Coldplay: Ranking the Albums

Even the forgettable albums have songs that still played today…


Josh Carmichael, Staff Writer

Coldplay is considered to many as a radio-pop classic. Their music goes back quite a bit, nearly 20-21 years ago now, with their debut album “Parachutes” being released in 2000. This featured hits such as “Sparks”, “Trouble”, and of course “Yellow”. These songs are really nothing but songs meant, and formulated for the radio, and that is pretty much all Coldplay has been to me. As their discography continues, we get “A Rush of Blood to the Head” (2002), “X&Y” (2005), and “Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends” (2008), of course featuring the very popular song “Viva la Vida”. These all are forgettable albums in themselves, but carry songs that (for some reason) are still played today on the radios. Fast forward a bit to 2015, where Chris Martin, and his group are on tour for their album “A Head Full of Dreams”. I went to this concert knowing little to no Coldplay songs, or anything about them for that matter. After the concert, I recognized that this album relied on very nostalgic nostalgic 80’s synthesizers, and choppy voice samples in the majority of music from that album (along with all of the average radio music things). What really had it going for it, was that it was extremely catchy. Like ridiculously catchy. I mention this, because I saw so many similarities with this album, to their newest release “Music of the Spheres”. The interesting thing about this album is that its (supposed?) to be space themed. However, nothing is very spacelike besides the title names. 

Post-listening I could accurately categorize each and every song on the tracklist. There were the interludes, these were ok but they had their own issues to them, the cash-grab songs, and then the almost-good songs. I will go through these piece by piece. I want to start off with the Cash – Grab songs. This was easily the most annoying part of this project. None of the features worked, they did not sound good together, and there was simply just no chemistry between Coldplay and anyone on this album. For example, “Let Somebody Go” with Selena Gomez. Just slow, monotonous, and just plain boring. Overtly sappy in lyricism, and wildly sloppy in flow. It sounded more like something one would fall asleep to, rather than “space music”. This will come up in numerous songs as well, but the instruments are incredibly simple. If carried out well, this can be absolutely incredible, but it just simply does not work for this song. It also reminds me too much of their 2015 project. Considering that has been their project with the most hits, it would not be uncalled for for them to rely on that formula. The other song I consider an extreme Cash – Grab track is “My Universe” Featuring K-Pop group BTS. I can not believe that I am saying this, but they actually had a decent vocal performance on this track, but mixed in with the vocals of Martin, did not carry well for me, and several other listeners of this album. Both of these tracks held no substance, and just felt like they were purely made for the sake of cash flow, which is horrible in terms of where the music industry might progress to, let alone Coldplay.

Next, I think it is important to talk about the interludes. The Interludes itself are very interesting, and provide interesting soundscapes. The very big issue with these, is that they do not transition well into the songs that they are supposed to at all. They are all stylized with emojis, and either instrumentals, or instrumentals accompanied with a harmonious vocal pattern by Martin. Some of these are quite nice, like the planet and the stars. Simple chords on a synthesizer, and truly add to the mood, and vibe of the aspect that I feel was what Coldplay was ultimately going for, and then when you get to the song that it is supposed to transition to, you want the interlude to keep going. They are way too short, besides one. The earth interlude is only about 20 seconds long, and you will most likely miss it if you are casually listening to this album, as it is simply just a crowd cheering. The longest interlude out of all of them, infinity, goes into the longest track of the entire album, the outro. A whopping 10-minute song. The interlude itself is pretty interesting, it made for an interesting soundscape before it was abruptly cut off by the closing track. Its what you would expect from this album with the synthesizer chords, and Martin’s voice droning over for its 4 minute run time.

The two songs that I found to be decent, but definitely lacking include the closer, “Coloratura”, and the a capella “Human Heart”. I liked the experimental approach to “Human Heart”, and although I do not consider it to be a good song, there are some pretty interesting vocal performances in the outro of the song, and I have to give credit where it is due. “Coloratura” is a 10-minute, slow, and intense, but Coldplay-ish intense (a guitar comes in). It draws a lot of influence from Pink Floyd in terms of instrumentation, but the utilization of such just turns out to be incredibly uninteresting after a while. It is such a shame that such potential had to be put to waste.

The songs that I have not mentioned yet are all just average radio-pop songs. Specifically designed, and formulated for the radio. “Humankind”, and “People of the Pride” both come off as lacking instrumentally also, and shows itself to be extremely corny in terms of vocals, and the lyrics. These songs are very similar in style, and structure, and is why I group them together. The song “Biutyful”, is a complete disaster. You think that it could possibly be a great song among bad ones, but there is this constant, annoying, high pitch, shrilly voice throughout. 

Overall, I was not impressed. I believe that a majority of these songs were just throwaways from their 2015 project, or wanting to capitalize on big artists of the 2020’s.