“Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard. Oh, take me back to the start.”
These are some famous lyrics from Coldplay’s “The Scientist” (2001) that you might have heard over your lifetime. Or maybe you recognize the famous violin chord progression of “Viva La Vida,” which came out in 2008. But not too many will recognize the guitar riff of “Charlie Brown” (2011) or the synthesizer opening of “Princess of China,” also released in 2011.
Coldplay, a British band (officially considered rock but that’s debatable), formed in 1996, is without a doubt my favorite band ever.
Over the years, the band members have stayed the same, but the style of music has changed. Many people can be seen asking for the “old” Coldplay back; what they’re referring to is the quiet and calmer Coldplay versus the more pop-style Coldplay nowadays.
From 2000 to 2008, Coldplay released the albums “Parachutes,” “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” “X & Y” and “Viva la Vida” or Death and All His Friends.” These albums feature mainly more somber, calmer and sadder toned songs such as “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” “The Scientist,” “Parachutes,” “Viva la Vida,” “Gravity” and “Trouble.”
These tracks feature main chords that are quieter, softer ones played with guitars or pianos. The songs have a sadder, more remorseful feel. But in 2011 things start to change. Coldplay releases “Mylo Xyloto.” Three years later comes “Ghost Stories.” These albums feature more up-beat songs like “A Sky Full of Stars,” “Paradise,” “Charlie Brown” and “Hymn for the Weekend.”
These songs feature guitar and piano riffs that are faster, more lively. It fits more into the music of the time, more pop style. But the Coldplay fans don’t like it.
On countless YouTube videos and websites like Reddit discussing the band, many can be found complaining about the band’s transition to a more pop style. Six out of Coldplay’s top 10 tracks were released before 2011.
Coldplay’s albums released before 2011 sold an average of 17.5 million copies per album. But starting from 2011 and on, their albums averaged about 8.5 copies. They want the old Coldplay, they want the “good” music back. But did the music really change that much?
If you compare the lyrics, the first “age” of Coldplay was mostly about a relationship that went bad, and now the singer feels sorry and regretful for the past times. But that’s the same thing that Martin is singing in his later songs, just the music is happier.
In “A Sky Full of Stars,” Martin sings, “ ‘Cause you’re a sky, ‘cause you’re a sky full of stars. I want to die in your arms… ‘Cause you get lighter the more it gets dark. I’m gonna give you my heart.” Here, Martin proclaims his love for the person he is singing to.
In the song “In My Place,” Martin sings in the verse, “And if you go, if you go, and leave me down here on my own, then I’ll wait for you.” The message that Chris is singing here is that his love for this woman is strong enough that he is willing to wait for any time to be with her.
Throughout all their songs, Coldplay tells the story of a relationship between two people, where one person has done something to hurt the other and is now asking for forgiveness.
Unlike many other bands like Muse and celebrities who have slowly fallen away from their roots and into the pop culture of today, Coldplay has changed, but not as drastically as many believe.
Although the music has different tones to it, the message that they are trying to communicate is the same, and Coldplay has not lost its identity as many angry fans seem to think.