AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #122 : COLDPLAY

A GUEST POSTING FROM KC

JC writes…..

I’m thinking that I’m going to wake up feeling a bit lost as all my blogging comrades head home after what I am sure will have proven to be a momentous and unforgettable weekend. I will, hopefully, find the time soon to put up a posting or two with my thoughts and memories but for now want to start the week off with what I think is one of the best-written posts to grace these pages.

It’s a TVV debut for KC who some of you will know as the wonderful new talent to be ‘discovered’ by SWC and Tim over at WYCRA. KC has chosen to dive in at the deepest of ends today without the aid of any safety devices…

An Imaginary Compilation – Coldplay

by KC from When You Can’t Remember Anything

“So how do these Imaginary Compilation Albums work then”?

I am sitting in the kitchen at work talking to SWC and Badger as we wait for the kettle to boil.

“Do you have to wait to be invited to do one or can you just jump in and do it”?

Slowly Badger explains it to me. I learn that you can write one about any band you like, any one at all is fair game.

“I mean some idiot even wrote one about Kanye West last year”, SWC chips in as his teabags leave a trail from cup to bin.

“That was you wasn’t it?” I ask him. He nods sheepishly.

“Are you thinking of writing one then?” he asks me before telling Badger about one that he had started last week at midnight when trying to sleep on the sofa whilst his wife was poorly.

It’s my turn to nod. “I’m going to write one on Coldplay…” there is a little choking noise. It’s Badger and he appears to have a small amount of brown crumbs around his mouth. I think he has just half swallowed and half choked on a Bourborn Cream.

SWC looks at me and is shaking his head, “they will never forgive you” he says. I look at him with confusion. He sighs…“One of the unwritten rules of music blogging; Thou must not write anything nice about Coldplay, Keane, The 1975 or Mumford and Sons and never ever admit to liking them even if you do”.

Well I do like Coldplay, and I like Chris Martin, I think he is a nice guy who is doing what he loves. He has an air about of him of a man who cannot believe his luck. He’s a geeky bloke from Devon who made a few records and then married a Hollywood actress. Last year at the Radio 1 Big Day Out, Chris Martin had 50,000 people eating out of his hands, people of all ages, all sexes, all races, religions and sexuality, and yet from what I can see even the mere suggestion of liking him or his music on various blogs is enough to get sneers of derision. Well to be honest you lot need to get over yourselves.

You know what I have a theory, and I’m telling this to Badger and SWC in the kitchen unaware that four other people are now listening to me. I think secretly most of you out there own something by Coldplay, and I think you play it more regularly than you will ever admit to it (aha, a nod from Badger).

It is far too easy to diss Coldplay, mostly this is just to pass them off as shit, most people who do this have heard two, possibly three songs by them. Well fine that’s your view, but let me tell you this. Chris Martin is more relevant than that chap from The Wedding Present ever has been or ever will be. He writes better lyrics than Morrissey and is a far nicer person. Every album Coldplay have made is better than anything that LCD Soundsystem have ever recorded (and when I say this it’s SWC’s turn to choke, genuinely choke).

Chris Martin has more charisma and stage presence than nearly every other front man or woman that I can think of. Face it indie boy, he is better than you at everything and secretly you know that and that is why you hate him. If you ask me it comes down to a question of what you want from your rockstars.

So I’m tweaking the nose of convention and I’m ripping up the rulebook. Because guys, here comes my ICA on Coldplay and I’m basing it on their first three albums, all of which are great records.

Side One

Trouble – Taken from ‘Parachutes’

This is probably one of those songs that annoys you all. Yet this is a song of gorgeous regret, an apology to someone somewhere – the lyrics show this “I never meant to do you harm”. It’s a powerful song because it is so simple and so easy for everyone to understand and get, and that’s why it is so popular.

Talk – Taken from ‘X&Y’

According to SWC this is the only Coldplay song worth listening to and that is only because it samples something by someone called Kraftwerk. It’s a different kind of Coldplay song entirely, much heavier than their usual standards but still really good.

Til Kingdom Come – Taken from ‘X&Y’

My Dad loves Johnny Cash and this song was written for him (Johnny Cash not my dad) by Coldplay and he never got to record it. I imagine that Cash would have recorded it different but this is a lovely little acoustic track and one that I really like. I especially like the way you get this at the end of the album perfectly contradicting the big sounds of the earlier parts of the album.

In My Place – Taken from ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head’

This is a grower I think, at first people were unsure of it, they were unsure of Coldplay’s progression as a band. But then after a few listens you realise that it is a fantastic pop single. For me it justifies my claim that they have more presence that most of the bands around today.

Low – Taken from ‘X&Y’

I’ll end side one with perhaps the most frantic song that they have ever recorded. I really like the guitars on this but I’m not going to try to describe how they sound. They sound awesome and that should be enough.

Side Two

Don’t Panic – Taken from ‘Parachutes’

I saw Coldplay live a few years back and when they played this the crowd went absolutely bananas for it. It is something of a fans favourite.

Warning Sign – Taken from ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head’

Coldplay are a band that are very much in touch with their emotions which is probably why they get so much stick. Personally I think it works in their favour. The vocals on this are passionate and heartfelt and again it is so simple when Martin goes, “The truth is I miss you”. Lovely.

You’ve Gotta Fight For Your Right To PartyBeastie Boys Cover

This is recorded live somewhere the day after one of the Beastie Boys died. I wasn’t aware of the original song until I heard this. I think the sentiment and the poignancy of this are beautiful and again it is heartfelt and sincere.

Square One – Taken from ‘X&Y’

Another thing about Coldplay and Chris Martin in particular is they have a knack of writing lyrics that affect individual on a massive scale. Thousands have fallen for his songs about love, hope, loss etc and ‘Square one’ is the track that gives them more than all the others with its lyrics asking “Is the anywhere you want to go…?”

Politik – Taken from ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head’

This song opens the second album ‘A Rush of Blood To the Head’ and it is quite an intense song and it happens to be my favourite Coldplay song should I actually need one. It is an exhilarating, driving blast and most bands out there would give anything to record a song anywhere near as good as this.

KC

41 thoughts on “AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #122 : COLDPLAY

  1. A great piece of writing KC but oh dear that Beasties cover is woeful. Slowing down a song and playing it on a piano does not make a song profound, in my arrogant opinion, just a contender for the next John Lewis or Lloyds Bank advert.

  2. I’ll be honest Parachutes is the only album of their’s that’ll I’ll religiously return to, although I do like pretty much everything you’ve added here (I haven’t heard the Beastie’s cover – how have you never heard the original by the way?). Parachutes, is a truly gorgeous album with Don’t Panic being it’s crown jewel. I think we don’t like seeing musicians happy, It makes us think of them as smug. Our problem not their’s.

  3. I’d be interested to know how it perhaps should have sounded. I don’t think that they were trying to be profound rather just paying tribute to someone who had died. Woeful or not it was a nice touch.
    Swc.

  4. Ha! Nice one, KC. When you get to be as old as me and JC and some of the other ancient relics that visit this site you won’t care what anyone thinks of your musical tastes — just go ahead on and like what you like. Coldplay are…fine, I guess, I liked Parachutes and I like the song ‘Lost’. I disagree about the band’s (do they even have names?) and Chris Martin’s talents — it just boils down to the fact that he’s handsome and women love him like they used to love Sting before he turned into Othello. Still, I love the image of TVV regulars opening up this post and having a fit over its contents. Which is very punk, in a way. Good job.

  5. Finally a tribute on these pages to one of the most grievously underrated bands of our time, so thanks a lot for that, KC! Ah, and I think I saw that Kraftwerk-bloke at Düsseldorf airport yesterday ….

  6. I posted a lengthy comment on this, but wp seems to have eaten it. I’ll try again…

    Well done, KC. As someone who spends a good amount of time on my own blog trying to “irk the musos” and denounce cool as a sham, I admire your bravery.

    I’m not the world’s biggest Coldplay fan, but I did love that first album when it came out and will defend Yellow as a great pop song against all naysayers. I actually saw them live before the album was released – they were supporting Muse and were much, much better. Matt thingy out of Muse played the whole set with his back to the audience where Chris Martin really did connect.

    I don’t agree with many of your subjective comparisons… well, any of them, to be honest… but I’d rather listen to Coldplay than New Order, and that’s an opinion which would have me flayed in many quarters. We all have individual reactions to individual bands. The important thing is be true to your own reactions and not just go with the cool opinion. A lot of cool people dislike Coldplay just because they’re popular and have sold millions of albums… in the same way that cool people hated Dire Straits in the 80s or The Eagles in the 70s. Not liking their music is one thing; hating them because they’re more popular than Fleet Foxes or The Supernaturals or The Blue Nile or that bloke who was voted off X-Factor last week is utterly pointless.

    Actually, you identified one of the reasons Coldplay stopped working for me in your post when you said, “writing lyrics that affect individual on a massive scale”. To do this – to communicate with a massive audience, as the most successful pop music does – you often have to sacrifice some of your own individuality. I started writing a huge explanation of why this often then fails to work for me, but then I realised I’d already waffled on way too long and you probably stopped reading after the first paragraph anyway. I’ll save that for a post on my own blog one time!

    I liked the cover of Fight For Your Right To Party though, reminded of when Ben Folds does similar piano ballad re-interpretations of rap songs. (He tends to have less serious intent though.) I’d disagree with Drew’s assertion that this was done to make it sound more profound, especially considering the Beastie Boys track was a piss-take in the first place, which I’m sure Chris Martin must have known. But then, pianos are another thing I love in pop music but which others often hate.

    It’s very complicated being a music fan.

  7. Rol – never been “cool” in my life so my dislike for Dire Straits was based on Knopfler’s voice and the sweatband, headband suit jacket combination.

  8. So… his fashion sense, then? Are you sure you’re not just a little bit cool? OK, I’ll let you off ‘cos you said “voice” first.

    BTW, just re-read that bit about Morrissey, KC. I stopped at the “writes better lyrics” bit before. Like CC, I agree that Chris Martin is obviously a nicer person. Then again, so was Pol Pot.

  9. The fashion thing was purely tongue in cheek Rol.
    We had that conversation at the weekend who is the more dislikable person Morrissey, Mark E Smith or Phil Spector. Not a fag paper between them but surprisingly Spector a close third with the other two taking joint top spot.

  10. I once played on the same stage that Coldplay had played on (The Cavern, Exeter). No one I’ve told this to has ever been impressed. So now I tell people I once played on the same stage that David Gedge has played on. All of a sudden, the jaws drop and everyone wants to know my life story.

    Not all of the above paragraph is true…

  11. I don’t mind Coldplay. When they get it right, they get it really right, in my view, and seem to do that at least two or three times every album.

    Chris Martin certainly offends people less than Morrissey. However… he might well be more relevant to most people than “that chap from The Wedding Present” but personally, that’s where I have to draw the line! He’s sold a lot more records than Gedge, so I’m obviously in the minority, but I know who’s more relevant to me.

    That said, I would like to see Coldplay live sometime. Don’t hold it against me…

  12. Drew, did you lot really come to the conclusion that Spector was the best of the three? Out of curiousity how many times did CC mention MESmith’s appearance on Newsnight after Peel died?

  13. If I remember correctly George, yes. Certainly less vociferous about him. I’m not sure CC did mention that terrible appearance (just cringed thinking about it).

    Rol – Spector’s hair had it’s own website for a while if I remember correctly.

    David Gedge, now he is an absolute gent.

  14. I seem to have an uncanny knack of offending the WYCRA team with my light-hearted quips… Maybe I should stop commenting altogether to be safe.

    To be fair though, Madonna was more rubbish the moment she released American Pie. Not sure if that was before or after her daughter.

  15. Not offended at all Robster I just didn’t understand the point. And the precise moment Madonna went rubbish was when she lip synched her way through the follow up single to Ray of light on TOTP in a cow girl outfit.
    KC

  16. Coldplay have passed me by, to a large extent. “Viva La Vida” is a properly great song, though. In my world they’re basically one hit wonders for that.

  17. Great post – and what a corking range of comments its attracted too. Always loved ‘The Scientist’ and ‘Viva La Vida’, myself. As JC can confirm.

  18. George/Drew
    I have absolutely no recollection of that conversation which suggests thst it took place after around 8pm on Friday

  19. Coldplay have their moments and I think you’ve highlighted most of them. Talk is a personal favourite, probably due to the Kraftwerk link.

  20. Can’t disagree about David Gedge. I once had a chat with him while he was manning his own merchandise stand at a Cinerama gig. Can’t see Morrissey ever doing that.

  21. When did we discuss that? Vague memories of Moz and MES but don’t recall Phil Spector at all.

    I quite liked Madonna’s American Pie. Well, I liked the video and the song snuck in.

  22. Welcome to the ICA fray KC! I’m afraid I can only speak to the debut album as it fit well in the time it was released as an alternative to the very much aging British Sound. But all went pear shaped for me after that and I couldn’t connect again with their music.
    But never, ever worry about how we in this corner of the Blogosphere react, the fact that we do means we’ve been engaged!

  23. Chris Martin does indeed seem to be a very decent geezer and Coldplay has my utmost respect for the Viola Beach tribute during their headline set at Glastonbury last year – a very classy thing to do. I enjoyed reading your piece a great deal KC – excellent stuff.

  24. My own thoughts and recollections on the blogger’s gathering will appear tomorrow. Tune in if you can be bothered…

    Over the weekend, I shared with everyone that KC was going to deliver this ICA where the idea for us all to collectively post something by the band today came out.

    There was complete admiration that KC was putting her head on the chopping block in the full knowledge it would get a reaction such as this. I think it’s one of the best things ever to have appeared on this blog and it’s certainly led to more comments and reactions than anything else. I certainly hope KC will give us more…but hopefully none of the not-s0-special K’s (Kasabian, Keane or Kaiser Chiefs)….although I will of course happily put up any such offering(s).

    Re the cover version. I think it’s magnificent and very moving. It was a one-off effort to mark something that for many, was a very sad day in pop history. Adam Yauch’s death was always going to mean the end of the Beastie Boys and I think Chris Martin, knowing this to be the case and being a fan, simply wanted to say thank you. And he did it very well indeed.

    One thing I will say about the comments in general. Nobody, certainly among the regulars, ever comes on and says something that it is there to spite, chide or criticise anyone else for the sake of it. There might a little bit of a sideways swipe or a putdown at a viewpoint or opinion but these tend to be done with gentle humour, albeit sometimes (as was seen today) on paper it doesn’t always come out the way it would when said face-to-face. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to refrain from ever offering any comments.

    On the day when I’ve slowly been recovering from an unfogettable weekend, reading this post and the thoughts about it make me again appreciate how lucky I am to have so many great and talented folk drop in here and add so much to what’s on offer. Thank you all so very much.

  25. I’ve now had the chance to go round all the ‘Coldplay Monday’ posts from all of us who were together at the weekend.

    Just in case there’s any confusion about what has been said in them….we wanted to make a collective effort to send ourselves up.

    I was the one who told everyone KC had written a great piece full of wit and humour that rightly poked fun at our indie sensibilities

    .Coldplay Monday was dreamt up solely as our way of paying tribute to KC and the fact that the ICAs encompass absolutely everything under the sun. As Swiss Adam reminded us at the weekend, there can’t be too many places where Mission of Burma appear back to back with Deacon Blue…..

    If anyone has been offended or upset by any of it then apologies are profusely offered.

  26. We had the Morrissey/Smith/Spector – conversation outside this bar which had all the beer with the funky names, the one where we were just before Drew and his lot left for football, you drunken old men!

    At least I think it was there …. 🙂

  27. Some of the lines in the individual posts by Drew, CC, Dirk and Adam look vicious when seen in black and white. I felt a bit awkward in that me talking so enthusiastically about KC led to what we all did and to some, who might not get the sense of humour, it could appear as if everyone was being petty and vindictive.

    I just wanted to go on the record to avoid anyone taking the huff and to perhaps head off any angry emails to myself or the other bloggers involved. I’m sensitive to these sort of things after one of the artists featured previously on TVV unfortunately got drawn into a bit of a spat through the comments section and then fired off a fairly angry email to me that I had to respond to with an apology.

    Worth mentioning that today’s post is getting more hits than any other in the past 18 months – some of that might be down to folk looking in after comments have been made but there are likely a fair number of new and first time visitors….

  28. Just wanted to say I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the post and the responses, brilliant to get people talking so much! Thank you KC and JC for kicking it all off.
    I’m not bothered about Coldplay’s music (nothing to do with cool or not cool, I’m just tepid!) but Chris Martin taking the piss out of himself on Ricky Gervais’ Extras, just like Bowie and George Michael did, definitely earns him my Brownie Points, if nothing else!

  29. Indeed.

    Alts made to earlier comment. Blame it on mental fatigue after a hard day at work on the back of four really hard days bring a host!! Sorry for the confusion….

  30. I dunno, but I’m totally convinced that KC is cool enough to understand that Coldplay isn’t our most favourite combo on earth and thus we allowed ourselves to take the piss a little bit … I really cannot imagine that she was offended by that in any form. But if so, I apologize without reservation whatsoever of course!

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