Having tuned in to the Super Bowl more at my father’s whim than by any choice of my own, I was greeted with a technicolour display of nauseating exuberance led by the ape-like mannerisms of that consciously-uncoupled-from-Gwyneth-Paltrow no-name-brand vanilla wafer of a frontman, Chris Martin. Never have I so strongly wanted to leap across the room, seize the remote from my father’s hands, and change the damn channel.
Thankfully Beyoncé, slay queen, stole the show with some fucking stellar choreography and outfits, which helped me forget all about the previous adventure in tasting the rainbow — until Martin reappeared to get in on the action with her and Bruno Mars. Ugh! Stop that, Coldplay!
In case it isn’t clear: I really don’t like Coldplay, and I really wish they’d just stop everything they’re doing and go exist somewhere else, preferably without access to instruments. That’s not too much to ask, is it? Frankly, I never understood their appeal. Their music (what I’ve heard of it) isn’t very interesting (entirely subjective but also entirely true), Martin’s voice grates my senses, and they’ve garnered a certain sort of die-hard following — the kind that will moan about how I “just don’t get it, man” — that only alienates me further. They’re not unlike Radiohead or Oasis, two other English groups whose fanbases beg to be pushed into a locker. Put simply, Coldplay is yet another middle-of-the-road, drab, inoffensive musical act best suited for adult contemporary radio and the easy-listening mix from hell that they play at the grocery store.
Coldplay is yet another middle-of-the-road, drab, inoffensive musical act best suited for adult contemporary radio.
And it’s not just me who feels this way: I fully admit to cackling with glee when I read that Martin had apparently written a song for Beyoncé, only for her to turn it down because it was “awful.” This is even more hilarious when considering that David Bowie had done the same thing, saying “It’s not a very good song, is it?” after Coldplay had reached out to collaborate. This isn’t surprising: Bowie and Beyoncé are (or was, in the case of the former) masters of their craft, visionaries of style, capable of bending the cultural zeitgeist to their every whim. But Coldplay? The closest any of them got to touching anything in the zeitgeist was when Martin dated Jennifer Lawrence. (On that note, how the hell did that happen?)
Perhaps the most damning critique I can levy at Coldplay is that they’re safe. And for the Super Bowl, maybe that’s all they need to be. Nobody was racing to stoke their Coldplay hot takes the morning after, but that’s because there were no hot takes to be had. Like countless halftime shows before, Coldplay offered safe, consumable spectacle for a safe, consuming audience, while Beyoncé managed to spark debate just by what she wore (among other things!). If anything, having them share the stage only made Coldplay look worse: wimpier, meeker, and something akin to a napkin flapping in the wind. Whereas Beyoncé used the Super Bowl’s tremendous reach to make a statement about race in America, Coldplay busted out kids playing violins while singing about . . . (para-para) paradise. Great. Nice work, boys. They say it’s better to burn out than fade away, but Coldplay’s too lukewarm for the former. It’s time they considered doing the latter.