Coldplay would have been as well calling themselves Marmite, if it weren’t for the obvious legal action which would have ensued. There are few bands which elicit such a black or white response from people as to whether they love or hate them. The hate is vitriolic, the love shares equal fervour and in the middle is very little grey.
When they first hit the scene I loved Coldplay, and I’ve never understood the haters. In the case of Chris Martin I remember the frontman, shy and lacking confidence, standing on a tiny stage in a Glasgow club introducing his next single “Yellow” to a crowd disinterested in his unheard of support band. It was at that moment as he cajoled the assembled mass into taking a moment to listen that I started to really like the band.
Maybe the bipolar public feeling is borne out of the Make Trade Fair Bono-esque causes or A-list Celebrity spouses, or even the – by all-accounts – bizarre names for his children. Rightly or wrongly, a person’s public persona clouds judgement of their artistic output.
In the case of Coldplay it’s a shame. Their live show, and Martin’s stage-presence is captivating, sure-footed and a pleasure to watch. They have the songs to match and hold an audience exactly where they should be held during the sort of extravaganza stadium and festival headlining slots the band now orchestrate.
Today saw the release of their seventh album, A Head Full of Dreams to a mix of excitement and groans dependant upon which camp you live. After the down-low and sombre release of Ghost Stories last year we are promised something more upbeat, more life-affirming, and in keeping with their earlier releases.
So what’s the album like? Well if you like Coldplay, you’re going to enjoy it. If you hate them then it’s a blot on your aural landscape. What we have been given is a collection of well-crafted business-as-usual stadium-sized hits featuring a host of special guests (from Tove Lo to Beyoncé). For those interested think Mylo Xyloto and not Parachutes (although it’s not as good as either unfortunately).