10 Best Coldplay Songs
Coldplay‘s Chris Martin is a lousy lyricist. We’re not hating — he’s openly admitted it, and in an episode of ‘VH1 Storytellers,’ the singer says the hit ‘Yellow’ was based on a phone book. Coldplay also have no problem (allegedly) copying other performers. But let’s set all that aside, shall we? You’re here because you want to see the 10 Best Coldplay Songs, lined up nice and neatly, so without further ado, here’s a creme-de-la-creme collection of old gems, new favorites and deep cuts you may have missed from the biggest pop band in the world.
The further Coldplay push themselves, the further they descend into an irreversible pit of pop hell. However, ‘Lost!’ from ‘Viva La Vida’ captures the spirit of the band’s earlier recordings through politically minded lyrics and their most cognizant post-‘X&Y’ melody. Instead of detracting from the overall sound, the foreign percussion, strong digital organ and Brian Eno production make this a true keeper.
“All you ever wanted was love, but you never looked hard enough,” Martin croons over this mid-’00s single, No. 9 on our list of the 10 Best Coldplay Songs. ‘X&Y’ hasn’t aged as well as some of their other albums, but ‘Low’ stands out as a succinct and enticing rocker. Standout moments include a chill-inducing string arrangement, drummer Will Champion’s crazy wine-glass interlude and the flipped pacing of the outro, which builds into a stadium sized anthem.
Coldplay are really great at building suspense. They have always displayed remarkable restraint, holding back at moments where a blistering solo could’ve melted faces. With a bucketload of heart, Coldplay brought back the piano as a main instrument on ‘Amsterdam.’ For five solid minutes, Martin and co. bring you closer and closer to that I’m-crying-by-myself place.
‘Everything’s Not Lost’ & ‘Life Is for Living’
This excellent closer to ‘Parachutes’ is all about the bass. You can’t help but mouth out the lovely low-end notes while air drumming like an idiot. “If you ever feel neglected, and you think that all is lost,” Martins sings before reassuring you that it certainly is going to get worse. ‘Everything’s Not Lost’ also includes a hidden gem, the secret track ‘Life Is for Living,’ which features a dynamic change from washed out to pipe organ bonanza. Awesome.
You were in middle school. It was on MTV. It changed your life. Watching Chris Martin walk down a stony British beach at daybreak while blistering chords swam at his side probably gave your young self a brand new feeling. Hell, it might have even gotten you interested in indie music. Even though the song is really an ode to a phone book, it still symbolizes an era of Coldplay that will forever be excellent.
It’s as recognizable as ‘Freebird’ now. Back when Coldplay were still enthralled with math, physics, light speed and the unknown, ‘The Scientist,’ No. 5 on our list of the 10 Best Coldplay Songs, emerged as a worldwide hit. Martin sings with the slightest quiver in his voice, subtle and delicate, carefully handling the single as it progresses, like a beaker-heating lab technician mixing volatile acids.
‘In My Place’
Those big drums in that big room, coupled with the shimmering chords of guitarist Jonny Buckland, make ‘In My Place’ a keeper. “How long must you pay for it?” Martin asks, filled with intense regret for past mistakes he so desperately wishes were absolved.
This sleeper was Coldplay’s first single, but it really propelled the band into the stratosphere when it was featured in Zach Braff’s gushy indie film ‘Garden State’ in 2004. The intro chords get tossed around like a groggy 9-to-5er rustling under a big comforter in a cold house. “You gotta hear this song; it’ll change your life,” Natalie Portman’s character says in the film. She may have been talking about the Shins, but it applies here.
Van Morrison’s geriatric single ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ made ocular musings cool back in the late ’60s. But it’s all about the green-eyed girl now. “Honey you are a rock, upon which I stand,” Martin sings confidently on this, No. 2 on our list of the 10 Best Coldplay Songs. It’s as straightforward as British folk-rock gets, but when the band hits that emotional chorus, it’s swoon city. You can bet guitar-slinging bro-dudes in colleges across the land have tried to impress a few green-eyed ladies with this tune.
The most nuanced, expertly executed Coldplay song ever recorded is ‘Trouble.’ Each element of the ‘Parachute’ single is perfectly balanced. Light touches of piano are complemented by a reverb-laden Rickenbacker, while the snare chugs pair nicely with Martin’s endearing remorse. Coldplay have gotten more progressive in the last 10 years, but this one has so much life in it.