to it, leaving him back in the car on the road with the girl buckled up properly (she had unbuckled before the crash, and was thrown through the windshield during it).
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Title Track of A Rush of Blood to the Head is slightly vague in meaning, but seems to be about doing one of these on the behalf of your loved one.
  • Recurring Riff: The beginning of "Life in Technicolor" and the entirety of "The Escapist" is the same series of notes. These tracks happen to be at the start and end of Viva la Vida, respectively.
  • Sampling:
    • "Talk" takes its main riff from Kraftwerk's "Computer Love", reproduced on electric guitar.
    • On Mylo Xyloto, the outro of "U.F.O." and the opening of "Princess of China" are bridged by a sample of ambience from the Title Track of Sigur Rós' Takk..., which then runs through the background of "Princess of China".
    • A sample of Jon Hopkins' "Light Through the Veins" is used in the opening of "Life in Technicolor" and as the instrumental for "The Escapist".
    • Similarly, a sample of Hopkins' "Amphora" is used prominently in "Midnight".
  • Sarcastic Title: "Viva la Vida", meaning "Long Live Life" in English, is told from the perspective of a disgraced king who definitely isn't living life. Some may interpret the song's lyrics to imply the king is near the end of his life.
  • Sdrawkcab Speech: Although not sung backwards, these lines from "Higher Power":
    I'm like a broken record
    I'm like a broken record and I'm not playin' right
    Drocer nekorb a ekil mi
  • Self-Parody:
    • 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. He 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.
  • Serkis Folk: Coldplay in the video for "Adventure of a Lifetime", where they are depicted as monkeys.
  • Silly Love Songs: "A Sky Full of Stars" and "Magic" are two examples of light-hearted romantic songs.
  • 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:
    • They've made several references to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; Parachutes had a song called "Don't Panic", and Viva la Vida had a song called "42".
      • In early 2021, before it was confirmed the mysterious cryptic Twitter account AlienRadioFM was connected to Coldplay (like many had been speculating), AlienRadioFM followed 42 followers, most of them being Coldplay fans. After Coldplay confirmed the account was run by them, the account followed a 43rd person—the official Coldplay account.
    • 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.
    • According to Martin, the conjoining of "Lovers in Japan" and "Reign of Love" was done partly out of a want from the band to have a "two-in-one" song title similar to those of Justin Timberlake on FutureSex/LoveSounds.
    • "Us Against the World" references the gospel hymn "When the Saints Go Marching In".
    • One of the elephants in the music video for "Paradise" resembles Snorky sans hat and vest.
  • Solo Duet: In-universe, the high-pitched voice in "Biutyful" is sung by an alien named Angel Moon/Angelina. The band jests that whoever sings Angel Moon's part is "highly confidential", but it's Chris's edited voice. This makes "Biutyful" a love duet between Chris Martin and himself.
  • Something about a Rose: The end of the music video for "Viva la Vida" ends with the four band members turning into rose petals. This may overlap with The Tragic Rose considering the song.
  • Space Rock:
    • Some songs on X&Y dabble in this territory, most notably, "Square One" and "Talk".
    • Music of the Spheres is a concept album themed around space, and thus contains many space rock songs.
    • Some of the early songs from the pre-Parachutes era can certainly be considered this, given the heavy psychedelic and dream pop influences the band had in the early days.
  • 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".
  • Super-Speed: Chris Martin gains this ability at the end of the music video for “Higher Power.” He speeds through a Kaotican city and then runs vertically towards space. See also Fast as Lightning.
    I'm going a million miles an hour!
  • Surreal Music Video:
    • The video for "The Scientist" has a very unorthodox storytelling style: it's entirely in reverse, and tells a story in backwards order. Throughout the video, Chris is shown singing the lyrics properly in the reversed footage; it reportedly took him a month to learn the song backwards.
    • The video for "Strawberry Swing" revolves around the adventures of a superhero played by portrayed by stop motion-animated chalk drawings.
    • The video for "Paradise", which has Chris in an elephant suit escaping a zoo in London, trying to hitchhike his way to another country, stowing away inside a suitcase to South Africa, getting enough money to buy a unicycle, and finding the rest of Coldplay off the side of the road who are also wearing elephant suits. And then they all play together in elephant suits. After that, it cuts to footage of the band in an actual live concert playing while wearing the elephant heads and hands.
    • The video for "Midnight" was filmed entirely (save for the ending) using a thermal infrared camera with negative imagery with a whole slew of visual effects on top of that.
    • Exaggerated with the video for "Up&Up", where they take the whole surreal factor to a whole another level, which includes Chris Martin and the band being absolute giants and lying on mountains and islands, a football match being played on a sponge, a volcano spewing popcorn, a boat travelling over New York, a plane dropping the solar system via parachute, horses galloping on water, a butterfly lying on a oil rig, dolphins swimming while a city is upside down above them, a man sunbathing on the moon, a turtle swimming in a New York subway station, two skaters skating on the second stage of a Saturn V rocket, a diver diving 30,000 feet in the bloody air, skiers skiing on a bed pillow, two planes flying either up or down with mountains above them and water below them, a man ironing on top of clouds, cars racing on the rings of Saturn, seals flying over New York, divers diving sideways off a building while walking sideways and a kid on a swing that is being suspended from the International Space Station!
  • Take That!: When Chris Martin made an appearance at the 12.12.12 benefit concert, he opened a rendition of "Losing My Religion" (with Michael Stipe on lead vocals) with this brilliant line:
    "I know you guys wanted One Direction, but it's way past their bedtime, so instead, you get 1/4 of Coldplay!"
  • Talkie Bits: American poet Coleman Barks recites part of a poem called "The Guesthouse" on "Kaleidoscope", followed by Barack Obama singing "Amazing Grace".
  • Teenage Death Song: "Orphans". Rosaline and her father are either killed or made refugees by the Syrian Civil War.
  • Textless Album Cover: A Rush of Blood to the Head, Ghost Stories, and A Head Full of Dreams.
    • Honorable mention to X&Y, which is written in a code (the back card has the band and album name, still).
  • Title Track: Every album thus far has had one; two in the case of Viva la Vida.
    • Ghost Stories is an interesting case, considering that its title track, "Ghost Story", was a bonus track from the Target release of the album, as well as a B-side to "A Sky Full of Stars".
  • Uncommon Time:
    • The last part of "Death & All His Friends" and the chorus of "Glass of Water" are in 7/8.
    • "Yes" also has some instrumental parts that bounce between time signatures and call to mind the band of the same name.
    • "Kaleidoscope" and "A L I E N S" are in 5/4.
  • What If?: In "Princess of China", the narrator and his ex wonder what would have happened if they had stayed together.
  • Wingdinglish: Music of the Spheres has 12 planets, each with their own alien Cypher Language.
  • Word Purée Title: Mylo Xyloto.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Most of their songs have vague-ish meanings.

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.
But life is for living, we all know, and I don't wanna live it alone.