Trackpacking: Coldplay

by Keith Savage · 2 comments


Trackpacking is a recurring series highlighting musicians that inspire me to travel.

It all started with “Yellow” back in 2000, a song far from my favorite and one I don’t really understand. But that’s fine, Coldplay’s been misunderstood for as long as they’ve been making music. When their debut album, Parachutes, dropped in July of 2000, music critics compared their sound to another British rock band: Radiohead. High praise indeed, but to my amateur eyes the comparison seemed tenuous (both bands have English frontmen who play the piano and guitar and sing in falsetto, but…). Playing in the shadow of Radiohead haunted Coldplay’s early career, but these days you’re more likely to hear them compared to U2. All this is to say that Coldplay is a dynamic band with musical moods to soundtrack any trip.

Perhaps Coldplay did grow out of some kernel of Radiohead’s music, but, where Radiohead moved toward art rock, Coldplay has moved toward stadium rock over the last decade. Coldplay’s five albums chronicle this stylistic shift from introverted alt-rock to the world’s biggest band. These days, just about anything they write explodes on the radio, and you have to give them credit; they’ve figured out what people want to hear. And they’re giving seconds.

Coldplay’s music is fun, breezy, catchy, and influenced rhythmically by R&B. They’re closer – musically – to Jay-Z than AC/DC. This recipe adds up to tunes that won’t overpower or change your mood, but simply amplify whatever it is you’re feeling. If you’re trying to get deep, listen to Parachutes, A Rush of Blood to the Head, and some of their b-sides. If you’re looking to simply have some fun, I recommend Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends and their new album, Mylo Xyloto.

Coldplay on the Viva La Vida Tour

Coldplay’s latest album is the strongest assertion of their ability to write instantly catchy, stadium-rocking songs. There’s something devilish about how addicting some of these tracks are, and I find it interesting that Chris Martin mentioned that addiction is one of Mylo Xyloto‘s themes. Ultimately, Coldplay’s music isn’t destined for analysis, it’s bound to be playing in the background of a significant moment wherever you are in the world. Have fun with it.

Pack These Tracks

Create a Moment with Coldplay

  • Pre-party in the penthouse overlooking the city.
  • Hop the train and bust out the headphones and notebook.
  • Friends, drinks, and sun.

What tracks do you pack when you travel?

Original photos by Alex Bikflavi and, respectively, via Flickr under Creative Commons.

RenNo Gravatar November 2, 2011 at 6:36 AM

At a time when the “cool”/”hipster” thing to do is slag on Coldplay, it’s nice to read an article that’s mostly positive towards them. Enjoying Mylo Xyloto, and addicted to “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall.” Listen to Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head when you’re feeling kinda down, or Viva La Vida… and Mylo Xyloto when you’re kinda up. I honestly don’t know where X&Y fits in to all this.

And FYI, “Viva La Vida” is one of my staple karaoke songs. 😉

Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 2, 2011 at 9:26 AM

You know, I don’t know where X&Y fits in all this either. It’s really a strange album to me. It has their signature anthems with songs like “Speed of Sound,” “Fix You,” and “Talk,” but the vibe is off. I remember when it first came out that I didn’t like it and felt like this was Chris Martin’s personal love song to Gwyneth. I suppose X&Y is more even-keeled, able to soundtrack the time between the “moments.”

Cheers for the comment!

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