Thanks for sharing this article. It’s weirdly refreshing to read an article about music circa 2003 that doesn’t reference the OC. I learned a lot here.
Interesting article. Couple thoughts. This phenomenon could be a UK thing. I’d have to think Sheeran looks up to Gary Lightbody as a songwriter and Snow Patrol released some dancy singles that floundered. Keane put out an EP with collaborations with K’naan and other nonKeanian sounding tracks. Obviously Coldplay did their Mylo Xyloto thing. Coldplay, I’d argue, though succeeded only in that they try to find a new way to essentially deliver the same message they’ve tried four other times to do with their music (feel empowered by friendship, music and just being yourself). I think that’s the key for popular acts. Rihanna’s seven albums are pretty diverse but they all amplify fundamental perceptions of what we’d imagine her to be. Princess of China is a different kind of Coldplay song but it works for her and works for Chris Martin. This Ed Sheeran song doesn’t reaffirm anything we’d imagine about him as an artist. It fails. Definitely a talented guy with a good future but a strange choice.
I enjoyed reading this. My parents were super religious and wanted to vet every piece of music I brought into the house. Which was extreme and I rebelled as much as could. I forced my CDs to play Anne Frank in the most random parts of my bedroom. I have to believe that I liked the song Float On from Yahoo radio or something and so I bought this album. But upon reading some of the other lyrics, I knew it was way too dangerous to have in the house. I brought the CD with me and gave to a random girl in my painting class. Really boring story. That says so much about my past lol.
As for songs that stick out? The View. Great, great song. “If it takes shit to make bliss then I feel pretty blissfully.” That and the Killers’ “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier” where my anthems in high school.
Nelson, the first season of the Sing Off was a revelation. No question. But as you keep watching in subsequent seasons it’s clear Ben Folds isn’t THAT good. Breaking down the tonal nuances of a group singing Macklemore and Ryan Lewis loses its appeal in the midst of holiday season. The show isn’t that consistently entertaining. Lil Mama on America’s Best Dance Crew is probably a better judge. Nigel is good. Maybe the dance judges are better than singing judges.
re: Akon’s “cash out” line. I enjoy Lady Gaga’s music and respect her as a cultural personality. I find the fallout from Artpop fascinating and really surprising. She’s been good to Interscope. She’s been good to Akon. Why have both let her own #artflop by herself? Very strange. I’m not crazy about the songs and I think Lady Gaga will remember her music is best when accountable to her fans not pleasing Marina Abramovic. But I’m not sure when Lady Gaga’s career merits any critiques of her as anything but a world-class performer.
The best thing about the conventional Coldplay narratives is that it made Coldplay really appreciate their fans and reward them for sticking around. Which, in turned, helped their longevity. Pop bands survive when the fans feel like a priority. They give out songs and whole albums for free. They have concerts for free. They create additional ways for the band to engage in their music even when they aren’t touring or recording, whether through creating silly comic books or playing festivals. They handed out souvenirs to their concertgoers. They don’t sell the first rows of their concerts to have attendants find crazeball fans in the rafters and give them a great seat. They’ve always wanted to be the biggest band in the world but weren’t afraid to collaborate and have others join the process, like a Hopkins or Eno. They’ve written great songs for 15 years but they’re getting better at fulfilling their mission: bringing passionate music to the mainstream. There’s just a lot to like about Coldplay and dozens of reasons it’s great being a fan.
I love Elbow’s music but I haven’t given the new album much a proper swirl yet. What exactly does “proggy” mean though? Were their other albums proggy? I’ve genuinely never heard that term before. Just curious.
The internet isn’t a place where people can acknowledge and respect the nuance in other people’s choices. Everyone is an expert on how somebody else out to be living. It’s unnecessary though. Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore are accountable to each other. Not writers who compose their thoughts in listicle form. To even have an opinion on their situation is a gross miscalculation of my relevance as a music fan.
One thing objectively worse than Coldplay’s music is commentary about Coldplay’s music. As we begin, consider following a few ground rules.
1. If you feel compelled to reference another artist, actually say why that’s relevant. “Coldplay sounds like (x), therefore (y).”
2. Explain why, after 15 years as a band but you still don’t have enough evidence to decide your feelings for Coldplay, why you’re still trying?