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Favourite Style Of Coldplay


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Over their history, Coldplay have had different styles, seemingly changing every album or two. I wanted to see what people's favourite style was, because there's a lot to listen to and people's opinions will mean they prefer one style over others. The styles are, from my experience:

  1. Simple Instrumental (Safety, The Blue Room, Parachutes): Heard during the early years of Coldplay, there wasn't much in the way of 'added' sound - everything seemed to be from an instrument, and as a result the songs were generally a bit simpler. Still great though.
  2. Rock Instrumental (A Rush Of Blood To The Head): AROBTTH expanded upon the style of Parachutes, with songs being 'bigger' but also more rock-orientated,
  3. Pop Rock (X&Y): Songs like Fix You, Speed Of Sound and The Hardest Part were among the songs from X&Y which presented a new, pop-orientated sound. I can't deny X&Y was generally a rock album, but it is clear that this album created some of Coldplay's biggest hits for a reason. Fix You is a Coldplay classic and they can't do a show without it, but to be honest it has little in common with the songs from the first two albums.
  4. 'Classic' Rock (Viva La Vida, Prospekt's March): I wasn't sure what to call this category, but I settled on Classic Rock because the instruments on these albums sound almost medieval - it wasn't modern by any means, but it wasn't meant to either. One could have classified it as Art Rock as well, but I settled on Classic. Like Pop Rock, this style created some of Coldplay's biggest hits (yes, I am obviously talking about Viva La Vida) but also one of Chris Martin's favourites, Glass Of Water.
  5. Synth Pop Rock (Mylo Xyloto): Mylo Xyloto couldn't have been more different from Viva La Vida and Prospekt's March. It still sounded like Coldplay, but was more optimistic and more colourful, featuring synths as a major part of songs for the first time. It was possibly my favourite concert era, and again this style created some monster hits, like Paradise, Charlie Brown and Princess Of China. In effect, this was Coldplay without the - as Peter Griffin put it - 'whiney bullcrap.'
  6. 'Sparse' Pop Rock (Ghost Stories): Ghost Stories was a tonal shift for Coldplay. While the past albums were general in their subject matter, Ghost Stories almost entirely focused on the bleak feelings going through Martin's mind due to the end of his marriage. To go with this, the songs returned to instrumental simplicity last seen in Parachutes, but so did the lyrics, which is why this album is among Coldplay's least positively recieved. However, there were breaks from the dark and sorrowful subject matter - A Sky Full Of Stars, Midnight and Magic were all electronic, and the former was a lot more optimistic - almost like it was stolen from Mylo Xyloto.
  7. 'Giant'/'Optimistic' Pop Rock (A Head Full Of Dreams, Kaleidoscope): As opposed to the sad songs from Ghost Stories, A Head Full Of Dreams was a polar opposite. It was bright, the songs felt expansive (well, other than the ones Stargate ruined), and the lyrics were more optimistic than ever before. While A Head Full Of Dreams wasn't well received, it gave us some proper bangers, like Hymn For The Weekend (one of Coldplay's best concert songs in my opinion), Adventure Of A Lifetime (ditto) and Up&Up, which is possibly their largest and happiest song ever. Kaleidoscope came with even more songs, including a return to the 'Sparse' Pop Rock' style in All I Can Think About Is You and Hypnotised.
  8. Pop (Something Just Like This, Kaleidoscope, Music Of The Spheres): Kaleidoscope also included Something Just Like This and Miracles (Someone Special), both of which have little in common with Coldplay's rock past. It was a complete change for Coldplay and Something Just Like This was panned because of it. Music Of The Spheres brought us Higher Power and My Universe. While Higher Power could have appeared on Ghost Stories, My Universe could only have worked in a full pop album - but it wasn't on a full pop album, as I shall explain later.
  9. Art Rock (Everyday Life): Everyday Life came along in 2019 and basically reversed all of the changes Coldplay had been making in the past ten years. The lyrics were still optimistic in parts, but still had dark undertones - the rest of the songs were dark and honest. Some songs, like Trouble In Town, Broken, When I Need a Friend, Arabesque and Guns, could never have worked on any other album. Others, like Church, Everyday Life and Champion Of The World, could have been thrown onto Viva La Vida without question. What we have here is a refined arty sound that makes me sad that it wasn't toured - with any luck, we'll see a Joshua Tree-style 're-tour' of Everyday Life in the future.
  10. Unknown/Everything (Music Of The Spheres): MOTS has more variation of style than even Everyday Life. None of the songs sound similar, which is one of the flaws the reviewers see. But what I see is a selection of songs, all good in their own areas, thrown into one album, contextualised by the cultures of the peoples of the different planets. People Of The Pride is literally a Viva La Vida song, which makes me wonder why it was so negatively received by the press - it's one of my favourites and my mum's complete favourite. Biutyful is surprisingly well written, and is only truly disliked because of the Alvin And The Chipmunks voice (although personally I think the song couldn't work without it). Human Heart is pretty much the oddball out of Coldplay's entire discography; Human Heart could easily be a Mylo Xyloto song; and Let Somebody Go is a Ghost Stories-era breakup song. But then we get to Coloratura. This is a song that, while having much in common with past styles, I feel could only work in the context of Music Of The Spheres. It is directly connected to Infinity Sign, a fast house track, which it contrasts with completely. The rest of the album didn't handle changing genres as well as Everyday Life, but Coloratura more than makes up for it. It is one of Coldplay's most positively received songs (if not the most praised) and is truly beautiful. It is arguably the song from Music Of The Spheres; it defines it.

What are your favourites? For me, it's probably The classic/art rock of Viva La Vida and Prospekt's March, and the optimistic pop rock of Mylo Xyloto. But I cannot go without addressing how amazing Coloratura is.

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