You’ve seen them at parties, lurking in the corner, waiting to engage in battle disguised as conversation. They’re indie rock know-it-alls, and no matter what band or musician you mention, they’ve got an opinion — strong and almost certainly negative — ready to ram down your throat. We offer preparation for these very situations by picking an artist and providing a quickie career overview, highlighting both prevailing critical opinions and the inevitable contrarian counterarguments. Even if you’re completely unfamiliar with the music, you’ll be able to bluff your way through and defend your indie cred. Here's everything you need to know about Coldplay.

  • The Gist

    When Coldplay released their debut album, 'Parachutes,' in 2000, they were summarily dismissed as privileged college boys with a serious U2 (or Radiohead -- take your pick) fixation. But then all the haters realized something: 'Yellow' was actually a pretty good song. After their second LP, 'A Rush of Blood to the Head,' came out in 2002, Coldplay started becoming as huge as their idols. In 2008, they hired U2's producer Brian Eno to work on 'Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends,' their second No. 1. Since then, they've become one of the world's biggest concert draws, and all their albums -- including the most recent, 2011's unpronounceable 'Mylo Xyloto' -- have debuted at No. 1. So who's hatin' now?

    Frank Micelotta, Getty Images
  • Critical Consensus

    Coldplay's second album is a giant leap forward from 'Parachutes,' which has one great song plus a bunch of lesser ones that fall way short of the arenas they shoot for. On 'A Rush of Blood to the Head' (yes, that's an erect-penis joke) they aim even bigger with their rock-star aspirations and are right on target with great songs like 'In My Place,' 'The Scientist' and 'Clocks.'

  • Contrarian Counterargument

    Their fourth album, 'Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends,' is a sprawling, ambitious masterpiece about the Big Issues that affect each and every one of us: life, death and love.

  • Counter-counterargument

    Fame went to Chris Martin's big fat head. Everything they've done after 'Parachutes' is bloated ego-tripping.

  • Whatever You Do, Don’t Say This

    "Apple" is a perfectly good name for a child.