No No, They’re not all spies… [Coldplay]


Ok, so at some point or another we’ve all been charmed by Chris Martin‘s simple piano plucks, rainbow colored fingers, and falsetto melodies. Also, there’s no denying that few things are more appropriate than a balding man named Will Champion hammering on the kit with the same demeanor he would have championwhoaeating a really good roast beef sandwich. I must mention also that all four of these Brits are paragons of the male rock aesthetic. In the end, these things are merely novelties that only satisfy for a short time, eventually we have to move past all that and ask ourselves: what the hell are these dudes actually saying? Does it have any lasting poetic value? Either my mental capacity for understanding sentences and phrases is severely damaged or the majority of the lyrics in Coldplay songs are complete nonsense.

The foursome Coldplay put out their first album in 2000, perhaps heralding a new millenium of music for the UK (for better or worse). Their album hit the top of the UK charts with the singles Yellow and Trouble. The album dubbed Parachutes eventually hit double platinum in the US and won the Mercury Music prize the in September of 2000. The question then becomes: why? The only think I can come up with is it’s because no one knew what the hell they were saying and assumed it to be profound. Let’s look at Yellow for a second:

Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do, (what does this person do?)
Yeah they were all yellow, (stars are usually white, if  i’m not mistaken)

I came along
I wrote a song for you
And all the things you do (no really, what do they do?)
And it was called yellow

So then I took my turn
Oh all the things I’ve done
And it was all yellow ( ok at this point I’d like to know what yellow has to do with anything.)

Your skin
Oh yeah your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful
D’you know you know I love you so
You know I love you so

I swam across
I jumped across for you
Oh all the things you do
‘Cause you were all yellow

I drew a line
I drew a line for you
Oh what a thing to do
And it was all yellow (this actually makes sense, what a thing to do…drawing a yellow line)

So maybe I’m being too cheeky, but let’s be honest, this is vague and cliche verse. There is nothing solid about it; it’s not grounded in anything that can be meaningful to anyone.

The entire album is littered with this kind of arbitrary pseudo-profundity.

Let’s take the song Spies for example:


I awake to find no peace of mind.
I said how do you live
As a fugitive?
Down here, where I cannot see so clear

I said what do I know?
Show me the right way to go.

What? It’s a case of focusing on rhyme so much that one loses any real direction, purpose or feel of a song; one ends up with a  list of semi-connected phrases that rhyme and fit well with the music but really don’t have any sort of coherence.

Maybe it was an isolated incident, ya know? A fluke. Let’s look at their newer stuff and see if it’s improved. A band’s gotta grow right?

Well, a little.vivalavidacrop

Viva la Vida (2008) has its moments (like the intro to Strawberry Swing). It is not want for classic Coldplay catchiness, but overall, its still leaves one lyrically starved. To be fair, some songs show a certain improvement; songs like the title track Viva la Vida and Cemeteries of London show a level of cohesion that allows one to follow the train of thought of the writer somewhat. The question reamains: will Coldplay move evolve their writing with coming albums or rest on their success and keep putting out the same sort of half-ass writing that has made their music unable to pass into the truly wise or mature.

I leave with you with the lyrics to Cemeteries of London and let you decide whether there is any substantial improvement:

At night they would go walking till the breaking of the day
The morning is for sleeping
Through the dark streets they go searching to see God in their own way
Save the night time for your weeping, your weeping

Singing la la la, la la la eh
And the night over London, hey

So we rode down to the river where the toiling ghosts spring
For the curses to be broken
We go underneath the arches where the witches are in the saying
There are ghost towns in the ocean, the ocean

Singing la la la, la la la eh
And the night over London, hey

God is in the houses and God is in my head
And all the cemeteries in London
I see God come in my garden but I don?t know what He said
For my heart it wasn?t open, not open

Singing la la la, la la la eh
And the night over London, hey
Singing la la la, la la la eh
There’s no light over London today