Entertainment Music

Sunday 21 July 2019

Why the haters are wrong about Chris Martin

Chris Martin
Chris Martin

John Meagher Music Critic

It was easy to lose count of the Twitter jibes over the past 24 hours – the ones about what a pity it is that Chris Martin's band isn't coming to an end like his marriage.

Few contemporary entities attract quite as many 'haters' as Coldplay, especially among gnarled rock critics who like to moan about their so-called safe, dull and uninspired music.

But such easy put-downs are comically wide of the mark. Coldplay may not be the most scintillating or innovative band on the planet, but their brand of stadium rock is, artistically, light years beyond the capabilities of most of their peers.

Very few people are capable of writing catch-all anthems that can stand the test of time, but Chris Martin and his largely anonymous bandmates have written a truck-load of them. 'Yellow', 'Trouble', 'The Scientist', 'Clocks', 'Speed of Sound', 'Shiver' – the list goes on: if you're seeking cast-iron songcraft, plenty of hooks and no shortage of melodies, plus heart-on-sleeves honesty about love and loss, you need look no further.

Some of the most entrenched Coldplay haters I know don't like to be reminded about how much they admired that debut album, Parachutes, when it was first released. But when it became obvious that Martin et al were privately educated, middle-class boys, their credibility supposedly went out the window. Throw in his marriage to a Hollywood A-lister famed for a devotion to yoga and macrobiotic food and he was seen as a figure to be lampooned and whose sonic output just couldn't be taken seriously.

Yet, even on their patchier albums like 2008's Viva La Vida, there is a handful of truly fantastic songs – think of that life-affirming, carpe diem title track – that really come into their own in a live setting. And that's the other thing the Martin-bashers like to forget – this is a band capable of shrinking the largest stadium or arena thanks to the power of performance and the heart-tugging warmth of the songs.

A new, sixth, album Ghost Stories will be released in May and the two tracks they've aired to date, 'Magic' and 'Midnight', suggest they may be hitting a creative peak once more.

Maybe it's time for all those haters to reappraise?

Irish Independent

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