Higher powers that be
10 May 2021-
Coldplay are back with perhaps their most orchestral piece yet, albeit of the electronic kind... and it feels good!
Every Coldplay release is a big deal. In recent years, the British band have become one of the few truly global music phenomenons out there. Of the enduring kind, that is: granted, you’ll see artists come up with a massive hit once in a while (say, Luis Fonsi with “Despacito“) but how many of those actually stay on top? Over the past 20+ years, Chris Martin‘s Coldplay have managed to do just that, following a pattern that was seen before with the likes of U2.
The comparison is not far-fetched (we think): admittedly, Ireland’s greatest musical export came for grittier beginnings. Bono (who celebrates his 61st birthday today!) and his colleagues started their career with intense, riff-heavy anthems, often with a social and/or political message attached to it. Meanwhile, Coldplay started came up as a sort of Indie melancholic pop outfit, producing true poetic gems in their early years. No matter where you come from, you will have to agree that “The Scientist” is one of the finest alternative ballads there ever was… Ballads period, even. Then, over time, both U2 and Coldplay seemed to follow the same trajectory, albeit a good decade apart: gradually making their sound wider, bigger, more orchestral — and also softer, in the sense that both bands slowly departed from the raw energy of their musical past.
That gave us arena-rock U2, circa 2000’s “Beautiful Day“: still an incredible band, but perhaps less inherently breathtaking than their angsty youthful work was (and still is all these years/decades later). As for Coldplay, the jury is still out: their brand new song, “Higher Power”, is yet another perfect example of the orchestral pop sound the band has come to be known for, at least ever since “Viva La Vida“. Yet, it manages to both remain innovative in the subtle use of electronic-infused arrangements, and in the sheer harmonies of the song. In other words, while Coldplay’s early emotional quality is not quite there anymore, the more ethereal work that the band have been gracing us with of late is still very much fresh, and utterly appealing…
Rock on! Or, rather, (orchestral) Pop on!