When Coldplay emerged with their debut single Yellow in 2000, they were merely a drop of water in the wave that was Post-Britpop bands making their mark. Bands like Travis, Stereophonics, Feeder, Starsailor and Snow Patrol desperately fought for the British rock throne occupation, held by Oasis and Blur.
Cut to just over a decade later and Coldplay have released five acclaimed albums and a plethora of singles, as well as shattered their mantelpieces from the sheer weight of accolades, including seven Grammys and six BRITs.
With tickets to their latest Australian tour on pre-sale tomorrow, we discuss the Top 5 Coldplay Moments that have taken Chris Martin and co. from wannabe Britpoppers to global stadium fillers.
But first, the worst. Speed of Sound is one of the dullest, most generic pieces of drivel released by this, or any other, band.
5. Don’t Panic (Parachutes)
As strange as it sounds, Australians, Brits and Europeans were first introduced to Don’t Panic as a pop/dance track, performed by Logo feat. Dawn Joseph. First appearing before the success of Yellow, the version couldn’t have been further from Coldplay’s acoustic stunner, but remarkably still held its own.
In 2004, Zach Braff’s Garden State became a cult phenomenon, largely due to film’s attached soundtrack, which led to a huge resurgence in Don’t Panic’s popularity. Second only to baristas as the must-have café accessory, the folky pop track is the single that never was, but should have been.
4. Viva La Vida (Viva La Vida Or Death and All His Friends)
The concept of Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends made a lot of Coldplay fans nervous. Despite making three solid preceding albums, Coldplay had never really tampered much with their sound. In fact, Chris Martin had declared the first three albums as a trilogy of sorts, meaning that fans were to expect something d-d-different (pure terror for boring people that never leave the comfort of their one music genre.)
With its infectious orchestral opening, Viva La Vida established itself as one of Coldplay’s best tracks in about 13 seconds. Despite the opening sentence, “I used to rule the world”, Coldplay showed no signs of losing their dominance over the world of pop music.
The song builds upon itself steadily until the triumphant climax, by then you’re most likely screaming ‘whooooaaaa’ along with them. From start to finish, Viva La Vida is a genuine classic.
3. Paradise (Mylo Xyloto)
Every Teardrop is a Waterfall was an underwhelming choice of lead single from Mylo Xyloto and the fans feared the new electronica direction could spell the demise of Coldplay. They needed more than a hit, they needed an epic hands-in-the-air anthem that reaffirmed why Coldplay rose to the top. Paradise was that…and then some.
Blazing, synthy percussion and a chorus that makes Rihanna’s Umbrella sound like a Christmas jingle, Paradise is deservedly one of Coldplay’s biggest singles to date and almost single-handedly resurrected their credibility in the eyes of critics and the public. It’s lucky the communists didn’t get hold of those chorus “whoa-oh-ohs” back in the 1950s, or we’d all be proudly wearing red today.
2. Fix You (X & Y)
Unless you’ve avoided the final episode of almost any TV drama of the last five years (most notably The O.C.), you’ve probably heard Fix You.
Fix You isn’t a great song, it’s two. Starting off as a gorgeous organ-led ballad with Martin’s trademark falsetto, the song transforms at the halfway mark into an emotional explosion of rock instrumentals and some of Coldplay’s most haunting lyrics, “Lights will guide you home and ignite your bones, and I will try to fix you.”
A tribute to everything from the 2005 London bombings, Sydney’s Sound Relief and Live 8, Fix You has snowballed into one of this generation’s biggest tribute songs.
1. The Scientist (A Rush of Blood to the Head)
There are two experiences with The Scientist. The first one is listening to the track, a heartfelt and piano-driven tale of a man’s helplessness. The second – watching the video clip – is an experience.
I remember watching the video clip for The Scientist as vividly as I remember witnessing September 11. The reverse narrative story had been done before, but never as compelling as working backwards from Martin’s girlfriends car related death.
While Chris Martin may have spent a month learning to sing the lyrics backwards for the video, hearing him sing it live will haunt you for a lot longer than a month. A permanent benchmark for Coldplay, or any other band for that matter.