Oct 242011
Authors: Allison Sylte

Coldplay has taught me many lessons. That lights will guide me home and ignite my bones. That just because I’m losing doesn’t mean I’m lost. And that if your castles stand on pillars of sand, it’s probably not a good thing, and you definitely don’t want to be king, that is, unless the stars shine for you.

But the greatest lesson Coldplay has taught me is that you can be almost universally despised and still sell more than 50 million albums worldwide, win seven Grammys and continue to write the most soul-crushing music since U2 gleefully told us that it’s a “Beautiful Day.”

And as much as I hate to admit it, it doesn’t look like Coldplay’s going anywhere anytime soon.

Today marks the release of Coldplay’s fifth studio album, the mysteriously titled, “Mylo Xyloto,” which, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin told The Sun, means… wait for it … absolutely nothing.

Ironically enough, that pretty much sums up what Coldplay’s music means to me.

Why the harsh words? While a Sunday article in the Denver Post went as far as to ask “Can Coldplay save rock ‘n’ roll?” I see Coldplay as the death of rock music, a band that goes against everything that once defined this edgy, but sometimes soft, hip-shaking, but sometimes heart-breaking, art form.

If my parents did one thing right, it was give me a quality music education. I was raised at the altar of the Beatles and the Who, and I was listening to Van Morrison and Fleetwood Mac before I even understood the lyrics.

But despite introducing me to the Beatles, my parents also bought me my first –– and only –– Coldplay album, “A Rush of Blood to the Head.”

This was back when Coldplay still kind of had a cool factor. The readers of Rolling Stone voted Coldplay the best artist of the year in 2003, and they were coming off of a Best Alternative Album Grammy.

And even though I was in middle school, I thought they were terrible.

Compared to Roger Daltrey’s powerful screams about a teenage wasteland over Keith Moon’s manic drumming, hearing Chris Martin’s effeminate falsetto sing, “Yoooooooooo ohhhh, confusion never stops,” over a piano and perfectly orchestrated guitars and drums felt pretty lame.

While a lot has changed for me since middle school, one thing hasn’t: I still hate Coldplay.

I’m not a music snob. There’s just as much of the Black Eyed Peas on my iPod as more college-hipster approved music. But while jamming to Ludacris and Phil Collins is a tradition in the Collegian newsroom, I’m the first to flip a bitch if anyone dares to play Coldplay on our stereo.

The New York Times once called Coldplay, “the most insufferable band of the decade,” and Noel Gallagher of Oasis called them, “four Didos with willies.” Perhaps my favorite quote about Coldplay came from Andy Gill, a writer for the Independent, who said, “None of my personal or professional acquaintances… will admit to liking Coldplay or purchasing their music… so who’s buying all their albums?”

The answer, Mr. Gill, is simple. A lot of people buy Coldplay’s albums. While it’s in vogue to hate them, the truth is that most people like them. They have a polished, bombastic sound, they’re all good-looking guys and they sing about love and sadness in a way that’s sensitive enough to make them pretty hot.

But rather than see themselves this way, and take themselves at face value, they see themselves as more important and great than they really are.

That’s precisely the issue I have with Coldplay. Chris Martin once told Rolling Stone that, “Rock ‘n’ roll is not about caring what anyone else says,” a quote their music ultimately proves is entirely hypocritical.

Martin has often said that he wants Coldplay to be the biggest band in the world. This isn’t the mindset of someone who doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. This is the mindset of someone who writes songs simply so that they become a hit, so that people like them.

This makes their music meticulous, orchestrated perfectly for mass enjoyment, ignoring the very things that make music great.

Martin has said that he wants to write the next “Yesterday,” a feat that some say would be impossible by his use of lyrics like, “Do you feel like a puzzle/you can’t find the missing piece,” but something I say is impossible because you don’t go out there and write a masterpiece like “Yesterday” for commercial success.

You write it because it actually means something to you. That’s what made “Yesterday” great, and judging from the fact that Coldplay named their recent album something entirely meaningless, it’s something that Chris Martin just doesn’t get.

Content Managing Editor Allison Sylte is a junior journalism major. Her column runs Tuesdays in the Collegian. She can be reached at letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:46 pm

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