Coldplay Live in technicolour

Artwork by Astrid Ana Jansen

In all of today’s acronyms that have made my life that little bit simpler IRL, “FOMO” was the one the one that stuck around with a stench. Fear of missing out; clearly it must affect enough people for them to architect a whole acronym around it. I’ve had the occasional FOMO, obviously; whether I missed a great game of football, or if I’m the only fool on the table who’s completely missed a Kardashian reference.

Fucking Coldplay, though. Honestly, when it was announced that the band would visit our boroughs in Singapore, I laughed. Guffawed, even. Don’t take it personally, I just thought at the time that I’d genuinely have over 200 things that I’d rather be doing than swapping back sweat with someone blaring shit like “I, oh, I, oh, got me feeling drunk and high” into my ears. How did that become a Coldplay lyric?

But came the weekend, and with it came unrelenting Instagram notifications of live-streams from the National Stadium, and all that’s to be said is that I truly am so happy for all of you that went.

“…my semi-hatred for Coldplay, though, comes with feeling betrayed.”

People had it out for Coldplay; there was this scene between Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen in the 40 Year Old Virgin that likened listening to Coldplay as “gay”. There was comedy writer Aaron Gillies who tweeted a brutal comparison to the band. There were also numerous episodes on Never Mind the Buzzcocks that tirelessly took the piss out of Coldplay.

By the end of them all, if you said that it had somehow become “cool” to hate Coldplay, you wouldn’t be wrong. Much like what’s happened with Nickelback, who have become every unoriginal prick’s go-to for a quick laugh, Coldplay’s road to sell-out and technicolored concerts has been marred by a frivolous group of Internet users who will insist listening to Coldplay reeked of homosexuality. They’re idiots.

It could be that Coldplay took one half-decent Radiohead song and made a career out of it, it could also be that all Coldplay have done is strive for mediocrity and achieve it with great aplomb, OR you could be one of the few who use “a diet U2” to describe the English outfits.

My semi-hatred for Coldplay, though, comes with feeling betrayed.

A Rush of Blood to the Head was voted BBC Radio 2 listeners’ favourite record of all time. If you think that counts for two-thirds of bugger all, you should know they beat the likes of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, U2, and even Duran Duran. And really, all things considered, it was nothing less than what that album deserved.

From Politik to Amsterdam, with The Scientist and Clocks sandwiched in between for good measure, that album must have saved lives. Someone somewhere could have woken up miserable and crestfallen, ready to give in to the fatigue of being, but in doing so, had a listen of A Rush of Blood to the Head and was convinced to give their days and lives a second chance. It was just that fucking good.

That album came on the back of Parachutes, the band’s debut studio album. Wistful and doused in morose, but it was nothing we couldn’t handle. Easy to listen to, easy to hum to, nothing quite as pretentious; just goddamn quality music we could all relate to without getting the music snobs unnecessarily riled up.

That phase of self-discovery that Chris Martin and co. went through between the two albums is glaring. Could Chris possibly have more to sing about after the lovelorn tales of Parachutes? If he did, how would he? Could he engineer his way through to international stardom like U2 and Radiohead before Coldplay?

A Rush of Blood to the Head was everything Coldplay needed, and because of that, everything their fans needed then. Another complete album that caressed any post-pubescent insecurities that lingered; not only did Coldplay blossom into a confident young stud ready to finally pull his weight, I knew I did too.

It was somewhere between X & Y and Viva La Vida that… Well, either Coldplay or myself meandered. We’ll always have Fix You, a song that evolved into a prayer that consoled every non-believer in a time of need, and we’ll always have Viva La Vida, upbeat, uptempo, and always has us singing along when it played on the radio. Everything else? Different; not bad, not disgraceful, just different. When many of us relied on the listening ear Chris Martin gave us with Coldplay’s first two albums, the likes of Mylo Xyloto and Ghost Stories left us sleeping to ourselves on rock pillows.

Paradise was a tough one to deal with. Musically, it is cream of the crop; I’ll spare you my thoughts on the rest of Mylo Xyloto (Rihanna was a bright introduction, TBH), but Coldplay suddenly sounded like a massive budget had shat the album out. The next few albums came with a sheen that was exotic, but hey, if it gave way to covers like ThePianoGuys, one can’t complain that much.

“…perhaps it might have been Chris himself who’d been a victim of today’s hot goss.”

Coldplay just started… partying, and it’d be unfair to blame it on the tiresome indie vs. mainstream debate, or the lure of the millions of dollars that come with genre-shapeshifting to cater to the masses. I’d just like to ask Chris Martin why and how he became so fucking happy. That’s the only discrepancy I can’t seem to wrap my head around.

And of Chris Martin, ugh, what a conundrum. He’s polite, he doesn’t bother with snark, he’s involved with the right causes, he doesn’t drink alcohol, he doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t eat meat, but because I know all of that, means many more know that about him. Who’s to say we don’t let all of that then get into his head? Personally, I couldn’t care less about the human being he is or tries to be, about his “conscious uncoupling” with Gwyneth Paltrow, or about his week-long fling with Jennifer Lawrence. They’re just irrelevant blips we’re forced to be interested in, but perhaps it might have been Chris himself who’d been a victim of today’s hot goss.

I’ve had my fair share of days spent cowering in the corner of my secondary school classrooms after being bullied for reasons aplenty, but when Coldplay showed up with Spies and braced my fears and insecurities, we became friends.

Scrolling through Instagram and the likes over the weekend under the pretence of a breather, the whiffs of nostalgia hit me harder than I’d asked. I didn’t think it would’ve been worthwhile to pay that kind of money to see Chris Martin prancing about as if this was another audition for another day out at a Super Bowl half-time special, but I may have been wrong.

I owe it to you, Coldplay, for the many times you’ve helped me decide to have a good day instead, but things haven’t been the same. You were right; it was all yellow, but look at the stars, look how they’ve shined for you.

Submit a comment